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How to Re-Prepare for Newborn Life

Photograph by Twenty20

Newborn life: it can either make you or break you.

Now that I'm about to experience it for a second time around, I've got a little humor to add to the mix. Newborn life is madness, and it almost took me under with my first baby. The sleep deprivation alone was enough to have me weeping in the fetal position crying for MY mother. But hey, like many parents, I made it out alive.

I was a zombie most days, sure, and my demeanor was less than pleasant (sorry, dear husband), but I've planned a few tricks this second time around. I'm determined to not let newborn life take me under this time. This is how I will make that attempt:

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1. Food prep

My first child was born three weeks early. We were lucky to have the car seat already strapped in the car, but everything else was hardly ready for her. I had planned to have a slew of meals ready in the freezer but, nope, nothing.

This time? Well, this time I've got seven freezer meals waiting for us. In the past month, I've cranked out yummy dishes and have enough for those days when no one feels like cooking. We'll likely go through those dishes in about two weeks but, hey, at least they're available, right?

2. I'm asking for help

Good ol' first-time moms. Sometimes they're just so proud. I didn't want anyone to help me with anything the first go around. I thought I was supermom and could do everything on my own.

This time? This time I'm asking for help before baby even gets here. I have no shame in my game, girl. Mama needs help and she's not afraid to let anyone know it.

Want to send over a dish? Want to grab the surly big sister and take her to the park? What's that you say? You want to polish my toes for me? Yes, girl! Yes to it all! With baby No. 2, I will not turn you down. In fact, if you ask me if I need anything, I won't hesitate to recite my long list. Brace yourself.

I can't and I won't. The answer is NO.

3. I'm embracing pregnancy insomnia

I didn't realize this with my first pregnancy, but pregnancy insomnia is truly a blessing in disguise. It prepares you for life with a newborn. When I'm up on Facebook scrolling through Montessori education groups (never mind that my child doesn't even go to a Montessori school), I chuckle at myself because I know that, in a few weeks, I'll be nursing a baby every few hours. It's as if my body already knows this, and I'm finding ways to push through the sleep deprivation and insomnia. For one thing, I've got a whole stash of books that I'm ready to read. I've also reacquainted myself with my rocking chair. I'm ready for you, sleep deprivation. Come and get me!

4. Stockpiling a snack stash

Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories, and I was ravenous with my first baby. No one warned me of this, and I spent many days and nights either starving or making unhealthy snack decisions.

Not this time.

I've already got a huge basket filled with snacks. I've even made a list of my favorites so that if the husband (or anyone else) wants to go grocery shopping, they already know what to pick up. This is a huge deal, Mamas. Snacks are everything when nursing.

5. The answer is 'no'

I can't and I won't. The answer is NO. I'm not sorry about it either. I will not run myself ragged this time. My friends will have to understand why I can't meet them for brunch four weeks postpartum. I may not respond to texts. My life may not appear all that interesting on Instagram. I may miss a meeting or two or three and, well, it is what it is.

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I am turning down commitments left and right so that I can hang on to what little bit of sanity remains after our baby gets here. This was such a struggle with my first child, because I felt guilty for missing so much. Not anymore. This time, the guilt doesn't even exist and I am totally OK with it.

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