Baby is due in less than two months… And I have done absolutely nothing to prepare his arrival yet! These last few weeks have gone by very quickly, between moving, changing seasons, preparing for Christmas… However, for this fifth pregnancy my preparations are already well underway. Here is a list of 14 things to do before the birth. I now have a plan to follow for the next few weeks, in addition to the specific preparations for the home birth.
1. GO TO THE HAIRDRESSER
In theory, we have beautiful hair during pregnancy. Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me this time, so I’ll be happy to get a haircut.
However, even if you’ve been lucky enough to have perfect hair during those nine months, you should know that the hormone drop that follows childbirth often sounds the death knell.
On top of that, shampooing will become a rare luxury in the first few weeks. So I no longer hesitate to go to the hairdresser before the birth. I ask for a slightly shorter and easier to maintain cut and I do a color. That way I look good in the photos with baby and I save time when I do my hair.
2. GO TO THE MOVIES
Or any other outing or hobby that you enjoy and that is complicated with a baby. Personally, I plan to take advantage of my antenatal leave to do a little movie by myself. In the land of mothers with large families, it’s a bit like an all-inclusive week in the Bahamas.
3. GOING ON AN OUTING WITH THE ELDERS
Depending on your state at the end of pregnancy, you will have to find the right compromise between activities that are fun for the children and manageable for mom. Even if I don’t find it necessary to make a lot of effort to prepare the elders for the arrival of the baby. I like to go out with them, just to enjoy being with them.
It’s hard to predict how things will go after the birth. Maybe we’ll be out for a walk two weeks after the birth or it will take me three months to make a nice outing with all the kids again. Either way, I prefer to enjoy it while it’s still relatively simple.
4. TAKING PICTURES
This is the advice that I never apply. I always wait for the last moment and in the end… I am no longer pregnant! It’s actually quite funny because on the pictures of 2017 (year of birth of my fourth) we see all kinds of family pictures and poof! A baby !
So this time I’m going to try to be a little more reactive and take lots of pictures of my big belly.
5. PREPARE YOUR CLOTHES
I’m not going to give you a detailed list of baby clothes here at first. It depends a lot on your baby (whether he regurgitates or has the diaper always overflowing). On you (if you differentiate day/night outfits or not). On your organization (how much laundry you do each week).
I do one load of laundry a day and leave baby in pajamas for the first three months. So I spend more time sorting out how much clothing I have left from my elders to build a wardrobe that’s suitable (and not too much) for baby.
It’s also the time to prepare his first outfit. In general, I plan two outfits, in two different sizes. I make rather big babies but I always plan an outfit in size birth (which I don’t use, therefore) and one in one month.
6. PREPARE HIS OTHER THINGS
Again, this will depend very much on your lifestyle. There are a few essentials:
- Choosing where baby will sleep.
- Choosing how to carry him (stroller, car seat, sling or other means of carrying). Don’t forget the rain protection if necessary and fix or test the car seat before birth!
- Plan his hygiene care: where to change his diaper or give him his bath. Depending on the season, think about auxiliary heating in the bathroom and choose places that allow a comfortable position for mom after the birth.
- Plan where to put it. At home, deckchair and playpen. My first two were on an awakening mat on the floor. Since then I have had other children and I don’t want my baby to end up crushed by his brothers and sisters. So it’s not to hinder his free motor skills. Rather to allow him to move.
6. CHOOSE THE AD
Personally, I’m content with a more or less personalized sms, sometimes with a photo and often forgetting half of the info.
If you want to do things right, it’s time to choose your invitations or your formulations. Also make sure you have the contact information of the people you want to announce the birth to.
TO GET ORGANIZED
8. TIDY UP
I could have written cleaning, but that’s up to you, frankly. Some of them will have the nerve to do it. For others it will be an ordeal.
On the other hand, tidying up, I find it much more motivating. The results are often long-lasting, especially if you reorganize a space. Personally, it’s something I like to do.
I have my fair share of arrangements to make after our move. I’m still thinking about redoing a tour of the existing systems. Small, simple things can make a big impact: putting away a “junk drawer”, sorting out the closets, organizing the entrance, etc. I’m thinking of doing a little redesigning. It helps me see more clearly and simplify my daily life when baby is here.
9. PLAN HIS MENUS
Our current kitchen is still in minimalist camping mode so I need simple and quick menus all the more. A little before the birth I therefore plan a two or three weeks list of menus, with the associated shopping list.
In general, I try to select menus that can be prepared with long consumption products: frozen or canned vegetables in particular. This allows me to be quite flexible when shopping, at least for the first few weeks.
