Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Most women prepare solely for labor and get anxious about giving birth. I cannot blame them… But should expecting mothers prepare for the day after? There is so much information and to be honest, you probably won’t remember a lot from it. Besides, every child is different so you may have different challenges and needs to address. With that said, I do think mothers should have a few things in mind as they prepare themselves for the most important job of their lives (no pressure, right?)
Here is my list of the 5 most important things you should prepare before giving birth:
1. Prepare all the essentials before the birth
Picking a stroller and a car seat takes time, make sure you start your market research early in your third trimester. Why? You’ll be tired and ready to give birth, you want to be able to try the stroller yourself - try to fold it and lift it, see if it fits in your car. The sooner the better. You don’t need to have a nursery all set up for the baby (!!) but you do want to prepare in advance with a crib, as well as someplace safe and convenient to change diapers. In addition, you probably want to have a few sets of clothes for the first few weeks. Just take into consideration that you’re probably going to get lots of gifts before and after the labor so don't over buy stuff for your baby! (plus, keep in mind that you don’t know exactly how big he/she will be and how fast they’ll outgrow their clothes)
2. Mental preparation.
This may be the most important thing ! As I mentioned in the beginning – most women prepare themselves solely for the labor part. You go to prenatal classes, reading how your body changes and how your fetus develop. But most of us (including myself) don’t fully understand what it means to become a new mom. With all the excitement of welcoming a new baby, we should vocalize the significant challenges in becoming a mother. First, the loneliness: shortly after birth, as the excitement wanes and people settle back into their routines, a lot of new mothers feel lonely when they find themselves alone with the baby while everyone else continues with their lives. It was a very hard period for me. I didn’t know any mother on maternity leave at that time and all of my friends and family worked. I struggled during the day, when leaving the house became a 3-hour mission.
It is important to be aware, remind yourself that with each day, things get better and better and you become more confident in yourself. I recommend surrounding yourself with other new moms - it really helps to know you’re not the only one facing the same challenges. Other moms can help you with their experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Yes, get help to clean the house, get help to prepare food, get help with the baby so you could rest a little bit or go get some fresh air.
3. A bag for the hospital
I’ll write a more detailed post on that but in general you want to make sure your bag is ready around week 36. I prepared two separate bags: one for stuff I needed for labor and another for staying at the hospital after the labor (that also included stuff for the newborn).
4. A good recommendation for a lactation consultant
This is so important for new mothers who plan to breastfeed. I remember reading about breastfeeding, and although it is supposed to be “natural”, it definitely wasn't natural for me the first time.
I recommend consulting with a lactation specialist at least once (in the hospital and after discharging). Wrong positioning or baby latching can create very early wounds that cause lots of pain and frustration. (I’ll write more about my breastfeeding experiences in a later post).
5. Prepare food and freeze it.
You’ll thank me for this one! I recommend preparing stuff that is easy to heat, healthy and most of all comforting! I made meat and cheese lasagnas and zucchini quiches. They saved me when I didn’t have time to make something (literally from the moment we got home with Jonathan). I was constantly hungry because I was breastfeeding but I also wanted to be mindful of what I was eating. I didn't want to eat junk food and I wanted to make sure I was nourishing my body all the nutrients so that my breast milk would be full and healthy for my baby.