From packing your hospital bag to researching Bugaboos (Buga who??), there’s so much advice out there about how to prepare for labour and becoming a mum. It can all get a little overwhelming. It seems like there’s just so much you need to remember to buy and plan, it can be easy to overlook the simple things.
So here’s the advice I wish someone had given me whilst I was taking bump selfies and shopping for cot mobiles…
1. Cook in bulk and freeze your meals
Getting home from the hospital with your newborn can be a big shock to the system. Not only is your body still recovering from the trauma of childbirth, you suddenly have a sleep thief who’s dependent on you for their every need. Cooking is going to be the last thing you’ll feel like doing. And your other half will be just as knackered (almost!)
When we brought our first-born home from the hospital, we were completely unprepared and lived on takeaways, beans on toast and frozen pizzas for the first few weeks. Second time around I made sure to bulk cook in the weeks leading up to the birth so that I could stockpile home cooked meals in the freezer. We so appreciated having that stock in the first week.
2. Do your pelvic floor exercises (religiously!)
Your midwife will tell you about the importance of doing your pelvic floor exercises at your antenatal appointments. I did take them relatively seriously during my first pregnancy and came out from the birth unscathed. Second time around I took for granted that my body would again be able to endure labour ‘no problem’ and to be honest, I dedicated very little time to any antenatal exercises. Let’s just say that four weeks in and my body still feels nothing like it did before…Don’t underestimate the importance of strengthening that pelvic floor to prepare for labour and pushing out a small human.
3. Inform yourself about labour
My midwife once said to me “You do all the work, we just get the privilege of being present”. It wasn’t until I found myself in the delivery suite that I realised how true that was. Both times I’ve been in labour I’ve found myself a little perplexed at how little guidance I’ve had. The first time, there wasn’t even a midwife in the room until baby was actually coming out. Second time I found myself asking, after four hours of pushing for dear life, “Is there nothing you can do?!”
I honestly think I would’ve felt more in control of the situation had I read up and informed myself about the three stages of labour beforehand. My first labour was so quick and I think I was expecting the second to be the same. It wasn’t, and I do think that I was pushing for far too hard for far too long – which was not only exhausting but it caused more damage than was necessary.
4. Enjoy time as a couple
I used to completely take for granted the luxury of getting to spend quality time with my hubby. From romantic fine dining to lazy Sunday lunches and casual trips to the cinema, it’s only now that I truly realise how precious those dates were. The best thing you can do to prepare for labour? Go and see all of those films you want to see, visit that restaurant you’ve always fancied and just enjoy each other’s company. Soon these moments will seem like a distant memory and you’ll marvel at how easy trips out were before kids! And if you want to fully milk it, go on a babymoon!
5. Organise your nursery
Even the most organised mamas struggle to get their shit together on certain days. No matter how good your intentions may be, some days it can be nigh on impossible to maintain a clean house/ put your face on/ get out of the door when you have a newborn to care for. So use the time you have now to get your home as organised as possible for your imminent arrival…
Invest in decent storage for your nursery, arrange all of your baby grows/vests etc by size order and make sure that you have your go-to toiletries (nappies, wet wipes, creams) to hand in one place. Carnage will soon ensue during those frantic night time wake-ups otherwise!
6. Applaud yourself
Congratulations! Your body has nurtured and grown your baby and you’re about to embark upon the crazy journey of parenthood. You’re probably feeling overwhelmed and a little apprehensive. You may be worrying that you haven’t got a clue what you should be doing. I for one could never imagine having a baby until she actually came…
Some days will be emotional and downright crappy. Others will be full of laughter and pride. Just know that your new baby will love and trust you wholeheartedly. Go easy on yourself, trust your instincts and know that you’ve got this!
Are you pregnant? How are you planning to prepare for labour and your new arrival? What other tips would you add?