So much time, effort and energy goes into planning for pregnancy and planning for the birth of a baby. Often what is neglected is planning for the post-partum period. We get so caught up in waiting to have a baby that when they actually come there is an awful “Aha!” moment of “Well what do we do now?”.
There a few common things that new families struggle with in the post-partum period. The two biggest things I hear families grappling with are:
1. Sleep (or lack of): Let’s be honest there isn’t a magical cure for this. But if you follow my tips below you may get more sleep by learning to focus on the important things and
2. Eating: Fatigue takes over and thinking about meal preparation is the last thing your mind and body have energy for, let alone actually cooking something. Take out pizza and peanut butter sandwiches will only get you by for so long!
So let’s shed some light on what those are and how to plan and be prepared when baby comes so you can avoid being overwhelmed by things that can distract you from enjoying your baby and family.
Maggie’s Survival Tips for After Baby Comes:
- Prepare easy to re-heat freezer meals in large batches. This is much easier to have at the ready come dinner time when you are wiping the crusty drool off of your face from your mom and baby afternoon nap. Hearty soups, stews and chili’s are great staples to keep to freeze.
- Bake and freeze easy grab and go snack eat items like muffins or banana bread that you can keep handy and eat quickly at 2 am when you are starving from your late night nurse-a-thon.
- If you can afford it try a meal delivery service like MVP Meals. Services like this will deliver home cooked nutritious food and save your digestive system the upset of last minute take out. Another option is a personal chef like Dana Rourke from Food Naturally who will do your grocery shopping and prepare a weeks worth of meals in your home for you.
- Make a meal list and distribute it to your friend’s. Tell your bestie they can only come visit and have baby cuddles if they bring you supper. Extra cuddles if they bring dessert!
- Don’t feel obligated to have a ton of visitors the first few weeks. The last thing you’ll feel like doing is entertaining when showering and brushing your teeth might be a big win for you that day. If you want to have visitors put them to work! Make a short list of a few things that would be helpful and don’t be afraid to ask. Friends and family members want to hold your baby but they also want to help. Don’t be shy t ask someone to change your sheets, or fold a load of laundry, empty your dishwasher or sweep the floor. You’ll surprise yourself with how keen people are to lend a hand if you only ask.
- Find a neighborhood kid or hire a dog walker/cat sitter to take care of your fur baby. Let’s face it, we don’t intend to ignore Fido, but baby now takes precedence. However, they still need love and attention too.
- If you don’t have a lot of close friends or family members near by, consider hiring a post-partum Doula! They can be a wealth of information on your recovery, newborn behavior, breastfeeding as well as help around the house with light cleaning, laundry, meal prep and lots more if you ask. We offer this service and are happy to come up a plan with you.
- Lastly…as Elsa and Anna would say “Let it Go!”. Let the laundry go if you don’t get to it, let the dishes sit in the sink overnight, there are no housekeeping police. No one will know but you. It’s more important for you to work on your physical and emotional recovery from birth, then fuss over folding bath towels. Spend your time wisely getting to know your baby and discovering your role in your new family. Those are the lasting memories you want.
Maggie Hilton RN, BScN, is a Registered Nurse with 8 years of experience in Childbirth Nursing and 6 years of experience as a Childbirth Educator in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Maggie is a part time instructor at Conestoga College where she teaches maternity nursing courses to Nurses looking to further their careers in the maternal-child field. She has a great passion for childbirth education, especially in regards to pain management during labour. Maggie is the mother of two young children, one of whom was born at home and one of whom was born in hospital.