Hey mamas-to-be! I'm sure you've read your copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting several times now, but are you sure you know what to expect after le bebe is born? Sure you've read up on diapering, nursing versus bottle feeding, and know all about what little sleep you're going to be getting those first few months.
But have you read anything about how to take care of you?
I'm talking beyond stocking your freezer with meals and getting family/friends to help with laundry and housecleaning. I'm talking about making sure you know how to take care of yourself.
Here are several things you should plan on after the baby is born. Read it, share it with your partner, and prepare.
I had to get this one out of the way, because it is the most obvious "must do". It's no secret that you won't get much sleep the first few months, especially if you are exclusively nursing. Even after feedings stretch out to every three hours, resist the urge to choose watching a movie over getting some sleep. It's tempting, I know, to choose to a movie or get housework done, but your body needs rest!
2. Hand off responsibility
It took my type-A personality some time to go with this one, but you have to hand off your responsibilities to everyone else and just focus on you and the baby. Have your partner take care of the household chores or hire someone to help out. Let go.
3. Get a pedicure
Do it. Don't even think about it. If you can, sign up for a monthly membership at your local day spa, and just go get your feet rubbed once a month. Even if you've never gotten a pedicure in your life, go do it, because there is nothing like getting a few hours to yourself. No crying. No stress. No having to do anything but sit there and close your eyes.
4. Get outside
Leave the house. Breathe some fresh air. If you're feeling up to it, get some exercise!
5. Meet with friends
If you're the only one in your circle of friends with a new baby at the moment, it's very easy to isolate yourself. Don't. Take the baby and go somewhere baby-friendly. A coffee shop. The park. Your friend's house. That way you can take care of #4 and also get a little socializing in your life because that will be a sanity saver.
6. Make new friends
Go to the baby/toddler hour at your local library and meet other new moms. Making new friends with other new moms is a great way to create new friendships that may grow as your baby gets older.
7. Set aside quality time with your partner
It doesn't have to be date night (but it can be!), just make sure you find some time every week to just BE with your partner, without the baby. Our favorite way to spend quality time is to order takeout and watch a movie after the baby goes to bed.
Mamas who have been there: what would you add to this list of must-do activities to stay sane those first few months of motherhood?