In the early days, when it feels like all you're doing is feeding, changing, and soothing (among other baby-related tasks). keep in mind that you and your baby are both learning. You're also not only healing from birth, but you're producing nourishing milk, and your hormones are shifting as you settle into your non-pregnant, lactating body. Throw on top of that lack of continuous sleep and it's no wonder the first few days (weeks, months) are all a blur.
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to those with whom you live. Everyone is learning. Everyone is adjusting.
I like to encourage you to create a comfortable, peaceful environment as you approach your due date so that once your baby is born, you will find your space to be conducive to healing, growing and learning. You don't want to put it off for once your baby is here, as you may not feel like tending to those details.
You may want to:
- set aside clean bedding that someone can put on your bed for once your baby is born. Settling into a comfortable, clean bed can feel so nice.
- invest in body washes or soaps that you will want to use if you bring your baby in the bath with you; something without dyes or perfumes may be better for baby's sensitive skin.
- buy snacks and drinks that are yummy, healthy, and nourishing; you will want to have plenty of food and drinks on hand so that you aren't searching for something to eat when you're hungry. Some women say their appetite ramps up while they're breastfeeding, so be prepared that you may find yourself eating more than you were expecting.
- prepare a comfortable place in your home where you can sit, nurse your baby and rest; I enjoyed setting up a station on the couch with a baby seat nearby where I could lay my sleeping baby. I kept my phone, charger and plenty of snacks and a water bottle nearby. Don't forget to turn your ringer off when you're resting!
- decide where and how you're going to document your baby's first few days (weeks, months); keeping a journal nearby where you can jot down a few sentences or keep a calendar nearby where you can jot down milestones or something you want to remember from the day. Once a month, I like adding my favorite pictures directly into a photo book online where I add text to document the month's happenings; at the end of the year I order it and we have all our favorite pictures in one place.
- keep non-essential baby gear out of the way; while you may have lots of baby gear and toys for your baby to use in the future, it may feel cluttered to have it all sitting around for months at a time before your baby is big enough to use it. The same goes for clothing and shoes that are too large.
- make a plan at the beginning of the day (or week) for how you're going to meet your various needs: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Taking care of your whole self can help you function, particularly when you're feeling sleep-deprived and overwhelmed.
There's no one right way to plan for your postpartum and your baby's early months, but it usually helps to do some prep work before he is born. Only you know what you may need and what brings you comfort and reassurance.