The first time I did this I had no idea what I was doing.
I had no experience with labour, nursing, changing a 1 day old baby…
It was all new and slightly terrifying.
Now with baby #2 coming in a couple short months I’ve been busy planning and organizing my life (and my family’s life) to get ready.
And it feels good because I have a better idea of what I can possibly expect.
I’m definitely still nervous but also hopeful that my previous experience will serve me well.
Even though I feel like I can’t remember half of the things I knew!
P.S. Do you remember how to swaddle? Ha! I’m realizing I’ve forgotten so much and will probably be on Google asking all kinds of random questions at 2am 😉
What I do know is that I want to be as prepared as possible for this baby so that all our lives will be as happy as possible.
I know there will be hard days and tough times.
But I’m also not dwelling on the horribleness of it all.
I’m not assuming the worst, while also not expecting the best.
I’m neutral. Staying flexible. And doing what I can to ensure I’m not a total stress ball at all times for those first few weeks of newborn craziness.
Here’s what that looks like for me.
What My Postpartum Workouts Will Look Like
They’ll definitely be looking a lot different from how they looked after Avery was born.
I wasn’t a certified prenatal and postnatal fitness coach and I didn’t know a quarter of what I know now.
This time around I’ll be focusing on rest and recovery for those first few days.
I won’t be in such a rush to jump back in. I’ll sleep as much as I can and spend a lot of time resting.
Once I’m feeling ready to move more I’ll start with some short walks and gentle core rehab-type exercises.
Depending on how things are feeling and healing, I’ll spend the first 6-8-ish weeks focusing on rehab work then I’ll go into some strength training type workouts that’ll focus on retraining my body and progressively working my way up to more challenging things.
Again, I won’t rush. I’ll really, actually listen to my body. And I’ll be mindful about how I want to feel and less focused on looking like I never had a baby in the first place.
I’m actually in the process of developing a postpartum exercise and wellness program that’s full of quick and simple workouts and tons of support beyond the weights.
I’ve decided that I might as well be the first to test it so I’ll be going through my own program postpartum to help myself rehab and retrain in a much smarter way this go round (i.e., I won’t be doing planks from my toes as my first exercise of choice at 6 weeks postpartum – yeah, I’ve learned a lot in the last 2 1/2 years!)
You’ll of course get sneak peeks of what I’m doing on Facebook and Instagram. And I’m planning to give access to a select few mamas to test it out in early 2019.
So if you’re interested in being one of the first to snag it pop your name and email below and I’ll give you more details and first dibs once it’s ready.
It will be a program that any mom can benefit from – regardless how long ago you had your baby.
Again, I’ll be starting off incredibly gentle and I’ll only be exercising if that’s what makes me happy. I won’t be forcing it. I won’t be pressuring myself to get my workouts in if I’m exhausted and they don’t feel good at the moment.
I’m really looking forward to a postpartum experience full of self-compassion and patience.
Last time I was in such a rush to bounce back I forgot to slow down and actually ask myself “Is this what I really want? Do I actually feel good doing this?”
I’m ready for a different approach this go round.
What I’ll Be Eating
I remember the first time I got the breastfeeding hangrys with my firstborn I couldn’t help but think, “Oh man, I thought I was hungry when I was pregnant but this is ridiculous!”
It’s super common to feel like you need to eat every hour or so – especially in those first few weeks and months of breastfeeding where so many of your calories are heading straight for baby.
That’s why I’m going to be even more prepared with meals and snacks and options in the fridge and freezer so I can try to avoid too many moments of the hunger rage.
I’m also recognizing that I have another tiny human that I’ll be taking care of alongside baby this time so it’s going to be that much more challenging.
Take today for instance.
By the time we got ourselves organized to go to the grocery store, come home from the grocery store, have a snuggle on the couch after some toddler tears, get Avery lunch, help cut up said lunch, try to remain patient while she took 5 minutes to decide what colour fork she needed, and then make my own lunch… I didn’t get to eat until almost 2pm.
So it’s really dawning on me that having access to some easy, quick snacks and meals is going to be so super key.
