by Della H. Harris
When the urge to clean, arrange and organize strikes, harness it to make those first few weeks with your new baby easier. With a little planning, you can be chore-free leaving you time to get acquainted with your newest family member.
Even though you didn't know exactly what to expect, you probably wrote a birth plan. You signed up for a birthing classes and put together your dream list registry. You may not be sure of what will make your first days and weeks run more smoothly, either.
Creating a postpartum plan will make your life simpler as soon you walk through the door with your tiny bundle.
Your Postpartum Plan
Is it possible to shop, cook and organize everything ahead of time? Certainly! Read through these nesting ideas and see if one or more can help you get ready for the immediate postpartum period.
Who's Going to Help
Most women have a few options when it comes to getting help. Perhaps your mom has her heart set on babying you and meeting her grandchild. Your husband's company might offer paternity leave. Your best friend raves about her postpartum doula. It will always be up to you to make that final decision.
Take Advantage of the Nesting Instinct
You can channel your primal nesting instinct and increased energy into creating a comfortable "nest" for you and babe.
Choose a spot. Equip it with all the gear you'll need to make it through a day. The baby's clothing and diapers might belong upstairs in the bedroom. However, in the first few weeks, we suggest keeping a stash of diapers downstairs if you're in a multi-story dwelling; it will save trips up and down the stairs.
Create a spot for your books, favorite pillow, water bottle and maybe even a cooler if you'll be on your own. It can hold your snacks for the day.
You'll want to have a "phone number list" handy. It should include emergency numbers and if you're nursing, your lactation consultant's contact information. Our experienced moms suggest you add the name of a couple good friends with kids. They'll be happy to field any questions that you might be embarrassed to ask your pediatrician.
Cooking Up a Storm
Cooking lets you put that "excess" energy to good use. Make a double batch of your meals and freeze them. Label each package with what's in it, how to prepare it and good sides recommendations. The excitement of a new baby combined with lack of sleep gives some new moms a case of baby brain. You'll be grateful later for what seems nonsense now.
Do your friends and family want to help out with meals? Set up a
"food tree" for your family or take up a friend's offer to arrange meals. We suggest asking a few people to make a couple of meals and drop them off once a day. They should include enough for two adults and your children. Remember dietary restrictions along with likes and dislikes, and mention some of your favorite takeout places in case people simply want to bring a prepared meal.
Babies and Moms Sleep
Safe sleeping methods are for all babies, especially newborns. Now that you're armed with the facts, you can enjoy creating the perfect nook or nursery for your wee one.
To keep baby close, try a co-sleeper or you can move the crib right next to your bed. You can have the nursery be "home base" for your baby gear. Your baby will enjoy all the work and attention you've given the space.
Stepping Out and Sharing
Some moms welcome visitors right away; others would rather spend the first weeks bonding privately with their new addition. Either way, your friends and family will still be waiting for updates and pictures.
On those days when you're anxious to accomplish anything, but not quite up to tackling the closet or refrigerator, set up a way to share your baby announcement and newborn pictures. You might choose a blog, email or make a page on a social media site.
If you already have kids at home, what suggestions do you have for other nesting moms? Shout them out!