The first few hours, days and weeks after having a baby are special times to treasure as you recover from birth, transition to mothering baby from the outside, and spend time bonding and adjusting. Being adequately prepared ahead of time can make a key difference in helping postpartum to flow smoothly and successfully. Here are a few tips to consider as you prepare and plan for AFTER baby arrives. Remember that adequate rest, low stress, nourishing food, good support and planning ahead will help you to heal and promote a better overall experience for baby’s first few weeks. It’s important for your physical & mental health to take recovery seriously, and provide your body with the things it needs to continue nourishing a baby while recovering from the demands of pregnancy & birth. You won’t regret being adequately prepared!
Before the Birth:
- Consider your support system. Do you have a close friend or family member that would be willing to be a resource to answer questions, let you talk with when you’re feeling low emotionally, or just need a listening ear? Is there someone you can trust and feel comfortable with who could come into your home to help care for the household (especially if there are other children) for a few days or weeks so that you can adequately rest and recover? Is Daddy able to take some extended time off of work? How does support look to you? Do you have some babysitting options?
- Meal Planning: consider having some wholesome family favorites stocked in the freezer so you don’t need to think about cooking. Does your church or support group have a plan for after-baby meals? Do you need to reach out to someone to coordinate this? Would you have a friend willing to start a “meal train” after your birth? And just a note to Gentle Delivery clients: if an online “meal train” is something that would bless you, your midwife is very glad to start this after your baby arrives!
- Consider stocking up on disposable plates, cups, silverware, etc. in order to simplify clean up and household chores.
- Shopping (consider the below suggestions, and try to have these things together before your baby is due):
Immediate Postpartum (first hours after birth)– have these things handy in a basket or box for immediately after delivery.
- Newborn Diapers & Baby Wipes
- Preferred first outfit for baby, along with a swaddle blanket, socks and hat.
- “Adult Diapers” or Depends (or whatever type of pad you prefer for heavier postpartum bleeding).
- Comfortable Nightgown or Pajamas that are nursing accessible and easily work for skin-to-skin contact with baby.
- Ibuprofen and/or tincture (such as AfterEase or After-Pain Relief) to help with after-pains.
- Pre-made “padsicles” or perineal ice-packs and/or an herbal healing spray such as this one from MotherLove.
- Heating pad or rice sock to help with sore muscles and after-pains.
- Rhoid Balm, Tucks or other soothing support for hemorrhoids.
- Large Water bottle that is easy to use, to remind & encourage you to drink lots of fluids!
- Nourishing foods, drinks and snacks (think bone broth, energy bites, juice, etc.).
First Few Days– since you’ll be resting and nursing and taking it easy the first few days, you’ll want to consider having some of these items purchased ahead of time, and ready to be used during the initial few days after baby arrives, in addition to the items above (which you’ll continue using throughout the first few days/weeks).
- Comfortable nursing-accessible clothes and nursing bras (remember that you may go through multiple changes of clothes due to leaking milk, bleeding and/or baby messes!). Comfort is key, since you will be resting and sleeping whenever possible.
- Belly Support Binder (can use a Rebozo or scarf, or you can purchase something like Belly Bandit or MamaStrut).
- Breastfeeding helps:
- Breast Shells or Nursing Cups to help with engorgement and sore nipples.
- Disposable or reusable Nursing Pads for your bra.
- Small flexible ice packs or Breast Soothies to relieve engorgement the first week.
- Nipple cream such as MotherLove
- If you have experienced challenges with milk supply, have supplements such as MaxiMilk or Legendairy products available to start once your milk begins to come in.
- Stool Softener or Magnesium to help the first stools pass easier.
- Pads/period underwear for a lighter flow (be sure to check out non-toxic options such as these JewelPads).
- A journal or baby book to jot down thoughts and memories.
- Something to read or do as you spend hours nursing your baby!
And finally, feel free to print/download and post this list of visitor guidelines to aid you in navigating the stress and joy of baby visits during those first days!