Updated: Aug 17
Having your first baby is a time that can be filled with love and joy, but can also be filled with lots of sleepless nights, a clingy, crying baby, and lots of feelings of overwhelm. Every baby book or website has a list of things to do before the baby arrives, and you probably already have a long list of things to get ready before the baby. You might already have the nursery set up, a pram purchased, and the car seat installed, but this post is more about things that can make your everyday life a bit easier when you are feeling sleep deprived or overwhelmed. The first few items on this list are all things you can do in the lead up to your birth, but there are also some things that you can do after your baby is born to make life that little bit easier for yourself and your family.
If you are feeling well during your pregnancy, one of the best things you can do to make your life with a newborn easier is prepare meals! Put together some meals that can easily be frozen, and put them into portion sizes for you to pull out of the freezer. This is wonderful for the early days of having a newborn when you don’t have the energy to cook. Once you have some energy back and feel like cooking again, its also a great idea to cook in large batches, making double or triple freezable recipes and put the leftovers into the freezer. Some meals that freeze well include lasagne, spaghetti, meatballs, casseroles and curries.
Pre-pack your nappy bag:
Going out for the first time with baby can be stressful, and if you are packing your nappy bag on the fly, you are bound to forget something. Or you might do what I did on my first outing with my baby, have everything ready and in the car, and then keep remembering things that you forgot and have to go back inside and collect them! Pre-pack your nappy bag with everything you need before your baby is born, that way you are ready to leave on the day of your first outing with baby. Need help knowing what to pack in your nappy bag? Check out our blog post here.
Have a nappy caddy for mum and baby:
A nappy caddy is a basket full of everything you need for yourself and baby. You can carry it around with you in the house, so it’s in the bedroom when you need to change baby at night, or right there with you when you are feeding baby in the loungeroom, or elsewhere in the house. Fill with things like nappies, wipes, burp rags, spare outfits, spare breast pads, feeding essentials, and anything else you might need throughout the day with baby. Here is our blog post on making a nappy caddy!
Get snacks ready:
If you are planning to breastfeed, snacks will be your best friend. Even if you don’t breastfeed, you still need plenty of energy to recover from your birth, and get you through long days and nights of caring for a newborn. Buy or make some delicious and nutritious snacks ready for when baby is born. Some great ideas include musesli bars, protein balls, quiches, lactation cookies, and some delicious treats like brownies.
Order your groceries online:
This is a game changer! It can be really difficult to get a baby out and to the supermarket or the shops, but ordering online and having them delivered means you don’t even need to put pants on, or leave the couch, to buy your groceries. This is especially helpful if you have a caesarean and you are unable to drive in the early postpartum weeks.
Rally the troops:
This might be the most important tip for preparation! When you have a newborn, there are many tasks that are really difficult to do by yourself. If you have lots of friends and family around you, ask them to help out with things like cooking, or ducking to the shops. Often people will ask if you need anything done when they visit the baby. Let them help out, especially if they are close to you! Let them fold some laundry, hold the baby while you sleep, unpack the dishwasher, or any other jobs you need to do. If you don’t have family and friends around you, or you don’t feel comfortable asking them for help, think about hiring some paid help. A postpartum doula is perfect for this. Paying a cleaner, a laundry service, or a meal delivery service are also amazing ways to make your life easier after having a baby!
Book into a women’s health physio:
Whether you had an uncomplicated vaginal birth or a c section, it’s an excellent idea to see a women’s health physio. They can check your stomach for separation, check your pelvic floor, recommend exercises and help you recover your strength and fitness. Pelvic floor exercises are very important post pregnancy, and a women’s health physio is the best person to see to help you do this.
Make a list of support people and numbers:
Lots of new mums need support for various different aspects of life with a newborn. Keep some phone numbers handy so they are easily accessible when you need them. Some great numbers to include are your dr or midwife’s number, your GP, the Maternal and Child health nurse help line (or equivalent in other states), breastfeeding support helpline, and some mental health support services, such as PANDA. Many of these services are open 24/7, and provide valuable support and guidance when you need it the most.
Don’t listen to any criticism or unhelpful advice:
You may notice that as soon as you get pregnant, every single person you meet wants to give you unsolicited advice. The internet is also filled with unqualified parenting “experts” who talk about things you MUST do in order to succeed at being a parent. It can be hard not to worry that you’re doing it wrong if you don’t follow their advice, or if their advice doesn’t work for you. Some people also give their outdated or judgemental opinions, which can really hurt confidence. Listen to your health professionals, and those whose opinions you care about, not every self-proclaimed experts.
Take some time for you: For some lucky new mums, it’s easy to take time for themselves while their baby has long peaceful sleeps. For others, the only long peaceful sleeps a baby will take is while they are sleeping on you. Some babies need to be held all the time, and others can be very unsettled. If you have one of these babies, make sure you schedule in time for just you. This could be while your partner is home, or while you have a support person with you. You might also find creative ways to settle your baby while you get some time to yourself, such as through using a swing, pram or baby carrier.
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