Congrats! You’ve made it through your pregnancy, you’ve read every book, taken the birth class your BFF suggested, done your birthing facility tour followed by an awesome breastfeeding class and now, well now, you’re a fully fledged mama. You’re holding your gorgeous bundle of joy, the new love of your life, you couldn’t be happier, but now what? Well! Exactly, now what?
We spend months planning our births, which is wildly important, have no doubt about that but preparing for your postpartum should be more than an after thought. We need to be prepping for our postpartum recoveries with as much excitement and dedication as we do our births.
If you Google “how to have a happy postpartum” like I did when I was pregnant, I’ll bet you anything you’ll find tips on how to have a great postpartum body in something crazy like 6 weeks or how to have amazing postpartum sex. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to look good and earth shattering sex sounds amazing but seriously, mere weeks after a human has made a loving exit from my body, my weight and sex life are the last things on my mind, and so they should be. As a society we should be putting more consideration into how our new mothers are preparing for their postpartum and what to realistically expect. Postpartum for a lot of women is filled with joy, sadness, love and isolation as well as a massive sense of accomplishment and failure and that’s just the emotional side of things. The physical side of the postpartum stage is a whole other beast, the clotting, cramping, aching back and hips and sore nipples. I don’t say all this to scare you or to make you dread your postpartum, I say this to help you, to let you know it’s normal. YOU’RE normal. Postpartum doesn’t last forever, although at 3am in the dead of the night when you’re running on 4 hours sleep all day, it may feel like it, but I promise things do get better.
There are so many ways you can ease yourself into your postpartum and prepare yourself. As a HypnoBirthing Practitioner in our HypnoBirthing classes we discuss the importance of a well constructed, open minded and flexible birth plan/preference sheet. I also encourage my students to survey their postpartum options and plan their postpartum with just as much gusto. Here are some of my favorite tips to give:
1. Postpartum Doula
Hire a postpartum doula. A postpartum doula will come to your home and help with the baby. They offer breastfeeding help as well as help with any other children in the home. They will help with teaching you how to swaddle, feed, diaper and bathe your baby. They will even hold and tend to baby while you sleep or shower, they may even tend to light duties around the home and possibly run errands, such as picking up a grocery order.
I’m all for avoiding cleaning around the house if I can. A new family should be bonding and spending time in bed healing and getting to know their little baby, not cleaning floors and scrubbing fridges. Enjoy these precious few weeks and relax, let the pros take care of things.
3. Family and Friends
Call on family and friends to help. If they don’t know you have not slept a straight 4 hours in 3 days, they won’t know you need help. Schedule them to babysit so you can do a Target run all by yourself or go on a date night with your other half. Your close family and friends want to help, they really do want to be a part of this special time in your life, tell them what you need and put them to work!
4. Online Shopping
Order your groceries online if your local store offers that service. You can have your order either ready to be picked up or delivered to your home for a small fee. It’s an amazing service and one I use way more often than I’d like to admit.
5. Freezer Meals
Have a “stock the freezer” party with your friends before baby arrives. Prep great breakfasts, lunches and dinners to last you about a month so you can spend more time bonding and less time cooking hard core meals. Pinterest will be your best friend for recipes and ideas.
6. Placenta Encapsulation
Find a professionally trained Placenta Encapsulation Specialist and have your placenta encapsulated. Placenta encapsulation is believed to be a great way to re-introduce all those wonderful hormones that are lost during labor and can contribute to a healthier, smoother and happier postpartum. Some of the benefits reported are; a better mood over all, increased breast milk production, a decrease in postpartum bleeding and fewer cases of postpartum blues.
7. Date Night
Find that family member who offered to babysit when you were pregnant, grab your other half and head out! Get a bite to eat, talk, reconnect…it can do wonders for you, your partner and your relationship overall. Chat with your partner now and let them know if date night is important to you and work together to continue on with it once baby arrives.
8. Chiropractic Care
If you were enjoying the benefits of chiropractic care in your pregnancy, you’ll know how beneficial it was. Don’t put your health on the backburner, keep up with your appointments and sleep a lot better at night thanks to your beautifully aligned body!
A lot of these suggestions cost money, I know! A postpartum doula isn’t cheap, but she/he is worth their weight in gold. Housekeepers are a massive luxury for so many people I understand, I’m one of them. However, we all have family or friends who want to treat us to something that’s not on our registry or perhaps we’ve had the 3rd baby shower and we don’t need any more “stuff”. Lots of friends will happily contribute towards services like Postpartum doula care or Placenta Encapsulation if you ask.
Enjoy your postpartum, it is such an amazing time of discovery for a family, whether it’s your first or fifth birth. Be pampered and showered with love and help, you deserve it.
Written by Cliodhna Griffin, HBCE, APPAC
Cliodhna Griffin, HBCE, APPAC is the founder of Born Free Birthing and is a certified and experienced HypnoBirthing® Practitioner in Houston, Texas who has been trained in HypnoBirthing® by the founder Marie F Mongan and is proudly Houston’s first APPA triple certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist serving the Greater Houston Area.
Cliodhna hails from Ireland but currently lives in Kingwood, Texas with her husband of 10 years and their 2 fantastic daughters, 1 of whom is a darling HypnoBirthing® baby. Her group HypnoBirthing® classes are taught in Houston, The Woodlands and Kingwood. Private classes are also available. She is a dedicated practitioner and an experienced Placenta Encapsulation Specialist who loves to help moms have happy births and strong postpartum recoveries. For more information go to www.bornfreebirthing.com. You can follow Born Free Birthing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bornfreebirthing and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/bornfreebirthing