Before you have your baby, you may be focused on preparing the nursery, or buying baby clothes; while these may be fun, there are several important things that you should consider doing to make life easier on yourself postpartum.
During pregnancy, labor, and birth, your body will change significantly. Postpartum you may feel quite sore, and have trouble getting out of bed, or sitting down for long periods of time. You can purchase a breastfeeding pillow such as a Boppy (a U-shaped pillow) that you can also sit on if your vulva and perenium are sore after the birth. Another way to ease aches and pains down below is to prepare ‘padsicles’: pads soaked in witchhazel and put in the freezer. You can then use these to alleviate some of the soreness and swelling that you may experience.
Another often overlooked aspect of postpartum is lochia. Lochia is vaginal discharge that occurs after giving birth, made up of mucus, blood, and uterine tissue. Essentially, it’s initially a very heavy period that may have clots in it, that gradually turns to a clear mucus over a period of 4-6 weeks postpartum. Stock up on maxi-pads or maternity pads to absorb the lochia, and prepare for several weeks of heavy bleeding.
When you bring home your little bundle, cooking will most likely be the last thing on your mind. Many women anticipate that they will immediately be able to go back to normal life, when the reality is far busier. Stock up on freezer meals to last you several weeks, so that you can focus on looking after your baby, and bonding with the new addition to your family.
Some good ideas for freezer meals are beef or chicken pies, lasagne, eggplant parmigiana, burritos, quiches, muffins, and cookie dough. In particular, make several batches of lactation cookies and freeze half of the dough – you can then enjoy fresh baking postpartum that can potentially help your milk supply! Focus on high-energy foods that are comforting and warm, as having a newborn can be tiring.
You may find that you rapidly run out of time for cleaning, or for organising baby things once your little one arrives. Consider hiring a cleaner or enlisting the help of family and friends to assist you with tasks such as laundry, dishes, and cleaning the floors. Don’t worry if the dust bunnies pile up in the corner: nobody will mind if your house is not as spotless as it may have been in the past.
Prepare for basic needs such as toilet paper, toothpaste, and other toiletries by buying extras each week in your supermarket shopping as you lead up to your due date. This means that you don’t need to hit the supermarket for quite a few weeks postpartum. Getting out of the house can be a challenge, so anything you can do to stock up your house before you have your baby can help make your life easier.
Managing Friends and Family
After you have your baby, you may have many people wanting to visit you. Consider taking some time in the first couple of weeks for just you, your partner, and your baby. If family come to help clean or bring food, have them stay for short periods of time only. Another option is to set a schedule or time limits on all visits, so that you aren’t overwhelmed with guests when you are trying to figure out your new routine with your baby.
Getting to know your new addition to your family can be a fun, but daunting experience. Preparing for your postpartum experience can make your life easier, and ensure that you aren’t stressed and overwhelmed. Instead, you can enjoy your time with your baby, while feeling comfortable and taken care of.
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