Welcome to MomCo’s Survival Guide for the 1st Year of Motherhood. This blog series will be dedicated to advice and tips for thriving during the first year of motherhood. We will be sharing tips and advice from moms who have been through it. Moms who want to share what helped them and what they wish they would have known. The things they don’t tell you in class or write in books. I hadn’t built my mama tribe yet so I didn’t have anyone preparing me for how I was going to feel physically, emotionally and mentally after I got home from the hospital. I knew exactly what to do to take care of my baby, but I was clueless and unprepared to take care of myself and home. This week we are focusing on all the things you can do before your baby arrives that will make your life easier the first month after you give birth.
Congratulations! Your approaching due date signifies the start of a magnificent chapter in your life…motherhood! A role that will likely rise above all others you’ve held until this point. Motherhood allows you the privilege and responsibility to shape your own little being. The beginning stages of being a mommy may be fraught with overwhelm and doubt, but you can help ease the transition by following the MomCo “Survival Guide for the 1st Year of Motherhood” series. Our first installment begins before the birth of your baby. Up until this point, you’ve likely been taking steps preparing for baby’s arrival: stocking up on baby gear and necessities, decorating baby’s room, reading up on pregnancy and baby development stages. Focusing on your baby will be your top priority, but to accomplish that it’s important to also have some preparations in place for yourself. Along with your precious new addition will come lifestyle changes that you may not have anticipated. Your body will be healing and you will not be sleeping much. Cooking and cleaning are the last things you are going to feel like doing, but they will still need to be done. Finding balance amongst your new responsibilities may be a struggle. We’ve gathered top tips and advice from other moms to not only survive the first year of motherhood, but to help you enjoy it with all the attention and awe it deserves! To aid the transition period, start early. Here are some preparations you can do before baby arrives:
In the first few months, your energy will be focused on your new baby (as it should be), so have some plans in place for everyday routines like cooking and cleaning.
1) Prepare some freezer meals: Spend some time prepping freezer meals that can be easily cooked in a slow-cooker or oven. New Leaf Wellness shares 27 recipes to stock your freezer with homemade meals before baby comes. These are quick and easy to make and can be tailored to your family’s tastes. If prepping in bulk seems daunting, try Kelly’s tip: double your dinner recipe, one for dinner tonight and one for the freezer for after baby arrives.
2) Set-up a meal calendar: When family and friends ask what they can do to help, ask if they could sign up for bringing a meal. With a newborn, not having to cook dinner is one of the greatest gifts! Websites like Meal Train make scheduling meals easy with a free online interactive calendar. Many church groups and playgroups use a meal scheduling program for new moms. If you don’t belong to one of these, start the tradition with your family and friends, and make sure to reciprocate in turn!
3) Arrange for meal delivery: Branch out from ordering pizza when you aren’t up for cooking and download the Eat24 app. The app allows you to order food delivered from participating restaurants in your area. Stock up on healthy lunches through a meal delivery service, so you can make good eating choices without the prep hassle. If you’re in San Diego, try Car’s Jars and you’ll have a week’s worth of delicious homemade craft salads on your doorstep.
1) Put a gift certificate to a local cleaning service on your baby registry: If all your necessities for baby are covered, you’ll be thrilled to receive the gift of a clean house! This gives you more precious time to bond with your baby.
2) Create a cleaning schedule: Dividing up necessary household tasks so that you just have a little to do each day can help you from feeling overwhelmed. Focus on the most important cleaning tasks first (dishes, laundry etc) and get to the deeper cleaning when you can. Here is a free printable cleaning schedule from Sara Simply Me:
Via Sara Simply Me
Before the big delivery date, you can start making mommy friends, plan to join a playgroup and pick out classes to enjoy with your baby. Welcome to a new circle of friends and fun!
1) Download the MomCo app: Having support, whether it’s emotional or practical, will have a large positive impact on your first year of motherhood. If you are displaced from your family, first amongst your friends to have a baby, a single or military mom, that support can be hard to find. The MomCo app was created to help moms connect with each other and form friendships and support opportunities (playgroups, carpools and much more!). Download the MomCo app and search for moms in your area with similar interests and kids close in age.
2) Find a playgroup or class: Through the MomCo app you can also form a playgroup or find mommy and me classes in your area. Getting out and about with your baby will keep your spirits up and will enrich your baby’s development with new sights, sounds and social interaction.
We hope you’ve got some preparations in place to make your transition to motherhood easier! The reward will be less stress during the first year and more time to connect with your baby and participate in their growth and development. Stay tuned for more tips in MomCo’s “Surviving the First Year of Motherhood” series.
Are you ready to be a mom? Share your feelings, experiences and plans in the comments below!