It's a good thing pregnancy takes a full nine months, because expectant parents need that much time to prepare for the big event. But in the rush to paint the nursery, buy baby furniture, and attend to the myriad details of bringing baby home, a mother's needs can often get pushed to the bottom of the priority list.
This needn't be the case.
With a bit of advance planning, a corralling of resources, and a determined attitude, pregnant women can take ownership of their at-home postpartum experience in the same way they take charge of their childbirth experience.
Here are our recommendations for how to welcome home Mommy with the same aplomb as her baby:
Don't Stop with the Nursery
As long as you've got that paint and brush out, why not give the whole house the same star treatment as the nursery? Once you're home with your newborn, it's unlikely that you'll have the time, energy, or inclination to bother with home improvements, so you may as well do them before the big event. (Just be sure to check with your physician to see if it is safe for you to paint; or don some good gloves and a ventilator before cracking open the paint cans.)
If you've been thinking of repainting the bedroom or updating the knobs on the kitchen cabinets, for instance, before baby's arrival is the time to do so. When you're home with a newborn staring at the same four walls, at least you'll appreciate that those walls are painted the perfect shade of periwinkle.
Use the Home Team Advantage
When choosing your home support team, think quality, not quantity. You don't want a houseful of needy houseguests; you do want an unobtrusive helpmate who won't mind whipping up a meal or throwing in a load of laundry.
The baby's father is often the best choice for this important supporting role, but if he can't be home full-time that first week it's a good idea to bring in reinforcements. Parents, in-laws, and other close family members often make good candidates, provided you can tolerate having them around.
Choose carefully. People's personalities don't change just because an infant is on the scene. If you have an overbearing mother, you can expect that she will be an overbearing grandmother, too.