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Babywearing: Mindful Mama’s Best Recommendations

My Favorite Carriers and Wraps – Babywearing From Newborn to Toddler

babywearing

Are you curious about babywearing? You may have seen families cuddling their babies in a carrier a wrap. Babywearing is becoming wildly popular.

Firstly, parents love it because it helps to soothe their baby. It reduces crying, promotes bonding and connection, and it lets them be hands-free while still holding their baby. If you keep your baby close in a carrier or wrap, then you can easily breastfeed on the go as well. Also, wraps and carriers are often more comfortable than holding baby in your arms for a long period of time.

Your postpartum doula can help you practice babywearing.

When can you start putting your baby in a wrap or carrier?

You can start in the first few days after your baby is born. But this depends on your baby’s size. Most carriers have weight guidelines to follow for safety. You can start with a newborn. Once your baby is older, you can switch to a different carrier for a toddler.

Babywearing Safety

When wearing your baby in a wrap or carrier, there are basic safety guidelines you should follow. Firstly, baby should be totally upright in the carrier. Their chin should be up with an open air way. Baby should be close enough to kiss. Your baby’s hips need to be properly supported. Make sure that their legs and hips make an M shape, or froggy legs for a newborn.

Each wrap or carrier has their own safety recommendations. These can usually be found on the wrap itself or by searching the company website. Safety is so important in babywearing.

Consider finding a local babywearing group or lending library for more information. They can help you try out different styles and find the best carrier that works for you.

My Favorite Wraps and Carriers

My partner and I have been babywearing for nearly 5 years. Over the years, we have learned which carriers we love. Everyone is different, but these are my best recommendations.

Ring Sling

This is my all-time favorite baby wrap. You can use a ring sling from the newborn time until the toddler stage. However, ring slings are best used when your baby is a newborn or infant.

Ring slings are great for several reasons. They are very quick to put on and get baby inside. The learning curve is small. They are easy to learn to use safely. Also, ring slings don’t involve any tying. You simply pull the fabric through the rings to tighten. The ease of use makes it an ideal choice for going out with your baby.

Also, ring slings are very easy to adjust. You can quickly loosen your wrap to nurse and tighten it back up when you are done. It can be formed to your baby’s size and position over time. They are great for front and hip carries.

Soft Structured Carriers

Soft structured carriers are simply baby carriers with more support and structure. They are soft and comfortable to wear but provide padding and extra support for you and baby. They are ideal for infant to toddler ages. There are a multitude of different brands. Personally, we use an Ergo and a Lillebaby. They are affordable and easy to clean.

Most can accommodate a child up to about 30 lbs comfortably. Some carriers have different weight recommendations. Also, if your child is very tall they may outgrow the carrier more quickly. I can still put my 2.5 year old in a soft structured carrier, although he is probably too tall at this point.

Some companies, like Tula and Lillebaby, make carriers that are made specifically for toddlers. I have used them before and they are great, with extra weight and safety support for a wiggly big kid. They are expensive, but worth it.

What are your favorite carriers? What wraps do you love? Tell me about it.

Best Freezer Meals and Snacks for Postpartum Families

Simple Freezer Meals and Snacks With Rave Reviews

As a postpartum doula, one major piece of my work is to make sure that families are well-fed. We know that nutrition is important for healing after birth. I check in with families to make sure that everyone has enough to eat. Families find this very relieving and give rave reviews about my recipes. In this post, I will share the best freezer meals for postpartum families.

Food preparation is one part of the job of a postpartum doula, and it’s a simple way to help families thrive in the postpartum period. If parents don’t have to worry about food preparation, then they can simply focus on healing and bonding with their baby. Also, food prepared with love and care is a great gift of the spirit.

Every family has their own food preferences. We discuss your preferences and I offer recipes and recommendations to fit your needs. I try to focus on foods that are easy to eat one-handed. One-handed foods are great for new parents because they can still easily hold baby while eating. Low prep and simple to serve foods are the best choices for postpartum families..

