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While preparing to bring your little one home, there are a few very common things everyone remembers to get done. These things include planning a baby shower, buying a car seat, creating a baby registry and getting a space ready for your baby to come home to.
There are a few things that I don’t think many other to do lists include that I believe you should do before giving birth.
Whether you’re taking on this parenthood journey alone or with a partner, the first few weeks after you bring your baby home may be mentally and physically taxing. Here is my checklist before giving birth that I believe can be extremely helpful.
1. Meal prep
I did not do this with my first pregnancy and looking back I wish I had. Sleepless nights, around the clock nursing and endless pump and bottle part cleanings can leave us with little to no time to nourish ourselves.
Hopefully your family and friends bring you a nice home cooked meals after birth. If not, there are a few other ways to make sure you have easy to prepare meals before giving birth.
- Crockpot freezer meals
This is a fantastic quick way to stash some fully prepared meals away for future use. You put all of your ingredients in a freezer sized bag with cooking instructions labeled on the front. I followed a few Pinterest recipes for meals that include
- Teriyaki chicken and vegetables
- Cilantro lime chicken and vegetables
- White chicken chili
- Pulled chicken and pork
You can prepare these meals before giving birth and freeze them for up to 3 months. When they’re ready to be cooked you can either thaw them for 24 hours before cooking or throw them right into the crockpot.
- Frozen cooked meals
I’ve seen people cook large batches of soups, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and even homemade pot pies to freeze and easily reheat. This may seem like a daunting task but your future self will thank you. One great idea that I’ve found is freezing premade breakfast sandwiches. Breakfast is probably one of the harder meals to eat, especially if you’re not receiving any outside help. It’s also relatively easy and cheap.
My family has this breakfast sandwich maker that allows us to cook two sandwiches in less than 5 minutes. All you have to do is let them cool and throw them in the freezer to reheat later.
- Big box store precooked meals
Don’t want to do the cooking? Your local Costco or Sam’s Club has you covered. They have a variety of large batches of precooked meals for purchase at a great price. From my experience you can throw these right in the freezer and they’re still great to eat a few weeks later.
2. Clean your home
Yes, this includes the junk drawer that you throw items in just in case you could possibly use them in a few years. Purge everything. Once you have children they tend to take up every extra bit of space that you thought you had. It also becomes nearly impossible to keep up on cleaning and tending to a newborn. (Again, showering is a luxury in this house)
So before giving birth you’ll want to make sure you get rid of things you do not need, vacuum, dust, mop the floors, wash the curtains. It is a lot of work, especially in late pregnancy when you’re struggling to get up out of bed, so try to aim to get one room in the house done each week starting around 34 weeks.
3. Clean your car
Another daunting task. I can’t tell you how much better you’ll feel afterwards. Pitch the Starbucks cups and organize your center console. Vacuum everything and wipe down the dashboard. Heck, if you don’t want to do it check Groupon, they may have some savings on a local shop to drop it off for a detail. It’ll be rewarding to put a brand new car seat into a clean car.
4. Put together a bedside caddy
I could not have lived through the first few weeks of being home with my babies without having the leisure of having absolutely everything I could possibly need right next to my baby’s bassinet for late night wakings. It becomes a routine:
- Baby wakes
- Change baby
- Nurse or bottle feed baby
- May have to change baby again
- Put baby back to sleep
All night long for weeks to months. I choose to have my babies in my room with me for quick access (and so there is no chance I could sleep through their cries)
This diaper caddy by Munchkin has pockets to fit everything you may need during a late feeding.
Although I chose to have an entire rolling cart in my room with me along with a diaper caddy.
I stored a bunch of things on it so that there was absolutely no reason for me to leave my room in the first few weeks. These items included
- Changing pad
- Burp Cloths
- Extra baby onesies and sleepers (find my favorite quick change sleepers HERE)
- Nipple Butter
5. Care for yourself
I think it is extremely important that mothers have fun things to do before giving birth. You deserve it! My favorite forms of self care include scheduling a prenatal appointment, getting a mani-pedi or even a facial. I always made it a goal to do 1 nice thing for myself each month. 9 full months of pregnancy can feel never ending, especially if it is your first pregnancy. It’s pretty nice to have things to look forward to before giving birth.
6. Meditate before giving birth
I was able to get through labor with my second born at home without any pain. I didn’t even know that I was dilated to a 10 until I felt the urge to push. The only time during that process you heard me wince was during transition. I truly believe that a clear headspace and meditation played a big part in my labor process. Before giving birth, I had a gentle birth hypnosis app downloaded to my phone and played their podcasts whenever I was in the car.
Birth can be empowering, but an empowered birth can be life changing. Whether you’re having your baby at home, at a birthing center or in the hospital, everyone can benefit from birth meditation and finding your peace with the process of birth.
7. Hire a Doula
This one might not be for everyone, but if you want a little extra love and support before, during and after your birth a Doula would be a perfect addition to your birth team. Before giving birth, Birth Doulas will provide emotional support and information when it comes to the stages of your pregnancy. While in labor they will facilitate communications between you and your birth team.
Often times they will assist women during labor with things like massage, touch and breathing to reduce anxiety and stress during labor. They can also assist in postpartum care with household chores, preparing meals and caring for baby when you need a break. There are studies to show that having a birth Doula can greatly improve a mother’s birth experience.
8. Find a birth photographer
Some of my most favorite pictures of my kids are their newborn photos. Some photographers will come directly to the hospital post-birth, or come to your home. I recommend this over taking your newborn anywhere for photos as having your baby in your own home for pictures can reduce stress and anxiety for you.
9. Pack your hospital bag
I think this may be fairly obvious, but the general suggestion with packing a hospital bag is that you have everything packed by 34 weeks pregnant. If you’re struggling with what to pack, I have your back! I wrote out everything you’ll need to pack before giving birth.
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