Monday, November 4, 2019

Practical Ways to Prepare for Baby

I recently shared a post about how I am preparing for maternity leave in Canada. As I wrote that post, I realized there were a lot of other practical ways that I am preparing for Baby #2 that I thought I should share. A few things that I am doing to prepare for when baby arrives are preparing myself mentally for a different schedule, making some very loose plans for activities or events, making plans for meals/food, stocking up basic supplies, and making a list of people I can reach out to for help.

A Different Schedule
It is a big shift to go from working full-time, Monday to Friday, to being home all day every day. While my introverted self loves it, I actually need to be prepared to push myself into a little bit more of a schedule. I can easily fall into laziness (especially with the excuse of a new baby), and I do not want to do that. Thankfully Isabelle is pretty structured, so I know I’ll need to be at least a little bit more scheduled for her, but I also do not want to rely on her to keep me in check! I have a rough idea of the kind of schedule I want to aim for, based on my experience with Isabelle, but I know it might be extremely different with this baby, and I am prepared to show myself grace and allow for changes. This, of course, is only after I have taken time to rest and heal during the Fourth Trimester.

Planning Activities
Just like my plan for my schedule, I have a loose plan for activities and events that I want to get to with the kids. Things like mom groups, mommy and baby exercise classes, recurring playdates (maybe even hosting a regular group one??), and mid-week visits to both sets of grandparents are on my list and slotted into my mental calendar. I want to take advantage of this amazing time at home, and for that I need a plan (even if it changes).

In terms of food, I find I am not the best for preparing freezer meals. Lisa from the blog Farmhouse on Boone recently did a different kind of freezer cooking prep that I think I might try to emulate. Instead of preparing full-on meals, she cooked up meal components that her family enjoys and that can be mixed and matched to make meals. So, although it might not be quite as easy as pulling out of the freezer and putting into the oven, it cuts the prep time considerably.

I also recently started a Meal Train program at my church that I fully intend on signing up as a recipient for.

Household Supplies
Before my last maternity leave, I watched all the YouTube videos, read all the blogs, and found all the pins on Pinterest about how to prepare for baby. Some of my favourite tips had nothing to do with the baby at all; they were about the function of your house and your family. The top tip was to stock up on household things such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaners, dish soap, etc. I am all for this, because it makes me feel accomplished and it is something I can organize in the nesting phase if I run out of baby clothes to fold.

Now, yes, my husband is fully capable of picking up toilet paper and buying laundry detergent. However, I would prefer he not waste his time doing things that I can easily do ahead of time anyway. He wants to be with baby, too! Moreover, if he needs some alone time out of the house, I think he would rather see a friend than run to Walmart. Also, with the hormones that come after giving birth, I don’t want to deal with the potential sob fest I might experience if the “wrong” kind of laundry detergent was picked up (yeah, that’s a thing that can happen, as ridiculous as it may sound).

Support System
Finally, and honestly most importantly, I am making a list of people that I can reach out to for help. I mean an actual list. It is important to at least think about who you can go to for help, because when you are in the thick of it, you might come up blank. I am taking it a step further and writing it down so that it is available for me in those inevitable moments when I just cannot think, and so that my husband can step in and ask for that help when I do not feel I can ask for it. The postpartum period is so beautiful, but it is also so, so difficult. It is important to have a support system in place and to ask for help when we need it. Even though my parents and my in-laws do not live in Saskatoon, I have a large support system, and my mom and mother-in-law are still only a phone call away.

This list should include anyone and everyone who has offered you help in some way. The list can include how they can help if they were specific or just their name if they are a general helper. You should also include community help associations and medical organizations that can be helpful, such as a lactation consultant, your health region’s contact for postpartum support, your doctor, the health line, etc.

AND USE THIS LIST! You can and should ask for help if you need it. Your loved ones want to help.

If you are in Saskatoon, here are some organizations or contacts I am adding to my list.

If you are pregnant or have had a child, what did you do to prepare for when the baby arrived?

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