If there was ever a plan to have, it is a Postpartum plan. A plan you can just pull out + put to use without thinking about it.
A lot of times in our culture, we place so much emphasis on pregnancy. We throw baby showers + love to see the bump pictures. We spend oodles of time thinking about the nursery + our birth plan.
This isn’t to say these life transitions, celebrations + plans aren’t all essential and worthy of our time and attention. We know it’s wonderful to nest and be showered with love!
But we’ve also found it fascinating to learn that most other cultures put way more emphasis on the postpartum period, and showering mom and baby with love during that time.
To be honest, it feels like a bit of a lost art in our country. Moms are discharged from care then sent home without a plan in place, and it can honestly feel really overwhelming. This lack of support can lead to increased postpartum depression and anxiety.
The postpartum period should be a time for mom to focus on healing her body, and bonding with her baby.
Since we don’t have generations living under the same roof like we used to (family support is often even states away), we don’t often have people stepping in to take care of us. This is why it’s so essential to your create a plan ahead of time. Know there are many ways to do this.
Here are a few ways to get started with your unique postpartum plan:
- Check out The 4th Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson. Kimberly is nothing short of amazing and has so much wisdom to share through her work. This book is like a crash course for all things to know postpartum.
- The First 40 Days, the Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother, by Amely Greeven is another fabulous resource. This book is chock full of recipes and traditional methods used to create a deeply nourishing and supportive postnatal period.
- Start a meal train, schedule healthy meal deliveries, stock your freezer full of easy grab and go meals.
- Continue to drink red raspberry leaf tea to tone and heal the uterus. Bonus if you also add some nettles and immune boosting honey!
- Drink lots of bone or mushroom broths to enhance the body’s healing process.
- Talk to friends who have been there, done that + ask what helped them the most!
- Aim for warm, healing meals with plenty of protein and healthy fats. Here’s a recipe for lactation cookies we love!
- Schedule a cleaner or ask loved ones to help out with cleaning, laundry, etc as often as possible.
- Know that you will probably be a hot mess when your milk comes in (if you’re breastfeeding)! Emotions run high. Have plenty of water and snacks available, and emotional support for hugs or encouragement.
- Decide ahead of time who will walk the dog, care for other children, etc.
- Schedule a pelvic floor check-up with a women’s health physical therapist for about 6 weeks after giving birth.
Also, as we’ve heard one of our favorite midwives say, “Tell people they can come over when you’re ready after birth, but let them know they’ll need to do the dishes and get you a meal before they get to hold baby!”
It’s also a great idea to post a list on the fridge of ways people can help support you (walk dog, do dishes, grocery run, vacuum etc). This list will be there to simply point to when friends + family are asking how they can help.
Rememeber, you get to do postpartum your way!
So give yourself permission to set the boundaries you need, receive the support you deserve, and set yourself up for success during such a massive life transition.