How to plan for postpartum
Jul 14, 2022
Many people spend time thinking about what they would like for their birth, and it’s common to create a ‘birth plan’. But less parents take the time to create a ‘postpartum plan’ covering what they would like for after their baby arrives.
We know this time can be full of joy but it can also be really overwhelming. The right support and care can make a huge difference. Taking time to put some plans into action can help make the early weeks after birth more peaceful and enjoyable.
I think it’s good to discuss your ideas with friends and family before baby arrives. This can help to avoid or minimise awkward conversations while you’re newly postpartum. Learning to say yes to offers of help is important because you’re not meant to do this alone. Babies need so much care so while you’re busy caring for your newborn, allow others to help care for you. Practical and emotional support will make a huge difference to your recovery and bonding.
Some things to think about during pregnancy:
- Would you like some time as a family before you invite visitors in?
- Who are people you can call on to help with shopping, cleaning, making food, caring for other children or pets?
- What things are important to you for your postpartum time?
- How much time can you and your partner/support people take off from other work/responsibilities?
- What things might you find challenging? What are some potential solutions to have in place?
- What professional support might you want (for example a cleaner, meal delivery service, postpartum doula, lactation consultant, masseuse, pelvic floor specialist, midwife)?
- What helps you feel happy and relaxed? How can you bring some of these oxytocin-boosting things into your life after baby arrives?
Some tips for visitors:
- Only visit if invited (please don’t just drop in)
- Make sure you are healthy
- Be helpful (bring a meal, help with household chores like washing up or doing a load of laundry, ask if the family needs anything from the shops before you come)
- Try to keep visits short and encourage the parents to slow down and rest
- Show your love, support and care
Some tips for postpartum wellness:
- Drink plenty of water and herbal tea
- Eat healthy warming food (think about a meal delivery service so you always have healthy food available)
- Move your body (consider a gentle walk, some yoga stretches or a little dance)
- Get fresh air and sunshine (spend some time outdoors in nature if you can)
- Make time for rest (put your phone away) and ask someone to watch your other children (if you have them)
- Stay connected with others - have a phone call or send a text to a friend or read a book
- Hire professional care like a postpartum doula or counsellor if you are needing more support
It’s worth taking the time to mindfully plan your postpartum. Those precious weeks after birth can be really intense, but with the right support, you and your baby can emerge feeling rejuvenated and peaceful instead of overwhelmed and exhausted. Your postpartum matters!
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