The last weeks of pregnancy are no cake walk; I remember it well.
You're anxious; you're staying busy preparing your home for your new arrival, and I'm sure you're also on the receiving end of lots of bullsh*t advice like, "When the baby comes, just make sure you nap when he naps!"
If you are in this position, you are me, 16 months ago. And, girl, what you need is some super practical advice on how to survive early motherhood — Millennial mama style.
No junk, no old wives' tales and absolutely no forgetting about yourself allowed!
Go out and get yourself some cute loungewear.
You don't want to look like you spent the night in a frat house and borrowed a random dude’s sweats to traipse around in the next morning.
I’m talking loose cotton/modal blend pants and draped t-shirts. I suggest purchasing this in black or ecru (the latter disguises spit up beautifully).
You’re going to have a lot of visitors, and you will likely be more excited about “entertaining” if you don’t feel like draping yourself in a cloak of invisibility, due to frumpy pajamas.
Stock up on dried fruit.
Having a baby puts your body through a lot, and it takes a little time to get things working again.
Help your body out by giving it tons of fiber. You will thank me for this later.
Your baby will want to be held a lot, which is great because babies are super cute and you’ll want to hold him or her just as much. However, this will only allow for one-handed food consumption.
Smoothies are also an awesome way to get lots of nutrients in a small window of time.
Bonus: They require only one hand, so you can drink them while standing and bouncing. (You’ll do this a lot, but just think of it as light cardio exercise mixed with squat reps. You’ll have your body back in no time.)
On a similar note, embrace healthy fats in your smoothies.
Try to incorporate these in general; stock up on avocados and coconut oil, especially if you’re nursing.
I was constantly hungry because I produced more milk than your average dairy cow, so avocado, banana, ginger, coconut milk and cinnamon smoothies saved my ass time and time again.
Two words: concealer and blush. Seriously.
I’m not a big makeup person generally, but a dab of concealer under tired eyes and a little blush make me look alive.
I don’t know how much better I really looked, but holy crap, did I feel better.
Honestly, anything that makes you feel like a human and not a baby purger in the weeks after childbirth deserves to be taken seriously.
Acquaint yourself with all the local restaurants with delivery services.
You’d be surprised how many non-pizza joints have affiliations with delivery companies, which will make it possible for you to order an actual meal to your house when someone stops by to meet the baby right around dinner time.
(This is bound to happen -- just accept it and do not feel obliged to cook food yourself.)
Invest in some luxurious hand cream.
You are about to wash your hands more than you ever have in your entire life, so they will get dry.
You will feel like they look like the hands belonging to the evil queen in Snow White.
A great hand cream is a perfect indulgence for a new mom.
Don’t fill your space with baby things.
Honestly, babies don’t need much (especially at the beginning).
Actually, in prepping for early days with baby, I suggest having something you can put your child down in that you know will be a safe place, then just get sh*t that makes you feel happy and calm.
Designer candles? A cashmere blanket you can drape over yourself and baby on quiet afternoons?
A Bose speaker for some chill music?
Do what you gotta do. A happy mom equals a happy baby.
Arrange for someone to clean your house for you.
No matter how you get the job done (i.e. vaginal birth or C-section), you’re not going to want to be mopping floors for a bit, so either hire someone or ask a close friend or family member in advance if they’d be able to help you out with some things around the house.
Don’t skip showers.
Nothing makes you feel grosser than realizing it’s been three days since you’ve thoroughly cleansed your body of dried breast milk and general disgustingness.
An ideal time for showers is when family comes to visit the baby or when someone who has recently had a baby comes over. They will likely volunteer to hold the baby for you while you bathe -- just say yes.
Another opportunity to finally shower is when baby is awake and happy to chill in his or her bouncy chair; put the baby in the chair in the bathroom with you, poke your head out every couple of minutes, and you’re good to go.
Go for walks.
Even on the days when I was so tired, I wasn’t sure getting off the couch was an option, if I went for even a 10 minute stroll, I felt a million times better.
Fresh air is good for you; it’s good for the baby, and it’s good for your body’s recovery process.
From day one, help your baby understand nighttime is for sleeping, and daytime is party time.
At the beginning, doing this won’t have much of an effect on your baby's general sleep/wake cycles, but you’d be shocked at how quickly he or she figures it out.
Personally, from 9 pm until sunrise, I kept the house very dim and quiet.
I spoke to the baby very little, and when I did, it was in soft tones. During the daytime, all curtains were open, music was turned up, books were read, etc.
In just a few weeks, he started sleeping longer stretches over night. I successfully tricked him into thinking there was nothing worth staying up for.
Pick up a couple slimming nursing tanks by Boob.
These are perfect for the moderately vain new mom. Give yourself a couple of weeks before trying to fit into it, but when you feel ready, pop it on for an instant body-image boost.
It’s basically Spanx for your mid-section. It holds everything up and in and makes you feel like less of a blob.
The underlying theme in my advice here is don't forget about you.
These will be the first days, weeks and months of no longer being pregnant; it can be an emotional time. (I, personally, was a little sad to not be housing a baby anymore, strangely enough.)
But, it’s also an important time for self-love. Of course, a lot of your love will be directed toward your new family member, but you must remember to save a little for yourself.
People may tell you this time flies by; in my experience, however, time only moves quickly in hindsight.
When you’re at home with a newborn, time becomes glacial; minutes can feel like hours, and days can feel like weeks.
So, in that time, make your home your haven. Fill it with beautiful scents and music.
Wear clothes that feel luxurious on your skin, and create an atmosphere that inspires visitors to be relaxed and happy, too, because babies can feel the energy around them.
At the end of the day, it’s not about the most cutting-edge toys, the fanciest bassinets or even the most eco-friendly soothers; it’s about creating a space for your family that allows for calm, rest and a whole lot of love.