Many expectant parents find themselves so busy with planning for labor and birth that it can be difficult to imagine what life will be like after the baby arrives. Less time is focused on planning for the postpartum period, also known as the fourth trimester. Here are some tips for how to have the best possible postpartum experience.
Rest and Heal
When you are newly postpartum, you’ll need to have someone else take over the majority of your typical daily responsibilities while you focus on healing from birth and feeding your newborn. Pet care, big sibling care, and housework are examples of things that you’ll need to depend on your partner or another support person to take over. It’s helpful to camp out in bed as much as possible, facilitating lots of skin-to-skin snuggle time with your baby. Try to limit stairs to once per day for the first week. The more you’re able to rest, the better you’ll feel long term.
The fewer trips out of the house you need to make, the better. Be sure to have several weeks worth of frequently used household items on hand, such as toilet paper, paper towels, dishwasher tabs, laundry detergent, etc. If possible, sign up for a grocery delivery service such as Fresh Direct or InstaCart. Stock your freezer in advance with nutritious homemade meals like casseroles, soups, breakfast burritos and easy crockpot meals. Have easy to eat, nutrient-dense snacks on hand such as nuts, granola bars, pre-cut cheese, applesauce pouches, etc.
Create a Nest
Make life simpler by placing baskets of things you’ll need in strategic locations. In each bathroom, have a basket of postpartum recovery supplies including pads, a change of underwear or disposable underwear, a peri bottle and a perineal spray. Consider having a diaper changing station set up on each level of your home. You’ll want to have a waterproof changing pad, clean diapers, wipes, diaper ointment, and a couple of changes of clothes for baby. Feeding station baskets would also be helpful. Include items such as lanolin or nipple cream, burp cloths, and nursing pads.
Ask For Help
Know where to go for help when you need it! If you don’t have family close by, consider hiring a postpartum doula. Attend our virtual Mama Baby Groups to connect with other new parents. If you are breastfeeding, plan to attend Breastfeeding Support Group and see Corinne or Gwynne if any problems arise. Remember, if you’re a Birth Center patient you still have access to the midwife on-call line after your baby arrives. Your pediatrician is another great person to turn to if you have a concern about your baby.