Eating as soon as you feel hungry when you have a toddler can be tough. There’s mom-ing to do! I imagine that doesn’t get easier with a newborn baby in tow.
That’s why I’ll have tons of options on hand and I actually made a list of easy snack (and meal) ideas to pop on our whiteboard in our kitchen so when my brain is fried and I need to grab something and don’t know what to go for I have plenty of ideas available (and it’ll also remind me to grab the ingredients when I – or the hubby – goes grocery shopping).
My go-to snack options will be things like…
- Gluten free muffins toasted with all the butter (these are one of my faves from when I was nursing newborn Avery – I use all oat bran and gluten free flour to make them GF)
- Bananas & Sunbutter or apples & Sunbutter (I’m allergic to nuts so that’s why I indulge in the sunflower seed butter)
- Smoothie with some protein and fat (I’ll be adding some collagen to it to help with healing as well)
- Phat Fudge (I will definitely be making lots of this to have on hand – Avery loves it too!)
- High fat, high protein yogurt with fruit and honey – maybe I’ll even add some granola (I like to find the fattiest Greek yogurt I can get my hands on so there’s as much fat and protein in it as possible)
I like these kinds of snacks because they’re delicious and most of them have some kind of protein or fat or both which will help keep me full (and slightly more sane 😉 ) for a little while longer.
My go-to easy meal ideas will be things like…
- Sausages and roasted veggies
- Chicken or steak caesar salad
- Grilled cheese and veggie sticks
- Stir fry (like this super simple pork egg roll in a bowl – I usually add some rice to it)
- Chicken wings and a salad (I love this simple chicken wing recipe and am always down for a good greek salad with great dressing)
- Slow cooker soups and stews (I have plenty of inspiration here)
I’ll also be batch cooking or buying some meals to have on hand in the freezer. Like…
- Gluten free pancakes and waffles
- Egg muffins (so simple and so easy to re-heat – especially for those 2am feedings when mama needs a snack stat! 😉 )
- Breakfast burritos
- Soups and stews
- Casseroles (like this chicken enchilada one, or shepherd’s pie, or this super simple bacon and kale egg bake)
The point is to make eating as simple and as much of a no-brainer as possible.
I’ll want healthy options on hand – with lots of nutrients – because my body will be recovering from a major event. But I won’t want to have to think about it or have to spend 30+ minutes making a gourmet meal.
That’s why I’ll be stocking my freezer with ready-to-go snacks and meals that I’ve made or bought so I have one less thing to worry about.
How I’m Bringing the Village Back
I’m fortunate to have plenty of friends and family around to help.
The key will be allowing them to help me – I can be a “Oh I’m okay. I’ve got this!” kind of lady when the sky is falling and I’m trying to hold it up all on my own. But I’ve worked incredibly hard to overcome this issue and I plan to ask for help often and gladly accept it when it’s offered.
After hearing from so many other second time moms I’m recognizing that the 2 most helpful things people can do for me will probably be:
- Bring over some healthy, delicious food
- Take my toddler on an adventure somewhere
So when someone asks “How can I help?” my answer will likely be one of those two options.
Adam – my hubby – will also be taking some time off work which will be huge.
As independent as I am, as stubborn as I am, and as strong willed as I am, I know that every single one of our lives will be happier, healthier and better because I’m asking for help – and lots of it.
If you’re about to have another one – or even if you already have more than one – if you only take away one thing from this blog post, let it be this…
It’s okay to ask for help.
Embrace your village. Let people in and reveal how hard this is for you so they can support you.
We aren’t meant to do this alone.
I’m here for you. I’m with you. But there’s only so much support I can provide.
So find your tribe and lean on them for support.
How My Business Will (Likely) Shift
The truth is that I’m not entirely sure what this next chapter will entail.
I know I’m not interested in working 5+ hour work days with a newborn and a toddler in tow.
Having the luxury to take some time off is something I’m incredibly grateful for and something I absolutely want to take advantage of.
I’ve already done some pre-baby work so I can take a step back (like creating blog content for the first 6+ months of baby’s life).
