Preparing for life after birth isn’t always straightforward, and preparing for postpartum as a single mom presents its own challenges. These eight tips can help.
The journey to single motherhood looks different for everyone. Some choose to be single parents, while others may have changing circumstances during the pregnancy.
No matter how you arrive at this moment, you’re probably overwhelmed by the thought that your child is about to enter the world.
Thanks to hormones, all moms get a bit anxious near the end of their pregnancy. Nesting kicks in, and you wonder if you can handle the extra responsibility.
While you won’t have a partner or spouse to help you through the nerves, labor, delivery, and postpartum period, you don’t have to do this alone or unprepared.
Preparing for postpartum as a single mom
As a single mom-to-be, you must do extra prep work to help smooth the transition from pregnancy to postpartum.
Establishing some routines, gathering your support system, and getting your home ready will set you on the path to success with your newborn as you overcome the changes to your life and postpartum hormonal shifts.
- Slowly stock up on supplies
- Get your financial ducks in a row
- Purchase the right gear
- Prep food ahead of time
- Gather your support system
- Join a Mommy Group
- Do your research
- Be upfront with your boss
1. Slowly stock up on supplies
During the postpartum period, you’ll be healing and trying to sneak rest in between feedings, diaper changes, and work. You won’t have much extra time to run to the store a few times weekly for missing essentials.
While you’re still pregnant is the perfect time to stockpile some supplies. Boxes of diapers, pantry staples, and personal hygiene items will last a long while and help you make fewer last-minute shopping trips with your newborn.
Signing up for Amazon Prime is a good idea if you haven’t already. Try it free for thirty days. Also, make sure to take advantage of Target’s curbside pick-up. You can even designate an alternate pick-up person in their app.
2. Get your financial ducks in a row
Raising babies is expensive, and since you’ll be supporting your child on one income, you must ensure your finances are in order. If you haven’t worked within a budget before, now would be the time to try one out.
It’s important to know exactly where your money is going each month so you can set some aside for savings and emergencies.
If you have any extra income right now, you could also try to pay off a small debt or two before the baby comes, so you’ll have fewer financial obligations by the time they arrive.
For moms who need more financial support, look into single-parent newborn benefits like housing and food assistance.
3. Purchase the right gear
As a single mom, the only arms you can count on are the two attached to you. However, you can’t hang on to your newborn all day, or you’d never get anything else done.
Buying, finding second-hand, or borrowing somewhere to sit them will be a big help once your baby is here.
A swing or portable bouncer works well to soothe and entertain your little one while you get some hands-free time (these shouldn’t be used for naptime, though). You can opt for a carrier or wrap if you want your baby closer.
4. Prep food ahead of time
You’ll need to nourish yourself properly to have enough fuel to breastfeed your baby (if using breast milk) and make it through those long nights.
While you still have some extra time, work on creating a menu of easy, fast, healthy, and cheap meals you can rotate through during the postpartum period and onward. Having five to ten will keep you covered for a while. Recipes that make leftovers are a great option because they minimize the cooking time for the amount of food you get.
You should pick at least a few meals you can make and freeze. Then, once the baby comes, you can just thaw the dinner, throw it in the oven or crockpot, and enjoy your baby for a bit.
5. Gather your support system
Any new mom needs a village of people to rely on. Yours may be missing a partner, but that doesn’t mean you need to do this alone. Stick close to your friends and family. Let them help you, even before you have your baby. Set up the nursery with your mom and go shopping for gear with a friend.
In those first few months, when you don’t know how you’ll get through the day, these are the people you can rely on. When they ask if you want some help, say yes. You don’t get any awards for soldiering through.
Accept their offer to watch the baby so you can have an uninterrupted nap and let them bring you delicious food sometimes.
6. Join a Mommy Group
Mommy groups are so much more than the mommy-and-me social time you’re used to seeing on TV.
Whether you meet in person or chat online, mom groups are a great place to meet others in the same walk of life. You can find groups for postpartum depression, single mothers, army moms, and any other niche you identify with.
Start looking for a great group now to find one with a good percentage of other single moms. You’ll be able to look out for one another as you give birth and move into the postpartum period.
7. Do your research
Even with a great support system, you need to take control of your physical and mental health. Your friends and family won’t be able to see how you’re doing 24/7 and have no way of knowing how you feel.
While you’re still pregnant, talk with your doctor about some warning signs you should be watching for after coming home from the hospital. You could even add a little research of your own. The more you know now, the better prepared you’ll be later on.
Postpartum Tip: Learn what to expect – including common red flags – during postpartum recovery with our Week-by-Week Postpartum Recovery Guide.
Look for information about postpartum depression and when to talk to a professional. Also, you should know the complications associated with c-sections and vaginal births and how to best help your body heal from the trauma.
8. Be upfront with your boss
Being a single mom means you’ll still need to work while raising your baby. Discuss with your boss what this will mean. You could see if there are ways for you to transition to working from home or a hybrid schedule.
Maybe they’d be willing to be more flexible with your start and end times so you can make childcare more accessible.
Regardless of the outcome, it’s best for you to talk honestly about the expectations moving forward into this new stage of your life.
Find ways to celebrate your motherhood
Yes, the postpartum period is challenging and full of change. You’ll sometimes struggle and wonder what you’ve done, feeling completely overwhelmed. Just know it’s all part of the process, and every mom feels that way to some extent.
The most important thing you can do is to celebrate the little wins, like the first time you get three hours in a row of sleep, take an uninterrupted shower, or your little one’s first genuine smile.
Write everything down and take lots of pictures. Share these small triumphs with your support system, and relish in the joy that you can do this.
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Beth, the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind, is well-respected in the nutrition, parenting, mental health and fitness spaces. In her spare time, Beth enjoys cooking and trying out new exercise routines. Subscribe to Body+Mind for more posts by Beth Rush!