Preparing for the first 3 months with your baby
I recently spoke with Shanay, an Australian mother living in Berlin and working as a birth and postpartum doula about writing a post for this blog. She has a wealth of both personal and professional experience and so I asked her to share her advice on how to prepare for the first 3 months with your baby...
We spend so much time getting ready for labour, what to organise and get for the little one and quickly forget what we are actually needing for the coming months after baby has arrived. Preparing for the unknown birth, we cannot plan, but we can have a postpartum plan and I encourage everyone to do so.
As a postpartum doula and co-founder of Mama Muun, a bespoke postpartum food delivery service in Berlin, nutritious food is the number one thing on my list a new parent needs to flourish. Being in clients' homes the first 3 months, I really see the need for support. Whether it's with food, breastfeeding, sleep, rest, emotional or on a physical end. As new parents we forget to eat which can lead to so many problems. Food will give you the energy needed to look after yourself and ultimately your baby. When breastfeeding, your body requires 500 more calories so it’s crucial to eat your 3 meals a day and in-between snacks.
I highly encourage the last few weeks of pregnancy to keep busy cooking and freezing some nourishing meals such as chicken soup, broths and stews. Having a meal service like Mama Muun, we offer 2 week packages to lessen the stress of cooking and not having to think about food shopping.
Here is a list with a few other things to consider of when planning your postpartum:
- Mama - Who will support mama other than your partner? Who is your support network?
- Partner - Who will support your partner? Do you have friends and family around?
- Food - What meals and food will you eat? Can your partner cook? Can your friends maybe set up a meal train for you and your partner?
- Sleep - Low iron and lack of sleep is the number one cause of postpartum depression. Having sleep support and come up with a plan together with your partner on how you can manage that
- Communication - Speak with your partner on what you are needing from each other after baby has arrived. Now is the time to let those fears and concerns out. What are your triggers and how can you support each other?
- Self-care - This varies for everyone but remember, taking a shower is not self-care, it's basic hygiene. What can you do to feel rested, focused and recharged? Maybe it’s a long bath, or a walk without baby, or getting your nails done, having a massage or simply time to read a book. Find a ritual that works for you.
- Lactation specialist - Have one on stand by. Your midwife or doula may not be trained lactation consultants. There are also local breastfeeding support groups which can be found on La Leche League
- Postpartum Doula / Mutterpflegerin - Have one on stand by. If you have no family support, this can be a real lifesaver once that tiredness kicks in. A doula can help with home support like cooking, meal preparations, basic cleaning, sleep support, breastfeeding support, sibling care, food shopping and a few more extras.
- Pelvic floor - Sign up to a course called Rückbildungskurs which is in your area. It's covered by health insurance.
- Community - Search for local mother or father groups after the 6-8 week mark. It’s a great start to slowly take on the city with your new babe. There are cafes, church spaces or maybe a few friends that had babies to meet up weekly with and exchange stories, concerns, fears and laughter. After your baby is 2-3 months, those regular mum chats can be very helpful and super important on your mental health
- Patience - Be kind and patient with your body. I say to my clients: 9 months to grow a baby, 9 months to slowly feel the new you and love this new body.
Learn more about Shanay & Tabea's postpartum food service Mama Muun.