You did it. You created a baby! Well, you birthed the baby you helped create.
You did your time in that hospital bed, watched the parenting videos and you both passed your physical exams.
I spent a long time searching for a checklist of things to keep in mind after I had my daughters. Not a self-care down there list, or a “Top 15 Things You Need For Baby!” but a simple, “Day to Day Now That You’re Home.” Something similar to a homeschooler’s flexible lesson plans for the week.
I wanted to have a visual of all the things I needed in order to be as comfortable as possible, not just for my baby, but for my own sanity.
Now after having three girls, I don’t plan on having another baby for a very long time (if at all!) but I wanted to create this checklist for all you mama’s who might find yourself in the same boat I was in.
Let me break down why I chose each of these items to place on my list.
Each time after giving birth (postpartum) I noticed my biggest need was to just be left alone to bond with my baby. I didn’t want to have to set up a new space from room to room in order to get some quality time away from everyone, but this is exactly what happened.
Therefore, I recommend getting a travel station! Amazon sells these for a great price. I wish so much that I had thought of this before now.
If you chose to set yours up before you have your little one I recommend leaving a few empty spaces for things you will bring home from the hospital or realize you want after a day or two living the life of a Mama in bonding mode.
What you place in this is entirely up to you! It could be a mix of Mama and baby, Mama’s madness alone or some nursing snacks and the whole boppy if it fits!
The Only Chores I’ll Do!
The first few days or weeks after labor and delivery the last thing I wanted to do was chores. However, some chores were kind of a blessing, and in a big way part of my nesting phase (not much of a phase since I never really grew out of this… but anyway.)
These chores included:
– Baby’s laundry
– My laundry (favorite nursing gowns and comfy wear)
– Baby’s bottles
– Mama’s go-to water cup and coffee mugs
– Washing everyone’s bedding (nothing more relaxing than laying on a warm set of sheets!)
That’s it! All other chores were put on the back burning until I was able to get up and move around like normal.
Now, I was blessed to have helping hands, however if this is not the case in your situation then I recommend letting others in the house know ahead of time that your body is going to need rest. You cannot be doing heavy lifting, bending repeatedly or busting out the mop to clean floors.
Its just not safe.
Buy paper plates, rinse dishes immediately and/or soak them in the sink for an easier wash, throw trash out often to keep it from becoming a heavy load and most importantly… allow yourself to walk away from something that is not safe for you to tend to until your body has healed. I cannot stress this enough, talk with your doctor if you have any questions regarding physical activity after labor, when in doubt seek help before you risk putting yourself back into the hospital or on bed-rest.
Feed Your Brain
Your body might be in rest mode, but your brain needs to be sharp. You need to make sure you aren’t letting your thoughts carry you away on a lost train of thought into the depths of worry and doubt.
There are thousands of apps geared towards brain and memory exercises. Or you can go old school and buy some sudoku, crossword or word search books.
At the very least pick up an old book and read a few pages a day! Especially after having baby you will want to keep up with all the latest breastfeeding, diaper changing, mommy know-how.
Here is a list of apps you can check out:
– Lumosity: Daily Brain Games
– Elevate: Brain Training
– Left vs Right: Brain Games
– Quick Brain: Math Workout
– Peak: Brain Training
– Memory Flow
– Sudoku: Classic Puzzle Game
Even if you have never thought of yourself as someone with a daily journal, it’s a good idea to keep track of your thoughts, emotions and daily routine after giving birth. I have mentioned before that “…after giving birth and even when trying to conceive (TTC) your hormones are being adjusted and shifted…”
Postpartum Depression (PPD) and/or anxiety can come within days to weeks and even months after delivery. Its a lot easier to catch it when you are activity keeping an eye on it. You can start with a blank page and see what comes out, or find a journal designed to teach and guide you through your journaling. I would highly recommend the beautiful diaries by Duo Diary.
Eating Healthy and Drinking Water
Its very easy to forget to feed yourself a healthy meal and keep up with adequate water or electrolyte intake when you are caught up in the chaos of early motherhood. Sure you are eating, I mean if you are like me it seemed like you didn’t stop eating after giving birth. But you need to make sure you are eating at least one healthy, hardy meal a day. Not just for you but also for your little one. Should you choose to breastfeed, your diet does affect your milk supply and the overall quality of your milk. There is a great article on this you by Kelly Bonyata (kellymom.com) you can find here.
Water recommendation for a breastfeeding mother is an extra quart (32oz) more than the average person. So roughly 96 to 100 ounces of water a day (about 3/4th of a gallon jug) is enough to keep you and baby hydrated.
Last but not least…
Shower and DIY Spa Treatment
This is so important, not only do you feel refreshed but its a big part of taking care of yourself so that you can take care of your baby! Take some time to have a nice shower, even if you have to call a friend to come over or drag baby into the bathroom with you. (Get a bouncy seat!)
After your shower make yourself an easy foot soak with some baking soda, Epsom Salt and your favorite body scrub. You don’t have to go all out scrubbing your calluses or painted your toes unless you really want to, a simple foot soak does wonders. Plus there are numerous benefits to soaking your feet with baking soda and Epsom Salts, from flushing toxins to softening skin!
Here is the link to my “Welcome Home Mama – Check List” as a FREE PRINTABLE.
I left spaces between each section to give you room to customize as needed. Tip: You can place it in a frame or page protector to make easy changes daily or leave it as is.
Check out these great links for more information on postpartum care:
Recovering From Delivery
Breastfeeding Diet 101 – What to Eat While Breastfeeding
5 Ways to Make Your Postpartum Recovery Easier (Really!)
Postpartum depression – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
30 Journaling Prompts for New Moms
Write It All Down: The Benefits Of Journaling During And After Pregnancy
Postpartum Depression Can Happen to Any Parent