Best Freezer Meals & Snacks

Breakfast Burritos

Firstly, breakfast burritos are a simple staple. You can make any filling you want. Sometimes I use eggs, vegetables, potatoes, cheese, or bacon. First, cook the filling on the stove and let it cool. Second, wrap the burritos using a soft tortilla wrap. Lastly, wrap the burritos in foil and freeze. They are simple to heat and can be customized for any dietary preferences. They work great for kids as well.

Quiche

I believe this is an overlooked food. I like to make crust-free quiches, as it makes it requires less ingredients and holds together well. A quiche is a combination of eggs, cheese, vegetables, maybe meats, and other add-ins poured into a pie pan and baked. You can customize this for any dietary preferences. Kids love these as well. Firstly, cook your add-ins on the stove. Next, your add ins can be mixed with cheese and eggs. Lastly, your mixture is poured into a greased pan. When cool, cut into individual pieces and wrap in foil to freeze.

Homemade Snack Bars

Snack bars are great nourishment to have on hand for a quick bite. There are so many variations on this. You could make these as lactation bars or a nutritious snack. Firstly, you combine your dates and other ingredients in a food processor. Often they include dates, nuts, seeds, coconut, chocolate, or anything else you dream up. Then you can press the sticky mixture into a pan and chill in the refrigerator. Cut into bars and eat throughout the week.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is incredibly nutritious. If you have an instant pot, it is such a quick and easy process. Consider making your own bone broth and freeze into single serve portions. You can easily warm up a cup or two whenever you feel like it. This is really great for the first week postpartum. This is a period of intense healing and recovery. Bone broth can help provide collagen and nutrition to support your healing process.

Becoming a Doula: Discovering My Why

The Real Reason I Became a Doula

becoming a doula

Everyone has a story to tell about how they landed where they are today. Sometimes, this story is deep and profound. But other times this story is very ordinary and based in simple life experiences. Typically, the reasons for becoming a doula involve personal experiences and connections.

I completed my doula training a few years ago. Firstly, I was convinced that I was going to save women from the evil interventions of a hospital birth. Also, I was convinced that my “why” was because I thought all birthing people should have a support person. After all, I had a doula and it was great!

Let’s fast forward to a few years later. I’ve done some life changing personal exploration. I have grown leaps and bounds beyond the doula I once was.

Discovering My Why – Becoming a Doula

Firstly, I realized that I was experiencing a major disconnect with my families. They would prepare detailed birth plans with all the right language, feel confident and informed in their choices, and we would talk about comfort measures and procedures at length. However, for many families, as soon as we entered the threshold of a hospital I saw the confidence fade.

There is a disconnect between how we are preparing families during pregnancy and the power structure that exists in many birthing environments. Note, I say many: all providers and hospitals are not the same. I want to be careful how I talk about this.

You Can’t Order Spaghetti at McDonald’s

Choosing the care provider and birth location whose policies and procedures reflect your birth plan is the number one thing you can do to support your birth experience. Think about it like this. You can’t go to McDonald’s and order spaghetti. They just don’t do that. If you’re telling your provider that you want a pain med free birth with no pitocin or episiotomy, but they have a cesarean rate of nearly 50%… that ain’t happenin’! They’re not serving your spaghetti. They just don’t do that.

There is a giant elephant in the room. Often times, we see birth as black and white. The good birth is the “natural” birth. Or, you have a hospital birth, in which you subject yourself to whatever standard care or protocol your on-call provider deems appropriate that day. This dichotomy is dangerous and fails families.

Birth As a Rite of Passage

Pregnancy and birth is a cultural right of passage in America. It’s an initiation. It follows you for your entire adult life and you will never forget the way you felt and the way you were treated. It sets you up for your entire parenting journey. Birth opens the door to parenthood. Parenting is the start of a new generation.

