My husband and I have been talking this over. This being our first I'm "inclined" to believe we may not be taking into account the reality of the situation because EVERYONE says how CRAZY and STRESSFUL life is after the arrival of a new baby. My husband works 35-40 hours 5 days a week and is home between 1-3 most days, so he will be home everyday to help me, plus he is going to take a week off right after the baby is born. my husband is amazingly helpful and kind, he doesn't mind doing the laundry, cooking or dishes, which I'm sure is a huge factor in keeping the sanity. We plan to cloth diaper, but for the first month or two we will use a Diaper Service so we don't have the extra laundry to deal with, we can just leave it out on the front porch and forget about it. I'm going to make a menu for the first 2 weeks, probably month and plan on sticking to mostly soups and vegetarian meals that I can either freeze or put together in under 30 minutes. Neither of us expects the house to stay clean and tidy, laundry to be done or anything like that. No use putting pressure on ourselves when in the long run it really doesn't matter. I feel like I'm missing something though....
What is everyone else doing to prepare for the first few weeks postpartum?
Life CAN be magical.We just have to create it that way.
The first half of February, I am planning on trying to make multiples varieties of casseroles, dish them into separate containers, and fill my freezer, and maybe have a friend of mine store some in her deep freezer.
I'm also planning a baby shower for her, as well, for the last half of February, and need to plan a second baby shower for her family to be coming in for June. I stay busy, that's for sure!
We're trying this month to clean out the 2nd bedroom for Alistair, and DH gets 2 weeks paternity leave (yay for Military benefits!), so cooking, laundry and stuff will have a good share done by DH. He's good about helping me do it weekly anyhow, of which I am very thankful for.
We're probably also going to try to switch to plastic and disposable cups and plates to cut back on the need for washing dishes for the first few weeks, since we're expecting sleepless nights and lots of wanting to be lazy when we're not handling Alistair.
Lady Zbyrd <3 Alistair
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We did ok with our first. We had a few friends and neighbors bring some meals in the first two weeks after she was born, which was wonderful. Our church community will likely do the same this time.
I had frozen some meals before my DD was born, but some of them are still in the freezer, more than 2 years later, because they were just not appetizing. I think I'll try again this time around, but maybe stick to tried-and-true favorites.
Also, I think I'll try to stock up on staples so we can throw some meals together pretty quickly when necessary.
We're also going to move our toddler to a new room so the transition is complete (ha ha!) before baby arrives--this involves cleaning, painting, making curtains, etc.
My DH has 2 weeks of paternity leave, too, but it goes by so quickly--I am grateful, but . . . I wish it were longer.
Catherine, mama to Preschooler Girl 9/08, and Toddler Boy 3/11
As a mom of almost 7... I can only suggest to "prepare" to sleep when baby does. And with just one you will be able to do that A LOT at first.
Seriously I don't freeze meals or do anything else like that. I just need my sleep and all is well!
my biggest thought it to make sure that you are keeping as caught up as possible on house stuff so you don't go into labor when there's a bunch of dirty dishes or laundry waiting to get done.
part-time and through infancy. planning a
I am blessed to have a husband who cooks. We figured out early on that it's a lot easier for him to do it, than for me to try to juggle cooking dinner and breastfeeding (since that is ALWAYS the time when that's all they want to do). So, I don't really worry about preparing meals ahead. Since he has been back in school, I've had to pick up the slack more often, but my oldest two are 13 and 11 and capable of doing some easy things when I'm tied up with the younger ones. Hopefully these babies will stay put until 39 weeks, and my husband will be done with two of his classes for the semester, with only two nights that I'll be in charge. My biggest concern is how I'm going to get everyone out the door on time to drop off and pick up kids from school. DH is taking 2 weeks off, and after that, I'm on my own. Yikes!
Mom to eight!! Our twin girls arrived 3-3-2011.
Things can be crazy and stressful, but that depends on many factors and I don't think it has to be crazy exactly.
