Updated: May 17, 2022
The more you rest in the first few days postpartum the quicker you will heal. This can prove to be difficult for many women postpartum. Even putting the regular house maintenance aside, as adults, most of us are not used to relying on someone else to keep our water cup full, prepare and deliver meals to bed, or only leaving the bedroom when we need to use the bathroom. As luxurious as that might sound for some, asking for help and relying on someone else is tough. This is why preparing as best as possible during your pregnancy is important. One of the topics that comes up when discussing postpartum is postpartum blues, depression, and psychosis. There will be another blog coming out that
will discuss these.
The first thing that should be done to prepare for postpartum is collecting the list of items that your midwife put together for you if you are planning a home birth. If you are planning a hospital birth then pack your hospital bags. Many times getting these things together means collecting the supplies that you will need most immediately when the baby comes. And, it will make your midwife happy to know that this is done.
Preparing food for postpartum is an excellent idea. I have found it helpful to prepare extra meals while pregnant that can be easily frozen so that they are quick to grab and heat up. Making a double batch of soup, preparing a pan of lasagna, or premade smoothie bags are all easy options to have on hand. During the earliest days especially it will be nice to have premade meals ready to go. The meals don't have to be something that you set aside specific time to put together. It can be as easy as making twice as much on a night that you're already cooking for your family and freezing half.
Many women find themselves extremely thirsty postpartum. One thing that I found helpful when I was postpartum with my first baby was keeping two water bottles full. This way, when I was staying in bed, I didn't have to ask for a refill as often since our kitchen was downstairs and I was upstairs. Another strategy I've seen is keeping gallon jugs of water in the bedroom knowing that they will be drinking a lot and that way they have it on hand.
The last physical recommendation I have to prepare for postpartum is setting yourself up baby baskets. The basket included diapers, wipes, a fresh sleeper/outfit, milk bags (when I was using the haakaa), and a couple healthy snacks for yourself. This way, once you are spending time in places other than your bedroom, you have almost anything you could need for the baby in your most frequent places you will be spending time. I kept one in my bedroom, in the living room, and in my basement. . These baskets were so handy to have because it felt like if I didn't I was either getting up every 5 minutes to go grab one of these items, or I was trying to haul an arm full of stuff along with the baby and myself every time I moved.
The final recommendation I have for preparing for postpartum is setting yourself up with an emotional support team. Even with Oxytocin production on high (as mentioned in my previous blog) it is not uncommon to feel anxious or down at any time postpartum. You should not pass judgment on yourself if you feel negative emotions. If you start to feel anxious, sad, or blue, it is important to acknowledge the emotion without feeling shame that it is there. You may not be able to find a reason or a cause, and that is okay. Your support team should include people that make you feel safe and loved. It could include sisters, your mom, friends, your partner or any combination. This should be taken into consideration when choosing a care provider as well. At the beginning of your pregnancy I highly recommend taking time to interview more than one provider in your chosen birth setting in order to find someone you feel most comfortable, safe and respected with.
After having a baby, the dynamic of your household changes. With a first baby all the way up to a tenth, adding a whole human to a household can shift routines and relationships considerably and doing things to set up for a smooth transition can make a world of difference. Preparing meals, having ample water, supplies for baby in convenient places, and emotional support all come into play. Sometimes life doesn't allow for you to get everything done that you would like; this is something that I have had to learn the hard way as nesting has hit hard the last few weeks! All of the recommendations that I have are not a pass or fail situation and you may not find any of them helpful for your household. At the end of the day just know that postpartum only lasts for so long and give yourself plenty of grace as you learn and grow with your family.