This is a mom-heavy post so feel free to skip if you’re here for reno/design stuff.
It seems impossible, but it’s already been a month since baby #2 arrived. The post partum period is such a blur – time seems to move both incredibly fast and yet, glacially slow. I think that the second time around, it’s easy to feel like your an expert going in to it. You’ve done this before, right? No. You haven’t. You did it with one newborn, NOT a newborn and another kid. It’s safe to say I definitely over did it this time around and tried to accomplish way too much too soon. Here are a few tips that will hopefully keep another mom out there from getting totally run down and overwhelmed.
1. Say No.
Say it loud, say it proud. It’s ok to say no to, or at least limit the number of, visitors in those first few weeks. Lucy has done a fabulous job welcoming Silas into our family, but having tons of visitors those first couple of weeks really threw her for a loop. I also feel a lot of pressure to keep my house clean when people are coming over (absurd with a newborn, I know.) I think the best strategy is to limit visitors to days when your partner is home from work and can help out and limit the number of visitors to just one or two groups per day. It’s also ok to tell people to leave when YOU get tired, not just when the baby is sleeping. On the one hand it’s great to have people come shower your older child with attention, but it also can be a little overwhelming for your child to deal with a lot of coming and going. Don’t push yourself and get comfortable saying “no thanks, we really need to rest.”
2. Accept help, and be specific about what you need.
If people ask what they can do tell them to bring you food. Ask for takeout or hand them a grocery list, but don’t feel obligated to host them for dinner. Good visitors will appear with food and then leave so you can get back to cuddling as soon as possible.
3. Drink water. All the time.
Find a giant water bottle with a straw and keep drinking. Get a high capacity one so you don’t have to get up and fill it all the time. Lucy loved drinking out of my special water cup, so the bigger the better.
4. Make a diaper/nursing station by your couch or favorite chair.
This is key. You don’t want to have to get up every time you need lanolin or a burp cloth. Get a basket and keep it stocked with diapers, wipes, nursing pads, a nursing cover for squeamish visitors, lanolin, hand sanitizer, and a spare outfit for the baby. A cell phone charger wouldn’t hurt either.
5. Keep a stack of books and a loaded iPad around for your older child.
I’d love to pretend that we didn’t pacify Lucy with shows, but the truth is those first few weeks are such an exhausting time that she had to entertain herself a lot. I downloaded a few new games and shows for her so that we could all have some quiet time when we needed it. Books are great for a little snuggle time while you nurse your new baby.
6. Have a safe place on every floor where you can put down your baby.
We have bouncy chairs/lounges in almost every room so that if Lucy needs me I can safely put the baby down to help her. The temptation to just pop your baby on the couch for one second can be strong, but babies learn to roll over fast, so make sure that they are in a safe spot before you answer the door or head to the bathroom. I keep a bouncy chair in the bathroom so that I can bring Silas with me while I shower – the noise is very soothing for him and being able to keep an eye on him while Lucy plays in her room is a sanity saver.
7. Stock your fridge and pantry with one handed food.
The hunger that comes with nursing is like no other. Fill your fridge and pantry with healthy, easy to eat foods that you and your older child love. For us that is tubs of pre-cut fruit, yogurt, cheese, trail mix, squeezable fruit for Lucy ( in the foil packets), high protein granola bars. Another big help has been making big batches of healthy grains like quinoa, beans, and brown rice so that the foundation of dinner is always available.
8. Take the pain meds you are prescribed.
Take them on schedule. It’s much better to stay on top of the pain then to try and recover from it.
9. Be prepared for a lot of laundry – yours especially.
Spit up, night sweats, leaky boobs – post partum is a messy time. Spread a big towel or receiving blanket on your bed so you don’t have to change your sheets all the time. I stocked up on cheap but comfy tshirts and leggings from Target so I always had something clean on hand.
10. Make sure you have your newborn necessities ready to go.
It might have been pretty straightforward to do a Target run with one kid to get what you need, but handling two in those first weeks can be daunting. Here’s what I had on hand…