In 2014, I lost a baby. It was extremely traumatic, I was alone, and I was terrified. It was a painful surgery. I distinctly remember being so fearful I was trembling and sobbing as they were putting in a hep lock for my IV. I held myself together. My partner was present with me, but the magnitude of the experience was difficult. I remember being shifted, half conscious, to the surgery bed. I stared at the OR lights as they removed my baby from my womb. It was terrifying. It makes me sick to think about those sensations. In my darkest hour, this was my initiation into parenthood. I was intensely grieving, vulnerable, and following the motions of this power structure that didn’t give a shit about my humanity. I birthed alone.

My WHY

Every birthing person deserves to birth with dignity, autonomy, and power. Informed consent must be reflected in all aspects of care for families. You have the right to autonomy over your body, and you are the pilot of your experience. It’s beyond birth choices. Beyond the birth plan. Beyond birth itself.

In birth, you are at the most vulnerable point in your life. You’re more tired than you have ever felt before, and you’re dealing with intense pain and enormous feelings. Then at the same time, we’re telling women that they need to suddenly – for probably the first time in their lives – advocate for their wishes in the medical system. If you’re not used to this language, how to talk about it, or how to challenge this power, then this is an enormous task. Also, many women are uncomfortable advocating for power if they are inexperienced in breaking the cycle. Yet some women have been fighting all their lives. But at your darkest and most vulnerable moment, how do you do that?

This is my WHY.

September Community Events: What to Do

Looking for September Community Events? Here’s a Quick List.

September community events

September ushers in the harvest season. I can already feel the days getting shorter. Firstly, the length of daylight and the strength of the sun is decreasing. Also, local harvest vegetables are in ample supply. There are many September community events.

Fall is a hugely popular time for outdoor events and community festivals of all kinds. Gathering community is an act of love. The harvest time is a popular time to gather. Kids love the festivals too!

In this post, I am listing a selection of local September community events for you to explore. Lastly, each local area in WNY has their own fall festivals. Check with your local community for more. Also, consider your local library for fall events.

If you are expecting a fall baby, then there are so many activities for you to take advantage of. Your birth doula can suggest some great local fall classes. There are many activities locally to support you.

Fall Events in Western New York

Saturday, September 21st

Reinstein Woods Fall Festival – 10am-4pm, Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, 93 Honorine Drive, Depew, NY 14043

  • Celebrate “Water” with a full day of nature themed fun for the whole family! There will be science demonstrations. Hands on activities and explorations for kids will be held. Local musicians are scheduled to perform for families. Also, the nature preserve is simply a beautiful place to explore.

Tuesday, September 24th

Fall Homeschool Day – 10am-1pm, Penn Dixie Fossil Park, 4050 North Street, Blasdell, NY 14219

  • In this hands-on program, participants will learn the geological history of WNY. Firstly, this program includes an educational tour. Secondly, there is a guided lesson and fossil collection. Also, this a great opportunity to explore the nature preserve.

Saturday, September 28th

AppleUmpkin Festival – 10am-5pm, 1 Main Street, Wyoming, NY, 14591

  • A fall arts and crafts festival in the gaslight village of Wyoming, NY. Also, this is a great opportunity to catch some area history.

Saturday, October 5th

The Fall Festival and Agricultural Fair – 10am-4pm, Genesee Country Village and Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Rd., Mumford, NY, 14511

  • Celebrate the Village in the harvest foliage! Firstly, there will be vendors and food. And there will be livestock shows and kitchen demonstrations. Also, this is a beautiful opportunity to explore the history of the region.

Saturday – Sunday October 12th-13th

Ellicottville Fall Festival – 10am-5pm, 9 W. Washington Street, Ellicottville, NY, 14731

  • Celebrate the beautiful fall foliage with fine arts, food, arts and crafts, music, and more! Firstly, Ellicottville is a beautiful town in the hills of WNY. Fall foliage will be abundant and fall foods plentiful. Secondly, this festival is packed with local artists. Also, it’s a beautiful walk for families through the village space.

