If you are like many women, especially first time moms, you probably have spent a lot of time gearing up for your baby’s birth. You’ve probably read a book, or two, or the entire internet and you’ve taken your lamaze or childbirth education class. You created a baby registry with all sorts of fabulous items from a new-fangled car seat, to a ducky bath thermometer, baby carrier, and of course a few onesies with bunnies on them (well, perhaps not with bunnies…) You have a safe crib or bassinet, a cute nursery theme, and have delicately washed and folded all sorts of tiny baby clothes. You have daycare lined up for when you go back to work, or paternity leave figured out so dad can stay home at least a few days after the baby arrives. But, do you actually have a postpartum plan for when you bring baby home?
Make a Birth Plan then Make a Postpartum Plan
Uh, yes, you actually DO need to have a plan! I have found that in my experience, moms put a lot of time into creating a labor/birth plan, then make a mental game plan for when baby arrives, but don’t really take the time to think about what exactly they will do after they give birth.
Things to include in your postpartum plan
- After Birth While At Hospital
- Healing & Perineum Care
- On the Way Home
- Back at Home
- Physical Support (dayshift/nightshift)
- Emotional Support
- Meals (include suggestions for visitors to bring)
- Visitors vs Guests (include a list of things your visitors can do to help out)
Here are a few things to think about and consider
Will you have your mom or a friend there to help you transition from the hospital to the car and then from the car to your house? No seriously think about this, dad will be carrying the car seat, the nurses will help haul out your flowers & balloons, you’ll be proudly toting a flashy new diaper bag. You may want to consider having an extra hand to assist, especially if you have other big siblings that’ll be “helping” you.
Are you headed straight home from the hospital? One friend of mine stopped for dinner on her way home, I had to stop by Walmart to buy a couple preemie sized outfits for my daughter because she was much smaller than we expected. If your doctor needed to prescribe any meds that you didn’t get at the hospital, you may need to stop a the pharmacy, are you prepared to figure out how to unlatch that car seat to carry baby in?
Your friends and family love you dearly & they want to visit the baby probably more than they want to visit you (sorry mama!) Do you want visitors the first day? Would you rather have them come another day? Its hard when you get unexpected, well-meaning visitors. Make a little sign or note for your door that says something like “shhh, we are resting, no visitors today” and hopefully they will respect that and not have any hurt feelings.
So, you have your mom to help you for a few days and hubby got a week of leave… then what? Who will help you with the older kids? Do you feel safe with baby alone? I had one mom who didn’t have anyone come to help the first few days because she preferred the privacy, but when her husband had to go into work 2 days after the baby was born she lacked a lot of confidence and needed more emotional support than she anticipated.
Hopefully those will help to get you started in your thinking of a postpartum plan. If you spent an hour (or two or five) typing up a beautiful birth plan with details on vaccinations, circumcision, and what to do if you need a c-section, you owe it to yourself to put an effort into your postpartum plan as well. Would you like some help creating your plan? I’m available to help you create a vision & plan for both your birth and postpartum period.