Those first few weeks and months (years?) can feel overwhelming for a parent. The more systems and hacks you can set up for yourself before baby arrives, the better. Here are 5 of our top tips for new moms.
Try to make and freeze as much food as you can ahead of time. A good time to do this is the month leading up to your due date. If you are strapped for time during the weekdays, you can make double batches of your weekend dinners; for example, making a big pot of soup, chili, or two casseroles dishes. And don’t forget breakfast - you can make ahead pancakes, breads and all kinds of muffins.
If you are on bedrest or not able to make that much food ahead of time, consider signing up for a meal delivery service or setting up a meal train for the first several weeks after baby arrives.
HOT TIP: Keep in mind, food will keep for over 3 months in the freezer and 6+ months in a deep freezer. Freeze food in small, easy to defrost portions; to save money, you can reuse plastic take-out containers. Sauces and stocks can be frozen in ice cube trays.
Keep little stashes of diapering essentials: diapers, wipes, cream and a change of baby’s clothes along with a diaper changing pad or towel in every major room in the house for quick and easy diaper changes. You can store these bundles in diaper caddies, baskets or even plastic bins. I recommend a set in the baby’s room and the living room.
HOT TIP: Keep an extra set of diapers and wipes + a change of clothes for baby AND you in a sealed bag and store it in the trunk of your car. This has saved me - from anything from spit-ups to diaper explosions - more times than you can imagine. Make sure to include a few plastic bags for easy disposal and a wet bag for soiled clothes or cloth diapers.
Pre-prep Padciscles 2-3 weeks before your due date. What is a padsicle? A frozen pad soaked with witch hazel (a natural astringent that eases inflammation and soothes skin). After a vaginal delivery, most women will have a lot of bleeding, swelling and pain in their lady parts. Padsicles are a simple DIY hack to ease pain and discomfort.
How do you make them?
- Use the largest, most industrial strength pads you can possibly find. If you can get your hands on medical grade postpartum pads - those are best.
- Generously douse each pad with witch hazel (we recommend at least 2 tablespoons).
- Place pads in the freezer and keep frozen until needed.
- When needed after delivery, place frozen pad in your underwear.
HOT TIP: Store multiple prepped pads flat in a large plastic container or place 3-4 prepped pads flat in large gallon-sized sealable bags.
SET THE MOOD
Baby’s eyes will be sensitive to bright lights and after multiple night feedings, you may be bleary-eyed as well. Try hanging xmas/fairy lights in your or baby’s bedroom so you can see during night feedings and diaper changes without turning on the overhead lights or lamp, which still may be too bright. Some mamas recommend night lights, but I felt night lights weren’t strong enough and their light was concentrated in the corner of the room in which the nightlight was plugged in.
Babies are used to a lot of noise in the womb, and many babies are soothed by white noise. They can help ease baby into sleep and cancel out loud, abrupt noises that may interrupt their naps. It’s recommended to keep the machine at least 7 feet away from baby. Also, there is a chance that baby gets used to the sound machine and then has trouble falling asleep when its quiet. However, I used sound machines from infancy through toddlerhood without a problem, and it was especially helpful while travelling.
HOT TIP: The Marpac DOHM Classic White Noise machine has been around since 1962 and is used by many medical and therapeutic professional and is considered by many as the best sound machine on the market but there are also many white noise app that you can easily download on your phone.
Some babies feel most relaxed when wrapped up in a tight swaddle; they are used to being held tightly in the small space of the womb. However, the perfect swaddle wrap can be an art onto itself. Some parents can’t quite get the hang of the tuck and, if not wrapped just the right way, some babies can wiggle out.
A good alternative is a sleep sack with a wrap option like the Halo Sleep Sack. This is an easy way to both keep baby warm and wrapped up at night.
HOT TIP: There are both lightweight and heavier weight options for the sleep sack. Remember to not use blankets in the crib or bed with baby as they are suffocation hazards. Sleep sacks are a good alternative to help keep baby warm, especially during the colder months.