How to Create a Postpartum Plan
Mum-of-three, nurse, midwife, and founder of Lila Jasmine fourth trimester workshops, Renata Lardelli speaks to the importance of planning for postpartum.
We know a lot about the three trimesters of pregnancy but an alarmingly large portion of pregnant and birthing people know very little about the fourth trimester. This is the first 12 weeks of life on the other side of pregnancy, it can be a whirlwind as you and your baby navigate this uncharted territory together and the crossing is that much easier if you just prepare. I challenge you to spend at least an equal amount of time investing in and preparing for the fourth trimester as you do pregnancy and birth.
There is an unawareness of the demands of caring for a newborn and healing from childbirth, coupled with a lack of sleep and oftentimes it can all feel a bit too much. So, just like we have a birth plan, I encourage you to have a postpartum plan, it’ll help you prepare for a smooth transition, set realistic expectations in those first few months and set up a sturdy support network before it’s needed.
Here are six things to get you started in creating your postpartum plan and I know that if you map these things out you will have more confidence and success as a new parent!
1. Support for help and rest. Adjusting to a new sleep routine (aka much less sleep than you’re used to) can be tough so support for home help and rest in the early days can be incredibly valuable to ensuring your own needs for sleep and rest are met. Make a note of your support network, people that would be willing or available to help.
2. We know that being able to talk to someone who can relate to our experiences can validate how we’re feeling, normalise our problems and make them more bearable. Curating a list of friends who have babies or small children to act as your sounding board will bring you comfort. If you don’t have any friends who are parents, strategise places where you can meet people in a similar phase as you, such as antenatal classes, fitness classes, work or church for example.
3. We should never underestimate the positive impacts of consuming good food. In my experience, people are dying to know of ways to help you so let them bring you good food. Also, spend some time preparing meals for your freezer – your future self will be very grateful for your efforts.
4. Breastfeeding often looks much easier than it is when first learning, it does not always come naturally so knowing where to get help will save you time and worry. Find out about the services available to you in your area, such as lactation consultants and La Leche League.
5. Carving out time for yourself and your partner. ‘Me and us time’ is crucial, I cannot emphasise this enough – you cannot forget the ‘you’ or the ‘us’! It can be tricky to find the time so this can require some planning, negotiating and effort.
6. Welcoming a new baby to the family is a time of transition and adjustment for older children (and pets). It can also be a juggle managing their needs, activities and commitments with a newborn so preparing for that can help it run more smoothly.