When people find out that they are expected they often think about what the baby will need. They start to prepare the nursery, buy clothes for the baby and tell family and friends the news! What many of us forget to do is take care of ourselves!
The person giving birth will have just as many needs as their newborn and they will need to make preparations for that support.
1. Preparing for your first meal after birth
After you have your baby you will feel as though you have just run a marathon. You will be exhausted and in need of nourishment. Planning for your first postpartum meal is something you will definitely want to do!
If you give birth in the hospital at 2 a.m., the hospital likely won’t have any food available for you until breakfast time. It’s a good idea to pack snacks or something to tide you over until the next meal time.
If you are giving birth at home, having something ready to pop in the microwave or sandwich fixings on hand is also a good idea. After my most recent birth, my mom made me what we call a $10 sandwich, which is a really just a huge sandwich with a bunch of different meats and pickles. She also made homemade soup which really hit the spot.
[photo of meal]
2. Preparing for your first week of meals
Speaking of food, you may want to prepare meals for the first few weeks after giving birth. After giving birth your only job is to take care of your baby.
Having meals prepared in advance can make this easier. You can batch cook meals and freeze them, make arrangements with family and friends to bring you meals or set up a meal train. It is a good idea to do this well in advance of your due date so you are not stressed about it at the last minute. Perhaps you could incorporate it into your baby shower.
3. Planning for Sleeping
Sleep is a really important part of recovering after birth. You will need to rest but you will also have a newborn who will wake you every few hours.
If you are bottle feeding you can take turns with your partner, support system member or hired doula so you can catch some extra zzz. If you are breastfeeding you will need to be present for all of these feedings. Here are some things you can do to optimize your sleep:
Use a dim nightlight when nursing your baby at night so the light doesn’t wake you up too much. This will make it easier for you to fall back to sleep.
Have the baby sleep in your room so you are not walking too far away. This will also make it easier for you to go back to sleep.
Learn to breastfeed lying down on your side so you can rest your eyes.
Sleep when you can, don’t feel guilty for taking a nap. I won’t tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps because that simply isn’t realistic.
Schedule visitors during hours when you don’t anticipate taking a nap so you won’t miss an opportunity to sleep.
Schedule support people to visit during times you do want to sleep so they can hold the baby while you sleep.
Talk to your partner about your expectations and anticipated routines before the baby arrives. Check in frequently and modify as needed.