Top Tips For A More Peaceful Postpartum Experience
We often spend a lot of time preparing for the actual birth of a baby. We pore of countless books, attend classes from pregnancy yoga to hypnobirthing. We decorate the nursery and fill it with all sorts of cute trinkets and having it looking just so. But how often do we stop and consider the period after the birth? Have you thought about the things you could do or prepare in advance that would help to ease the burden in those first months?
I have written down my own top tips for the initial postpartum period that I wish I had known three babies ago.
1.Have meals ready to go.
Batch cook! Get your freezer stocked up with a few weeks’ worth at least of nourishing soups, stews, casseroles and other one pan/pot meals or slow cooker freezer meals. This makes life so much easier. If there is one thing I have learned about newborns, it is that they will always become extremely ravenous right when you are in the middle of preparing a meal. When you have a baby that needs feeding, and you’re half way through preparing dinner the stress is immense. I’ve been there, and I can tell you it’s not worth it, so eliminate it and put your freezer to work. If someone asks you what would be really helpful for you and your new baby ask them to cook some meals for your freezer or to drop some off in those first few weeks. Maybe your family and friends could create a rota to drop off nourishing meals for a few weeks. With our second daughter we had some friends who prepared us 25 slow cooker freezer meals and drove them all the way up from Wales. It was such a blessing in those initial crazy days to just be able to grab a meal from the freezer, defrost overnight in the fridge, plonk it into the slow cooker in the morning and know that dinner will be ready later that day without much input or effort from me so I could focus on the all-consuming baby tasks and taking care of and giving attention to a toddler as well.
2. Book a cleaner/Hire a Post Partum Doula.
This is the best gift we gave ourselves with our third and we wish we had done it so much sooner. Knowing someone else was coming in for a few hours once a week for the first month eased the pressure on us and also meant I wasn’t sat staring at all the housework when my other half when back to work and trying to push myself to get on and do it when I should have been resting and recovering. Once again, having someone gift you the money for a cleaner as a baby present even if it just for a one of clean will prove to be invaluable.
Someone gifting you money to pay for a block of hours with a post-partum doula would also make an amazing gift. Having someone there thats going to ensure you’re taking enough fluid on board ensuring you’ve eaten, popping a load of laundry into the machine for you, maybe entertaining some little ones in another area of the house while you and your new baby rest, holding the baby while you grab a shower and just being a safe space to off load your thoughts and feelings is also worth every penny.
3. Ease up on visitors.
After birth your body goes through so many changes as it tries to find its new normal. Your baby also needs time and space to adjust to the surroundings, get used to you and all the scents that are familiar with home, and establish feeding. Passing your baby around various people can be emotionally exhausting for both mother and baby. It also means you can miss feeding cues in those early days as to be able to get in tune with your baby and feed responsively you need to have them on you or very close by to observe properly and before baby is beyond hungry. Babies will still be there for people to come and visit when you have been able to bond and get your feeding established, but you can never get back those first few days. If you are going to have visitors in the first few days, limit the time they stay; 20-30 minutes of entertaining really is ample as you still ened to allow yourself time to rest. If you do have guests make sure they are helping you with points 1 and 2 when they come. Those kinds of guests are keepers. <3
4. Look after yourself.
Besides nourishing your body with good, warming nutrition and plenty of fluids. Look after yourself in other ways. It could be as simple as ensuring you're resting as much as you can when you can or that you get 20 minutes alone in a lovely bath while your baby is being cuddled by someone else. It could be a cranio-osteopathy treatment to help realign your pelvis. It could be a closing the bones massage or placenta encapsulation. Whatever helps you to feel nurtured at this very special and vulnerable time, make sure you allocate some time and space to it.
Document your days. I don’t care if you book me-although I am always totally thrilled and delighted when people do-or someone else, but document these fleeting moments. I’m not talking posed portraits (these are also beautiful and have their place). I am talking about the real, honest moments. The tears, the laughter, the mess, the chaos. The tiredness, the dance of learning breastfeeding cues and latching successfully, dividing your time between a new soul and the ones who’ve come before. The frames and films that capture a life lived and a love shared. I am talking about capturing the essence of what it means to welcome a new person into your life. I am talking about giving yourself the gift to revisit these moments when your baby is a fully fledged adult and grown and gone and you long to have them little and in your home again. This is a gift that keeps on giving and it is one well worth giving to yourself and your family.
What other tips would you add for a peaceful post partum experience? I’d love to know.