When you are pregnant, you spend a lot of time thinking about the changes your body is going through; reading lots of books on pregnancy and birth; picking out baby clothes and decorating the nursery. You might even have written a birth plan….What about after the baby arrives? Do you have a plan in place for postpartum?
A postpartum plan makes the first few weeks so much smoother. We spend most of our adult lives working on being good hosts and hostesses to our guests who come over. Postpartum time is the time to get over that! When you have a new baby, it is a time of shift and adjustments. You need to be able to focus on falling in love with your new baby, learning the fine points of feeding, finding the fit of everyone else in the family, and letting your body heal from the processes of pregnancy and birth.
A postpartum plan needs to cover a few main points:
What things need to be done around the house daily or weekly….and how will they get done?
Who is your village? Who is going to come take care of you and your family while you get on top of the business of parenting?
Of the friends and family on the above list…are they willing and able to cover the things you need?
- You may need support with breastfeeding. This could come in the form of a very breastfeeding savvy friend or relative but more often should come by way of an lactation consultant or a postpartum doula with breastfeeding knowledge.
- You will need a bit of help keeping the house going (dishes, laundry, walking the dog, etc.). Family can help with this but you may consider having a housekeeper come in a few times or hiring a postpartum doula.
- You may need some overnight help at least a few nights in the first couple of weeks. This is often something that is overlooked. An overnight postpartum doula fits perfectly here but if you have friends or family that are willing to take night duty, by all means take advantage of the gift offered!
- You will need some daytime support. This is about learning new skills as well as about supporting you emotionally in the first few weeks.
- Who is going to keep you fed? This is something that is often overlooked because as adults, we have been feeding ourselves for a while. Have someone set up a “care calendar” where people can sign up online to bring the family meals if you have a supportive group of friends or co-workers who cook. You can pre-cook and freeze meals for later. There are several companies that will deliver pre-prepared meals to your home after baby is born.
Make sure that your plan includes protecting time for each parent to have some “me time” and some “couple time” as well as making sure that siblings’ needs are met.