It is inevitable, your baby is on the way and you have been given so much advice on pregnancy, labor and delivery and all things in between. But what advice have you been given for postpartum care? Once you are discharged and strapping that little nugget in their car seat for the first time and heading home, then what? Holy crap, there are so many things you didn’t think about or that no one offered up advice on for those first days after walking through your front door. You are officially in your own environment with no nurses, doctors or medical staff to help guide and assist on how to do and what to do. No worries! Daily Mom has you covered on prepping for postpartum care and feeling more at ease at home.
Postpartum Care Tip #1- Prioritizing Own Needs
In the last several weeks leading up to your due date, all you’re thinking about is getting that baby out. Your feet are swollen, you’re waking up all night long to pee and your energy is zapped! It may sound silly, but in the few weeks leading up to your baby being born make sure you prioritize your own needs. Maybe this is getting your house cleaned, scheduling a prenatal massage, soaking your sore, swollen feet, catching up on your reading list or having one last date night with your partner. It is ok to ask for what you need physically, emotionally and mentally- as these things will be an important part in your postpartum recovery. Whether you are becoming a first time mom or adding to your pack, take time for yourself and indulge in what you need prior to baby’s arrival. You can only provide the best care for your new baby if you are healthy, happy and supported.
Postpartum Care Tip #2- Make A Plan
But everyone says not to make a plan because “the plan” usually goes out the window. Birth plan that is. There are other things you will need to plan for after your labor is over. Do you want to contact people about your baby’s arrival, if so put your partner or someone else in charge to distribute that information and make sure they have an updated contact list? You will most likely have a few appointments scheduled before you leave the hospital, so ensure you have those dates, times, and numbers for those visits written down or sent through your patient portal. There will also be some key numbers you want to make sure you have on hand such as the number for your pediatrician’s office, lactation consultant, OBGYN/Midwife office, and any other phone numbers your discharge nurse provides that might be helpful resources for the first few days once your home.
All this to say this might be too much planning for some. However, thinking and talking about your postpartum plan to others can be helpful to start preparing your mind for what is to come. If writing out this plan seems silly or too structured for you, make sure you’re at least communicating this info with your support group for some extra help. You thought pregnancy brain was bad, prepare for sleep-deprived brain to kick in. It will be super helpful if you have others to help jog your memory on your postpartum strategy.
Postpartum Care Tip #3- Meal Planning
Choo choo here you go! It is crazy to think that the most basic human necessities become so hard to do after your baby is born. Figuring out what to eat should not be a tough decision so here are a couple different options: meal prep or meal train. Jump on board with one or both of those options.
Meal Prepping: preparing meals ahead of time (aka before the baby is due) may seem like a daunting task if you are not already doing this, but it will save you a lot of time and energy. Start clearing out your freezer and searching freezer friendly meals that are heavy on vegetables and proteins to help make life easier when hunger strikes. Don’t try to accomplish prepping two months of food over one weekend. Space out the process by prepping three meals per weekend two months out from when the baby is set to arrive. You want this basic life skill to seem mindless whether it is dumping items into a crockpot or placing in the microwave and hitting start.
Meal Train: make it easy for friends and family to help! Freezer meals are great to have on hand, but you may find yourself wanting fresh, crunchy items for meals and to snack on throughout the day. Everyone wants to help and be supportive so this is a great way to designate a friend or family member that wants to help to set up your meal train. This will be one less worry for you so you can focus on healing, taking care of you and that new little bundle of joy!
Postpartum Care Tip #4- Setting Boundaries
For some of you this may be a piece of cake and for others, this postpartum care tip is already giving you heartburn just thinking about having any boundary setting conversation. Before getting started, make sure you and your partner are on the same page with drawing the boundaries and who is going to be having those conversations. We promise, once this conversation has been had, you will thank us.
Setting boundaries with family and friends will help everyone to be mindful of the space you and your family need once your new babe is born. This does not mean that people can’t visit, it just means everyone needs to be thoughtful and call before dropping by. Aunt Sally just can’t decide on Tuesday morning at 10:00am that she wants to “pop in” to drop off an egg casserole. Those few weeks postpartum are going to be critical for getting into your new groove and building the best relationship you can with your new baby. Strong boundaries will help provide guidance for your family and friends while enabling you to keep your sanity!
Postpartum Care Tip #5- Ask For Help
Yes, we did just tell you to set boundaries with your family and friends and now we are telling you to ask for help. There are many ways to ask for help and one great example is a Postpartum Doula. If you are a new mom or adding to your family, bringing home a new baby brings a lot of change. Your postpartum doula provides you with support and information to help transition this baby into your new life. Some of the assistance a doula can provide help with breastfeeding support, newborn care (sleeping, diapering, bathing, feeding, etc.) emotional and physical recovery after birth and so much more. Doulas can provide services for a few days up to a few weeks post-birth. A doula might not be the answer for you, but no matter how you choose to ask for help, ensure that your family has the support it needs for a healthy recovery.
Postpartum Care Tip #6- Home Kits for Healing
Now that your little nugget has arrived, you are probably feeling a wide range of emotions and all the rough parts of pregnancy have made it all worthwhile. In the last nine months you have been feeling so excited about meeting your baby that you probably have not considered how you are going to take of yourself once you are at home continuing your postpartum recovery. Having some key supplies on hand whether you had a vaginal delivery or c-section are going to be super helpful to have once you get home from the hospital. Most likely your nurse will send you home with supplies for at least the first couple of days, but you will need these supplies for several weeks depending on how your delivery goes.
Vaginal Birth Key Essentials. Expect the first several weeks to postpartum to include heavy bleeding, maybe some perineal pain and potential sore nipples if you are breastfeeding/pumping. Your body just went through a lot to push that baby out, so give yourself some grace as you go through your recovery.
- Maternity Pads
- Peri Bottle
- Perineal Spray
- Mesh Underwear
- Pain Relievers
- Sitz Bath Soak
- Stool Softener
- Hemorrhoid Cream
C-section Key Essentials. This might have been planned or unplanned, but regardless you will be in pain because you just underwent major surgery. Your body will definitely need a ton of rest and that incision can take up to six weeks to heal properly.
- C Section Scar Ointment
- Postpartum Belly Binder
- Maternity Pads
- Oversized/Comfortable Underwear
- Pain Relievers
- Stool Softener
Breastfeeding Key Essentials. Breastfeeding might be one of those topics you didn’t really think much about or are planning to just figure out as you go. Sometimes it does not come easy and might take more work on your part helping your baby get the hang of it. Hey, we are all learning, right?
- Overnight Nursing Bra
- Nursing Tanks
- Nursing Pads (reusable or disposable)
- Coconut Oil
- Nipple Butter
- Nipple Gel Cooling Pads
- Breastfeeding Pillow
- Breast Pump and Accessories
Postpartum Care is going to be essential for your recovery. There is nothing to do to be 100% completely prepared, but there is a lot you can discuss and plan for before your baby arrives. This transition in your life is going to be one crazy, fun and wild ride so start putting together a plan to get ready for that baby!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Postpartum Issues No One Talks About.