08 Feb 5 lists to make before baby arrives
Preparing for a new baby
Ah, lists! Pregnancy is full of them isn’t it? Lists of all the baby stuff you ‘need’, lists of what goes in your bag for the birth, lists of the things you shouldn’t eat, your list of all the things that need doing before the baby arrives. But what about afterwards? Have you made any lists to plan for the early weeks with your new baby? Here are some MORE lists to consider making!
Everyone is going to ask what they can get you for the baby. Perhaps THE most valuable thing they can give you is their time and support. Looking after a new baby is hard work, and having someone nearby who can hold the baby while you nap or shower, knows how to operate a washing machine or is a whiz at washing up can make things feel much more manageable. People really do want to help. Think about the people in your life that could offer you non-judgemental support and talk to them about how they can assist you when the baby comes. Make a list of who can help and which days you could call on them. If you are without local family, or don’t have anyone you’re comfortable having around in the early days, you could also consider a postnatal doula.
Having a baby can leave you feeling clueless. They famously come without a manual, but all babies and families are different, so a manual wouldn’t be very helpful anyway. However, there are lots of people out there who can help you when you get stuck. Many of them right here on the Luna Hive! Research your local area to find out who can offer support for breastfeeding, babywearing, your postnatal recovery: anything you come across that could be helpful in those early days. If there are support groups locally, they will be delighted to see you while you’re still pregnant to help you prepare, or even just so that you know how to get there and that there will be friendly faces.
When baby arrives, your own needs as parents slip to the bottom of the pile somewhat. That’s normal, but you do need to look after yourselves (see list 4 also!) and food should be a big priority. There will be days where you don’t have the energy or brainpower to even think up something to eat. A list of really simple meals means you can browse through and find something that can feed you quickly. These could be basics like beans on toast or pasta and sauce, freezer meals made ahead (or by family!), or shop-bought healthy ready meals or noodle pots. Food shopping can also become a burden it is hard to fit in. Even if you don’t currently shop that way, sign up with an online supermarket now. Populate your favourites or shopping trolley with basics so that you can check your shopping through in a few clicks.
Support from those around you is invaluable, but constant support will rarely be possible! There will be days when things are really hard, you are on your own with baby and need some extra care for yourself too. Aside from the simple things like napping with the baby and eating one of those super-simple meals, what will make you feel looked after? A little list could include things like a special tea, a delicious smelling handwash, your favourite mug, a walk, or a box-set you’ve been looking forward to. You can whip it out on the low days and give yourself some kindness. And they’ll all be good ideas for the ‘new baby gifts’ people want to buy too!
Early outings with a newborn can be a bit nerve-wracking, but it’s so important for your mental and physical health to get out sometimes. Have a think about your local area and jot down some ideas. This is a great excuse to research your local coffee shops- which have space for buggies and a decent changing area? What short walks can you do near you that a buggy will cope with? Are there any baby groups running locally? Thinking about these sorts of things ahead makes them all seem a friendlier prospect when the time comes.
Charlotte is a postnatal doula in Surrey and a sling consultant and mum of two based in Redhill. Visit her directory page below to book in a session with her.