5 Tips to Prepare for Motherhood
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5 Tips to Prepare for Motherhood

Jun 01, 2021

I don’t know that you can truly 100% prepare for anything in life, birth and motherhood included - there will always be curveballs and exceptions to the rules but you can certainly be underprepared for things, that concept is very real. In fact, I believe most women are deeply underprepared for what comes after birth, for what’s been touted as the fourth trimester and their motherhood. I’ve spent innumerable hours researching and interviewing women and here’s 5 ways I know will better prepare you for birth and as you transition from woman to mother; 

  1. Prepare your body
  2. Have a flexible birth plan
  3. Prepare a practical hospital bag
  4. Don’t forget about the fourth trimester
  5. Have a support crew

Prepare yourself because when you’re in the grip of labour it’s too late to crack open the hypnobirthing book or start bouncing on the swiss ball. If you’re feeling fearful about labour and delivery, deal with your concerns at the beginning of your pregnancy...or ignore them - that’s what I did and I do not recommend that! Think about what your fears are and work through them early. 

  • Perhaps you worry about coping with early labour {this can often be lengthy, longer than 24 hours} - research breathing techniques and hiring a TENS machine
  • Perhaps you worry about vaginal tearing - consider researching perineal massage, try to be upright and active in labour and research optimal birthing positions
  • Perhaps you worry about breastfeeding - read widely about feeding your baby, not just breastfeeding but expressing and bottle feeding too. Be sure to read from reputable sources and pieces that leave you feeling confident, weed out the poor information. 

I think birth plans should be fluid, there should be space inside of you to accept any deviation from your ideal birthing desires. Why? Because oftentimes birth doesn’t go as planned and most of the time it’s due to uncontrollable circumstances such as the position of your baby in the birth canal or your placenta not separating after an hour. So, I advise on planning out what you’d “like'' but with the final goal of a healthy mum and baby because that’s what’s important right?!

Part of preparing for birth is preparing your hospital bag...and your nursery and your finances and your freezer meals, shall I go on? You get the jist! Preparation as they say is KEY! With a quick google you'll discover that there is an enormous amount of recommendations all across the internet but over the years as I've observed women come into the delivery suite, most aren't quite sure what they should’ve brought. Generally you'll stay somewhere between 12 hours & 2 days in hospital or at a birthing unit so my top tip here is definitely less is more & "just in case" items should be left out. Let this Hospital Bag Checklist serve as inspiration!

Don’t forget about the fourth trimester! The process of making a decision requires talking, reading and asking enough questions until you have the information you need to make a decision - I can see how that could be overwhelming but look at it from this point of view, preparedness. We spend our entire pregnancies preparing for the birth but you know what - it’s typically only ONE DAY and sometimes it’s so fast it unintentionally happens at home or in the car, we owe it to ourselves to learn about caring for ourselves and our baby too. Read from credible sources - people who are experts in their field. Follow inspiring and factual accounts and be sure to unfollow the ones that don’t leave you feeling good - pregnancy, birth and motherhood are not competitive sports. Talk to like minded people and take time to ponder the information you’re absorbing. Then, when you’re staring at some of the challenges that come with motherhood you’ll feel ready to tackle them, you’ll have a head start, more confidence and more success.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Having a support crew of people you can speed dial if you need a breastfeeding cheerleader, someone to walk your dog or collect your toddler from kindergarten, or people who would be willing to bring you food if you asked. I like to call this concept a Postpartum Plan, here are some ideas to get you started - grab a pen and paper and begin planning;

  • The following people are available to help us during the day, evening or night
  • This is a curated list of friends who have babies or small children to act as our sounding board
  • The following people would be willing to bring us food if we asked + we'll prepare X for the fridge, freezer + pantry
  • These are the lactation resources + support groups available in our area as well as people who will cheer me on
  • These activities give me joy + would leave me feeling nurtured. And these are things we can do together to strengthen us
  • These are strategies to welcome a new baby into our family + how we want to spend deliberate individual time with our other child/ren

Renata Lardelli is both a Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife, she practices as a core midwife at Waikato DHB where she has been employed since her career began in 2008. Renata has 3 sons of her own who fuel her desire to help new mums find their footing as they transition from woman to mother. In addition to her work as a midwife Renata and her husband Jeremy founded a boutique brand named Lila Jasmine Nutrition which is committed to nourishing both the mind & body with fourth trimester education and New Zealand's first lactation bar. You can follow Lila Jasmine Nutrition on Instagram and Facebook

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