Birth is a major life changing experience. Postpartum is just as important. Having a postpartum plan may help alleviate some of the stress families may endure during their transition into parenthood.
Let's review some important factors to include in your postpartum plan. Write down the categories listed below and ensure everyone involved receives a notice or copy.
Let's start with WHO...
Who do you trust? Who is reliable? Who can support you during your transition into parenthood? These people are your family and friends. Your tribe should honor your experience, respect your wishes, and show up when needed. I must say that if there is any type of tension or negative experience during your pregnancy with a certain individual then reconsider or revoke their position if needed during postpartum. You will be busy; busy learning and growing with your baby, recovering from birth, and revealing new layers of yourself. So, choose your tribe wisely. It surely takes a village to raise a child, in turn the same village can help pour into your transition. Think about who will spend majority of their time with baby and if applicable, how long is the maternity leave.
WHO should also include:
Midwife or doctor - I highly recommend scheduling your postpartum appointment within the first week of your postpartum journey. During your appointment, ask questions about your birthing experience. Be honest. Let your medical provider know if you are experiencing anything that may be unusual to you. Take notes on your phone and/or ask for a printout of the midwife/doctor's notes concerning your visit. Don't allow them to pressure you into a form of birth control right away. Be informed and firm about what you want.
Postpartum Doula- Try to hire one before your birth. Ask your family and/friends to chip in to help cover the costs of postpartum support or check with your insurance to see if the service is covered.
Lactation Professional- to help with breastfeeding and/or nursing questions.
Pediatrician- Do your research before baby arrives. Read recommendations. Check with your insurance to ensure the doctor is covered in your network. Determine what type of Pediatrician you would like for your baby ( holistic or traditional).
Mental Health Support/Counseling- Postpartum has ups and downs, sometimes it can be a rollercoaster ride and you may experience feelings you have never felt before. Having mental health support can be vital during your postpartum journey. Do your research. Read recommendations. Check with your insurance to ensure the service is covered or ask about a sliding scale fee.
Others: food delivery service, daycare providers, massage therapy, chiropractic care, WIC, virtual postpartum support group, etc.
WHAT & WHEN: What are the tasks and the availability to do so...
Cleaning your home ( dishes, laundry, bathrooms, kitchen, etc..)
Spending time with your other children ( taking them to the park, helping with homework, carpooling to and from school, etc..)
Taking you to your follow-up appointment(s) or giving you some time so you can meet with your provider virtually.
Preparing in-home meals and/or dropping off meals
Walking the family dog
Give you some alone time (shower, sleep, relaxing, etc..)
Check in buddy- someone who will hold space for you if and when the journey begins to feel overwhelming. They will call or text to check-in" on you. This is someone who holds your best interest, who will listen without interrupting, who will speak words of encouragement over you and your journey.
Create a simple schedule and inform your village. Be sure to include days & times.
Postpartum Tip: Have majority of your postpartum items prepared ahead of time: underwear, loose fitting clothes, comfy socks, pads, sitz baths, bottles water, snacks, hair ties, baby diapers, wipes, creams, salves, etc.. in the same room or within reach in a small basket.