I think it is really more that it is a time of transition and getting used to all the new things and the new reality of a baby. Breastfeeding is wonderful but also like a full time job at first - I had no idea how much time it would take - but I was able to enjoy that time and relax and not stress about it so now I look back on it as a time of bonding and relaxing (and of ordering food occasionally and not doing much laundry etc.).
I will stock up on some easy to make meals (sphagetti etc.). I made my own yummy and healthy fruit/nut type of mix last time and that was great for snacking. I would wake up at night starving and wanted something to eat and drink while nursing.
Take advantage of offers of help and don't be afraid to give specific jobs to people willing to do them (dishes, laundry, meals). Oh, and like someone already said, nap/sleep whenever you get the chance =)
Now, I just wish I knew what to expect and what to do Postpartum with a child at home already! I guess it is always a transition of some sort and I will try to take it easy, nap, keep easy meals handy and take help from my mom etc. when offered.
Thanks everyone for your reply's to this post! Really enjoying the positive stories and info :)
Life CAN be magical.We just have to create it that way.
I'm a first-time mom, but I'm married to a guy who cooks and cleans AND works mostly from home, so we're not doing too much to prepare for post-partum stuff. We live less than a block from a grocery store that carries a lot of organic food and also have a pharmacy and hardware store and anything else we might need within walking distance. I might make a lasagna and/or some soup in advance, and I'll stock up on some pantry/fridge ingredients but that's about it.
Like you, SaRaiMelting, I'm going to use a cloth diaper service for the first few months, and they pick up in the middle of the night (you just leave the dirties outside in the container they provide!). There's a laundromat less than a block away, too.
I don't want any family members coming to stay with us to "help" (and have sort of hinted that fact to my mother-in-law; my mom's job is too busy for her to come for more than a few days anyway), and people who visit to see the baby will have to sleep somewhere else.
We only have 4 rooms in our apartment, so it should be easy to keep up with the housework (and we both have medium standards of cleanliness, so I think it's do-able).
I have probably a skewed idea of getting ready now, because my first child...Okay, it was not what we all hope for. The first year of her life was basically hell for everyone. We took turns bouncing the baby and eating to the sounds of irate screaming, for example, and she never slept. Turns out she was gluten intolerant and it kept her in a chronic state of sleep deprivation. So for that sort of baby, there is no being prepared. I keep reassuring myself that at a minimum, this baby is likely to be easier than THAT, but of course there's a preschooler to keep track of and clean up after, too. So I focus on having the house as organized as possible--you know, a place for everything so that at least it's not some huge mental exercise to have everything in its place...especially when the baby gets mobile, my experience is that there is no such thing as babyproofing if the house isn't moderately clean. I'm going to try to make sure that my husband really knows where everything goes, because right now he doesn't, and he's really crippled when it comes to cleaning up. He's great about doing what needs to be done, but he was living/working elsewhere part-time for a lot of this year and things moved and he lost track, you know? I might even label cabinets and such, to help take advantage of whatever help is offered.
The BEST advice I got last time I was pregnant, bar none, was to stock the freezer with ready-made meals, and I want to do even more of that this time. The greatest ideas I've seen for helping a new mom have been things like providing freezer meals at showers instead of gifts, or churches or other circles of friends bringing meals to the new family, but the gluten thing makes that harder for us now, unfortunately.
Speaking of health, though, I wish I'd been better prepared to take care of myself last time immediately postpartum, because I was pretty wrecked. It was a natural homebirth and all, but pregnancy was pretty brutal on me (this time, too) and so was the birth, and I had to be helped around the house for over a week. Maybe liquid chlorophyll to help perk my red blood cells back up, some cod liver oil...just some high-impact, easily consumed foods to help me get back on my feet faster. Dang girl wanted nothing but to be held and walked with, and I could barely stay upright! So this time, I'll spend a little extra to hedge my bets health-wise.
