Are you looking for a fool-proof postpartum care plan?
Let’s say you’ve just come home with your bouncing baby, your new bundle of joy. It’s exciting, exhausting, and a little nerve wracking. You might begin to think, “Now what?”
For even the most well-researched or “over-prepared” new parent, the realm of postpartum life can come with many questions and decisions to make. To help with this transition, we’ve outlined five tips to keep in mind as you move forward into parenthood.
1.Allow yourself to rest
We doubt you’ve forgotten the experience of the labor and delivery of your child. But in case you have, we’re here to remind you that your body has gone through a lot. As such, you need to give yourself the proper recovery. This is arguably the most obvious tip, but equally important. Let your muscles recuperate. Give yourself the freedom to let your hormones and emotions work themselves out. Make sure to take thorough care of those other decidedly unpleasant aches and pains (yes, that means your perineum).
2. Make post-baby preparations for daily life
It’s easy to become hyper-focused on your new baby and their needs when planning for a postpartum care plan. Who wouldn’t? To make your life a little easier in the transition, though, it’s important to make other preparations for yourself and your family – especially when it comes to everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, etc. An example: If you can, either you or your spouse should prepare some easy freezer meals that can be warmed up or prepared simply in the weeks after delivery. You’ll be happy you did it.
3. Take cues from your newborn
You may be tempted to try and return to your old schedule, but it may actually be more helpful to follow your baby’s lead. Try to sleep when they sleep. Eat to nourish your body, especially when you breastfeed. Bathe. Treat yourself gently. In these beginning stages, keep this in mind: If your child needs it, it’s quite likely you could benefit from it as well.
4. Seek community
There’s no better wealth of information than within a group of people with shared experiences, especially those who have gone through their own postpartum care plan. Finding community (whether online or in the real world) not only provides space for sharing knowledge, but can also be a great source of comfort for a new parent. In learning from each other’s missteps, successes, and stories in between, everyone involved benefits. When it comes to medical advice, however, always consult your doctor.
5. Adjust your expectations
Pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum process have their own elements of good, bad, and not-so-pretty. The beauty and wonder of birth is truly an incredible thing, but in order to lessen the pressure and stress of the postpartum transition it is vital to accept the struggle of it. In any kind of transition, there are going to be bumps in the road. There’s going to be frustration. You may experience those postpartum blues, you may feel overwhelmed, you may wonder if your body is ever going to be the way that it used to be. While these feelings of uncertainty are no fun for anyone involved, they are totally okay. And for the record, there’s no shame in leaning on a support system to help you through the process. When it comes down to it, you are human — expect yourself to be.