In preparing for Baby #2 to arrive, I've found myself caught between two extremes. The first is very laissez-faire, in which I don't really worry or stress about anything (and then find myself procrastinating on every little task). The other extreme is very panicked, in which I look like a deer-caught-in-headlights as I think about the reality of having another small child (under 2) in our home, and the fact that I've been so laissez-faire about preparations.
But whether I'm procrastinating or gripped with fear, the reality is I still have to prepare (considering I'm already at - gasp - 37 weeks!). Since this is the second time around, I thought I'd share some things I'm doing differently this time, as well as how to prepare for another baby with one already at home. Hopefully some of these tips will be useful to you!
My daughter "helped" her daddy set up the co-sleeper.
She wanted to get in, but we told her it was for babies.
Naturally, she went and got a baby doll, baby's blanket, and tucked baby in for bed.
This is her doll that her uncle brought back from India. She calls it "Yaya," after her little cousin "Jaya."
Okay. For whatever reason, this has been my least-favorite task this go-around. I guess I'm worried about forgetting something so I'm afraid to start (same reason why my birth plan was unwritten until about two days ago). Also, I'm usually so spent by the end of the day that spending an hour packing is the last thing I want to do.
See how it mocks me?
So I just left the bag out in my living room and I've been spending 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there packing it, whenever I feel that 5-minute-inspiration hit me. It's been less overwhelming and has worked fairly well.
Newborn outfit options.
Yes, I packed 3. So what.
- Food. Cliff bars, trail mix, and canned fruit for snacks (mainly for your partner, but I needed a couple snacks postpartum while waiting for the food to arrive)
- Music. I brought my computer and it was the most blessed thing ever. (Of course, I naively made playlists that were similar to my workout playlists. I ended up just listening to Jon Foreman and Sara Groves over and over again. Think: REEEEALLY chill music.)
- Robe. I'm sorry, but it is just not cool to be walking around in a hospital gown with your back exposed for that long (my first labor was 36 hours or something). I'm bringing a robe.
- Makeup, or whatever it will take to make you feel refreshed after (at least as much as possible). There will be tons of pictures.
- Pillows and pillow cases. You may or may not use them, so just keep them in the car if need-be. If your partner is staying over, then you might need them in case there is no pull-out bed. Ultimately, the pillows at the hospital were fine, but I think we'll keep a couple in the car just in case.
- Birth(yoga) ball. Most hospitals have them. Just ask.
- A cooler full of icy pops. Well, one website recommended this, and I thought: YES! Seriously: NO. They all melted by the time I could have used them, and we just ended up carrying around a useless cooler from room to room. So dumb.
- A separate bag for my husband. We're just stuffing everything in to one bag this time.
We don't live close to the grandparents, but we don't exactly live far either. My parents will be driving 2 1/2 hours when I'm in labor, but depending on traffic and when they can leave, it might take longer. Now I'm hoping I can labor at home until they get here (I'm not really in a rush to get to the hospital), but in case we have to go in, we have four sets of people lined up to be "on call" to watch our daughter.
I also e-mailed them a document detailing everything about her day -- from schedule, to words she might say that are important to know (but may be hard to decipher), to bedtime routines, to you-name-it. It's extremely detailed, and I know that's not everyone's cup of tea, but some people might want a detailed list when they watch our little girl. And for those that don't want details, they can figure it out.
Food Prep (FREEZE THOSE MEALS!)
The number one thing I've been telling moms-to-be (especially the first time around) is to freeze as many meals as possible. I had planned on doing this the first go-around, but we moved to a new house when I was 35 weeks pregnant and I only managed to freeze some leftover chili. We were blessed enough to have two weeks of dinners provided for by our church, but once those meals were up, I was NOT ready to start cooking or even think about planning grocery lists. That chili -- that one night we defrosted it and had it for dinner -- was heavenly. And I swore up and down that I would be more diligent the next time about freezing meals.
But here's the thing (and this is KEY girls, so listen up): you will NOT want to freeze meals by the time you're 35/36 weeks. You'll be too tired, and you have too many other things to take care of. Plus, if the baby arrives at week 37, then you have a LOT of cooking to do. So here's what I did this time: around week 33, I just started making our dinners with a little extra on the side. Whatever leftovers we had, I froze. We now have six complete meals in the freezer (and that's about all we can fit). And honestly, I didn't have to do any extra cooking -- I simply just made our meals as usual.
I'm certainly glad I did it before week 36, though -- because let me tell you, there is NO way meals are being made from hereon out, besides quick gluten-free pasta dishes, frozen gf pizza, and eggs. I'm done with cooking. I'm resting.
I remember when I was in my last month of pregnancy, I felt like I didn't get any sleep. Between bouts of general third-trimester-insomnia, frequent bathroom trips, and having to wake up every time I wanted to switch sides, I thought I'd get more sleep when the baby arrived. Are you thinking that too? Well, I have some news for you.
So rest as much as possible, whether that means taking naps, watching extra movies, or ordering out a little more than usual. You need to store up your energy.
I wrote a WHOLE lot about this over at my blog here and here. Rest: it's revolutionary.
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