Life After Birth: Avoiding Stress by Planning Ahead

Life After Birth: Avoiding Stress by Planning Ahead

Those first few weeks after you bring your new baby home from the hospital are so wonderful, and definitely some of the best and sweetest moments of your life! I just love those special moments cuddling and getting to know each other! But as wonderful as these moments are, they can also be really hard. After all, it's a big adjustment to add another person to your family. Add a little sleep deprivation and hormonal changes, and sometimes the exhaustion and emotions can start to outweigh the love and happiness you're feeling.

So what can you do to prepare for those first few weeks with your newborn before he is born? Here are a few things that I've noticed can be very helpful:

Prepare freezer meals

When I was pregnant with our little boy, my friend and I spent two or three days planning, purchasing, and preparing a TON of freezer meals. At the end of those few days, our poor pregnant feet were so swollen and sore. But in those last few weeks of pregnancy when I was so exhausted and in those first few weeks post-birth when all I wanted to do was hold my little boy, I was so, so glad we had taken the time to make so many yummy, healthy meals. Not only was it nice to not have to spend the time to make dinner each day, but it was also really nice to have a lot of healthy meals to eat with minimal prep time. Because of the time we spent preparing months before our babies were born, we were able to spend more time with them after they were born without having to sacrifice our health or our budget by eating out. And now that my friend and I live thousands of miles apart, I'm so glad I have these memories of spending time and working together.

Organize and clean your house

A week before our son was born, my mom flew into town, and while we were waiting for him to arrive, she helped me finish organizing his nursery and also helped me complete a few other projects in our house. As a first-time mom, I was completely clueless about what I would need for a newborn, and I'm so glad my sweet mom was there to help me! It was also so nice to have her there in the days after his birth to help me stay on top of the household chores and give me plenty of time to snuggle and take care of my baby. I also think it was really helpful to have our house organized and clean before we went to the hospital, so I didn't have to spend as much time cleaning when we came home! I've never been one to pay for a cleaning service, until a few months ago. We suddenly decided to move and needed to have our house on the market in less than a week. Since my husband was also really busy at work at the time, he didn't have as much free time as we would have liked to help prepare our house to be listed, so we finally hired someone to come clean. And oh my goodness, this was one of the best decisions of our lives! While I'm not ready to pay for a regular cleaning service, I can definitely see how nice it could be to do so in the weeks leading up to your baby's birth or even in those months right after he's born!

Clear your calendar

Before our little boy was born, I worked full-time and had a job (and coworkers) I LOVED! So when I had a potential opportunity to continue doing some of the work I loved from home, I was so excited! It will be easy, I thought! I'll just work while the baby is napping! Newborns nap a lot! Thankfully, I had friends and co-workers who were a little wiser than I was. Friends who knew that there are a million and one other things that I would want and need to do during those precious naptimes. You know, things like shower. And eat. And sometimes catch up on the sleep I so desperately needed. I'm not saying it's not possible to work from home when you have babies. I know a ton of moms who work from home and I'm doing it now, but I'm glad I had friends who set realistic expectations and helped me realize that I would need some time to adjust to becoming a mom. That I needed to have some time where my to-do list and calendar were relatively empty, so I could allow myself to learn how to take care of my little boy. I'm so glad I had some to relax and enjoy a slower-paced life for those first few months after his birth.

Learn to accept help

This is definitely one of those things that is much easier said than done, and something I really struggle with. But I've also learned that sometimes, you just HAVE to accept help! And one of those times is right after you have a baby. Whether you accept help with taking care of your older kiddos (if this isn't your first baby), or allow someone to bring meals, or to just stop by to hold your baby for a few minutes so you can take a quick shower or a nap, it can make such a huge difference! I'm so grateful for all of the support we had from our family and friends when our little boy was born. But I'm especially grateful for the love and support we received from so many when our angel baby was born. Because I had an energetic two-year-old at the time and a fairly long and difficult recovery from her birth, I literally couldn't have survived those first few months without everyone who helped us.

These are a few of the things I've learned that can help reduce stress and help you to enjoy those first few weeks and months with your newborn! Even though you may not feel like you have extra energy during that last trimester of pregnancy, I think it's definitely worth it to do a few of these things before your baby is born, so you can spend more time focusing on what's most important...your new baby!

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