As you paint the nursery, assemble the crib, and install the car seat in preparation for your newborn, there are a few other points to consider as part of your postpartum plan.
Whether you’re going to be new parents or you’re adding to your family, having a plan in place for the early days after delivery is always a good idea. To help, Dr. Jack Tubbs and the rest of our obstetric team at Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology gathered together a few points to consider when creating a postpartum plan.
What is a postpartum plan?
You’ve followed your prenatal schedule to the letter and you’ve created a birth plan that you’re comfortable with, yet now we’re mentioning still another plan you should tackle.
When we talk about a postpartum plan, we don’t mean to imply that this is some formal document you should have in place (though some may feel better writing a plan down). In fact, this exercise is more of a way of getting everyone on the same page so you can look out for one another once the baby arrives.
A postpartum plan is simply a way to discuss and plan for the days, weeks, and months that follow the anticipated arrival of your newborn. Outside of all the preparations you’re making now, such as assembling the crib and installing the car seat, there are other points you should consider that will help ease your transition into the demands of parenthood.
Things to include in your postpartum plan
There are several areas you may want to consider when pulling together your postpartum plan, such as:
A family affair
If you already have children, consider bringing them in on the planning process as much as possible so they know what to expect from you and what you’re expecting from them. This same holds true for your partner.
Getting the family involved in the postpartum plan can be extremely beneficial, as it helps to manage expectations and better directs those around you to be part of the solution.
As an example, you’re going to need some help around the house after the baby is born, so make sure that members of your family understand their roles beforehand (who’s in charge of garbage, emptying the dishwasher, and so on).
Preplanning is especially important when it comes to schedules. You want to be clear beforehand how available different members of your family are going to be when it comes to early care. For example, you might assume that your partner will take on some of the feeding and changing duties, but this should be discussed before your baby arrives, not at 2am when the baby is crying and you’re both exhausted.
Feeding and sleeping
During the first few months after your baby is born, it’s a constant cycle of two things — feeding and sleeping. As part of your postpartum plan, it’s always a good idea to have some guidelines in place for these two important areas.
Some points to consider are:
- Are you breastfeeding alone or will you pump and bottle feed, too?
- Where is the baby going to sleep?
- Will you try sleep training early on?
- Will you use pacifiers and swaddling?
Of course, no matter how well you plan in advance, situations arise that can throw your entire sleeping and/or feeding plan out the door, so it’s important that you’re able to easily transition to Plan B.
About 70-80% of women in the United States experience the “baby blues” after childbirth, which is perfectly natural given that hormone levels are in constant flux. More surprising is that one in seven women develop postpartum depression.
Our goal with these numbers isn’t to frighten you unnecessarily, but to highlight the importance of paying close attention to your mental health after you give birth.
As part of your postpartum plan, you may want to include steps you can take to maintain your well-being, such as attending your yoga class once a week, going for walks, and making time for friends. These child-free moments are very important, as you can become quickly overwhelmed with newborn care.
Of course, the postpartum plan components we list above are merely suggestions, and they’re designed to help you think ahead to the many areas of your life that will change with the arrival of a newborn. While you can’t plan for everything, managing expectations and opening communications beforehand can help everyone settle in a little more easily once the baby arrives.
If you have more questions about postpartum planning, please don’t hesitate to contact our office in Colorado Springs, Colorado.