I’ve mentioned preparing ahead of time for a “babymoon” occasionally before. I thought I’d share some of the specifics of what I’m doing this time around. Each baby’s preparation will look a little different for me, as I have different things done and different needs…and yours will look very different from mine.
Whatever you might have to do to get ready, I think it’s a great thing for every mom to prepare for. You might not “need” it…you might not have much of any healing to do, the baby might be content being worn all day, and you might be able to jump back into life within 24 hours of giving birth. Or you might need it…your baby might (ahem :-)) not be perfectly happy just being worn while you do stuff, you might have breastfeeding issues, your other children might have more adjustment issues and need more of you, you might have a rough/longer recovery, tandem nursing might not be a breeze, you might be up every hour or more at night, and find yourself succumbing to an afternoon nap with the baby. I didn’t think I would need one with Vivi, but due to my longer recovery, I did…and was glad I had prepared for one, and was also very blessed by and thankful for family and friends who brought meals- especially since I only had about a week’s worth of fully-done meals prepared. Not to mention, there’s nothing quite so easy as having someone bring you a fully-done meal! J Whether it ends up being needed or not, I think it can be valuable and special for every family.
With Viviana, we stayed home the first two weeks. Ben left to play ultimate and do the grocery shopping, but Vivi and I didn’t go anywhere till attending a Memorial Day picnic when she was 13 days old. With this baby, we hope to stay home the first couple weeks as well, and I’m planning for a babymoon (as far as not really having to do anything) that’ll last around a month, give or take, depending on what we want to do.
Lives go by so quickly- and in just a flash, newborns grow up into alert babies…and before you know it, they’re turning one, and then getting married. I want to take in every moment with my newborn….I want Vivi to enjoy the season, too. I want Viviana to feel special and enjoy getting to know her little sibling. I want to take in every moment….capture every smile, every gurgle. I want to just drink in my baby’s sweetness….before s/he’s no longer a baby. That’s why we’re having a babymoon. So Vivi, the baby and I can just hang out all day…rocking, nursing, playing. We’re going to enjoy each other without any worries or cares. And when I start to feel restless, I’ll put the baby in a sling and pull a chair up next to me in the kitchen for Vivi, and we’ll go to work on a special dinner….not because I have to, just for fun. Or maybe Vivi and I will both grab sponges and set to work cleaning the bathroom, with baby in the sling or wrap. (Side note: I clean with all natural homemade cleaners, making it perfectly safe for little ones to be with me when I’m cleaning!) On the days when life’s a little busier, or when we’re just having too much fun being lazy together…we’ll pull a meal out of the freezer. And of course, we’ll still do laundry and keep up with any basics that need to be done.
I remember spending hours a day just rocking Vivi during her early weeks. She was so precious, so sweet….there were so many details to make note of and carefully imprint in my memory. I want to create those same memories again….oh, yes, it’ll be very different, with a toddler in tow…and it probably will be more active, because said toddler will surely want to play. But I want to drink in every moment. That won’t change.
*Edited to add: The closer we get to due date (10 weeks left!), the more I wonder what Vivi’s needs will be after the baby’s born. Since her needs are extremely important to us, I’m thinking a lot about practicalities of each day- how to still meet her needs while fully meeting the baby’s needs. Vivi has always been slower to develop emotionally than other babies, and that hasn’t changed yet. She has quite a few more emotional needs than the typical 15 month old. And that’s okay…but it means she’s still going to be very much a baby when #2 arrives. Like, I don’t think she’ll be ready to quit nursing in the night before then. And it’s pretty questionable whether or not she’ll be walking. So, I’m thinking a lot through how life will look practically in order to meet the full needs of both munchkins (instead of just expecting Vivi to grow up or, if this baby happens to be a more content baby, taking too much advantage of that). There will be adjustments for Vivi- for everybody, and that’s okay. I just don’t want adjustment to equal neglecting her very real needs. For instance- she’s going to have to be able to fall asleep while I nurse both at once sometimes, I’m sure, and then be eased down into the bed…something I have a hard time seeing happen right now. But, we aren’t going to settle for a cry-it-out method for her just because there’s a new baby, too.
