Preparing for Postpartum
Your birth team is assembled. You’ve created a birth plan, taken all the classes, read books, listened to podcasts, and soaked in advice from family and friends. You’re ready, right?!
Take it from two experienced birth and postpartum doulas who are also moms- prepping for life after labor and delivery is crucial. The postpartum period comes naturally with unavoidable twists & turns. Taking a few small steps now will have you thanking yourself in the future.
Here’s our Top 13 Prep for Postpartum Tips to help you get the ball rolling!
13. choose your baby’s pediatrician
Looking for some peace of mind? Then we highly suggest finding the right pediatrician for your family before baby arrives. Checking this task off your list feels sooooo good! There are so many options and factors to consider when choosing the right practice for YOU…location, insurance, philosophy, hospital affiliation, hours/availability, size of the practice, etc. Talk to other moms in your area and see where they go. Ask your OB/GYN who they recommend, especially if they have children of their own. If you have labor & delivery or pediatric nurse friends, ask them. Ask us too! We know Central Indiana well.
Once you have narrowed down the list, give those offices a call to set up meetings with the doctors. One tip we give our clients is to pay attention to how you were treated on the phone, how the office staff conducted themselves, how the nursing staff made you feel, etc. You’ll be communicating with them as much as you will be with the doctor (if not more). Feeling comfortable with the practice as a whole is important.
12. carefree maternity leave
Maternity leave looks differently for everyone. We’re breaking this up into two general categories- Employed & Self-Employed
- Communicate with your boss, teammates, and HR
- Decide when your leave will begin.
- Create a home to office communication plan if check-ins are necessary.
- Come up with a plan should you go into labor while at work (mostly, who will drive you to the doctor, hospital or home).
- Look ahead for re-entry to work, especially if you’ll be pumping.
- Decide when your leave will begin.
- Depending on your type of business, communicate your maternity leave timeline and boundaries with clients.
- Batch work as much as possible and have automatic systems in place.
- Plan for how you want your work day to look after maternity leave ends.
11. write a letter
Sit down and write a letter to your little babe. Share details about your pregnancy, how you’re feeling, your cravings, how you prepared for their arrival, etc. Make it funny, serious or a mixture of everything. Just let your personality shine through. Encourage your partner to do the same!
10. plan for privacy
This tip isn’t for everyone. If privacy during birth and after is valuable to you, then read on!
Since we’re living in a social media and status update world, safeguarding your experience requires planning and communication between you and your inner circle before birth. If you wish to keep the news that you’re in labor private, then it’s a good idea to let your inner circle in on your wishes beforehand. There’s nothing worse than your cell phone blowing up during labor from your mom’s bestfriend’s cousin’s girlfriend when you’re in labor. And after your baby is here, it’s a good idea to ask your inner circle again to keep the exciting news off their socials until you’ve had the chance to announce you baby’s birth yourself.
9. plan for baby’s hospital care
It’s smart to have general feeding/medical decisions made before you’re admitted to the hospital. Upon admission, you’ll be asked about feeding wishes for baby, antibiotic eye ointment, Vitamin K injection, Hepatitis B vaccine, circumcision, delayed cord clamping, cord blood banking, etc. It’s not fun arriving at the hospital in active labor and having to decide these things in the middle of contractions. Make sure you and your partner agree on these decisions ahead of time, too. And don’t be shy about contacting your pediatrician and OB/GYN with questions regarding medical care.
8. feeding a baby is hard work
The first few weeks are hard no matter how you choose to feed your baby. Just know this fact going into it and give yourself a ton of grace during. There are many resources available for formula feeding, breastfeeding, exclusive pumping and combination feeding available at your fingertips. But when you’re in the thick of it and desperate for help, it’s hard to find the resources that are just right for you. At at this point, you’re craving personal one-on-one support and care…now. Do a little research ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the feeding support options available in your area before birth. We’re ALWAYS here for you by providing nonjudgmental feeding support -no matter how your baby is being fed- here at Indiana Birth & Parenting. Call us!
It’s true what they say- newborns eat, sleep and poop. And they do all three of these things a lot. Even though a newborn clocks 16-17 hours of sleep in a 24hr period, it’s not peaceful sleep and it’s broken up into segments. It’s a splendid idea to take the steps now and plan for sleep. Having the right overnight and/or daytime support makes all the difference for everyone in your home!
6. leaving the house takes forever
If you’re the type of person that likes to get out the door quickly, then this adjustment is going to rock your world. All we can say is this- take the amount of time you think you need to get yourself and your baby out the door for their first doctor appointment…and multiply it x2. You’re welcome.
5. prepare your relationship
Be intentional with this one. As your due date draws near, carve out time with your partner. Communicate with one another and acknowledge how things are about to change for the two of you. Address what you’re both excited about and don’t be afraid to confess what’s keeping you up with worry at night. Be honest about expectations. Recognize the lifestyle changes you’ll both be going through…it’s okay to grieve these changes. Chat about how the shift in your daily routines will feel like a shock to your system. Handling high pressure and raw moments comes easier when the communication door is opened up before you welcome your baby home.
Last, talk about sex. Yes, that part of your relationship will be put on hold for a few weeks (or longer) but that doesn’t mean you have to press pause on the intimacy button too. Intimacy and the early days of parenting can coexist. Stay connected because you’re in this together.
4. capture the moments
You will swear to yourself that you’ll never forget the milestones your baby reaches as time passes. And you’re right! You won’t forget the milestones- the first time they roll over, say their first word, crawl and take their first steps. They’re seared in your brain.
What will begin to fade away as your child continues to grow are the moments- simple everyday unplanned moments. We don’t know about you, but some of our favorite photos of our families and friends are the candid ones. There’s nothing better than flipping through old pictures and seeing one you don’t remember taking. It’s the best feeling to revisit memories you haven’t thought about in years. You’ll want to remember the small things so capture those little moments too.
3. you’re not perfect…and that’s okay
Friends hear this loud and clear! YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES!
Now, shout it with us- “I WILL MAKE MISTAKES!”
And read this when you need a reminder.
2. plan for support
Most new parents plan on having additional help during the first couple of weeks at home with a newborn. Think about who you want in this role and talk to them ahead of time about the best ways they can assist you. If help from family and friends isn’t an option, or if you’re simply looking for professional reinforcements, consider postpartum doula support. We know two great ones so give us a call!
savor the last weeks of pregnancy
Don’t slap us for this one. We KNOW your baby thinks your bladder is a trampoline. We KNOW you have brain fog. We KNOW you’re confused not knowing if you’re having Braxton Hicks or if labor is really starting this time. We KNOW you would give anything to take a full, deep breath. We KNOW your hormones are all over the place. We KNOW you’re scared thinking about how this tiny human is going to exit your body.
We also know the big day is almost here. Hang in there. Your sweet babe will be in your arms in no time.
Join us next week for part two of our Postpartum Series!