In our last post, we discussed the top 10 items that your baby will need after they make their arrival into the world. (Okay, technically the last two were more for parents than baby, but still very important for the care of your baby!)
So often, parents’ wants and needs are put aside, overlooked, or completely forgotten about when trying to keep this new tiny human happy, healthy, and safe. However, one of the most important things we’ve learned as a society is that parents’ health and happiness is important for the development and care of their children and families on the whole as well!
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things that new parents, particularly the birthing person, might want to look into getting their hands on to prepare for life after their baby’s arrival:
- Pre-packaged or pre-prepped meals: Starting where we left off, because it bears repeating! It is so important to get some meal options lined up for when you’re in the throes of surviving the sleepless nights, endless feedings, and seemingly never-ending crying that inevitably comes with new parenthood. Revisit this list of meal prep suggestions, or sign up for one of the meal delivery kits mentioned in our most recent post (HYPERLINK POST AGAIN). Bonus tip: a meal delivery kit such as Blue Apron or Hello Fresh is great to ask your friends and family to get you as a shower gift!
- A temperature controlled coffee mug: This one seems like a small addition to your new parent arsenal, but anyone who’s had an infant knows that after your coffee is microwaved for the fourth or fifth time, it gets a little rough to drink. A temperature controlled mug (like this one from Ember) keeps your coffee warm while you tend to whatever your baby needs until you can get back to it. Coffee (or tea!) is a form of self care, after all.
- A nice water bottle: we swear, this whole post won’t be about beverages, but hydration is important before having a baby. It’s even more important when you’re sleep deprived, haven’t eaten in hours, and especially if you are the breast/chestfeeding parent in order to keep your supply flowing! Try out different styles and types – are you an insulated tumbler kind of person or a Hydroflask kind of person? Do you like straws or no? Do you want one that filters your water for you, so you can hydrate no matter where you end up? The reality is you probably won’t care what you’re gulping H2O from once the time arrives, but registering for one (or multiple!) for your shower can help you be prepared for later.
- A robot vacuum: Listen. We know this one might feel a little excessive upon first blush. Who actually needs a robot to suck up the detritus from their floors? The short answer is everyone, these suckers should become a household staple with as easy and relatively inexpensive as they’ve become… especially when the household might not be able to run their vacuum for fear of waking up a sleeping baby! A quiet, programmable from your phone robot vacuum ensures that your floors get a little bit of love throughout the day, and takes one more thing off your plate so you can focus on what matters – you and your baby.
- A baby monitor: Chalk up one more for Tech! Baby monitors have come a long way from the walkie-talkie-esque models of yore. Most baby monitors nowadays sync right to your phone, allowing you to check on your snoozing sweetie wherever you are! Having a baby monitor ensures that you’re in tune with your baby while still being able to go about your day while they sleep. If they stir or wake up you’ll get notified, and you can check on them easily without risking an unplanned wake up by opening the door.
- A heating pad and an ice pack: After the baby comes, your body is going to be doing some serious healing. Sometimes that will require ice, and sometimes it will require heat. Being prepared with comfortable, easy, and reusable options for both ends of the temperature spectrum. A reusable gel pack like this set from Amazon can either be tossed into your freezer for cold, or heated up for a few seconds in the microwave for hot! Bonus: they’re great for keeping your lunches cold as well!
- Freezer door cocktails: Okay, one more beverage centric item for this list. While this isn’t necessarily a “need” (there are plenty of parents who don’t drink), mixing a cocktail might be a bit of a challenge once the baby comes. Freezer door cocktails are the latest trend for those who like to imbibe. They’re made right in the bottle, are stored on – you guessed it! – your freezer door, and make having a cocktail at the end of the day as easy as filling a glass (or your fancy new water bottle!) This article from Better Homes & Gardens explains what a freezer door cocktail is, and this list gives you some options to try at home!
- Gift cards, gift certificates, and subscriptions: this one is an easy one to ask for during your shower, and can give you some variety or help you make a choice when your new parent brain just can’t. For gift cards, give some options for chain restaurants, box stores, or grocery stores you like. For gift certificates, focus on small businesses such as coffee shops, restaurants in your neighborhood, and other retailers that you love. Subscriptions could include anything from Netflix to Amazon Prime to Audible or even your favorite gaming website. There are going to be a lot of nights where you’re up at weird hours, which is perfect to knock some of those movies and shows off of your list, listen to a good Audiobook, or finally beat that level of Super Mario Brothers that you couldn’t get past when you were a kid! Bonus tip: you can also ask for cards or certificates for self care excursions just for you – nail salons, hair cuts, spa days, an adventure for you and your partner… just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you don’t get to do things for yourself anymore!
- A quality pillow and a nice set of sheets: This one also may seem a bit indulgent a la Robot vacuum, but being comfortable in bed to catch whatever precious Z’s you can is paramount to your own health and wellbeing. You’ll most likely be spending more time in bed at first as your body heals, especially if you are following the Postpartum 5-5-5 rule, so make sure you get a few sets to change your sheets often. If you sleep hot, make sure you get bedding that helps to keep you cool, or opt for something warmer than your average sheets like flannel if you are an ice block at night. Keep in mind that hormones may change what was prior to having a baby, so having some options is never a bad idea!
- Patience, Understanding, and Kindness… For Yourself – We’re going to cut and paste this one from our previous post, because it bears repeating. In the words of… well, ourselves:
“When you become supreme diaper changer, chief booger wrangler, ruler of the bedtime routine and all things safe and sacred to this little life you’re raising, it can be a lot of pressure! Remembering to be kind, ask for help when you need it, and know that as long as you’re doing your best you’re doing more than enough is so important, especially in the early stages of parenthood!”
You hear that, all of ourselves out there? It’s the truth. You can’t be everything to everyone all of the time, and you certainly can’t pour from an empty cup, as the saying goes. Treat yourself with kindness, patience, and understanding above all else, and never be afraid to ask for help if you need it! Your community runs deep and wide, and you’d be surprised who’s willing to step up if you put it out there.
Of course, if you are looking for postpartum support, there’s no better place to look than to your postpartum doulas here at New Life Doulas. We are happy to help you with whatever you need from birth through the fourth trimester. Do you “need” a doula, necessarily? No, but just like the Robot vacuum… someday, we hope they’ll become a household staple for all new parents and their families.
If you are curious about how we can help you with postpartum needs, education, and support, please contact us today! New Life Doulas are here to help!