There’s a lot to think about when you are expecting. Between the baby registry and preparing for labor, it’s hard to even think about actually keeping your newborn baby alive. It almost seems like it can’t be real until your little one is here and when she’s here, your mind will be a little foggy.
As much preparation you have done and classes you have taken, getting the right amount of burp cloths and finding the right stroller will be the furthest things from your mind the first two weeks living with your newborn baby. You’ll be struggling with lack of sleep and not really feeling like yourself as you continue to recover from delivery.
I just had my second child and I tried my best to prepare for those first two crazy weeks as much as I could. I thought I was prepared but, there are so many things I still forgot. In case you are having a baby soon (or in case I have another someday), this list will help us both out! 🙂
How To Prepare For Your First 2 Weeks With a Newborn Baby
1. Schedule a Newborn Baby Photo Shoot.
You might think it’s expensive or struggle with finding the time to invite a photographer into your life during that first week of your newborn’s life, but, you’ll be so happy that you have the photos to look back on someday. There’s nothing like professional photos and the right photographer can have your baby looking absolutely adorable. You’ll cherish those pictures forever, trust me! The truth is your newborn will grow so fast! I know everyone says that but my daughter is almost a month old and is so much bigger and different than that 5 day old photo. It’s a snapshot in time for your family and very worth it. Establish a relationship with a photographer before you have the baby.
My photographer, Megan Ann Photography, checked in on me leading up to my delivery so she had a rough estimate in her calendar of when the photos would be taken. She also took my maternity photos for me when I was 7 months pregnant.
2. Set a Date For a Blowout and Manicure Before the Photo Shoot.
Why? Because you deserve it mama! Your back will be sore from trying to nurse and there’s no way that you’ll have time to actually do your hair with a baby wanting to be held and fed 24/7. Self-care is something that I did not make a priority with my first daughter and this time I’m making myself #1 so I don’t burn out like I did last time. Like I said above, the photos you’ll take are ones that you and your child will treasure FOREVER. You want to feel your best during the shoot. Besides, the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby will be. Happy mama….Happy baby!
3. Set Up Your Nursing Nook.
You need your space! With my first daughter, we lived in a small apartment and I didn’t have my own space. I set up my nursing station in the living room or at the dining room table. Whenever we had visitors, I felt like I had to quickly clean up and make things look normal and hide the bras, boppy and breast pads as quickly as possible!
This time around, we moved our old couch up to our bedroom. I grabbed a $10 coffee table from Ikea and some bins to organize all of the items that I would need while nursing and pumping. My nook is now where I keep my pump, snacks, journal, vitamins, books and magazines. I also keep important documentation here as well so I can make calls and keep all the administrative stuff together.
4. Find a GOOD Lactation Consultant.
This is one thing I was not prepared for. I read about breastfeeding and did as much research as I could to prepare to feed my first child, but I wish I had reached out sooner to get the help of a good lactation consultant. Even though my nipples were bleeding and burning after my first daughter was born, the lactation consultants and pediatricians in the hospital didn’t realize that she wasn’t transferring ANY milk. It looked like she had a great latch and she could nurse for hours. But, little did I know she was not sucking strong enough to get anything because she had a tongue tie.
This led to a crisis when we had our first pediatrician appointment 2 days after leaving the hospital. The pediatrician realized my daughter was drastically underweight and blamed her issue on my milk supply. He also said that he was going to have to re-admit her to the hospital if we didn’t get her on formula ASAP.
A good lactation consultant would have diagnosed the problem of my daughter’s tongue tie immediately so it would not have turned into an ongoing crisis for the first 4 months of her life and led to milk supply issues for me.
I also recommend grabbing this book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, to prepare yourself for what’s to come. The book is a great guide to have in addition to knowing a good lactation consultant that you can call crying your eyes out to. I found one that came to my house with her scale and she was such an answer to prayer! Lactation Consultants are cheerleaders who can give you the support you need during this difficult time.
5. Stock Up on Loose Shirts You Will Feel Good In.
Newsflash! You will not fit in your regular clothes after birth and your maternity clothes will be too big. This will lead to some major struggles in your closet so just be prepared! Invest in some shirts that are loose and not snug before baby comes.
