Preparing for birth can be all consuming. You go to your OB or midwife appointments, you do this scan and that test, you get the nursery ready, the baby shower invites out, the registry perfected. You do all the baby laundry and narrow down your long list of names. You take your Childbirth Ed course, meet with your Birth Doula, take prenatal yoga and write your Birth Plan or your Birth Preferences. But what about Postpartum? Does your provider talk to you what to expect or how to prepare for the Postpartum period? Unfortunately, more often times than not, providers are NOT talking about the ins and outs of postpartum.
Maybe you hired a Postpartum Doula or working with your Birth Doula prenatally about how to plan and prep for your postpartum or your 4th trimester.
Just as you would create a Birth Plan prenatally, we encourage our clients to make a Postpartum Plan prenatally as well. Of course this can be revised and catered to your own unique experience, especially since you don't know what your birth has in store for you ;)
What is a Postpartum Plan? Just that, a plan. But keep in mind that plans can shift and change hourly, daily, weekly. It's a plan that you can share with visiting guests so they know ahead of time how to visit. If you have a partner, it's a plan to have with them to know how you are splitting up responsibilities. Who is taking the dog out? How are meals getting made? etc etc.
Don't know where to start? We are here to give you some ideas of what can be included in your Postpartum Plan!
Info to share with visiting guests:
- Have them text or call you when they arrive. Limit the amount of people knocking on doors or ringing doorbells in case you and/or the baby is sleeping.
- Keep volumes low. That means voices, radio, TV, phone calls etc.
- Keep the lights dim.
- Bring food, snacks, drinks that can be placed either in the freezer, fridge, or stored in the pantry. If not visiting and just want to drop off food, have them place the meal in a cooler outside and text you when they drop off.
- WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE HOLDING THE BABY.
- Think about Covid protocols you would like to enforce in your home. Will people wear masks? Only vaccinated friends and family? No judgement, whatever you choose is the right choice for your home.
- Have guests do the dishes if there are dishes in the sink.
Info for us to discuss:
- New roles for household responsibilities. Either partner, friend, family member or Postpartum Doula should: Load & Unload the dishwasher, doing, folding & putting away laundry, tidying up living spaces, take out garbage, grocery shopping.
- Will you hire a Postpartum Doula? Night nurse? Nanny?
- Do you invite guests over? Do you wait 30-40 days to see other people? Do you see close family and see friends at a later point?
- Will you set up a meal train?
- Will you schedule someone to come take care of pets? Puppy day care? Dog walker? Will someone tend to the chickens? ;)
- What will "night parenting" look like? Will you introduce bottles at night?
- Do you plan to breast/chest/body feed? Bottle feed? Formula feed? Combo?
- Will you hire a Lactation Consultant to come to your home after you give birth?
- Are we using a pacifier?
- Where is the baby sleeping? Bassinet? Bed sharing? Side car? Crib in nursery?
- Do we agree on the pediatrician?
This is *just* a jump off point for you and maybe these questions spark something to make your postpartum plan unique to you!
The postpartum space is raw, vulnerable, beautiful, terrifying, loving, all of the feelings. It's like birth where you don't know what to expect until you are in it. Preparing for this period can ease some anxieties and put some plans in place to hopefully make the transition a little more gentle.
Have questions or want to chat with one of our Postpartum Doulas? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org