A Pregnant womans belly from Do it Like a Mother Blog with Nurture CollectivePreparing for motherhood can seem like a mammoth task. After all, life is about to take a big turn with a new little life being added to the family.

Here are 5 ways to make the transition into motherhood just a little easier; touching on wellbeing, nutrition, sleep, hypnobirthing and the 4th trimester.

  1. NUTRITION

I’m not a dietician (and I’d recommend speaking to one if you’re not sure) but if I’ve learnt anything from Sarah from Esca Nutrition who runs pregnancy nutrition workshops, is that variety is the key.

Vitamin D is pretty important and we should all be taking this if we’re pregnant or not. Sarah tells me it’s important to have during pregnancy and postpartum, especially if you’ve decided to breastfeed. Our bodies don’t produce it, so we need to take a supplement for it.

If you do decide to breastfeed, you’ll have increased requirements for calcium too. According to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), a typical adult needs 700 milligrams. If you’re breastfeeding, you need 1250 milligrams.

I always figured I was eating for two when I was pregnant. It turns out this isn’t the case at all. During the third trimester the number of calories we need above our pre-pregnancy intake increases by 200 for that final growth spurt of your baby and preparing for labour plus creating stores for breastfeeding if that’s the feeding route you’re going down. That amounts to a slice of avocado on toast or a couple of dippy eggs with soldiers.

But remember to be kind to yourself after you’ve given birth. Your body needs time to recover and feeding it with nutritious food can keep your energy levels up and keep you fuelled for those first few weeks of the change.

Pilates class from Do it Like a Mother Blog with Nurture Collective2. WELLBEING

Showering, eating a meal without little ones interrupting, washing your hair, being able to drink a hot cuppa. While these are all FAB things that make us feel better, they’re everyday things. It can take more than this for good wellbeing.

It’s hard in the first few weeks after welcoming your little one to the world, so if you have support and help – take advantage of it.

Eating decent food can go out of the window in those early days especially with sleep deprivation involved. If anyone asks you what they can bring you – some nutritious food!

Post-birth care in the UK can be lacking. The focus is very much on our babies with little focus on us, so taking our own care seriously is important. Something as small as exercising your pelvic floor (which is very important!) can make a difference. From pregnancy, all the way through into parenthood and beyond, doing exercise like Pilates is a great way to ensure a strong core and pelvic floor which will be of great help in those early days. Squeezing that pelvic floor while you’re sat on the sofa is something to do as soon as your midwife comes for their first visit and says you can. Then once you get the sign off at your 6 to 8-week check joining an exercise class can make the world of difference to how we feel and our wellbeing.

A Pregnant womans belly from Do it Like a Mother Blog with Nurture Collective3. SLEEP 

Keeping hydrated is not only important for general health but it impacts our sleep too. Dehydration can lead to less than great sleep and less than great sleep can make us more dehydrated. Mix that with a newborn to look after and keeping hydrated is a lot more appealing.

General good sleep hygiene habits can go a long way in those early days of parenthood. Sleeping in a dark room at night that’s cool are habits that impact our children’s sleep too.

Taking the time before baby comes along to discuss sleep with your partner and what it might look like with a little one thrown into the mix can also go a long way. Knowing that you’re both on the same page with sleep for all the family means you can support each other in whatever direction sleep takes.

And just for the record – it’s ok to sleep in a different room from your partner in those early days or for as long as it works for your family.

Things to prepare for night feeds –

  • Using your phone in the middle of the night is OK if you really want to, but make sure your phone has the night-time screen setting on and try to keep the screen away from your baby so the light doesn’t wake them too much
  • Keep the lights dim when you’re feeding at night – just enough so you can see what you’re doing. Using a light that you can fully control is helpful, like a Lumie clock.

Hypnobirthing class from Do it Like a Mother Blog with Nurture Collective4. HYPNOBIRTHING

The tools that hypnobirthing gives you are not only great for your birth but through parenting too.

One of the main anxieties about birth comes from the feeling of not being in control as your body births your baby. The main takeaways from hypnobirthing aside from breathing and learning relaxation techniques (which is key during labour) can make sure you’re ready and in control for what’s coming.

  • Know about inductions, caesareans and other medical support that is available or might be offered to you.
  • Make informed decisions so you can do what is right for you and stay in control.
  • Know hypnobirthing and the techniques to stay in control, whatever birth you’re planning. Hypnobirthing isn’t about avoiding pain relief and having a home birth, it’s about all births – whatever you decide – home birth, hospital birth, elective caesarean – so you can stay in control of whatever happens.
  • If something doesn’t feel right or work for you, then you don’t have to go with it. Get your birth partner on the same page so they can be an advocate for you.
  • A positive birth experience means you can embark on motherhood in the best possible way; feeling relaxed, confident, and happy.

Mother holding newborn baby's feet making a heart shape with her hands for Baby's first Christmas for Nurture Collectives blog5. THE 4TH TRIMESTER

The main thing in preparing for the 4th trimester is knowing it’s ok (and normal) to feel overwhelmed. Take people up on their offers of help but make sure it’s on your terms. Don’t be afraid to let them know what you need. If having them look after your baby isn’t what you need or makes you feel anxious, then ask them to help in other ways.

It’s difficult to write about the 4th trimester and not mention post-natal depression (PND). You know yourself so if something doesn’t feel right, seek help. Your midwife can put you in contact with someone you can speak to, so you can get the support you need.

Both parents can develop PND, not just the mother. Ask your midwife for the signs of PND so both you, your partner, and anyone close to you, can be supportive and aware, especially when there is so much to think about.

Breastfeeding – whether you have one child or five, it’s different every time. It’s the most natural thing in the world but it can be the most difficult thing to do. You can prepare for it. You don’t have to wait until your baby is here to get support. Seek out a lactation consultant and prepare for your feeding journey so you can start it armed with everything you need.

Parenting can be one of the most difficult things we might ever do but it’s also one of the most rewarding. Getting out to different classes with your little one for some adult interaction and support when you need or want it can really make those hard days feel better.
This might be a time when the world revolves around this new little person but don’t forget about you too.

Do It Like A Mother run a variety of online and in person hypnobirthing classes, and an online hypnobirthing course. There are also in-person and online baby massage classes and pregnancy & postnatal Pilates classes amongst other classes to get involved in. You can find out more at doitlikeamother.co.uk.

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