Having a baby is such an exciting time but it can also be quite overwhelming. Nine months seems like an eternity when you’re only 8-weeks pregnant, but time flies! Before you know it, you’ll be 32 weeks and in panic mode double checking your to-do list to make sure everything is taken care of. Take a deep breath and relax. Call your doula for a pep talk and then make sure these 5 things are taken care of. The rest can wait. 😉
- The essentials. We all know babies need a few essentials; safe place to sleep, clothing, food. Chances are you’ve gotten these taken care of early on. Both a bassinet or pack-n-play make great options. Clothing is simple…you really only need a handful of sleepers and onesies in each size (newborn, 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 12+). And if you’re planning to breastfeed thats already taken care of. Formula feeding can be a bit more overwhelming because there are so many choices. Schedule a time to talk to you baby’s pediatrician to discuss options. Pick a few different bottles to see what works best for your baby rather than buying several of the same kind.
- Date. This one becomes overlooked so often. You’ve gotta schedule alone time with your spouse, partner, or BFF before baby comes–paint pottery, go to your favorite restaurant, hike your favorite trails, go to a concert (before toddler tunes become your music of choice). Whatever it is, use the time to focus on the relationships that are most important to you. We all need close relationships, and they become so important when we’re stressed or in need of comfort. Marriages, partnerships, friendships, etc. grow and flourish when they are nurtured and respected.
- Declutter. As a new parent, I was not prepared for the amount of STUFF a baby/toddler acquires over the months. Baby gear, burp rags, pacifiers, sippy cups, bath and hygiene items, socks (oh, the number of socks!). Declutter before baby arrives so you have plenty of room to stash all the STUFF. Large baskets make great storage options that blend into your pre-baby decor. Designate a spot for everything and try not to get behind on things. Once baby arrives, consider a postpartum doula or enlisting family for help staying on top of organizing and getting rid of baby clothes as they grow.
- Prepare for postpartum. Nothing in life can prepare us for the roller coaster ride that is parenting. Your first nights in the hospital may be exhausting and full of broken sleep as staff and visitors are in and out of your room at all hours. And babies are notorious for switching things up JUST when you think “finally! some sort of schedule and a bit of predictability!” Nope. Growth spurts. Teething. Sleep regression. They’ll get’cha every time. So what can you do? Gather your army! You’re not in this alone. A postpartum doula can be exactly what you need when you’re feeling stressed, doubtful, tired, or overwhelmed. Search for in-person support groups, Facebook groups, and stay connected with those relationships we mentioned in #2. You’ll need them.
- Know your rights. If you’re working outside of the home decide how much time off you want to take, and what returning to work is going to look like for you and your family. Check with your company to see what their policy is on maternity leave, returning to work, etc. Also, if you’re planning to breastfeed make sure they have space available to you for pumping. Look up the laws regarding breastfeeding in the workplace, and in other areas you’ll be frequenting. Also check with your partner/spouse about family leave or paternity leave. And lastly, don’t overcommit. If you’re on maternity leave, you’re on maternity leave. You deserve time off to have a baby!