Prepare for Postpartum Like a Pro!
Take notes — Make a written postpartum plan. This can take minimal time and be as simple as a list of important numbers (Postpartum Support International warm-line 1-800-944-4773 , doctor/midwife, pediatrician, labor doula, postpartum doula, lactation consultant). Planning for a joyous postpartum season is a special part of preparing for bebe's arrival!
Set boundaries and limits —Family and friends are so excited about babe! You never want to snuff-out that positive energy, but making sure you're not getting overwhelmed with well-meaning visitors during your postpartum recovery period is very important. Some people want company soon after birth while others prefer to wait a few days or weeks for baby's debut. Setting clear and concise boundaries with family and friends on the front-end is much more manageable.
Let go and be flexible —This may sound strange, but life as a new parent is unpredictable and frequently offers new opportunities for personal growth never imagined. Give yourself the emotional and mental space for your postpartum experience to be whatever it will be—there are peaks and valleys during this time. Bob and weave through, and into establishing your new norm.
Have a plan for ready-made meals —Having at least one meal a day already planned, prepped, and/or prepared is a huge deal when you have a precious newborn! Planning ahead about meals can set you up for nutritious and delicious options you know and love. Asking a dear friend of family member to head this task can be a really great way to include those folks who are driven to support but may not know how!
Prep kit for your delicate parts—
1) Sitz baths and the sitz herbs— a bucket that you set into the toilet basin of your toilet to cover it (lift the seat up) and fill it with hot steaming water or tea, using the herbs for soothing. It can be especially relieving for vaginal tearing or episotomy care. Get it as warm as you are comfortable, and sit for 15 minutes.
2) Hospital postpartum undies, ask your RN for a stash to take home or purchase Depends if you are not birthing in a hospital setting — Honestly, high-waisted, full-pad underwear are perfect for the three weeks of postpartum bleeding (lochia) which is normal as you recover from birth.
3) Dermoplast spray — relieves pain and itching. Spraying this approximately 3x a day for the first two weeks is pretty standard after a vaginal delivery. If you have a hospital birth, they may give you some of this.
4) Cold packs or “padsicles” —sprinkle large overnight heavy flow pads with witch hazel, and aloe, and water and stick them in the freezer for instant soothing.
5) A hemorrhoid donut or a Boppy breastfeeding pillow — to sit on. It can ease pressure on your perineum.
6) Peri bottles — for cleaning up and spraying with warm water after urinating.
7) Big stuffed animal or firm pillow accompanied with stool softeners —in preparation for your first postpartum bowel movement. The softener is obvious, the stuffed animal or firm pillow is used for bracing and hugging when you need to have your first postpartum bm. Just because people don’t speak about it, doesn’t mean it isn’t a thing!
Sibling care — Have a plan in place for siblings to have scheduled play dates both inside and outside of the home. It’s important for big sis or big bro to feel like they are apart of the new family dynamic and are not feeling misplaced. Who are you comfortable with supporting in this capacity?
Bringing sexy back! What? — Your emotional and sexual relationship with your partner might feel different in the early weeks after your baby arrives. It’s quite common to take weeks, even months, before you feel like having sex again. It’s ok to wait to have sex until you feel ready. Just because the medical practitioner clears you for sex, doesn’t mean you HAVE to engage. This is an important conversation to have prior to the birth of baby, and to revisit once baby has been born. Consensual (postpartum) sex is necessary by both participants! Buy some good quality lube to have on hand for when the time does feel right and take things slow.