You’ve made it through the first few months of exhaustion and excitement and you may or may not know if you’re having a boy or girl. So…what’s next?
Planning for a baby can be overwhelming and daunting — especially when you think of all the gadgets and beautiful things that new parents are expected to have these days.
Let’s cut through the clutter.
Here’s a list of 5 things I’ve learned through my experience as a mom, friend and experienced Colorado Springs Postpartum Doula that are MUST HAVES for parents when bringing home a new baby.
1. Sleep – Yep, I’m going there. Whether you’ve read every baby sleep book there is or you haven’t thought about it much yet, you need a game plan in place for when baby comes home. Where baby is going to sleep, how baby is going to feed, who is going to do what and when at all hours of the night, and where those dirty diapers are going to get changed are all questions that are great to have answers to before that first night home. Hire a Postpartum Doula or ask for help for those first few weeks. And, seriously, when that baby sleeps, SLEEP. Which brings us to our next MUST HAVE.
2. Support – Since you are supposed to be resting and tending to your newborn, laundry and dishes will inevitably pile up. You may not care about the mess or it may drive you nuts — either way, having someone around who understands that you’d rather hold your baby while all that stuff magically disappears is priceless. Whether that is a Postpartum Doula or well meaning family members and friends (who can very clearly see the list of “How You Can Help Us After Baby” chores posted on the fridge), this can be a new family’s saving grace. If you aren’t comfortable directly asking for help , check out babyli.st. It’s an online baby registry where you can add things such as Postpartum Doula services or home cooked meals along with your usual baby items from a variety of stores.
3. Sustenance – You are going to be ravenous and cooking a meal may not make it to the top of your list. A great way to make sure you are set up for a few weeks is to ask one of those aforementioned well meaning family members or friends to set up a meal train for you and spread the word. This is also something your doula can help with. Setting up a meal train allows you to have visitors without feeling like you have to entertain. They’ve brought you a meal and know that as soon as you see it, you’re going to want to devour it, so they’ll stay a few minutes and be on their way. Not that you don’t want company, but HELLO, you need sleep. and food. 1 hour ago!
- Sanity – I said it. New parents need breaks. They need “me” time and that’s hard to get with a newborn by your side. Learning how to weave in those small moments of “you” time with the support of your Postpartum Doula, partner and friends is the ultimate survival skill for a new parent. Whether it’s a walk outside by yourself, chatting with a friend on the phone, catching up on that guilty pleasure tv show you’ve been putting off to take care of your family or organizing that nursery that’s been staring at you for days — it’s important alone time that will help you slowly feel like yourself again.
- Swagger – As in “Watch me parent the hell out of this.” One of my favorite things about being a Postpartum Doula is seeing this moment.
Let me set the scene…we are out and about on one of the first few outings just parent and baby (with postpartum doula there for emotional support) and they put the baby in the carrier like a pro, grab the groceries quickly, pay for them, get baby back in the car with …wait for it… out waking the baby up! It really does deserve a gold medal. And, yes, it takes practice. Although that parent doesn’t get a gold medal (I may start carrying them along to postpartum jobs…) they gain the confidence to do it over and over again and it carries over into other aspects of being a parent and partner. It’s lovely.
So, as you start planning for the baby you’ll be welcoming in a few short months, think of how life may be a little different after they arrive. Building your support system for after baby is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your growing family. It’s going to be exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. Planning for those big changes and must haves can be the first step in making life with a new baby a little more enjoyable!