Since I've been getting ready for this baby boy over the last few weeks, I've had a lot of preparation ideas and tips bouncing around in my head that I thought I'd share in case anyone else could benefit from them! I'm a nerdy planner and I love to think of what I can do to prepare in order to maximize my time with my newborn instead of having to do housework/food prep/last minute store runs etc once he's here. Of course don't feel like you have to do any of these things though! The world will keep turning and everything will be just fine no matter how you go about it. These are just my favorite ways to personally feel a little more ready for when baby comes. :)
If there's something you do to prepare that I don't already mention below, please share in the comments! I would love to learn from you!
1- Freezer Meals
I already wrote up a post of tips and my favorite ones to make here, but really, there is something so wonderful about not having to make dinner when you are freshly postpartum and trying to enjoy those precious and quickly fleeting first days. A lot of the meals I listed in that post even create enough for two dinners, and you'll have leftovers most nights too!
2- Stocked freezer and pantry
Freezer meals will save you a lot of work for dinner, but so will having a stocked up fridge, freezer and pantry! On nights when I don't want to cook, we'll occasionally have tater tots, freezer pizza, nuggets or something similar to those things. I try to stock up on these things and have them ready and available to have in between freezer meals, which just stretches the time out until you have to cook dinners again, huzzah! It's also nice to have plenty of snacks in stock to keep the nursing mama and young kids happy, as well as having ingredients for quick and easy dinner ideas ready to go in the pantry in order to keep drawing out this calmer period of life!
3- Pack a day bag for your kiddos
Since Rose came just after Midnight, Kyler spent the first night at the hospital with me but then the following night he came home to stay with Henry. This meant we mainly only needed sitters during the day after Rose was first born. For the most part Henry was watched at our home, but just in case they relocated, I had a day pack packed for him with diapers, changes of outfits, snacks and some instructions about his naps/eating etc. This was nice to have all ready to go so the sitters could find things in one place and it didn't have to be any more crazy for them than it already was. :) Plus it helped me to not worry while I was in the hospital, feeling like my precious boy was taken care of and had what he needed!
4- Thank You cards/gifts for the nurses and doctor
I like to bring empty note cards and write each nurse a personal thank you for taking care of me while I'm there. (I don't sleep very well in the hospital so this helps fill time when the baby is sleeping ha ha.) I also bring a big box of fruit snacks (or some other type of snack) with a general "thank you" on it that I give to the labor/delivery team and then a second box to the postpartum team. I also write a "thank you" beforehand to my amazing doctor and try to give her something a little extra special (like a gift card or some nicer gift). They are pretty awesome for always doing such a great job when taking care of me and my new babies!
5- Study Breastfeeding
I love to research things! Before having Henry I was so nervous about breastfeeding so it really calmed my fears to read about it and learn as much as I could. I like to review all of that research before each baby so I can have a little refresher, because it's kind of insane how much you forget inbetween kids. (And mine our only 20 months apart! 😅 Mom brain problems!)
As odd as it sounds, what I found to be the most helpful for me was to watch YouTube videos of women breastfeeding (obviously educational videos, not just random creeper videos 🙈) so I could visualize what it looked like to help the baby latch/unlatch, learn different feeding positions etc. Here is my favorite video, it is so helpful! The woman narrating is kind of funny with her facial expressions and some of her opinions too. 😂 I've been so lucky to never experience a blister or sore from nursing and I think this video has a lot to do with that! Plus it also helps that I just got super lucky that my babes were amazing little eaters! Praying this next little one follows suit 😅)
I also love the website Kelly Mom for all breastfeeding information. This site is full of great advice that they base off of science and various research studies. Before every baby I like to go over information about what it's like when your milk comes in, how to avoid clogged ducts and mastitis, cluster feeding, what foods/medications could damage milk supply, what increases milk supply, how to know if your baby is getting enough milk etc. It's a fantastic resource! (And it has way more info than what I just mentioned.)
6- Study sleep
There are so many varied opinions on sleep training, cosleeping, bedsharing etc and honestly, I don't think it matters what you do as long as it works for you and your family! However, I do suggest that whatever you choose to do for your and baby's sleep, study it out first! Learn the ins and outs of what you want to do, safety protocols, risks etc so that you can make decisions about sleep based off of research and preparation instead of stress, exhaustion and desperation. I've personally found that having purposeful preparation in this area, you will avoid so much stress postpartum when you're just wanting your babe to sleep so so badly and you're not really thinking straight. It's also helpful to have a few different ideas studied out in case your plan A doesn't work out. :) Some books we've found helpful is The Happiest Baby on the Block, Baby Wise, and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. I review my favorite chapters that I found to be the most helpful before each little ones arrival. (I know, I know, nerd alert!)
7- Postpartum preparation for Mom
You will get a ton of things from the hospital to take care of you after baby but here are some things I like to have a stock of as well!
-thick pads or depends. I haven’t tried Depends yet for postpartum but have heard so many good things about them that I'm super excited to use them this time around, as odd as that sounds! They look awesome! (Update- tried these with Eli and they were amazing! I bought 2 boxes and wish I’d had one or even two more. They were amazing!)
- underwear you don't mind getting messy/ruined (especially if you are LDS and wear garments and you don't want to ruin them in those first few weeks of heavy bleeding.) I have liked these ones.
