10 Steps to Postpartum Prep: Part 1
Over the course of pregnancy, the average expectant mother spends around 20 hours preparing for her birth. Those same mothers-to-be spend anywhere from no time at all upto 2 hours preparing for her postpartum experience. Some consider postpartum to be at least 6-8 weeks post birth, while others consider the first year as postpartum. Either way, there’s no arguing that those first 6-8 weeks are by far a most critical time for momma’s recovery. While we always advocate for birth prep, we also believe more mommas need to better prepare for what happens after they give birth and are sent home with baby. You might have a few of these already on your list of preparations, but as most mommas prepare hardly at all, let’s consider these ten steps to ensure you’re set for a better postpartum at home. Because this is a lot of steps, we’re sharing this blog in two parts - with five steps in each.
1. Educate yourself about Postpartum
How much do you know about what to expect from the early weeks of life with a newborn? Generations before us didn’t talk about their experience and while we’re seeing more raw experiences shared today, this is still a limited perspective. Unfortunately we can’t rely on others to tell us what it’s like to complete the picture for us, we’ve got to do some research. Some reputable childbirth classes will cover postpartum topics, but there are some reputable online resources, too. Those that focus on postpartum are particularly good because it is a high-risk part of life that they’re dedicating their content and resources to improve your odds. We adore both “Pebble” and “Better Postpartum” for a comprehensive postpartum resource.
2. Get help cleaning your house
You’ll want a nice clean home for you and baby to come home to, so get your partner, friends or a relative to help or hire a professional to help you “nest”. Attempting to accomplish this on your own isn’t wise. Depending on the types of cleaners you’re using and breathing to the physical effort it takes to clean, it is normal to want a clean home, but it’ll serve you best to take it easy the closer you get to birthing baby. Consider a plan, as well, for how your home will be tended to while you’re recovering. It’s too much for a new momma to take on and it’s a high-risk activity postpartum, so make a plan for cleaning the house that doesn’t involve you.
3. Make at least 4 "postpartum stations"
You know how it feels when you just don’t want to get up, but you need something? You won’t want to get up once baby is born either, so keep a “postpartum station” nearby. Each station should include both items for baby and you at an arms reach. Think of the four places you’ll spend the most time. Usually that’s: the baby’s nursery, the living room, your bedroom and the bathroom. Stocking a station will allow you to rest more because what you most frequently need will be right there. Download a complete list!
4. Enlist help if it isn’t offered - and say “YES” if it is
Whether you’re good at asking or receiving help, you need to get good at it because doing early motherhood alone is high-risk. Ask for help in advance, or ask for it in the moment. And when your friends or family ask if they can help with anything, say “yes” and tell them exactly what would help you. Is it bringing you a coffee or some to have eyes on baby while you take a shower? Is it help folding laundry or is it just having some friendly company that would help you? Yes! It is completely acceptable to ask for these things!
5. Stock your kitchen
Getting your fridge, freezer and pantry well-stocked is a smart idea. Do some research on food that is best for new mommas and make it or buy it and stock it. While there may be some treats you’re looking forward to eating when you’re no longer pregnant, it’s essential to have nutrient-dense foods that will aid in your recovery from birth. You can find some great recipes and/or meal ideas here. These ingredients are known for centuries of success aiding in recovery from birth!
Preparing for postpartum can make all the difference as you transition into motherhood. Just as intentionally preparing for birth has its immense benefits, so does preparing for postpartum. We can’t possibly expect that a beautiful nursery, adorable onesies, and a glitzy stroller will prepare us for the challenges of early motherhood. It’s necessary, yes, to have a safe place for your baby to grow, to be clothed and fed, but it’s also essential that we provide ourselves with the same! Underestimating our own needs after giving birth is a sure way to struggle. It’s certainly more fun to shop for onesies than heavy-flow pads and nipple balm, but in the end it will make the early days and nights of motherhood easier and healthier, which provides for long-term well-being.
This was the first five of ten steps to prepare for postpartum. Start with these and stay tuned for the next five steps! #babyboldly