I know, I know, there are a lot of these lists around with all sorts of crazy things on it, telling you that you need to have your hospital bags packed before your second trimester, or that you need six months of food stored in your freezer. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those lists! I know that being pregnant is exhausting, and finding the time and energy to do each of these tasks is almost impossible. When I was pregnant with each of my children I struggled to get off the couch or out of bed! So if you’re like me and you have no energy for anything at all while pregnant, this list is for you:
Yes, I know, I said this list wasn’t going to tell you to make six months worth of freezer meals. But there is an easier way. If you or your partner are cooking a few times a week, you can easily build up a stash of meals for the freezer ready for when your baby comes. When deciding what to cook, instead of cooking a serving just for one night, make a giant version. If you are planning on making a pasta bake, make two or even three pasta bakes. If you are planning on making tacos, make three times the taco mixture. If you do this only twice a week during the second half of your pregnancy you will have enough meals in your freezer to last you over a month after the baby is born. Some of my favourite things to cook and freeze include:
o Pasta Bake
o Taco Mixture
o Stir Fries
· Convenient snacks:
After having a baby, you are hungry. Like next level hungry. And you may want to spend every minute of everyday eating. Convenient snacks are a must. You also are probably unlikely to want to go and cook yourself healthy snacks, so have some store-bought snacks on hand. Some of my favourites include:
o Lactation cookies – these are nourishing for breastfeeding and also with post-birth recovery
o Muesli Bars
o Protein balls – you can find some pre made ones or make your own if you have the energy
o Muffins – buy or make some healthy fruit and vegetable muffins
o Fruit. Bananas were my go to after each of my babies!
o Trail mix – you might not be out hiking, but your body will be working hard recovering from birth and making milk for your baby
o Crackers and dip
· Nappy Caddy
This is a great way to not have to get up and walk to a designated change table or area. Keep a caddy or a box that you can easily pick up and take with you around the house and outside. If getting all of this ready at once seems overwhelming, you can order the items online and have them delivered with your weekly groceries, or order a Newborn Essentials Hamper with everything you need for your nappy caddy, and add your favourite snacks later. Here are the items I recommend having in you caddy:
o A change of clothes for baby
o Spare breast pads
o Nipple balm
o A dummy
o A swaddle
o A burp rag
o Lip Balm
o Hand cream
o A spare bib
o A phone charger (simply because your phone will always go flat during the most inconvenient time!)
o A silicone breastpump
o A snack
o A notebook or book
· Breastfeeding items
If you plan on breastfeeding, there isn’t a lot you need to pack each day or to take to the hospital. But here are a few things you do need:
o The phone number of the Australian Breastfeeding Association: 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268). This number is open 24/7, and it is wonderful to have someone to talk to if you need help with feeding during the middle of the night, or just to ask nagging questions you might have.
o Breast pads: These are absolutely essential in order to keep your clothing dry and clean while breastfeeding. Some women (like myself!) leak constantly while breastfeeding, so be prepared with a lot of breast pads and be ready to change them regularly throughout the day. I recommend re-usable breast pads to reduce your waste, and because I find them more comfortable to wear.
o A silicone breast pump. These are small breast pumps that rely on suction to extract milk either while you breastfeed from the other breast, or for use when you are engorged with milk. They are a great way to relieve the discomfort of engorgement, and also a great way to collect milk that would otherwise end up on a breast pad. Many mothers use these to help build up a collection of milk in the freezer for when they might need to be away from baby or for when they return to work.
o Nipple Balm: This is great for helping with sore nipples at the beginning of breastfeeding. Most are safe to put on and feed, and are great
o Cooling breast pads and breast discs: There are many different versions of these available to help relieve the discomfort of engorged breasts and also sore nipples. I recommend Hydrogel breast discs for sore nipples, and Ice Ice Booby for engorgement.
o A breast pump: This is not an essential item, as many, many women breastfeed successfully for long periods without the need to pump. However, I think it is a great idea to have a pump available to you in case you need to be separated from baby unexpectedly, if baby is too sleepy to feed, or if you are too engorged and uncomfortable for baby to feed effectively. Breast pumps can also come in handy if you are having trouble breastfeeding. You can temporarily pump until you can get help with your breastfeeding from a professional
· Nappy Bag
I will never forget my first outing with my baby. It took me three tries to get out the door because I kept forgetting what to put in my nappy bag! I will write a separate post on this another day, but here are the basics I recommend preparing
o Spare clothing for baby AND you
o Blanket (if it’s cold weather)
o A dummy (if you’re using one!)
o Spare breast pads
o Spare maternity pads
o A snack (you’ll always need a snack!)
o Burp cloth
· Your hospital bag:
Possibly the most overwhelming thing! But what I recommend is getting the bag out relatively early in your pregnancy, and just throw a few items in each week. It becomes a lot less overwhelming when you already have most of the items there ready to go! Check out my post on what to pack in your hospital bag.
· Activities for older children: If you have other children, this is the most important thing. Have all sorts of activities for them to do independently so you can rest and take care of the baby. I recommend:
o Colouring books and pencils (textas are dangerous as they can go on the wall!)
o Some new toys of whatever they are interested in
o Playdough (the store bought play dough is fine)
o Craft activities that they can do alone
o Anything that doesn’t make mess!
Most importantly, have a list of people you can call upon to help you after the baby is born. Your parents, in laws, siblings and friends are so important after having a baby. They are vital for both practical support, and also emotional support for baby blues, sleepless nights, and bad days. If you don’t have physical support around you, see if you can budget for some paid help, such as a cleaner, meal service, or even a postpartum doula.
Looking for help?
My new baby essentials hamper has everything you need for your new baby and makes a perfect filler for your nappy caddy, just add your snacks later
My new mum hamper has exactly what you need for caring for yourself after you have your baby. Including lactation cookies, hand cream, lip balm, nursing balm, belly cream, a heat pack, a scented candle and a handmade scrunchie. You will love having everything ready for yourself when your baby arrives.
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