What to Pack in Your Birth Bag: My Minimal List

Packing Your Birth Bag: What to Pack for a Hospital or Birth Center

what to pack

Are you wondering what to pack for your hospital or birth center birth? As a birth doula, I see many different methods of packing for birth. Some families have their bags packed by 36 weeks with detailed lists. But, other families seem to pack on their way out the door. No matter what your process is, I am offering a minimalist approach to packing for birth.

Firstly, consider how long you plan to be in your birth place. If you are birthing in a hospital, roughly 2 days is appropriate. Also, this could be longer if you have any complications. If you are birthing at a birth center, then you will most likely go home within a few hours after birth. In an emergency scenario that requires a longer stay for mom or baby, you won’t be thinking about packing all the extra items you may need. You can deal with this when the time comes. Let’s not invoke that energy.

My experience is that most families over pack. Preparedness is a healthy exercise, but “stuff” can weigh you down physically and emotionally. But, bringing only what you really need helps you focus on your birth and baby.

What to Pack in Your Bag

For parents…

  • Dark-colored comfy clothes for mom after birth. Bring a few dark tank tops/nursing tanks and some comfy black/dark pajama pants or maternity leggings. Also, consider packing some cozy socks.
  • Cozy bathrobe
  • Water bottle with a straw. If you have a straw, then you’re more likely to drink water while in any position.
  • Adult diapers: I find that the mesh panties can get frustrating and messy to deal with.
  • Small Bluetooth speaker for music & your favorite playlist
  • Your pediatrician’s information/birth plan/ID/Wallet (put these in a folder in your bag). If you have your folder of information packed, then it will be easy to access.
  • Snacks & electrolyte drinks.
  • Personal Care Items: toothbrush, deodorant, etc. Also consider packing travel sizes.
  • Perineal care/sitz bath soaks: If you are interested in using herbs for healing postpartum, then you can actually prepare this mixture ahead of time and bring it with you to the hospital for comfort after birth. You can put it in your peri bottle or in a tub. Also, you can always save this for at home as well.
  • Phone charger
  • Flip flops for hospital rooms/shower if desired
  • Lip balm
  • Hair ties
  • Items for comfort measures: think about what you want to use for comfort in labor. Consider things like essential oils, hot/cold packs, tennis balls for counter pressure, coconut oil for massage. Talk to your doula about what they bring to births to help with comfort support.
  • Tank top/swim top for laboring in a birth tub if desired

For baby…

  • Car seat – Should already be installed. Also, consider a car seat safety check from your local fire station before your baby is born.
  • Going home outfit for your baby. Consider the weather and your travel home.
  • Choice diapers/wipes – Hospitals supply diapers and you’ll get some to take with you as well. If you have a special preference, be sure to bring it with you.
  • Choice blankets/swaddles/pacifiers. If you have specific items you want, then you need to make sure you pack them. The hospital provides general supplies, but they may not be your faves.

If you’re looking for some more inspiration, then check out Mama Natural’s packing list or a second list here.

Early Labor: Three Ways to Stay Sane

How to Keep Your Cool When Labor Begins

As a birth doula, I talk families through early labor all the time. We talk about what to expect in our second prenatal meeting. Early labor is the time when contractions begin but are not yet close together, regular, or intense. You may have bloody show, digestive symptoms, and contractions can be 5+ minutes apart.

The onset of labor can cause a lot of nervousness in first time parents. Firstly, we have this idea that you need to DO things in early labor to bring on active labor. As a doula, sometimes I see a birthing person become exhausted by the time active labor sets in. They have spend their entire beginning phase walking, standing on their head, doing jumping jacks, or cleaning their whole house.

When I was in early labor with my first baby, I was a wreck. I felt some contractions start randomly throughout the day and I was so sore. I was at 41 weeks and I felt like I was waiting an eternity for things to start. I felt so frustrated and tired. It was around Easter and we had candy in the house. I drowned my sorrows by eating a chocolate bunny, then took a shower. After my shower, strong contractions quickly set in and I threw that bunny up everywhere. Don’t be like me. Don’t eat the bunny.