And I’ve also decided to take a break from clients, blogging and anything business-y entirely for at least the first 3 months (besides checking email once a week or so, sending the occasional check-in email to my community and posting on social).
The thing is I can’t predict how our life will look.
Maybe this baby will be a unicorn newbie and we’ll be sleeping through the night at 3 months.
Maybe they’ll need to be held and soothed and cuddled constantly so I won’t be sleeping much at all for a while.
That’s why I’m setting myself up to be able to focus on my own health and baby’s health above my business.
Because I can’t run a successful business if I’m constantly stressed about not getting enough sleep or not having enough time to run a successful business.
I’ll still be around. I’ll still be checking in on you and supporting you as best I can. But I’ll also respect my own boundaries and do my darnedest to not overdo it.
Planning Without Over Planning
Of course we won’t really know what life will look like until baby #2 is here.
That’s why I said “Ready(ish)” in the title of this post.
Who knows what kind of temperament they’ll have, how Avery will adapt, what kind of rest and recovery I’ll need, how I’ll feel about diving into workouts, work and life afterwards.
I’m basically setting myself up to be able to focus as much as possible on my health and happiness and my family’s health and happiness.
It may be “easy”.
It may be “hard”.
It may be neither.
That’s why I’m doing as much as I can to make my life as simple as possible for those first few months so I have a lot of flexibility and can nap, play, enjoy baby snuggles, enjoy Avery snuggles, enjoy hubby snuggles and basically be free to do what I want with the time and energy I have.
I’m a superwoman – every mom is.
But I also understand that the better I feel and the more space I give myself to do nothing but focus on recovery and nurturing myself and my little family, the better we’ll all be.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to do it all. Be perfect. Be the mom. The career woman. The wife. The everything.
But there’s only so much to give.
Being a mom can be hard. Real hard.
And I know adding another one to the mix won’t make it any easier.
But I plan to make my happiness a priority in this new chapter – especially in those early postpartum days and weeks when my body needs me to focus on myself so I can recover well.
That isn’t selfish.
You aren’t being selfish for wanting to be happy and feel good.
You’re being a human being who deserves it.
So do what you can to go get it.
P.S. Have a friend who’s gearing up for round #2? Send her this post and encourage her to try to make her own happiness a priority among all the newborn fogginess.
Great way to get ready! I agree with everything you’ve posted here. I just had baby #3 three and half weeks ago and I told my hubby from I was pregnant that I would be focused on rest and recovery for the first 40 days/6 weeks after birth. (Have you read “The First 40 Days”? It’s a great book). With my first 2 children I did none of that. I jumped back into “life as usual” right after having each of them. I didn’t understand how much my body had gone through and why it was so important to allow myself time to recover. Fortunately my husband has been wonderful. He took 5 weeks off work (the max he could get) in order to do all the housework, the shopping and taking care of our other 2 children. Such as a blessing. And now I can focus on me and baby.
Jenna Dalton says
That is so wonderful Tameika! I love that you gave yourself that gift – and that your husband could support you in such a huge way. It can be so challenging when you don’t have any support and you’re juggling all this stuff on your own. But sometimes we think we don’t have support, when really we just need to ask (or maybe demand?) support from our workplaces, family, friends, partners, etc. I’m glad you made it clear what you needed and didn’t just push your needs aside.
I’ve heard of that book and it’s definitely on my to-read list. Thank you! I love the idea of “confinement” for the first 40 days (or more!) I actually think there could be a huge business in doulas or other postpartum care givers offering this kind of support when the partners and family/friends aren’t able to… Just a thought 🙂
Yes! You sound ready! I think really **letting** yourself do as little as possible after the baby comes… that’s where I tripped up. I had a great plan and prep, time off from my business, etc. But after #2 came and we were home, I would just automatically do too much. I remember 2 or 3 days after we were home, my husband was out with my 3 year old, and I was kind of tidying up the house with the newborn in my arms, and I got SO TIRED so suddenly. It was an un-ignorable reminder to. Sit. Down.
It’s so hard to slow down, even when you have set everything up so you have permission to!