So, needless to say, I’m thinking I’ll be quite grateful for a month off as we settle into a new normal, so I can still give my babies what they need. Vivi’s going to be a lot more needy than I originally anticipated she might. I originally thought it likely we’d help her night wean prior to the baby, for instance…but it’s obvious she’s not ready for that. Definitely okay, but it involves a change of plans, and means a baby moon might be necessary simply for the sake of meeting everyone’s emotional needs through the adjustments and still getting enough rest.
Mostly, I need to prepare my mindset….planning on it being a month off and not getting anything particular done outside of day-to-day basics and nurturing my family. Realizing that taking time out for naps or rest for a little while is okay, if it better enables me to meet everyone’s needs. Recognizing that my family’s needs are most important, and it’s okay to let the rest slide for awhile till we find a routine that works for everyone. Anyway….just some more realistic and down-to-the-nitty-gritty thoughts as we approach due date and work through how things will look practically! (Because I’m a planner…so thinking about stuff like this absolutely has to happen.)*
In the meanwhile, Viviana and I are having lots of fun getting ready for the babymoon! We’re gearing up, working hard together for the reward after baby.
I have a list of projects, which includes:
-Make postpartum menstrual pads (done!)
-Make overnight menstrual pads (done!)
-Stock up items for my etsy shop (pads, bowl covers, one-size diapers, etc.), so I can continue selling without having to make anything for a while (pretty close)
-Make a one-size diaper pattern and ½ dozen or so diapers (done!)
-Make a few baby hats
-Figure out Christmas stuff for Vivi, baby, Ben, family, etc. as well as birthdays over the next several months (coming along…but needs quite a bit more work!)
-Get all the canning/preserving done (work in progess…but things are under way!)
Then there’s cleaning preparation. I think this one’s really important. Firstly, because it lets me welcome the baby into a nice, clean, dust-and-dirt-free home. It also allows me to labor in a peaceful, uncluttered environment. And it makes it easier to let things slide for a while after the baby’s born. I’ve recently started working on tackling some of the more difficult things, because, while it’s still 10 weeks out, I’m getting larger and more and more out of breath….so I know at 36 weeks, especially with Vivi on my back, I may not be very able to do some of it. If I can, great- it won’t hurt to get done again. If not….at least it will have been done semi-recently, which is better than nothing.
My condensed list looks something like this:
-Vacuum dust all baseboards, surfaces, fans and light fixtures (most rooms are done- but there are at least a few I want to get to again in a few weeks)
-Steam Vac all carpets (done!)
-Wipe down appliances, etc. in kitchen (done- but it’s now on my monthly cleaning list, so it should get done 2 more times before baby)
-Clean out refrigerator (partially, but not a full wipe-down yet)
-Organize/create master list of freezers (they aren’t too bad due to recent partial-cleans in making room for new seasonal stuff- but need a little more organization and a final list so I know what I have and where to find it)
-Clean up craft room
-Get out all Vivi’s winter clothes
-Organize any closets/storage areas that need it (done!)
-Declutter entire house (I guess this one’s always a work in progress…but I’ve pretty thoroughly gotten through all rooms recently, so it’s fairly well done)
-Wash bedding, also wash any items that need it and don’t get washed often
-Wash/stash newborn diapers (holding myself off till 32 weeks on this one and the one below…can’t wait!)
-Wash newborn clothing and paraphernalia
I’m sure there are other things….but that’s the general jist of it, anyway.
Preparing for birth. Obviously, this one’s very important if you’re birthing at home, but even if you aren’t, there are some things needed no matter where you go/what you do. I detail this further in an old blog post (here and here), so this’ll be pretty short and sweet. I really wish I could start working on this one, and the getting ready of new baby’s dipes and clothes….that’ll be so much fun! But, I should probably hold off a few more weeks, at least….and I still have an issue of needing an upright dresser- so I don’t have a place to put anything yet.