Early Labor is the Start of a Marathon

Birth is a marathon. Firstly, labor sets in and you’re learning what contractions might feel like. Your body is working hard by coordinating muscles, softening, and opening. Secondly, it’s important to know that the first part of the process could last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. You don’t know how long your birth might be. It’s important to save energy. Thirdly, it’s important for your body to be properly fueled when things get intense and fast paced at the end of the marathon.

Three Tips to Stay Sane in Early Labor

Stay Well Hydrated

Drink lots of fluids. You don’t need to go crazy, but drinking fluids now will help you stay hydrated for the long haul. Try some coconut water or other electrolyte drink in early labor to get an extra boost. You may not feel like drinking much later. Also, staying well hydrated will help your muscles work better in labor.

Rest as Much As Possible

Ignore it until you can’t ignore it any longer. When you feel contractions starting, rest as much as possible. If it’s night time, tuck yourself in bed with some pillows and stay in bed until you can’t any more. Rest is so important when labor begins. You’re preparing for the marathon. Resist the temptation do DO and simply rest and relax. Gather a snack at your bedside and a good drink with a straw.

Eat Smart

Remember my story about the chocolate bunny? Don’t be like me. Don’t eat the bunny. In this time, eat easily digestible foods with some protein. Ideas include fruits and vegetables, greek yogurt, oatmeal, toast and peanut butter, bone broth, etc. Try to eat small snacks throughout this time to boost your energy. Here are some ideas for snacks and drinks for birth.

What did you do in early labor? What was helpful to you?

Time and Birth: A Timeless Process in a Scheduled World

Living in Horticultural Time in an Industrial Society

time and birth

One of the first questions we typically ask a newly pregnant person is, “When are you due?” We ask this question as if babies are somehow on a timer. Time and birth are incredibly related in our society.

Firstly, a wide body of scientific research reveals that there is no clear consensus on what triggers labor to begin. Your baby, your placenta, the readiness of your body, and possibly environmental factors all play a role. Secondly, there is a five week window in which it is considered totally normal to birth a baby (37-42 weeks). Some babies are born before and after this time without complications. Thirdly, due dates are misleading because there is great variability in menstrual cycle length among women.

Time and Birth: Birth Happens in Horticultural Time

Pregnancy and birth are natural and organic processes that often defy the industrial concept of time. Horticultural time refers to the time things happen according to nature. But you’re thinking, we live in a modern world! This is true, but you can’t take the animal out of the human body and put it on a clock and expect it to comply.

Firstly, living in horticultural time means living in harmony with the biology of living things. For example, this includes plants, the seasons, life cycles, growth, and death. Also, time and birth is conditional. A variety of factors contribute to growth patterns.

In horticultural time:

  • a variety of factors can influence growth
  • everything moves slowly and rhythmically
  • we live in harmony
  • natural differences are allowed
  • we support the idea that birth unfolds in unique ways
  • we support the harmony between mother & baby through rhythms of hunger, sleep, growth, and change

In industrial time:

  • we base progress on the clock and calendar
  • information is based on exact calculations and numerical values
  • things move quickly and are unchanging
  • we view due dates as exact science
  • information is based on exactness, technology, and systems
  • babies are placed on a timeline for feeding and development

“When our body begs us to slow down during pregnancy, when we realize we cannot predict the exact date of our birthing, when after birth our baby needs us to be in harmony with his or her rhythms of hunger and sleep and growth and change, we are being asked to become more intimate and in tune with horticultural time.” Source: Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke, CNM (2012) Check out her amazing website here!

What do you believe? How do you align your pregnancy and birth with your personal beliefs about time?

Firstly, you have to decide what you believe in. Every birthing family is different. Many families find that a mixture of both systems supports their pregnancy and birth. Your birth doula can help support you in making choices to fit your vision for your birth. Decide where you stand and determine your vision.

