The majority of a pregnancy, new parents are focused on preparing themselves and their homes for their new baby. Equally as important is preparing for the postpartum period. Your body and mind will have entirely new needs as you learn to care for your newborn and recover from birth. Below are five of our favorite tips for having a great postpartum experience:
- Freeze Prepared Meals
Meal preparation is a huge time saver that you will be so thankful for when you don’t have to run to the grocery store or make new dinners while taking care of a little one that eats every two hours day and night. That hour you save can go to an evening cat nap, a nice hot shower, or–more likely–a nursing marathon.
- Set Up Stations Throughout the House
If you live in a house with two stories or spend time in rooms that are far away from the nursery, set up a baby changing station wherever you spend your time. Personally, we set up changing stations in the living room, master bedroom, and nursery. You can do the same thing with nursing and pumping supplies, power snacks, and safe sleep spaces for baby. Additionally, you can create postpartum care baskets to keep in each of your bathrooms.
- Limit Visit Lengths
Visits with friends and family are so sweet, but can also be exhausting. Don’t be afraid to put limitations on visits. Let friends and family know when you’ll be able to have visitors (like “Wednesdays and Fridays between 1 and 4 PM), and limit their length (20-30 minutes, etc). Talk with your partner ahead of time and decide on a couple things you can ask visitors to help with. They can bring food, take out the trash, help with your dishes, or start a load of laundry.
Our state is under stay at home orders for covid-19. What now?
You can still let friends and family know when you’re up for calls and/or video “visits,” and when you’ll be away from your phone. There are plenty of ways for people to still support your family from afar. Read to the end for ways to ask for help!
- Determine Support Systems Beforehand
Find out what support people are available near you, who’s covered by your insurance, and who makes home visits. You may want to look for lactation support, postpartum mental health support, postpartum doulas, and discuss with your OB or Midwife how they will be available to you during your postpartum recovery. Talk with your partner and think about the family and friends you would feel comfortable asking for help. Identify these people in advance, and know you can call them if you need.
- Discuss Expectations with your Partner
Be transparent with each other about what you need from each other. Some talking points to consider are:
– How will you feed your baby? Nursing, pumping, formula, or a combination?
– How will you share the night time parenting responsibilities?
– Who will take care of cooking, cleaning, and how often?
– What rules will be in place for visitors? Can they visit at the hospital?
– How can you help each other get some time alone during the postpartum period? How often do you need solo time?
@Juna.Moms on Instagram has some great ideas.
BONUS: Remember this family time is not a vacation.
Maternity leave is not a vacation. It’s a time to rest, heal, bond, and get to know your new family member. It will be a lot of hard work! Try not to put extra expectations on yourself. This may not be the time to accomplish your spring cleaning list. Take care of yourself, and enjoy those newborn baby snuggles!
Supporting Postpartum Parents during Covid-19
There are still plenty of things you can do to help your friends and family with new babies without being there in person. You can:
- Set up a Meal Train
- Have Groceries Delivered
- Send a Care Package (postpartum related, or just things they love!)
- Order Baby Care Essentials (diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets)
- Call and Check on THEM… not just baby
- Mail/email Giftcards for Takeout
- Send Encouragement via Text, Letter, Email, Cards/Flowers
- Don’t Pressure Them to Let You Visit
The Birthing Circle’s April Meeting: Monday, April 27
Remember that The Birthing Circle can be part of your postpartum support system! This month, local doula Andrea Cordell-Proper from Nova Birth Services, is joining us to discuss postpartum mental health, support, and resources available during this isolating period of COVID-19 social distancing. We’ll also discuss ways to help navigate eager family and friends who may want to meet your new baby and propose ways they can safely support you.
We meet the fourth Monday of each month (virtually, for the time being) in Frederick, MD. All are welcome, and partners/families too! The first part of the meeting is focussed discussion and support on the meeting topic, and the remainder is reserved for whatever support or social fun the group needs. Click below for the event details.