This is one of the most important things you need to do in pregnancy, and it’s one a lot of people don’t think about or even know should be done.
Postpartum is generally the stage where you’ll face most of your battles; being prepared & supported will make a world of difference in those first weeks, months – or even the first year of your postpartum period.
Decide for those first few hours/days/weeks postpartum when you want your first visitor and who they will be. If you don’t want anyone to visit you for a certain amount of time, communicate that now and consider keeping some things to yourself if you feel they may push boundaries.
Things to consider:
- Who are you comfortable being around during those first vulnerable days?
- Who do you think will genuinely support you the most?
- Is there someone who stresses you out or crosses boundaries? Maybe consider delaying their visit until you know you’re up for it.
- If it is at your house, ensure the expectations are clear about how long you want them to stay, or remain confident to tell them if you’d like to wrap it up.
Support & Help:
- Determine how long your partner or support person will be having off work, if the time is particularly short, is there someone else who can come by to support you when they go back to work? If you’re having a C-Section, do you have enough support to help you until you’re cleared to drive after 6 weeks?
- Discuss with your partner or support person what you may need from them and ways they can help you. Plus, ensuring you’re on the same page about who is completing household tasks and what they can do if you’re breastfeeding. This is much better if done in advance rather than when you’re both in the throes of Newborn life and exhausted.
- Know yourself! Do you struggle to ask for help? Do you tend to take everything on yourself? This can so easily lead to burnout and frustration; there’s a reason they say it takes a village to raise a baby, and spoiler alert, the village isn’t for the baby; it’s for you! Speak to family in advance or leave yourself a reminder if you think this could become an issue down the line.
Baby Blues & PPD:
Baby blues and PPD are not the same thing, though they can be hard to distinguish between.
Baby Blues: Baby blues usually begins around day 3 and can last up to a couple of weeks; it can often feel like anxiety, sadness, fear of the future, and feeling trapped. It affects up to 80% of birth parents as it is linked to pregnancy, birth, and sudden hormone changes as you move into postpartum. The baby blues generally don’t last all day; they often come in bursts and can feel worse at times when you’re not around your baby.
PPD/PPA: Postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety can feel similar to baby blues but is longer lasting, more consistent and unlike baby blues, it can affect both parents – whether they birthed the baby or not. There is so much support out there for these conditions, and they’re so common, affecting approximately 1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men.
So, how can you prepare for this?
- Speak to your partner about what to look for with these and what they should say to you to ensure you feel supported and not attacked. See more about the symptoms to look for here. Then, discuss how you will seek help together and what steps you need to take.
- Think about what makes you feel happy and calm and either prepare those things in advance or tell your partner so they can organise it for you if needed. i.e. You could get some affirmation cards and keep them around you when you need them. Or your partner could organise a movie night in with all your favourite snacks and tell you how much he loves you – whatever works for you!
- Be aware of that hormone shift on day 3, be kind to yourself, slow down, remind your partner that you may not be feeling your best and be very intentional with the words you use with yourself on that day.
Time Savers & Hacks:
There are so many hacks & time savers you can do to make things easier on yourself in the early postpartum days.
Meal Train: If you’ve heard of a meal train before, then you just said, “Yes! Genius!” because it truly is! A meal train is when your friends or family commit to making meals for you on a certain schedule. You can ask someone who is good at organising (or do it yourself beforehand) to create a tracker manually or use the app Mealtrain to create one and then share it with your nearest and dearest. Everyone will choose a day(s) they can commit to and make you a yummy meal they know you’ll love, then they drop and run, and you have your dinner ready to go without the hassle. Another alternative could be to ask for Uber Eats vouchers at your baby shower, but that won’t come with the same oxytocin hit as the kind gesture from a loved one or your Mum’s famous lasagne – yum!
Postpartum Trolley: If you have Tik Tok I’m sure you’ve seen this, if not then I’ll leave this photo here to do most of the explaining, but it’s basically a trolley you’ll always have nearby that has all your postpartum & baby needs in it, so they’re never too far away! P.s. I would recommend a bathroom one that stays in the bathroom (even in a caddy) and a bedroom/loungeroom one on wheels that you can move around where you need.
Postpartum Planner: This adorable postpartum planner helps you to keep track of your mood, water and food intake, appointments and encourages feel good activities and much more! It’s such a great addition to your postpartum plan that encourages you to be intentional about and prioritise your physical and mental wellness.
I hope that helps you as you start to plan for your postpartum and prioritise yourself on this journey!
What did you think? Did we miss something? Let us know below! 😊