Pregnancy — there’s nothing more amazing or trying that your body will go through. As you reach your due date, take the time to care for yourself to ensure you’re in the best shape to meet your baby.
While it can be tempting to just focus on the baby and what their needs will be once they arrive, it’s just as important to remember that you need a little self-care too. After all, as the old adage goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
1. Get a little pampering
Sure, to some it’s a luxury, but by nine months’ gestation, a pedicure is a necessity. Your feet are probably sore, swollen and neglected, and it’s probably near impossible for you to bend and reach your toes. Take the time to relax your mind and body, and have a treatment that’s not only pampering but actually purposeful.
2. Prepare healthy meals for the freezer
You’ve probably been told by lots of people to stock up on frozen dinners for those first few weeks, when you’ll more than likely be sleep deprived and exhausted. However, you really should try to make a few wholesome meals that include the following foods known to help boost breast milk supply: beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, asparagus, carrots and brown rice. Also, add in lots of green, leafy vegetables, like spinach, as they are loaded with iron and folate.
You might not feel all that inclined to long sessions in the kitchen, but if you can get the help of your partner or a friend, it is definitely worth whipping up a couple of batches of lactation cookies for the freezer. If you take to nursing, then you will soon discover how famished you’ll be but also often wonder if your supply is enough.
Andrea from Hand and the Heart blog shares a recipe for peanut butter-oatmeal lactation cookies. She says, “The key ingredient [in the cookie] that helps boost milk supply in breastfeeding mothers is brewer’s yeast.”
4. Continue taking vitamins
You’re probably well into the habit of taking your prenatal vitamins by now. However, this isn’t the time to stop. Your pregnancy and breastfeeding vitamins are important for the last few weeks of pregnancy but also if you plan to nurse your little one. The healthier you are, the healthier your breast milk will be.
5. Keep walking
If you are up to it, continue exercising into the last days of your pregnancy. Walking, even for just 10 minutes at a time, will help you move fluid and use your legs and hips. It’ll also be great for clearing your mind and taking in some fresh air.
6. Slather and moisturize
In the last few weeks of pregnancy, your body will continue to stretch, and you might find your skin — especially around your belly — is dry and itchy. Slather that blooming belly of yours with a rich moisturizer such as a cocoa or shea butter.
Don’t worry; pretty much all pregnant women will end up with stretch marks somewhere on their body, so embrace yours with pride.
7. Practice deep breathing
Perhaps you’ve already taken some classes to help you through your labour, but deep breathing has many more benefits. In the last few weeks, you might start experiencing a lot more Braxton-Hicks (false) contractions, so get through them by breathing. Deep breathing also helps calm your mind and ease stress — a very handy tool for some of the stressful times with a newborn.