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Preparing for the Postnatal Period

There is a lot of focus during pregnancy on “Birth Preparation” and “Birth Plans” and getting ready for the day your baby arrives. We spend a lot of time preparing equipment and buying things for baby but what we don’t often plan for is the days and weeks that follow the baby’s birth.

Here are my top 10 tips on planning for the postnatal period:

1) Plan your support

Having a support network during the first few weeks is essential. It will help you rest, recover and gain confidence in your new role as a parent. Plan who you will have around you at that time. If you have a supportive partner or family member – use them! They can be chief nappy changer or take the baby for a walk whilst you get some rest. Look into professional support options in your area in case you need extra help with breastfeeding or emotional support.

2) Practice with the baby equipment

Unwrapping a brand new car seat just before the baby needs to go in it, or trawling through a breast pump manual on the first night home is tricky! Get everything set up and ready to use before the birth.

3) Do a “big shop” and fill your food cupboards

New mums get super hungry especially when breastfeeding. Get your cupboards filled with lots of healthy snacks and your freezer filled with quick but nutritional meals. Batch cooking prior to the birth if you have time!

4) Prepare for night feeds

Baby’s feed a lot at night. Get your nighttime area ready. Have the nappy changing station stocked up. Invest in a dimmable night light. Take a flask of decaf or herbal tea or warm milk to sip and a snack for during the night feeds.

5) Manage your visitors

Although well-meaning, having visitors in the early days can be stressful when you’re tired and trying to connect with your newborn. Genuine offers of help, bringing meals etc. are of course welcome but It’s perfectly ok to say NO to people if you’re feeling crowded.

6) Make some Mum friends

They won’t have all the answers, but they’ll make you feel a lot better because they are going through the same struggles as you are. Look into baby groups in your area. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea but they are a great way to structure your week, meet new mums and have fun with your baby.

7) Keep a record

Keeping notes and photos in a baby book is a great way to remember how small your little one was. Take a photo of your baby being weighed after its born (and the weight!) It helps to have a record of it just in case there are any discrepancies. Remember to keep the hospital ID bracelets and Cot cards as a memory and write down your thoughts as your baby does new things. You won’t remember in a years time!

8) Do not expect to be in a routine

A lot of new parents get stressed about getting baby into a routine as soon as possible. The reality is in the first few month’s babies don’t follow routines. Go with the flow and give yourself and your baby time and things will slot into place.

9) Ignore ‘the advice’

You will be bombarded with a lot of ‘advice’ from all sorts of well-meaning people. Some of it will be nonsense! Find a phrase and a calm face that you can offer when people dole out this advice as they do mean well. Remember that this is your baby, and you make the decisions. Useful and reliable sources of advice can be sourced from your Midwife, Health Visitor or GP. Be cautious when searching the internet as Google can sometimes create more worries.

10) There is no such thing as a stupid question

If something is worrying you then ask, however small it may seem. Trust your instinct. Write things down. Keep a list of questions for the Midwife or Health Visitor so you don’t forget to ask anything when they visit.

Babies are wonderful, but it’s also tough to adjust. You won’t always be feeding. You will sleep more. Everything will settle and get easier. Relax and let the early weeks unfold. You’ll be amazing!

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