With my first baby, my postpartum period was a big mess! I had prepared so much for pregnancy, read all the books, followed every website & blog! I talked to everyone I could about birth and what to expect. I inundated my doctor with so many, many annoying questions. I reseached every baby product to ensure I was getting the most up to date product. I really did my do diligence as an expecting mom and thought I was prepared...
Fast froward to me leaving the hospital with a baby in arms the day after delivering her. Sore & bruised after laboring for 20 hours & pushing for 4, I waddled out of the hospital like a wounded penguin. SO unprepared for this leg of the journey, on the way home from the hospital, we had to stop at a RiteAid to buy all the necessary personal hygiene items for myself. Dazed & confused, I remember the check out clerk remarking on my hospital bracelet and asking if I just had a baby! And, YES, I just had a baby!!
The next 3 weeks were total chaos. I was sore in places I didn't know I had places. I could barely take care of myself, and yet, I had a new baby to take care of too. Not to mention my disastrous introduction to breastfeeding... Cue the violins please!
As they say, hindsight is 20/20 -
Enter, a plan for postpartum success!!
1. Put together a postpartum kit. At minimum this should consist of items such as sanitary napkins, witch hazel, sitz bath, & possibly tucks pads. I highly recommend making "Padsicles," adding a little bit of witch hazel to your pads and freezing them for coolness and cleaning after having a baby. These are the basic essential items to ensure healing quickly after a vaginal delivery. Labor of Love also offers a wonderful postpartum kit if you are interested. Email us for more details if you want to purchase one. Check out our blog The Bag Of Honesty for more resources on a postpartum kit.
2. REST, rest and then rest some more! You must remember that you are essentially convalescing. Your body needs to recuperate from being pregnant for 9 plus months as well as recover from birth. This will take some time. You also have a wound, from your placenta in your uterus, which needs to heal properly. Any prolonged standing, walking or going up and down stairs can prolong recovery.
3. Meal plan. Whatever this means to you, prepare for your meals. This can be as easy as stocking up on frozen lasagna from Costco, or freezing crock pot bagged meals before baby comes, or hiring a delivery service to bring you nourishing healthy foods to your doorstep. Bottom line, meal prep for this time otherwise you will be eating a lot of take out!
4. Keep visitors to a minimum. I always tell my clients a few rules of thumb: If you are not comfortable asking the people that want to come over to see your baby to also bring or make you food, then it is too soon for them to come over. In addition, if you are not comfortable asking these same people to clean up after said meal and maybe do the dishes for you, then IT IS TOO SOON FOR THEM TO COME OVER!
5. Lastly, give yourself permission ask for help. Be it your mother that comes over so you can take a shower or the friend that leaves a Starbucks on your doorstep. ASK FOR HELP! People want to be useful so you are giving them an opportunity to feel good too. In addition, have your resource list with such support numbers as lactation counselor, postpartum doula support, nurse hotline & your pediatrician. Be prepared to reach out to expert support if needed!
Here is to a better postpartum & for goodness sake MAKE YOUR POSTPARTUM PLAN!