Preparing for Baby: Postpartum Planning Checklist and Hospital Checklist
As I prepare for baby #3, I feel like I need to be more prepared than ever. I know the basics of baby care and have ALL.THE.STUFF… but thinking about taking care of my two other children while also taking care of my newborn has my head spinning circles!!!
This post features the mental/emotional preparation I did for baby #3, the physical preparation part is here!
Hospital Bag Checklist
In the past, my time in the hospital has always been a bit of a blur, and I think I’ve always over-packed, but I’m an over-packer in general. This time, I have streamlined my list and was able to fit everything (minus the car seats and gifts for my other children) into two backpacks, one for me, and one for baby!
I packed the bags around 34 weeks and left a note of things to add at the last minute — glasses, hairbrush, car seat, etc…
- car seat for getting home!
- muslin blanket
- swaddles: one woombie and one swaddleme
- burp cloth
- going home outfit &hat, socks!
- nail scissors/clippers — not sure if this is really necessary, but I’ve seen it on some lists… I’m probably not going to include this
- present for siblings (I got them a couple of books from the new baby and matching shirts. I can’t decide yet if I will give it to them in the hospital or once we are back home…)
- lanolin or nipple butter
- chap stick
- nursing bra and pads
- haaka/ breast pump: I am not going to bring my pump or the Haaka to the hospital. Some moms may want to consider it, I have never needed mine in the hospital or used it there.
- phone charger with long cord
- robe and nursing gown — I am packing one but will likely wear the hospital gown the whole time I am there so I don’t get my own clothes dirty
- socks/slipper socks
- clothes to go home in — I am packing some jogger pants, a nursing shirt, and a light sweater. I figure whatever shoes and coat I end up wearing to the hospital I will also wear home 🙂
- toiletries: lotion, contact lens stuff, glasses, hair ties, hair brush, toothbrush
- snacks — I will likely not pack many snacks and plan to ask my husband to bring anything I need or go get it for me as needed…
- pillow — I see this on a lot of lists so some moms might want to bring one but I don’t think I will be bringing a pillow from home.
I didn’t do any formal planning for postpartum in advance until this time around for baby #3 (right now) but I think it’s something important to think about, even for first time moms. Here are some very short summaries of my postpartum experiences thus far and how I came to design a postpartum planning checklist for myself…
- First baby — I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Everything generally went smoothly when it came to my labor and delivery, but it was still all-consuming to focus on breastfeeding, other baby care tasks, and caring for myself. I remember it being very low on my list to take a shower or get ready for the day. I was bleeding, tired, hungry, could barely walk, and felt a little like caring for a newborn was a rollercoaster ride. My mom came to help us for 6 weeks which was absolutely essential (we also moved to a different state when my son was 2 weeks old, so this compounded the stress and need for planning things well)
- Second baby — I felt like I had done this before (with a move in the middle) and learned certain things the hard/long way… like no matter how much I tried to follow all the directions to get baby K to sleep 12 hours by 12 weeks, it just didn’t happen until closer to 9 months. This time, my expectations would be different, I already knew what to do, I knew how to breastfeed, I knew how to manage the care of my baby, I was already a mom! While I knew there would be challenges, I had done this before and could do this again. Well, the reality was, many days felt like a complete circus. What I hadn’t done before was take care of a two year old, or taken care of a two year old while also taking care of a NEW baby (every baby is different and while you can have expectations and adjust them, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get!!) Balancing the needs of a two year old and a newborn WAS HARD. My thoughts were, “how is everyone having two under two but not talking about how incredibly HARD this is?!!?” I wasn’t sure how anyone was doing this — but somehow I survived!
- Third baby — I’m thinking that nothing can be harder than what I went through in the transition from 1-2 so this time can’t possibly be harder. But I just heard Kelly Ripa say that one kid is one kid, two kids are two kids, and three kids are forty-seven kids … so I’m not really sure how this is going to go. To be honest, I’m pretty terrified! So I did what I do best and made some plans….
Postpartum Planning Checklist
What I did was compile all of the following plans into a family binder. As a former teacher, I guess you could say this is my “sub binder.” I put medical information, emergency phone numbers, and other important household information in the front pocket, and made sections for the following topics:
Think about how you will feed your family post-baby. Some moms like to stock the freezer with muffins and freezer meals. I decided that I would come up with a simple meal plan and have a list of favorite take-out places on hand for whenever we need them. I plan to stock my freezer with Eggo waffles, chicken nuggets, and other foods I know my kids will eat. I’ll be ordering groceries weekly from Amazon Fresh and am making a list of what I usually order so that others can help me get it together if needed…
My easy meal plan is: Monday: Pasta, Tuesday: Tacos, and Wednesday: Sandwiches. The rest of the week will likely be take-out or whatever we can throw together. And in the beginning it may be 7 days/week of take out and frozen nuggets, but we will survive!!
☑️Household (chores, stocking supplies, etc…)
Think about how you can streamline chores and tasks to be most efficient. I decided that we will take a break from going green and go back to using regular paper towels and napkins, and also only use disposable diapers most likely for the first 6 weeks at least.
I have gone through all of my pantries and closets and made sure everything is stocked, and I have made sure to tell anyone who finishes anything like laundry detergent to let me know so I can order more!
I wrote out schedules for each member of the family and my mom who will be helping us. This way, everyone knows what needs to be done (school drop off, pick up, etc…) and we don’t end up leaving someone somewhere 🙂
I printed out/refreshed my memory of routines & schedules for the early days. This includes the Eat-Wake-Sleep routines and plans for sleep training. I bookmarked a few resources that I thought would be useful, and am ready and excited to teach my next baby to SLEEP!!!
I currently have two babysitters who come to help me about 6 hours a week. During this time, I usually get out of the house alone and work on my website or social media. I plan to continue their schedules (though I may or may not be able to work during these times, I’m planning to just be flexible about “work” and take as many breaks as needed, though I’m not planning to take an official “maternity leave”) I’ll likely need to add more sitter time as well, as I can forsee that I will need as much help as I can get.
I also am making notes and plans for all of the family who is coming to visit and re-organizing all of our sheets and towels so it will be easier for my husband to take care of all of the hospitality tasks. I know that I am going to be overloaded with breastfeeding, taking care of myself, and doing other childcare tasks, so I am trying to make it as easy as possible for others to jump in and help with other tasks!
Can’t wait to update post-baby #3 and let everyone know if a two or three child circus is easier to manage!!!
Cover Photo by Camille CD Photography