Planning for Postpartum
Everyone thinks about and plans for labor, birth and all the baby things: how to take care of baby, planning if we are going to breastfeed or bottle feed, buying all the cutest and trendiest baby products. Yet, no one thinks about or plans for the birth of the mother and the weeks and months that follow: Postpartum.
The first thing I want to address is making sure you are prepared to have a smooth recovery physically. Make sure the house is stocked with all supplies you think you'll need. Here are some suggestions: pads (big, overnight ones down to panty liners; you can also make padsicles: https://prettyprovidence.com/diy-padsicles-postpartum/ ), comfortable underwear, peri bottle (the hospital usually provides you with one but you can buy your own if you prefer), stool softener, Advil or other pain medication that you prefer and potentially stool softener. Take the time to do research on what you should have on hand and have it ready to go! You deserve to heal properly and to splurge on buying what you need.
The next thing is to educate yourself on postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, etc. If you don't know how to recognize the signs, how you will know if it's something you're struggling with? Most childbirth education classes will discuss this so you will know what to look for but it's equally important to do your own research on the mental health issues that can follow after having a baby. Are you already prone to anxiety and depression? Have you struggled with mental health issues in the past? Do you see a counselor regular? Talk and ask questions with him/her so you are prepared. Also, talk to your partner so he knows what to look for and is educated as well. He will be the one to support you the most during that time.
Last but not least, have conversations with your partner and people in "your circle" about who can help during this transition. Coming home from the hospital is a hard reality- you have to do everything on your own: no more meals brought to your room or a nurse helping you breastfeed. And then there's the added responsibilities of doing the laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, ALL while taking care of a newborn baby. So who can you look to for help? I encourage you to think about this and plan ahead for when your partner returns to work. Maybe your mom can come stay with you for a couple days during that time? Maybe you have a close friend who would be willing to spend a couple hours with you on their day off? Maybe hire a trained and educated professional (Doula)? Whatever it looks like, have these conversations early and plan ahead!
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