Secondly, consider how your choices relate to your belief in time and birth. Are you anxious about going past your due date? Are you someone who needs numbers and statistics to reduce your anxiety? Do you want to learn more about your baby’s growth and development? Or, are you okay with flexibility and going with the flow? There is no right answer, only the one that is right for you.

The Birth Experience: Packing Your Soul Suitcase

Bringing Your Whole Self Into the Birth Experience

birth experience

As a doula, I am all about preparing prenatally for the birth experience. I work with many families who take extensive childbirth classes. These families are thoroughly prepared for birth and baby care. However, I find that some prenatal classes ignore a huge component of the birth experience.

At birth, you bring the entire suitcase of your soul into your experience. Regardless of your religious beliefs, birth is a spiritual event. If you haven’t unpacked the suitcase and big emotions prior to birth, then you’re going to bring them into your birth.

Unpacking the Suitcase

Firstly, I work with my clients prenatally to discuss fears and emotions before birth. I believe this is important in removing blocks and obstacles in the process. Fear creates tension. Tension creates resistance and pain. Pain is a normal part of birth. But, suffering is hard on the soul.

Secondly, I work with my clients to address each fear and concern about the birth process. We come up with a plan to gain knowledge, understanding, and address any emotional blocks that may arise in birth. It may not be possible to erase all concerns, but opening the suitcase is a good place to start.

Lastly, I encourage birthing families to express the full range of emotions that come up during birth. Birth is a marathon. We are often coached to stuff our emotions away. We are told that expressing the feelings is akin to losing control. I beg to differ. If you don’t deal with the emotions that come up in birth, then they control you. I listen, hold a hand, wipe tears, and ask what you are thinking.

Strategies in Pregnancy: Bringing Your Whole Self Into the Birth Experience

There are many ways in which you can address the big emotions and fears you may have packed in your birth bag. Lastly, here are some simple suggestions:

  • Work with a therapist that specializes in pregnancy & perinatal mood disorders. They can help you explore your personal concerns. Anxiety and depression in pregnancy is a risk factor for postpartum mood disorders. If you find resources ahead of time, then you are better prepared for postpartum. Also, therapists may be able to connect you with other local resources.
  • Explore bodywork. I have seen many mothers enter the birth experience with incredible tension in their soft tissues from past trauma. Massage, chiropractic care, or craniosacral therapy can explore this tension to reduce resistance in birth. Tension creates resistance. Resistance creates pain. Also, pain affects endurance for birth.
  • Get real. Ask yourself the hard questions. Start a journal or brainstorm all of your possible fears and concerns. Be honest and don’t try to stuff it away. Lastly, share your concerns with your provider or doula.

Childbirth Education and the Birth Experience

Why Every Birthing Family Needs to Take a Great Childbirth Education Class

childbirth education

The average American family spends about $20,000 on a wedding. When we are planning for our babies, we focus on having STUFF that we need. We shower moms and their babies with countless articles of clothing. Families give countless gifts of gear and toys. We plan nurseries that our babies don’t sleep in. And yet so many families decide not to take childbirth education classes.

Firstly, Local hospitals have classes that are often free. Secondly, private birth classes are often covered by health insurance plans. There are group and private classes available. Also, there are now online childbirth courses available for busy families.

As a birth doula, I clearly see a difference in the birth experience. I find that families who take a childbirth course are much more prepared for birth and postpartum. If families take a childbirth education course, then I see their knowledge infused into their experience.

Why You Need Childbirth Education…

  • Childbirth classes reduce fear and anxiety in pregnancy and birth. Childbirth education courses prepare families for the birth experience. You are given tons of information about what to expect in each phase of labor. You will learn what to expect along the way. Parents learn support methods for birth. Comfort measures provide relief and relaxation. You will move through each phase of labor with less fear and anxiety. In addition, a prepared partner provides better support.
  • Parents gain community. The families in your class become part of your community. You can do your own research. But, community is priceless. Classmates become your tribe. Community is key in the transition into parenthood.
  • Knowledge is power. When you are prepared with knowledge of your choices, you can make informed choices that help you meet your goals. A birth class will teach you what you need to know to make decisions. You don’t know what you don’t know. If you take a childbirth class, then you are prepared to make informed choices.

