10 Steps To Planning Postpartum Healing and Recovery

Create a nest to rest.  Find your favorite spot in your home and let that be your nest. Give yourself a solid two weeks of intentional rest.  Always be mindful to be patient with yourself and listen to your body’s cues.  If your body starts to ache or your lochia bleeding increases, your body is telling you, that you’ve done too much too soon.  Be intentional about focusing on feeding yourself healthy food and feeding your baby. Change baby’s diaper when needed. Get baby to their scheduled doctor’s visits.  Sleep when baby sleeps.  Simply eating well and resting will help your body recover faster.  Wait to resume routine activity after your six week check-up appointment with your care provider.  Never hesitate to call your care provider right away if you ever become worried or feel that something is not right.

  1. Visitors;  Visitors should be healthy and current on their immunizations.  Most pediatricians recommend any adult  who will be spending a  significant amount of time with baby, should have a recent vaccine for Tdap which is Pertussis (Whooping Cough) and a flu vaccine during cold and flu season.  http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/prevention/index.html

It’s okay to have visiting hours.  It is exhausting having a baby.  Do sleep when baby sleeps.  Don’t have a swinging door of people coming into your home, expecting to be waited on.  Instead have visiting hours.  Yes it is absolutely acceptable to have visiting hours.    Print our Mom and Baby Sleeping sign, tape to your front door.

  1. Meals;  Meal Train or double and/or triple dinner batches then freeze meals now.  Do you have a friend or religious organization that can post an online meal train?  Having someone bring meals, sounds simple or maybe even strange to request,  however having someone bring a meal to the new family can be the biggest gift you receive.  Remember you are navigating being a new parent, having a homemade meal may just be what heals the soul.
  2.  Emergency Contacts;  List three people and their phone #s you can count on and  feel comfortable leaving baby with, in case of an emergency.
  1. __________________________________________________
  2. __________________________________________________
  3. __________________________________________________
  1.  Time Off;   What does mom’s time off look like?  What does dad or partner’s time off look like?  Be 100% sure before baby arrives.  Do you have options?  For example, if grandmas are in town, can dad/partner take week one off and then go back to work during week two, then stay home again during week 3, after grandmas have left?  Usually family and friends are more than happy to help the first two weeks, however everyone goes back to their life when mom still needs help during week 3.  Learn now what your work options are.
  2.  Household Duties;  How will household chore duty shift when baby arrives?  Will you have a cleaning lady come in the first two months of baby’s life? Think about what one thing in your home do you need to have cleaned or in order everyday to keep you sane and feeling happy?  i.e., I always need the dishes to be done to feel like the house is decent, or I always need the bed made, or I always need the bathroom sink wiped down.

*** Keep in mind, you are resting in a nest the first two weeks and not worrying about cleaning your home.  If you have a cesarean you can not lift anything heavier than your baby or vacuum for six weeks.

  1.  Self Preservation;  Think of one thing mom and think of one thing dad/partner that you absolutely LOVE to do, write it down.  Be sure to do that one thing everyday for 30 minutes (whomever is having their 30 minute self preservation time, the other partner is caring for baby 100%).  Examples for mom on what makes you feel like an individual person,  a hot bath with a glass of wine, sitting outside reading a book, a gentle Yoga class, scrapbooking, watching a t.v. show and zoning out.  For dad or partner it may be working out, reading a book, tending a garden or taking a nap.
  1.  Celebrating Milestones;  When baby is two weeks old, celebrate.  Think of a way to celebrate baby at two weeks., i.e., have a picnic, bake a cake, go to grandmas house and enjoy her cooking, or maybe mom can run and get her nails done.
  2.  Celebrating Another Milestone;  When baby is six weeks old, you will go see your care provider, to get the all clear for exercise and sex.  With your care provider you will come up with a method for family planning.

Plan/think about a date night.  What do you want to do to reconnect as a couple?  Who can you plan on watching baby while you go out for a date?  If you are a single parent, get some friends together to go out for dinner and/or maybe go to a movie.  Celebrate!

  1.  Honoring Yourself;   After the initial 6 weeks date, organize a date every month.  Pencil a date night in your calendar.
  2.  Planning Your Future;  I know it is hard to imagine now and you can ponder this thought for a few days or weeks, what would happen if after mom is home with baby, she or partner decide not to go back to work?  What would that look like for your family?  Things change when baby is home.  You may think this would never be an option, however you don’t know sometimes until after baby arrives.

Having a baby is a major life change.  If you are ever struggling, reach out to your care provider for a referral to a family or individual counselor.  Postpartum depression can come on at any time within the first year of baby’s life.  Please visit Postpartum International http://www.postpartum.net/ or call them at anytime if you need help, 1-800-944-4773.  If you ever feel you are suffering an emergency call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency room.