As the senior instructor for Oh Baby! Fitness, I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can best physically and mentally prepare women for the experience of motherhood- not just labor and delivery, but also the first few weeks and months that go by in a blur of joy and fear and sleeplessness. I think it’s easy when pregnant to just focus on how difficult labor can be physically, with little thought that the hard part is actually what happens AFTER delivery.

I’ve been lucky enough to work directly with thousands of pregnant women and new moms, and they’ve taught me a lot about how to prepare for those first few weeks after delivery. Here is some of their best advice about things to do when pregnant to prepare for the first two months postpartum:

1- Work your arms and upper back. As a new mom, you’ll spend a lot of leaning forward over your baby- feeding, changing diapers, and bathing. A strong upper back will keep you from getting that hunched over new mom look. Also, car seats are heavy, and your little 8lb baby is going to feel REALLY heavy on that 4th nighttime feeding. Work your biceps when pregnant- you’ll be glad you did.

2- Fill your freezer with small, microwaveable meals. Think of things you can heat up and eat in just a few minutes- there will be days where it’s too hard to cook the frozen lasagna, but you might be able to warm up that single serving of soup.

3- Be choosy about who is around. Some moms want lots of visitors, some want none, and some REALLY don’t want to have to deal with their mother-in-law right away. Trust your gut on this one—you will need help, but that doesn’t mean you have to take help from just anyone. Put someone, maybe your husband or partner, in charge of communicating these choices, and don’t feel guilty about them.

4- Know, ahead of time, who to call when things get hard. This could be your best friend, your mom, your therapist or your sister. Let this person know that you’ll need them— I guarantee they’ll be happy and honored. Pick someone you know you can call in the middle of the night, and someone who is good at making you feel calm and confident.

Those first few weeks are hard, but knowing how to prepare can really help. What do you wish you’d done when pregnant to prepare for the first few weeks? Let us know in the comments.


Share this story...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on Reddit

3 thoughts on “What 8,000 Moms Know: The first few weeks after delivery

  • September 7, 2010 at 8:36 am

    My best piece of advice is: PROTECT YOUR BACK WHEN CHANGING BABY’S DIAPERS. I’d suggest moms make sure they have a changing table or work to change the baby on a table or dresser drawers where they don’t have to bend over. DO NOT change your baby on the bed it you have to bend over half-way or over half way to do it.. it will KILL your back. You can also get down on the floor to change baby. If you have an upstairs and a downstairs in your home, make sure there are TWO changing stations.. just so you don’t have the chance to make the mistake of bending over during diaper changes.

    I honestly did in my back in the first weeks. Just didn’t know this important tip.

  • September 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Eat! Especially if you are breastfeeding. You’re already emotional and this is a tough time – if you’re not getting enough calories, you’ll be hysterical when your baby gets fussy in the late afternoon. Frozen dinners, friends’ casseroles, personal chefs (a few days a week might not be too expensive), Pizza Hut pasta meals: whatever it takes.

  • September 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Varda- You are totally right! I’ve seen that getting enough calories can be really difficult for a lot of moms– that’s great advice.

    Clare- Yes yes yes to the changing table. Sometimes I think we could come up with a whole yoga class that is just crazy poses new moms do all day long to care for their baby— they downward pretzel diaper change, the breastfeeding forward bend… all of that.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *