Are you pregnant and starting to realize that you will soon have a little person joining your family? Do you want to start preparing for baby before baby’s birth? In addition to hiring a doula, there are many things you can do before the birth of your baby to make the postpartum transition as smooth as possible, although, in all honesty, there is no way to ever be fully prepared.
From my experience as a doula and mom of three kiddos, here are the 5 most helpful ways to start preparing for baby and for the postpartum period.
1st Way to Start Preparing for Baby
Cook and freeze a number of nutritious meals that you enjoy. You and your partner are not going to feel up to cooking for a while after baby’s birth. If you prepare now, you won’t have to. It is okay to order in as needed in those first weeks, but you might find that you are craving healthy, familiar meals. What are some of your favorite meals? Cook them now, and freeze them in meal size portions. Also, stock up on food that is easy and quick to make (i.e. boxes of pasta and jar pasta sauce). Having these meals available can make a huge difference in your postpartum experience!
2nd Way to Start Preparing for Baby
Line up help for the weeks after baby’s birth. How much support do you anticipate needing? Enlist help from family and friends to bring meals or help in other ways once baby arrives (make grocery store runs, clean, etc.). Communicate your anticipated needs now so that you can start receiving support as soon as you need it after baby’s birth. You will find that friends and family will want to help you but often don’t know how. Let them know!
3rd Way to Start Preparing for Baby
Set boundaries with family and friends before the baby arrives. How soon after the birth do you anticipate being ready to have visitors? How long will you be okay with them staying? What do you want these visits to look like? How involved do you want your family to be in your baby’s life in the coming months and years? It is important to start figuring out whether other’s expectations are in line with your desires before your baby is even born.
One of the important parts of being a parent is making decisions that are right for you and your family, even when those decisions depart from the desires of others. It is easier if you start doing this now versus waiting until after the baby is born and emotions are running high. Step into your new role now so others know what to expect. This way you can relax and not deal with having to establish boundaries when you should be enjoying your new baby.
4th Way to Start Preparing for Baby
Research your health insurance policies and options as well as the leave policies at your and your partner’s work. Try to understand what your benefits are now so you are not caught by surprise after baby’s birth. Also, decide now what insurance plan your baby will be going on and who you want to use as their pediatrician so you don’t have to stress about these important things postpartum.
5th Way to Start Preparing for Baby
Spend quality time with your partner now because it may be a while before you have the opportunity again. Discuss with each other what kind of parents you hope to be, what you think you will need from each other once baby is born, and how you plan to stay connected once the baby is here. Your relationship will never be the same once your baby arrives, but staying connected and openly communicating with each other can help ensure your relationship only changes for the better.
If you are looking for resources for expectant parents, including my Postpartum Planning Kit, please check out my Etsy shop, MamaEmpoweredBirth.
If you are a birth professional interested in further supporting the clients you work with, please check out my resources for doulas and other birth professionals at https://mamaempoweredbirthing.com/toolkit/.
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