Writing Your “Postpartum Recovery Plan”
As a Childbirth Educator I see many a new mom very focused on her “Birth Plan”. She has done the research, asked friends and family, scoured the internet and asked Dr. Google everything. While a comprehensive birth plan is important I believe that all moms should write a “Postpartum Recovery Plan” as well.
What is a Postpartum Recovery Plan you ask? Just as a birth plan spells out your desires related to all things birth, the Postpartum Recovery Plan spells out your desires for your postpartum.
I have a simple 5 item checklist that I go over in detail during my prenatal meetings with my new families.
Set up your Support System – who is going to be there to help you
Partner, Spouse, Family, Friends and my personal recommendation is to have a Postpartum Doula.
Then brainstorm every physical need you will have the first few weeks post delivery and make a comprehensive list of what needs to be done, what you want done and what can wait.
Some examples of “needs” are: Meals, Some Cleaning, Laundry, Other Kids, Pets, etc.
And as difficult as this may be – ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE HELPED
Take care of yourself! Make sure you remain hydrated – drink to thirst. Take care of your wound, whether baby came vaginally or by Cesarean Birth. Feed baby and feed yourself with light nutritious snacks. Take your scheduled medications if you are on any.
One last thing and it may sound strange but lounge around in your robe. When you get up, dressed and put your makeup on everyone forgets you are healing from delivery. But if you wear your robe during the day it’s a physical reminder that you need to stay down and rest – so wear that robe with intent.
Plan for Healthy Meals
Nothing gets done without a plan so remember to make provisions for meal planning, meal prep, grocery shopping and meal making. A postpartum doula or family member is a great person to help with this task.
Make meals in advance like freezer meals, put items in bags and freeze for crockpot meals.
Create Spaces and Environments for Healing
Create a well stocked nursing station (on each floor if you have a two story home)
Include such items as a comfortable, supportive chair, nursing pillow, snacks, water bottle, small towel for little messes, a notebook and a pen
Postpartum Recovery Station
Master Bathroom – put a small basket in your bathroom with the following items within arms reach – pads(different sizes) peri bottle, sitz bath, healing herbs, etc. You may even want to have a second mini station if you have a two story house, that way you are not having to go upstairs every time you need to use the restroom
Create Your Environment
What kind of environment makes you happy? Are you wanting your home to be quiet, cool, relaxing with soothing music or do you like upbeat, cheery, and bright surroundings. Adjust your home accordingly.
Find your Community
Reach out to find groups that are focused on new moms and babies. Find that listening ear, someone that has been where you are. Develop new friendships that can help you through this new time in your life.
So, remember to rest, recover and take care of yourself. If you write out your Postpartum Recovery Plan ahead of time it is so much easier to take care of you.
And most of all enjoy the journey. Your baby is little for a short time.