Credit: Lem and June
As people prepare for the arrival of their baby, they can spend a lot of time and money in things such as active birthing classes, hypnobirthing and equipment such as baby monitors, bouncers etc. What can often get overlooked is what life might be like immediately after your baby has been born. Those days and weeks are like nothing else you have experienced, and a few simple measures listed below can help smooth your transition into parenthood. If you’ve got a friend who is about to give birth, these tips can also help you decide how best to support them.
1. Buy a thermal travel mug
When I was expecting my first baby, my bestest friend brought me a thermal travel mug and it became one of the most useful things for me to have! Not only did it keep my cups of tea warm, the lid meant I could prevent any spillages whilst trying to grab a cuppa during a feed. When my husband went to work he could make a cup of tea and leave it on my bedside table (with a couple of energy-boosting snacks like dates/biscuits/nuts) knowing that it would stay warm for quite a while. If you like tea and coffee, I would splash out and buy a mug for each one…unless you like your tea tasting like coffee *grimace*.
2. Fill your freezer or get food deliveries
In those hazy days of newborn life, it can be so easy to forget to nourish ourselves or grab the nearest convenience snack. Taking time before baby arrives to batch cook some deliciously nutritious meals to have on hand in the freezer is so worthwhile. Meal ideas like curry, bolognaise, stew, soup can ensure you’re eating your fair share of vegetables, grains and pulses to give you energy and help you heal.
If cooking isn’t your thing, you can get meals delivered to your door. The Food Doula or Cook deliver frozen meals nationwide. You could ask for vouchers if you’re having a mother blessing or baby shower.
3. Get a wrap or sling to wear your baby
Credit: Lem and June
Babywearing is a great way to get that closeness with your baby, whilst freeing up the use of your hands! I used a stretchy wrap with all of my babies and with the babies I care for as a Doula. If you’re not sure what wrap to get, there are sling libraries all over the UK which can help you decide on the right wrap or sling for you and can lend them out too if you don’t want to buy one.
4. Take a sitz bath
This is such a simple yet effective way of looking after your perineal area. Run a bath to mid-thigh height and gently lower yourself down. You can add some cold camomile tea to your water, but avoid using Epsom salts if you have any stitches. You can stay in as long as you want. I used to take a quick dip every morning just to freshen up before getting back into bed!
5. Hire a Postnatal Doula
Last, but definitely not least – hire a Postnatal Doula! You knew that I had to include this in my top 5! I honestly believe in the value of gifting yourself the best start to parenthood by hiring a Postnatal Doula to come and support you in the early days and weeks. What a Doula does varies from person to person, but generally a Doula will listen to you, cook, clean, look after you and the baby, act as a supportive presence and energy. Doulas walk alongside their clients rather than taking over. You can search for a Postnatal Doula on the Doula UK website.
All of these tips come from my own experience of what I’ve found useful. If you’ve already welcomed a baby into the world, what would be your top tips to share with expectant parents? Have you hired a Postnatal Doula? I’d love to hear your thoughts!