6. Put Together Your Pump!
Before baby comes, put together that pump! When I had my first daughter I wanted to exclusively breastfeed so putting together my pump was the last thing on my mind. As you can imagine, I was in tears trying to read directions to put my pump together when my daughter was just 5 days old and my husband was feeding her formula in the next room. What I realized is that pumping isn’t a bad thing for breastfeeding. It can help your milk come in and it will help you produce more milk for your little one. Especially if you are planning to go back to work, having a freezer stash of milk will help eliminate stress when it comes time to leave for a few hours.
This time around for my second daughter, I started pumping on day 1 in the hospital since I knew my second daughter had all the same signs on day 1. I have had no milk supply issues because I was proactive and made sure that my breasts were empty even if my daughter wasn’t able to transfer milk.
Also, get a pumping bra so you can be hands free. I’m writing this blog post while I pump right now! This is the pumping bra I use. I now have two pumps and two pumping bras so I can have one in my nursing nook and one in the car to travel around town with. Note: I am exclusively pumping at the moment since my daughter is still recovering from her tongue tie surgery. Having two pumps is probably overboard if your little one nurses effectively. Just keep an eye out for any issues in the first 2 weeks so you don’t have milk supply issues long-term.
This is one of the pumps I use. The other pump I rent from the hospital because it is hospital-grade pump.
7. Stock Up On Supplies.
It’s hard to get to the store in those first two weeks so make sure you have all the personal supplies you need. Grab the lanolin, breast pads, maxi pads, Tylenol, ibuprofen, wipes, diapers and nursing shirts and have them handy in your nursing nook. Also, make sure you grab some library books to read during those first two weeks. You may not have the time to read but you may actually appreciate having some downtime to actually read. In the last few weeks before baby, I was so busy so I enjoyed sitting on the couch and not being able to do much but read, nurse and sleep in those first two weeks.
8. Stock Up On Food.
Stock up on food in your pantry and freezer that you can quickly grab and eat. I went to Costco before baby came and tried to get as much healthy food snacks as I could to have on hand. Also, create a weekly grocery list with the basics you can give to someone else with healthy food options that they can grab for you. My list had berries, veggies, cheese, milk, bananas and spinach for smoothies. It feels so good the first two weeks to eat healthy so try to fight the urge to eat crap. I am so glad I had made this commitment to myself to have healthy food stocked up in my kitchen. You can’t exercise for the first 6 weeks but you can load your body with all the nutrition it needs to keep you and your baby healthy and energized.
9. Set Priorities.
When your newborn baby comes, you’ll feel like you are lucky to get one thing done each day. You showered, congrats! You actually left the house, congrats! You don’t want to feel like you have a million things to do and you aren’t getting anything done so I highly recommend setting some priorities for yourself the first month or two after baby arrives.
My priorities are my health and my family. When I feel like I should be working, on Facebook or even blogging, I go back to my priorities – health and family. Even when I have a bad day and want to have all the ice cream and chocolate I can, I think of my priority of health. It’s self-care to eat well which I did not do after my first pregnancy. I want to feel good and the days I eat healthy, I feel the best and have the most energy for my family.
When I feel like I should be doing more to grow my business right now, I go back to my priorities and remember that things are taken care of by my excellent team and the focus in my life right now for the rest of the year is my health and family, not the growth of the business.
10. Set a Date For Your First Workout.
I am usually cleared to work out 6 weeks after delivery but make sure you check with your doctor first. I have my 6-week appointment on September 11th so I am already preparing to work out the next day. After my first pregnancy, I didn’t get mentally ready to workout and I never really got back into a good workout routine. I felt pretty sluggish and not very confident in myself. This time I am making my health a priority. I joined a gym 5 minutes from my house back in my 2nd trimester and I hired a personal trainer who I know I can count on to make sure I get to the gym. I am all about hiring the help you need to stay healthy and happy. Self-care is incredibly important! You are worth it mama!
I wish you nothing but the most amazing first two weeks of motherhood. It can be tough and grueling but time goes by so fast so cherish every moment. Take lots and lots of photos and wrap your arms around that little one before he or she grows up overnight!
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