I also plan to have a week’s worth of menus almost ready for just after the birth. These are menus for which I don’t hesitate to use prepared dishes (or that I would have frozen). Again, I’m trying to target the long eat-in because I can’t predict when the baby will arrive.
This time, things will be a little different because I will also be able to integrate menus that my elders know how to prepare. My oldest (10 1/2 years old) in particular is now able to prepare several daily meals. So I’m thinking of entrusting her with the preparation of one meal a week. Plus, she’s going to love having this new responsibility, even if it’s only temporary.
10. ANTICIPATING THE ADMINISTRATIVE WORK
After the birth of my baby, I don’t want to think about what to do next. I therefore list in advance the organizations to be notified and the addresses if it can’t be done online.
I make sure I have stamps, envelopes and ink in my printer. If some specific forms are needed, I pick them up/print them in advance.
11. PREPARING YOUR HOME
Giving birth at home pushes me to a little more preparation at this level. That said, even if you give birth in the maternity ward, there are some little things that can be practical for your return.
First of all, in terms of comfort: I stock up on old sheets, towels, and underpads. I even keep a few disposable childbirth pads. This allows me to sit, lie down or take a shower without damaging my sheets or sofa. The risks of “leaks” don’t last too long but it’s still very practical.
Finally, for the daily life, now that our house is bigger, I plan to make a “baby basket” for myself. In this basket I’ll put at the same time what to change baby (diaper, cotton, water, small towel), what to breastfeed (anti-breakage cream, water for me). It is also possible to add some snacks, something to keep your elder busy or to keep you busy (phone charger…) during long breastfeeding sessions.
12. PROVIDE FOR INTERMEDIATE OUTFITS
After my first delivery, I dressed in my pre-pregnancy clothes immediately. Since then, this hasn’t really been the case anymore. Every pregnancy is different and the recovery “after” is different too, whether it’s weight or fatigue.
At first, it was difficult for me to invest in temporary clothing. Now I don’t hesitate anymore. I find it really important to have some comfortable clothes that fit us now, not the size we’ll have in six months. So I am now investing in some “post-pregnancy” clothing, including :
Comfortable homewear such as leggings, tunics or large vests. It must be practical enough to breastfeed (even if it means putting layers on top of each other), wearable in public, and (I admit it) as much during the day as at night. Because in the beginning, we too have difficulty with the day/night distinction… Beware of belts or elastics that are too tight, especially in case of caesarean section.
Dresses “to go out”: according to the season, I like dresses or jeans with pretty ample tops. I always pay attention to the possibility of breastfeeding and I choose, if possible, cuts that can be worn even when I’m “in between sizes”.
13. TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
The postpartum will certainly require a full article. That said, there are still some little things I like to plan ahead to take care of myself after the birth, such as :
- anti-breakage cream for the beginning of breastfeeding. I’ve tested several, I like lanolin, even if it stains (!). I find it quite neutral and protective between two feedings.
- Body cream that penetrates quickly. Usually I use shea butter, just like the children. Except that the shea butter, it is necessary to melt it in your hand and to spread it then on your skin. After birth, every millisecond is precious. So I buy a quickly absorbed cream that I’m sure to use.
- white clay. To keep any tear/episiotomy scars dry. I apply some a little bit after the shower and each time I go to the toilet. It is almost miraculous in terms of comfort and speed of healing. Then, the rest of the packet can be used to make masks on the face.
- Food supplements. Here too I have evolved since my first pregnancy. Even if planning my menus allows me to eat more or less balanced meals every day, any other help is welcome. There are vitamins for breastfeeding. It is also possible to continue the same supplements as during pregnancy.
- A hot water bottle. For trench pain, which also varies greatly from time to time. Even if baby always wakes up when I finally settle down with my hot water bottle on my stomach, I tell myself that I have at least the psychological effect .
14. TO KNOW HOW TO SURROUND ONESELF (OR NOT)
Finally, one last thing to plan for is the entourage, both for visits and for the help that can be given to us.
Regarding visits, I think it’s great to be able to introduce baby and hear his praise. After pregnancy and childbirth, this attention and compliments are welcome! Ideally, however, visits should be kept short. I don’t hesitate to isolate myself with baby or to warn people outright. My husband takes care of the rest 😉
When it comes to help, I think we should not hesitate to take people at their word. Accepting the help offered or specifying your needs: “I don’t mind taking Loulou to school, but if you could pick him up after judo it would be great. “Or again, “Since you’re offering it, I need to do a drive, can you pick it up on the way over? ». Thinking about it a little in advance allows you to react right away and to take advantage of the outstretched hands.