So often a mother will plan and plan for the birth of her baby that she forgets to think about what life will be like after baby gets here. You have your birth plan and your newborn care plan, but what about a postpartum care plan? Thinking over the basics of the first few months of the postpartum season can take away so much of the stress that comes with a newborn baby.
How many hours of sleep do you need to feel your best? Since babies need to wake up during the night to be fed and changed, you will also be up with them. If you are not getting adequate sleep at night you need to be napping during the day in order to function. You will hear time and time again, “Sleep when baby sleeps!” For some moms this may seem impossible with guests coming in and out and thoughts of laundry and dishes piling up. Enlist the help of your partner, a family member or friend, or a postpartum doula to ease your mind and let you sleep during the day so that those night feedings don’t seem so daunting.
How will you feed your baby? Are you wanting to breastfeed on demand or formula feed? Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t go as planned and you may end up giving your baby bottles of pumped milk. You may even plan on having your partner feed your baby once or twice at night so you can sleep. However you decide to feed your baby, have tools and resources in place such as breastfeeding support groups, a breast pump, and bottles.
Every family is different. Talk with your partner and come up with a plan so that meals go smoothly after you bring baby home. Have a family member set up a meal train and coordinate meals with your family, friends, and community. Prepare freezer meals in the last weeks of your pregnancy to easily heat up and enjoy. Order food to be delivered from your favorite local restaurants. Hire a postpartum doula that can do some grocery shopping and prepare a meal for your while you and your partner rest and bond with your baby. Any and all of these options are good to consider and have on your postpartum care plan
Sit down with your partner and ask yourselves specific questions such as: Who will do the caring for the baby during the day? Who will do the cleaning? Who will do the cooking? Who will do the laundry? Who will be at home? Who will do the shopping? Who will run errands? Discussing these “roles” can clear up some confusion you may have once baby arrives. If you have always had the role of doing the laundry, that may be hard to continue once you are spending much of your day breastfeeding and holding your baby. Talk with your partner about what each of you can do to keep your house running in decent order with a new addition to the family.
Having a new baby is hard. You will be tired and covered in milk. While the exhaustion and mess is so worth it, you need to think about who you are comfortable with coming into your home during this time. The first week or so you may wish to have only your closest family members and friends come to visit. However, as the weeks go on you may wish to have more not-so-close visitors that are wanting to see the baby and bring you a meal. If you have a meal train, you can set up a cooler by your front door so people can leave food without coming in. Go over your wishes with your partner so they can communicate this to whoever is wanting to come into your home in those first few weeks.
A very important conversation for you and your partner to have before baby arrives is about your relationship. Ask yourselves what is most important to you. Talk about what might change about your relationship with a baby and what you wish would stay the same. If date night is important to you, then do your best to continue that. Just like sleeping or eating, your relationship with your partner is just as important to have a plan in place to make your postpartum journey a joyful and positive experience.
All in all, whether you are talking about meals or baby care expectations, having these discussions will set you up for a purposeful postpartum season. Check out our Postpartum Care Plan Template to make a plan for yourself!
Download: Postpartum Care Plan