A little planning can make a huge difference during the first days and weeks with your newborn. Most parents don’t realize just how hard things are when you’ve got an adorable baby who depends on you for all of his or her needs. It is important to plan while you’re still pregnant, and doing so can make a huge difference in your stress levels, mood, and relationships during the first months with a newborn. For starters, take as much time off work as possible, gather your support system, and have your partner actively involved from the get-go. When you have that in place, here are 6 things to do now to make postpartum even better.
#1 Write It Down: Make a simple postpartum plan. Important numbers (doctor/midwife, pediatrician, doula, lactation consultant).
#2 Prioritize Your Own Needs: There is nothing wrong with being a little selfish during pregnancy and postpartum. You can only provide good care to your baby if your feeling safe, happy, and supported. That means staying rested, hydrated, well-nourished, and calm. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Put some chores on paper for whoever visits and wants to help, they can cross one off and do that chore. In the end, a happy mom and baby are more valuable than a clean kitchen or a freshly vacuumed house.
#3 Get Meals Taken Care Of: Having at least one meal a day already planned, prepped, and prepared is a lifesaver when you have a needy newborn. This can cut down on incidences when your partner is desperately ordering pizza at 8pm with a screaming baby in the background. Don’t hesitate to ask your family or community for help by utilizing mealtrain.com. It’s easy and free!
#4 Set Boundaries: You need to make sure you’re not getting overwhelmed with well meaning visitors just after you have birthed a small human. Set boundaries with family and friends. Say, “We’re only having immediate family visit in the hospital,” or “We’re hoping to limit visits to 30 minutes so we can rest” or whatever works for you. Boundaries can also include conversation topics or advice, i.e., “If we need breastfeeding help, we will ask you for it,” or “I know you think cloth diapering is too difficult, but its what we plan to try.” Setting up expectations for the kind of company and support you want can help to avoid hurt feelings and conflict during the often raw, tender postpartum period.
#5 Ask For Help: If you need help, ask for it! Woman in our culture are often scared or embarrassed to admit they need assistance, but there’s seriously no shame in reaching out to your friends, family, and community. Mom’s know just how hard it is to have a newborn and they’re often eager to help.
#6 Aim Low: This may sound harsh, but lower your expectations for what life as a new parent is going to be like. Whatever you are picturing, it’s likely not going to look anything like that, AND THAT’S OK! Some days just taking a shower is all you’re going to be able to do. Give yourself the emotional and mental space for your postpartum experience to be whatever it will be. Don’t expect life to be anything like it was before you gave birth. You will find your new normal in time. www.parents.com