Photo by: iStock

Plan for Your Postpartum Period

Photo by: iStock



When I was preparing for the birth of my first child, I attended all the classes my hospital had to offer, the newborn care class, the Lamaze class, the partner class, and the breastfeeding class. I felt as prepared as I could be to tackle the crazy unknown of childbirth and postpartum.

Boy, was I wrong. I was completely unprepared for the postpartum period. I cannot begin to express how isolated and alone I felt as I navigated breastfeeding, exhaustion, and physical recovery.

When I had my second, I had learned a lot more. I was more confident in my mothering skills, had found the elusive “mom friends”, and knew where to turn if I needed help. I rocked that postpartum.

Then, my third came. This initial postpartum period was much like the second. I felt confident in my skills as a mother, had a baby who slept well, and had my close friends I could commiserate with. It all came crashing down at my 6 week postpartum check up at by OBGYN. Due to medical complications discovered at this appointment, I was unable to produce enough breastmilk for my baby.

My daughter, who had been struggling gaining weight, wasn’t getting enough milk.

I was crushed.

How did I not know she wasn’t gaining enough?

When she was crying and I wrote it off as tired, was she actually hungry?

I was too preoccupied with everything else that was going on in my life (3 kids under 4, me and my partner both working) to realize that something was wrong with me AND my baby.

It was after my third that I decided the postpartum periods that I experienced should not be “normal." Moms should be supported throughout their whole pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. I have since become a postpartum doula. I work with moms to create their postpartum network, which includes professionals and peers they can reach out to, as well as practical measures that can be taken to ease the postpartum period.


1. Identify the professionals in your area. Even if you don’t plan on needing these professionals, know their phone numbers, emails, and office locations:

Birth professional (OBGYN, Midwife, etc)

Pediatrician

Lactation Consultant/IBCLC for breastfeeding moms

Doula (birth or postpartum)

Perinatal Mood Disorder Therapist/Counselor


2. Identify peer groups in your area. These are great places to find other moms that may be going through similar stages as you and can offer advice, insight, and encouragement.

Breastfeeding/Lactation support groups

New Mom Support Groups

Mommy & Me Classes

Facebook groups


3. Identify individuals that you can count on for unconditional support. These are individuals that you know will never ask for anything in return, you don’t have to clean your house for, or even shower for. They are also people that will do chores or watch the baby while you rest. These are the only people that you should allow to visit for the first couple weeks postpartum. They can be:

Family members

Friends

Neighbors


4. Identify chores, errands, tasks that visitors can do while they are there. Write these down and post on the fridge, this way visitors don’t have to ask you what they can do.

These may include:

Switching laundry

Bringing a meal/food or setting up a Meal Train for you

Walking the dog

Taking older siblings to the park


5. Identify tasks that you can outsource.

Get groceries delivered.

Diaper delivery

Housecleaning

Dogwalking

Babysitting older siblings


6. Identify what self-care you will take during the initial postpartum. Maybe you meditate, set time to make a healthy meal (have someone else be on baby duty), a light walk outside, get your nails done, or take a shower. It doesn’t matter what you do, but figure out a way to take time for yourself for a couple minutes each day.

The postpartum period is an important transition for both you and your baby. Honor it. Recognize that by “doing it all” does not make you a better or happier mom.

Do what feels right to you, let the rest go.



Kate Turza is a certified postpartum doula, mom of three beautiful, fun-loving children, and champion for new moms everywhere. She’s passionate about normalizing the postpartum period and creating social networks where new families can find the support they need as they navigate this intimate and vulnerable time. Find more at ktpostpartumdoula.com

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