Family preparing freezer meals for expecting family

Practical Preparation for Postpartum

Most expecting parents think about preparing things for the baby. They buy clothes, decorate a nursery, decide on a name, and dream about the life they hope to give their baby. Preparations for themselves are often overlooked, and can make the experience of bringing a baby into the home much harder than it needs to be. Here are some solid practical things you can do to be better prepared and supported after your birth:

People Who Will Help

Older woman helping with laundry

Before the baby comes, make a list of people who you can call on for help, advice, or just a listening ear. Sometimes in the moment it can be hard to think of who you can call, and having a list already made can make it easier. If you worry that you don’t have anyone nearby, start looking for local communities around parenting, breastfeeding, etc. Reach out to people in your childbirth classes,

Also have a list of professionals you might call on, like your midwife, or OB, a lactation consultant, postpartum doula, maid service, etc. You may not ever need them, but if you do, having the research done ahead of time makes it easier to access their services.

Supplies

You will want to have on hand plenty of all your usual household supplies like toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies etc. If you can, buy an extra every time you buy one of those items during the third trimester so you have a nice stockpile to pull from when your baby is tiny. Because you’ll be bleeding quite a bit after the baby comes, you’ll want to have 3-5 weeks worth of pads (nothing internal!) on hand. Nursing pads, a tiny tube of nipple cream in case you need it, and some ibuprofen and stool softener (not laxative) can also be helpful.

Food

  • Consider a meal preparation party in the last month or so of your pregnancy. Many hands can make for light work, and stocking your freezer with easily cooked meals can make things easier. Don’t forget breakfast foods like muffins or breakfast burritos!
  • Have some zero prep and somewhat healthy snacks on hand that you will actually eat.
  • Make a list of places you like and can order takeout/delivery from.
  • Explore options for grocery pickup and/or delivery in your area.
  • Use a service like Takethemameal.com or mealtrain.com to coordinate people who want to bring in meals afterward. Keep in mind people can bring other meals besides just dinner. I had someone offer to bring me lunch during my first full day home alone with the baby and it was just what I needed!

Household Tasks

  • It’s rough in the third trimester, but try to stay on top of things as best you can so you don’t come home from the hospital to a mess.
  • If the house gets cluttered and it’s bothering you, create a small “clean zone” where you can hang out and ignore the rest.
  • Enlist the help of any visitors. “Sure, you can hold the baby, if you put a load of laundry in the washer first!”
  • Remind family that comes “to help” that their focus should be on helping with household tasks. They should not expect to snuggle a newborn the whole time while you play host and do all the work. If they are not willing to work and be real help, encourage them to keep their visit short or come later once you’re recovered.
  • Make a list of things people could help with, and post it on the fridge, or online, etc. When people say “Is there anything I can do to help?” answer YES, and give them a job from the list. You can download a template below.

Want to learn more about how to have a smooth transition to become a parent? Enroll in my Transition to Parenthood class, or take the Comprehensive Birth Connected class.

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