-Prepare birth kit….make sure I have everything I need
-Prepare birthday freezer meal that works for my mostly-vegetarian midwife (definitely a meat-to-the-side meal, because I know I’ll be ready for something hearty and vegetarianism isn’t for me J)
-Set aside after-birth clothing for baby and I
-Prepare gift for Viviana (doll-size sling and cloth doll)
-Prepare healing stuff for afterwards
And, of course…preparing the kitchen! I love having a full pantry and freezers…it’s so rewarding, and always gets put to good use. I’m not sure how much I’ll have space to do this time around, since baby’s arrival will come closely on the heels of preserving season. My freezers are already stuffed, and I’m not even done! So, I’ll be working off this list, doing as much as will fit, and we’ll stop when there isn’t any space left….unless my mom or someone has a lot of empty space I can stash a few dishes in, which is a current possibility. Also, some things are subject to change…often the meals get put in my freezer because I’m making something for us and say, “Hey, this would be a good freezer-friendly meal that would be great after baby’s birth.”
Manicotti w/meatballs and homemade noodles
-Uncooked pepperoni bread (up to 6-8 loaves, depending on space…it would make a good potluck/sharing at families’ meal)
-Chicken tortilla bake (one 13x9, done)
-Manicotti w/meatballs and homemade noodles (possibly- this would be in addition to the birth-day meal)
-caneloni w/homemade noodles (1-2 13x9)
-chicken divan (1 13x9)
-Beef stew (2 packages (will require making rice or mashed potatoes for serving)- my mother in law made us beef stew after Vivi was born, and it was a really awesome after-birth/starting up nursing meal!)
-sloppy joes (2 packages, done!)
-buffalo chicken soup (1)
-wet burritos (13x9)
-cheesy creamy chicken enchiladas (13x9)
-stir fry (this is vague- I need to find a recipe to try J)
-split pea soup (1)
Sides and Starters:
(a note: A lot, but not all, of the things listed here are things I like to have on hand more or less all the time. So preparing them for baby just means making sure I stay stocked up on all of these and don’t run my supply out without replenishing it before the end of October. That’s not the case for everything, but is definitely so for meats and cheeses…and preferably for beans and bread dough products. I also have/will have plenty of stored veggies, fruits, and what-not to use for stuff.)
6 pints refried black beans, seasoned
6 pints black and/or red beans
15 – 1 lb packages cooked ground beef
4 – 1 lb packages cooked seasoned burrito meat
3 – 1 lb packages cooked seasoned Italian beef sausage
6 – 1 ½ lb packages homemade meatballs
4 – 1 ½ lb packages Salisbury steaks (add mashed potatoes and typical sides (veggies, bread, etc.) and it’s a meal)
4 burger packs
3 bags taco meat
various cuts of meat from our side of beef
2 lbs homemade pepperoni, sliced
4 lbs homemade summer sausage
lots of cooked chopped chicken in various quantity packages
2 – 1 ½ lb fajita meat packages
2 – 1 ½ lb creamy crockpot chicken packages
2 – 1 ½ lb grilled chicken sandwich marinated chicken packs
shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese
sliced provolone cheese
lots of bread dough- French bread, regular loaves, buns, pizza crust, etc.
tortilla dough- regular, jalepeno cheese, corn (divided into balls already, so I just have to roll and cook)
4 onion/pepper packs (for use with fajitas and meatball sandwiches)
1 cherry/blueberry pie
1 apple pie
8 qts frozen smoothies, assorted kinds
pureed bananas, for breads
12 breakfast burritos
Granola (3 gallons)
Banana chocolate chip bread mix for 6 loaves
Home-canned spaghetti sauce
Home-canned pizza sauce
Easy Meal Ideas Using my Sides/Starters:
-Steak, rice, salad
-Spaghetti & meatballs, French bread, salad
-Meatball sandwiches, veggie and/or salad
-Tacos, bean dip
-BBQ beef or chicken sandwiches, veggie/salad, potato salad if I have the time
-Beef pepper steak
-Salisbury steaks, mashed potato, salad
-Burgers and homemade fries
-Creamy crockpot chicken over rice, veggie
-Grilled chicken sandwich and homemade fries or potato salad