If you’re pregnant, you have probably thought a lot about the birth of your little one. But what about postpartum, the time after your baby arrives?
Hopefully you realise that planning your postpartum is just as important as planning your birth.
Some postpartum professionals say that the transformation a woman needs to make to become a mother is actually more intense than birthing her baby.
There are so many changes happening; physically, mentally, emotionally. Don’t underestimate the profoundness of it. With a little planning, those first few weeks after birth can be filled with so much joy.
I encourage you to think about how you’d like to feel as you journey into motherhood. Many mothers say they would like to feel peaceful during postpartum.
Knowing what to expect can give you more confidence and feeling prepared can make this time more enjoyable.
No matter what number baby this is for you, one thing is for sure...
You will need extra help
This is where ‘building your village’ before you birth will be so valuable. Take a moment to think about all the tasks you do day-to-day. Your new baby will need care around the clock 24/7 which means you will need to receive help with everyday tasks. Feeding your baby is a full time job in and of itself. So, I encourage you to think about who can help you, particularly during the first six weeks.
Rest when you can
You’ve probably heard people say ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’. The importance of rest cannot be underestimated so you’ll need extra help to make this possible. Rest helps you to recover faster and heal more effectively.
Nourishing foods are really important
You will need to eat regularly and ideally you’ll have access to easy-to-digest foods. You can prepare by cooking extra meals during your pregnancy and then store them in the freezer. One of my favourite things I suggest you consider is a ‘meal train’. This is where friends or family make delicious home-cooked meals and bring them to you on a roster. This helps you feel nourished and loved. Did you know that good foods will help you make better breastmilk for your baby?
I always recommend people take a look at The First Forty Days (Heng Ou) and also Nourishing Newborn Mothers (Julia Jones). Both of these books have fantastic postpartum recipes to help a new mother heal and rejuvenate. Pick some favourites and then email the volunteers on your meal train so they can nourish you with meals suitable for your healing body and mind.
Of course the new mother will need to heal and recover from the birth so it is a good idea to have some idea of what you may need to prepare beforehand. You can read more about natural remedies for postpartum here.
Your oxytocin matters
One more crucial piece of the postpartum puzzle is your oxytocin levels. Hopefully you’ve heard of this incredible hormone? It contributes to your health and happiness.
After you have your baby, oxytocin helps your uterus to contract back to its original size. It also helps with milk flow in breastfeeding and helps you to bond with your baby. You can boost your oxytocin levels by having skin-to-skin contact with your baby, eating warm foods and doing things that bring you happiness. You can read more about the importance of oxytocin and boosting your levels during postpartum here.
I highly encourage you to get a plan in place before you birth, build your village, ask for help, do some meal planning and know how to naturally boost oxytocin.
If you're healthy and happy, you'll be able to nurture your newborn more easily.
Download this free natural birth checklist that covers practical tips and natural suggestions for the three stages of labor. Start feeling more confident about your birth plan.