-padcicles. Here is a site that tells you what these are and how to make them. It's always nice to have something cool and soothing when you're healing, especially if you have a lot of stitches afterwards! (Tip though, don't sleep in these or wear them once they start to feel warm and are no longer like an ice pack. Otherwise you could give yourself a yeast infection since yeast love wet, warm places! 😬Speaking from unfortunate personal experience!)
-stool softener and preparation h cream. TMI but most mamas I know have had hemorrhoids after having a baby and it can be so painful to have a bowel movement for quite awhile after a vaginal birth! The hospital gives you some stool softener usually, but I buy extra and probably use it for 2-3 months after baby. If you start feeling pain or experience light bleeding etc after bowel movements, preparation h cream can help soothe and heal the area! This stuff has been a life saver for me!
-lanolin. This is so great to put on your chest and nipples (I kinda hate that word 😬) after nursing sessions for those first few weeks. Ask the hospital if they have any samples you can have, but having some at home as well is awesome! I use it mainly as a preventative measure to help avoid sores and blisters but you can also use it once you've gotten sores to help heal and soothe the area. It's extra awesome because it's totally fine for baby to have on their lips or for them to nurse after you've put it on. (Although I put it on after a feeding usually so it's pretty much gone when it's time for the next feeding.)
-fenugreek. This is an herb supplement that helps increase your breast milk supply. It's really nice to have on hand in case your supply isn't keeping up with baby and you need a supply boost.
-breast pump. Most insurances either pay for an entire pump or cover a lot of the cost. I highly suggest you start off with a new one when you have your first babe instead of a very well used hand me down because it's the worst if your pump is slow or doesn't work very well. Even though my plan is always to start out nursing my babies, it's just smart to have one in case those plans change or if you want to pump a bottle so daddy can help feed every once in awhile. I accidentally damaged my supply when nursing Henry (PSA- avoid Sudafed while nursing!) and my pump was so helpful in getting my supply back. I also suggest you get a pump that is automatic instead of manual, because having to pump by hand all the time is exhausting, and before baby you truly don't know how much you may need to use it.
8- Postpartum preparation for Baby
I like to stock up on things like Desitin, gas drops, baby lotion, gripe water etc in case baby needs to use any of those when you guys are home! It's the worst when it's 2 am and your baby is acting like their little tummy hurts and you don't know how to fix it! I didn't have to use gas drops/gripe water for Rose but for Henry they were life savers so I stock up on them just in case!
It's also nice to start off with a box or two of diapers and wipes. I have always been too nervous to stock up too much on certain sizes of diapers because you never know what size your baby will be at first or how fast they'll grow but I've heard most stores are pretty easy about exchanging them for you if needed! (I'm also just a weirdo and hate going to the store if I can avoid it, especially for exchanges!) I also wash clothes/blankets etc and make sure baby has a place to sleep all ready for them.
9- Postpartum prep for older children
Quiet boxes, bagged up snacks that are ready to go, PB&Js made beforehand and frozen (just set them out to thaw the morning of, they taste freshly made and delicious by lunchtime!) etc are so helpful to have made up and ready for your older kids before baby comes! Spend those first few weeks snuggling your little ones instead of having to use the little energy you have doing this kind of stuff!
10- Gifts for your kids from new baby
I've found it can help the transition for little ones when they get a new sibling to get a new toy or activity that they are excited about! (especially since my kids are both so young still.) If it comes from baby brother or sister, I think it's easier for them to keep feeling favorable towards this new little creature that is hogging Mom and Dad because they thoughtfully brought them something fun to play with. :)
11- Pack hospital bag
I like to have my bag around 36 weeks because you just never know when baby might make their appearance! Obviously you can't pack everything that far in advance so I write a list of what else I need to add so I can remember for when the time comes, plus it's nice to have in case my husband has to pack it for me if I'm having terrible contractions or something. I had looked up a billion blogs on Pinterest about what to pack for the hospital before I had Henry and let me just tell you, I wayyyyy over-packed! Here are the basics I've found myself using with my first and second deliveries:
little hand mirror
makeup (no judgement please if you think it's ridiculous to put that on after having a baby- we all have different things that help us feel normal after such a crazy transition! No mom shaming! :) )
shirt that's easy to nurse in
warm socks for cold feet (I always have cold feet!)
earplugs (it's always kinda noisy in the hospitals and with baby right next to you, you'll definitely still hear them when they need you. In my opinion anyway :) )
the best quality camera you have to document those precious first hours and days
coming home outfit for baby
cute swaddling blanket for baby
thank you cards/gifts for staff
gifts for your kids from baby
wallet with drivers license/insurance card
baby's car seat (at least have in the car)
You might want more or less but this has been the perfect amount of things for me! The hospital has pretty much everything else you might want for the most part. I also try to get out of the hospital asap and am usually only there for 24-30 hours max so keep that in mind with my list as well. :)
12- Invest in a baby carrier of some sort
I love wearing my newborn babes! It's honestly the best to have them snuggled up close to you and to have your hands free so you can get things done around the house if needed or if you want to do something with your older children. They are also so helpful for those times of day when baby is fussy and nothing will calm them down. The 4th trimester is REAL and in my experience I've found that it helps to wear your baby to help them adjust to this crazy new world. I personally LOVE baby wraps for a carrier and also just bought a ring sling to use for this new babe. I'm super excited to try it out! I also have a Baby Bjorn and an Ergobaby carrier and love them as well.
Hopefully you found this helpful! Any thing else to add? Tell me below! 👇🏻
And just for fun, here are some pictures of some of those sweet moments after Henry and then Rose were born. ❤️