I coulda stood to spend some extra time practicing diaper folds. We had prefolds, which I like, but maaaaaan, looking back at the pictures, there were some seriously sad diapering jobs there. This time I confess I splurged on some strictly unnecessary fitteds just becase newborns are REALLY SMALL and fiddly and floppy. :-P
Also, last time I was minimalist with the stuff we bought...okay, maybe a bit cheap...and this time I'm allowing myself to splurge on more things that I hope will help. For example, if we hadn't gotten a hand-me-down swing, we never would have known that Evelyn LOVED it...when we busted that thing out, suddenly the house got clean and dinner got cooked. But the bouncy seat we bought because everyone said they were great was a total bust--you just have to accept that it's hit-and-miss, I think, and try to find things used or hand-me-down if you can.
That's enough outta me.
We have a tiny dishwasher, a tiny apartment and a microscopic kitchen with a small freezer over our fridge. We will use paper plates. We bought a Wii for the little ones in case I don't feel like going out much the first couple weeks, and they've learned how to use it. I think the new baby will bring them each a game for it, since we don't have a lot of room for *stuff*.
I will freeze some gluten-free, dairy and soy free meals, since both of my children had MSPI pretty much from birth. We survived after the first one on bagels and froze Trader Joe's meals, and the few homemade meals I had frozen tasted really good!
I need to schedule some playdates here now, so hopefully the kids will have some reciprocal playdates then.
DH will probably take a week off. I was pretty overwhelmed both times before. I was just thinking I might look into a postpartum doula.
I like the idea of making a menu (and shopping lists) for the first month. I should do that! :)
Do you have a crockpot? When I found out I was pregnant this time I was like, I need a crockpot ASAP. It's definitely been helpful throughout the pregnancy, especially when it was hot and I didn't want to heat up the kitchen, and when I had morning sickness and didn't want to be hanging out over the stove. It's great because I can take 5 minutes either in the morning (and set it to Low) or the early afternoon (set it on High), just chop an onion, throw in beans or a bean mix for stews, maybe a potato or bell pepper, a buillon cube or two, and a sprig of herbs and then forget about it. I paid the extra $10 for the one that has a timer, when the time is up it goes straight to Keep Warm mode. Sooooo awesome. If you like stews it's really the best thing ever.
Good call on the diaper service, we did that with the first two and will definitely do it again.
Do you have a sling or some type of baby carrier yet? That was the only way I could get anything done for the first two months, until DD1 decided she would scream until I put her down on her back on a play mat. DD2 never liked being put down, so the sling was necessary a lot longer with her. My favorite was a New Native, but everyone seems to have different favorites so you may need to try a few. I also loved having a bouncy seat, even though we never turned on the music/ vibrations (never even put the batteries in), and didn't use it very much, it was sooo nice for when I needed to take a shower, go to the bathroom, etc. Just having something to easily move around the house for a safe place to put the baby down where I could see her was really, really helpful.
Have a nursing bra and whatever kind of menstrual pads you will use ready on hand.
Stock up on books and movies.
With any luck your postpartum period won't be too bad. I think it gets harder with subsequent children, provided your first doesn't have allergies or reflux and so on. You sound very prepared to take it easy and not worry about the house getting messy, I think that is often the hardest part for new parents, the "letting it go" attitude.
Mama to 3 awesome girls: DD1 born 2001, DD2 born 2002, DD3 born March 2011
IME, it is so crazy because it is such a change from life without kids! With my first I wasn't overwhelmed by tiredness as much as I was overwhelmed by how in love I was. All the basics got done... and if they didn't I didn't really notice.
This time (my second, 10 years after my first) it is a little different since I have a child, and a SN step child to care for. So I am more focused on getting everything organized and stocked... not because I don't think I could do it, but more because I don't think I'll want to. I remember loving the newborn stage with my DD and I want to soak it up again this time.
I am all for the sling, crock-pot, and other things people have suggested.