Postpartum is a sacred time much like pregnancy and birth. Preparing for this new phase of life is extremely beneficial for expecting families to have a smooth transition whether you are new to parenthood or a mother of multiples. Curious just how to go about planning for the fourth trimester? Come with me as we discuss how to have the postpartum you desire!
Imagine what YOU desire for this experience
Postpartum should be full of rest, support, warmth, and nourishment. Begin to explore what you want your postpartum experience to look like. How would you like to feel? Whose presence do you desire during this time? Are there any fears that come up? What were your previous postpartum experiences like? One suggestion is to journal about these topics to see what feelings and thoughts come up for you. Hopefully by exploring these ideas you will begin to picture what is important to you.
The first 30 days
My absolute favorite saying that was learned from Midwife Maryn Green was an old wives' tale that went “five days in the bed, five days on the bed, and five days next to the bed.” To best support breastfeeding, bonding, and resting as you recover from birth, mom and baby should be spending their time in bed skin to skin (aiming for 30 days or longer if possible). It may be hard to imagine being able to create this sacred time, so let’s hop down to planning your postpartum to learn more about how you can work towards achieving this beautiful resting period with your new addition.
Planning your postpartum
To delve deeper into your unique postpartum plan, you can begin by listing out your everyday responsibilities and how you can pass them on. Imagine who could do them, and how long you can take off from each task. One idea I learned is to create a signup sheet where friends and family can volunteer to take on a responsibility like walking your dog for you after birth. This can even be posted at your blessing way or baby shower. Responsibilities like how your family will continue to have nourishing meals is important too. Meal trains have been a wonderful way for families to pass on that responsibility. You can even have a get together where you and loved ones prepare food to stock up your freezer. If you’re local to Lexington, Kentucky Nourished Folks is an amazing place to find nourishing goods for families during postpartum as well.
*Note: It’s also important to have a contingency plan in case things come up (lactation support, needing extended time, recovery challenges…)
Building your village
As you prepare and plan you may begin to think about who is on your postpartum support team. I always tell clients to have a list ready of resources in their community as well as friends and family they can call on. I would also recommend looking into postpartum doulas! Maybe your family lives further away or having them around doesn’t support the peaceful postpartum you hope for. Postpartum doulas help families with light housekeeping, newborn care, holding the mother during that tender time, and more! Learn about what a postpartum doula can do for you here!
Thinking about your support system may also bring up the question of visitors during your retreat and when you all would like to announce the arrival of your baby. This may be a great time to think back to what you desire your postpartum experience. Let’s also think back to the important foundation, mom in bed with baby skin to skin. Putting clothes on the baby and passing them around can affect your milk supply, bonding, and rest. It may not be ideal to have certain visitors while you lay skin to skin with baby for a while. The most important thing is to think about what’s important to you, and make sure everyone is aware and supportive of your plans.
Preparing for transitions
When partners go back to work, that transition to losing that help is still big whether they were able to stay home for days, weeks, or months. Don’t be afraid to ask for more help, even when you are heading back to work. This is where planning your postpartum may come back into play. It’s okay to reach out to your village and see who can take on what responsibilities as you transition into these new stages of postpartum.
Breastfeeding is extremely beneficial for babies and mothers! It is warmth, nourishment, bonding, and so much more than just milk (even though there is a reason why they call it liquid gold!!). You will be spending a lot of time in a comfortable space like your couch, comfy chair, and bed. Breastfeeding is natural, you and your baby will spend time learning together as you go. Attending a breastfeeding support group or surrounding yourself with other breastfeeding mothers can be helpful, especially if you can start during pregnancy. Sometimes things come up, so it is always good to know who in your community supports breastfeeding women.
Yes, you can plan for postpartum like you would for birth to create a beautiful experience whatever that may look like. Postpartum is a time of healing, don't be afraid to protect this sacred trimester. You can say no to anything that doesn't align with how you want to feel. Nourish your body, ask for help, and rest. If you're interested in learning about more ways to make your postpartum sacred, click here!