Choices for Classes

Childbirth classes are available everywhere. Firstly, local hospitals run free birth classes. Secondly, most cities have many private childbirth educators who teach their own classes. Baby stores organize birth classes. Some organizations include Lamaze International , Hypnobirthing International, and The Bradley Method. I find that local providers are often very familiar with classes. Lastly, ask your doctor or midwife about great local birth classes.

I recommend finding local moms’ groups. Facebook has groups for every city. I have had great experiences finding classes this way. When you connect with local moms’ groups, you find community.

Childbirth Classes are Evidence Based

Also, childbirth education is evidence based. Particularly, this study revealed that childbirth classes reduce cesarean rates. Some evidence also shows that classes can reduce feelings of anxiety, as well as increasing VBAC rates.

Nursery Organizing Hacks – A Minimalist Perspective

3 Nursery Organizing Hacks – Preparing for Baby

nursery organizing

You’re pregnant with your first baby. So many conversations revolve around what to buy for your baby’s nursery. You’re in Babies ‘R Us trying out all the latest gear. Your registry is full of the coolest toys, most popular products, and more! You find yourself searching Pinterest for ideas for nursery organizing and it all seems beautiful! You’ll probably try out a few things, store all the stuff, and then one your baby is born you barely use the nursery at all. Consequently, you’ve spend a lot of time and energy for a room you use several months later.

Does this sound familiar?

In this post, I’m going to offer 3 nursery organizing tips that will actually help you in the postpartum time. These tips are portable and can be used whether you are cosleeping or if baby is in a nursery. Then, you can apply these tips as your baby grows and your needs change.

Diaper Stations

In the first few weeks postpartum, you are on a great healing journey. Firstly, you are healing from birth. Secondly, you’re intensely tired. Create a diaper station on each floor of your home, in the places you spend the most time with your baby. For example, this could be your living room, bedroom, or nursery. You can buy a few cheap changing pads to have nearby, or even a few receiving blankets will work. Get a basket or bin and fill it with a day’s worth of diapers, wipes, plastic bags for trash, coconut oil, and whatever else you might use at diaper changing time. If you have other children, consider buying something with a lid to avoid exploration.

Your postpartum doula can change and refill your stash each day.

Consider diaper storage for your needs. If you’re using cloth diapers, this site has some great practical ideas for storage.

Become a Clothing Minimalist

What size clothes is your baby wearing right now? Probably newborn or 0-3 months. Take any extra larger clothes and get them out of your space and into storage. Emphasize skin to skin as much as possible in the early weeks. You can get by with about 10 onesies/sleepers per size. You need MUCH LESS than you think. If you can remove any clutter, it can really feel relieving. If you only have what you really need, then you won’t need elaborate systems or furniture to store baby’s clothes.

Place several onesies/sleepers (whatever it is you are dressing baby in…) in your diaper change station for easy access to fresh clothing.

Create Space for Yourself

Mothers are so overlooked in the process of planning for life with baby. In the few weeks after baby is born, you will need to use the restroom frequently. Your body is flushing extra fluids and you will be bleeding. Create a station for yourself in your bathroom that has all of your pads, extra underwear, peri bottle, and other comfort items. Place it right on the back of your toilet or other place in arms reach. Moving around is hard enough. Let’s make this as easy as possible.

Create a station for yourself in baby’s nursery, your room, or wherever you spend time with your baby. Stash some water bottles, snacks, a good book, a phone charger, or anything else you might want in arms reach. Firstly, consider yourself while you plan your baby’s space. Do you need a place to rest in baby’s room? Secondly, consider putting a place to rest in baby’s room such as a floor bed or a futon. In planning your nursery, YOU are just as important.

Lastly, in planning your baby’s nursery, consider being flexible and be able to adapt as your baby grows and your needs change.