Jenna Dalton says
Oh my goodness I can definitely relate to this, Maggie! My baby isn’t even here and I already know I’ll need to be constantly telling myself to sit down and slow down. I’m such a “I can do it” kinda lady that rest is not my default choice haha! I’m with you – giving myself permission to do it and actually making it happen are hugely different things and I’ll need to watch myself.
Side note: I definitely passed this onto Avery who constantly says “I do it myself” and then I say “Of course you can! You just let me know if you need help because it’s okay to ask for help.” – so I just need her to repeat that back to me during those early postpartum days 😉
I have a 3 old boy and I had my 2nd baby almost 2 months ago and what was great helper to me:
– freeze meals on advance, oven foid is great! the day I back from hospital, I just put on tray in the oven and the dinner was ready!
– freeze vegetables ready for soups: I cut fresh veggies and frozen in ziploc bags;
– order shopping online or by phone! I usually go to the market every week but in the first week, I called to my seller to prepare my order and my hubby just pick the order in the market: time saver!
– try to put visit together; instead of waiting for my friends to visit us, one by one, I organized a quick snack (a cake, some juices and cheese) and invited them at the same time.’ee had the chance to be together in that afternoon and it was easy to manage in terms of time;
– regarding visits, we decided that when the older bro was visit us for the first time in the hospital, just me, the baby and daddy will be there. It’s a unique moment and very important!
– when we got gifts for baby, the older bro was in charge of open them;
– I put diapers in a lower shelf so he can help me;
– an important thing, that I just discover later, is to have some games/toys able to be played with one hand during breastfeeding, because sometimes he ask me to play with him during breastfeeding time…
All the best for you!
Jenna Dalton says
These are such amazing tips, Filipa! Thank you so much!
I love all of them – I’m having a tough time picking a favourite but I really like the idea of getting several friends and family together for an hour or so to meet baby so it’s not an every day – people constantly over to visit – kind of thing in those first few weeks. And I love the idea of getting the older sibling to open gifts, help with diapers and have easy, one-handed games ready to play with them during breastfeeding time. These are all so great – thank you for sharing!
Jenna, the Village is a great idea. My partner is Kenyan and there they have 40 days of rest where the mother is not allowed to touch a pot, maybe wash some baby clothes if anything. I had a couple of girls come stay keep me company in the house and assist with heavy work when I had a baby there. They really believe in millet porridge and hot cocoa for recovering mothers and I was on 500g of good quality yoghurt a day, I craved it and a third of my food budget went on this premium yoghurt.
Baby#2 was born here and my partner wasn’t working and did everything and took care of the toddler. I had lots of MiLo and home cooked food, veg soups. I was lucky relatives visited but we don’t know so many people in my home town.
My suggestion is a double pram. Avery may be walking but…for the beginning you may need to restrain them both at times, like on busy roads and from grabbing stuff at a shop. Also, I found exercise not so practical anymore with a DVD or anything, just your core workout in the morning in the first few months then I got a double pram means I walk everywhere, the park, the library, town, the shops, daycare. I got a side by side so they are on same level not an up and down one, so sometimes it’s a squeeze in shops but we use a stroller for malls and are mostly walking outside as transport. I bought second hand in case I didn’t like it – a top brand with pump wheels and we’ve flogged it. My older is nearly 3 now and wants to walk so using it only for longer journeys she won’t walk all the way and also our local supermarket gives free fruit to kids so she must sit in it to eat so I can shop in peace.
I basically have lost the baby weight from walking, 1/5 kg a weekand not all of it but enough to look ok. They love getting out and also, oh the holy grail of both napping at the same time – in the warmer months we walked them to sleep at night and for daytime nap. My older child was very jealous and took time but they are great playmates now – walking helped so much to calm her.
Jenna Dalton says
That’s so awesome that you were so well taken care of after both births, Stace! I’m so glad you got your own little village 🙂 Thank you for a suggestion of a double pram. We’ve been looking into it – and also the option of adding a standing platform for Avery for our single stroller.
And I hear you – I think it’s so common for the older munchkin to get jealous of the younger one, hey? We’ve been preparing her as much as possible but there’s only so much you can do. Here’s hoping the introduction goes well 😉