You took antenatal classes, you made your birth plan, you are ready for childbirth without fears. Congratulations! So why make a postpartum plan? It can be incredibly beneficial for parents (whether it’s you first, second, third… kid). It helps anticipate and prepare for the physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes that come after childbirth.
1. Identify Your Needs
We don’t always know what we will need after birth. Try to think about your priorities. What are going to be the priorities after birth? Preparing in advance can make it easier to arrange for help when you most need it. It can be as vast as household chores, managing visitors, doing a preparation to breastfeeding before birth, anticipate meal preparation, etc. Creating a postpartum plan involves researching and identifying resources in your community, such as friends, relatives, support groups, lactation consultants, sleep consultants, pediatricians, or parenting classes. Having contacted these people before can help reduce stress during this transition period.
2. Mental Health
Pregnancy and childbirth can bring about a range of emotions. Planning ahead for self-care and mental health support can help mitigate postpartum mood disorders like postpartum depression or anxiety. If you have people around who already know how they can support, it will unload your mind from this. It might include decisions about feeding, sleep routines, and bonding activities. You will have more quality time to bond with your baby.
3. Physical Recovery
Childbirth takes a toll on the body. Planning for adequate rest, nutrition, and any necessary medical care can speed up the physical recovery process. You can plan for meals. Have visitors bring you healthy and nutritive food. Or cook and freeze them ahead. There are also some special post-partum meal delivery options. Whatever your choice is, nutrition will play an essential part in your physical recovery.
4. Adjustment to Parenthood
Preparing for the adjustment to life with a newborn can include discussions about roles, responsibilities, and communication between partners. It helps set expectations and fosters a supportive environment. If you already have children, having a new member in the family can throw everything you spent so much time building off balance. It is important that all the members of your family know what role they can play in this new chapter and that they don't feel left out (including you).
5. Financial Considerations
It is great to build this support system around you; but it can be quite expensive. Don't underestimate the costs. If you have prepared a financial plan ahead, it will be much easier to press the button 'call' when you need it. Before birth, consider or re-consider your priorities to reallocate your resources to having a great postpartum. You can also have family and friends contribute to your postpartum plan with a birth gift list that includes some of the support of doula or consultants.
Overall, a postpartum plan is about proactively setting up a support system and creating a roadmap for the immediate period after childbirth, ensuring a smoother and more comfortable transition into parenthood.
Where to start? How should I do this?
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