The birth of a child is viewed by many as the “finish line”. The life event that requires ALL of their attention and energy. Yes, birth is a life changing experience. Yes, it requires preparation (physical and mental). Yes, it is often the biggest day of a person’s life. HOWEVER, it is also the BEGINNING of a person’s journey into parenthood.
Robin Lim summed it up beautifully in her book, ‘After the Baby’s Birth… A Woman’s Way to Wellness’ when she wrote, “You were pregnant for nine months; you are postpartum for the rest of your life”
When a new life enters the world their family members will all undergo a shift. They will become a “mom”, “dad”, “nan”, “pop”, “aunt”, “brother”, etc. During this time of transition everyone in the family is trying to find their new role. The new parents may find themselves feeling anxious, overcome with joy, overwhelmed, everything in between, or even all of the above. Nan and Pop may want to help but not know how.
Soooooo, here are our top 5 ways to prepare for bringing baby home!
#1: Meal Prep
To avoid getting caught in this seemingly never ending cycle, I always recommend to expectant parents to meal prep during pregnancy. You can do this by picking a day and just going to town, or cooking extra each day for a few weeks and freezing the leftovers. This way, once the baby arrives you will have a freezer full of ready to go meals at your disposal!
#2: Arrange Help Around the House
Household chores can become tedious and overwhelming after the birth of a child. Our society often sets impossible standards for new parents, making them feel like they have to do it all, and do it all perfectly. Luckily for you, that is not the case. It is alright to ask for help, and there are many people out there who you can turn to.
Start recruiting friends and family early. Explain that you might need some extra help around the house after baby arrives, especially during those first few weeks. Tell them if they come in and something looks like it needs to be done, you would love the help. Most people are relieved to have something to do when visiting you and your new baby.
#3: Give Yourself Time to Heal
Whether you give birth vaginally or by cesarean section, your body will need to heal afterwards. Physically you may have an incision or tear that needs tending to, or your muscles might be stiff from pushing.
Emotionally, your body has just expelled the placenta which will lead to a sudden hormone shift. This might leave you feeling overcome with joy one minute and sobbing into your pillow the next. You may also be feeling confused or anxious about your birth experience.
#4: Learn About Postpartum Mood Disorders
Any individual who has given birth is at risk for a postpartum mood disorder. This is above and beyond the “baby blues”, lasting for longer periods of time and often needing help to overcome it. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a postpartum mood disorder, and that it is ok to ask for help!
#5: Build a Support System
And last, but definitely not least; build a support system! You may have heard the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. You and your new baby will need a ton of people in your corner to help you have the best journey possible. It is important to set up these support systems in advance. Your support system might include family, friends, your health care providers, a postpartum doula, lactation consultant and/or local family resource centre.
And there you have it! Our top 5 ways to prepare for bringing baby home! Leave a comment below on how you prepared for bringing your baby home.
Doula, Childbirth Educator and lover of everything pregnancy, birth and babies!
Mom of 3, Birth Doula , CBE , Breastfeeding Educator, CIMI, and Photographer!