Planning for your postpartum period is time well spent. When you're in the foggy trenches of early parenthood, you'll thank your pre-birth self for the advance prep work. The postpartum time, like pregnancy, is a time of transition and change. But unlike pregnancy, postpartum needs often crop up with a greater sense of urgency and less free time and brain power to tackle them (thank you, lack of sleep and newborn baby needs!).
To effectively plan for your postpartum period, we've created a list of questions and task prompts to help guide your planning.
Writing Your Postpartum Plan
Consider the many baby-related tasks. How will you divvy tasks up between you and your partner, or you and a family member or friend? If you plan to breastfeed / chestfeed, think about other tasks besides feeding that can be delegated. Your baby care team could include you, your partner, a family member, a friend, a postpartum doula, a baby nurse.
- Changing diapers
- Baby laundry
- Soothing or rocking baby
- Buying supplies
- Doctor visits
- Cleaning bottles and/or breast pump
Parents need a lot of care, too! As a parent, your ideal to-do list only has one item on it: holding and feeding your baby. Of course, that's not feasible for most people, but it's important to remember when trying to prioritize. When you feel overwhelmed, consider all of the things on your plate. Are you trying to take on too much during a time when you should be recovering and snuggling with your baby? Consider who (partner, neighbor, friend, family members, postpartum doula, nanny) will be available during postpartum to help you take care of the following needs:
- Postpartum or personal supplies
- Time alone
This is arguably the more important part of postpartum care. Think ahead of time about how you will stay well fed after baby comes. Of course you can cook and grocery shop after baby arrives, but the less time and energy you spend doing so, the more you can recover and focus on your own and your baby's needs. These are a few ways to prepare for meals:
- Prepare freezer meals in advance
- Start a "care calendar" that will allow others to help you with meals
- Plan a big grocery shopping trip or place a big online/delivery order around 37 weeks - purchase freezable or shelf-stable items
- Refine your idea of a "meal" -- grazing, snacking, or non-meal meals all count! The mission is to get nutritious, filling, easy to eat and prepare foods into your body quickly!
- Just ask for help! Family and friends often will ask, "How can I help?" When they do, say: "Bring us a meal!"
The same household tasks you had before baby arrived will still be there waiting for you. But in the early weeks and months of the newborn and infant stage, your priorities will change drastically! For these tasks, consider who can help but also, what can wait. Even if it's not to your typical cleaning standard, things like dusting, blowing leaves off the driveway, and deep cleaning the shower can all likely wait a little while. The last thing you want to do is spend precious time (that could be used for sleeping!) working to clean or take care of something that could wait. For things that can't wait, invoke the help of your family, your friends, a postpartum doula, and neighbors. Most everyone loves helping out a new family!
- General cleaning
- Yard care
- Walking your dog
- Other pet care
- Paying bills
- House maintenance
- Watering plants
Using your down time in the last few weeks of pregnancy to tackle tasks in advance of baby's arrival will not only help you out tremendously in the postpartum period, it will also help pass the time of late pregnancy. Instead of obsessing over each little possible sign of labor, obsess over filling your freezer with yummy meals and stocking your contact list with friendly postpartum helpers!
TagsParenting Postpartum Postpartum support Postpartum Plan