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July 26, 2016

Thinking ahead, doing some research and planning for baby’s arrival can go a long way to helping you feel more in control when you need to be.  

Relaxation and Sleep…

One of the things mums-to-be are often warned about is the sleep deprivation that lies ahead. But it can be somewhat unhelpful to have warning of something you can’t do much about in advance. People will recommend getting as much sleep as you can before baby arrives, but many women find that getting comfortable and sleeping well is already tricky in late pregnancy. The kicking of tiny feet, or a bladder that needs emptying frequently certainly don’t help the cause! It’s handy, therefore, to learn some useful techniques for being able to nod off or even just to relax, when you do get the chance. Many of the techniques learned in hypnobirthing courses can be applied to inducing a relaxed state at any time. Or you could download a guided relaxation app and get into the habit of listening to it now, so that later on it will have that sleep association for you. Funnily enough, many of the techniques for helping babies sleep well work for their mothers too, such as getting out into the fresh air and daylight every day, having a set bedtime routine in the evening, using blackout curtains to keep your room dark, and listening to white noise as you nod off.

Build a support system…

If you have family members who are happy to pitch in with advice and support then that’s perfect. If you don’t have close friends or family nearby who are able to lend a hand then you might want to think about who you can lean on if you need to. Identify your nearest Plunket drop-in centre and keep the number for the Plunket helpline somewhere handy (0800 933 922). If possible, it might be worth budgeting in advance for a Karitane nurse, baby whisperer or sleep consultant in case you need some expert advice. There’s no shame in paying for assistance if you can afford it, and it could well help you get a handle on things.

If you’re planning to breastfeed…

Then it can be helpful to school up early, rather than the moment you’re thrown in the deep end. Lactation consultant Trish Warder explains, “Getting breastfeeding up and running can have its challenges; after all you are both learning. And then there is everyone’s advice and it is not all helpful. To feel more confident I suggest learning more about babies and breastfeeding. This is on top of your antenatal classes. In the first weeks after your baby is born you will be tired and you may be confused, so the more knowledge the better: understand how milk is made, how to avoid painful feeding and to grow a good milk production, how to know your baby is getting enough, avoiding mastitis, when and where to seek help….plus much more. Aim to read books and websites that are written by those who really do understand breastfeeding. The best will base their information on research. Here are some I would recommend”:

- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League
- The Discontented Little Baby Book by Dr Pamela Douglas
http://www.breastfeedingonline.com
http://www.lalecheleague.org.nz

While you have the headspace…

To think about it, make time to sit down with your partner and discuss what sort of parents you want to be; talk about other parents you admire and why; think about aspects of your own childhood – what you want to do the same and what you might want to do differently. Talk about how you might be able to support each other through the difficult bits. Remember though: while it’s great to have ideals, you won’t be able to live up to them all the time. Know what kind of parents you want to be and strive for that, but be forgiving of yourself at those times when it just doesn’t happen. We may be parents, but we’re still only human.

Have a few nice products…

On hand to treat yourself with, because once baby is here your usual quick pick-me-ups won’t be so easy. Put together your own care package with a fragrance that you find uplifting, a wheat bag to soothe the aches and pains of new motherhood, and a face mask you can smear on for some special treatment. Stock up on yummy food so that when you need to reach for a snack (or a whole meal) after baby arrives there will be plenty to hand. Become au fait with online shopping too, as getting to the supermarket in the early weeks might be a bridge too far. 


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