The concept of writing a birth plan has become very well known. Planning for your birth is a big deal, and having a birth plan can help you organize your preferences and communicate your wishes with your birth team.
But birth is not the finish line. Birth is really the starting gate.
Bringing your baby (or babies) home is when life gets really real. The postpartum period is defined from the moment your baby is snuggled in your arms until about six weeks later. We often associate the word “postpartum” with postpartum depression, and that is certainly one aspect to consider.
The postpartum time can be riddled with emotion – sadness like the Baby Blues, frustration, fear, overwhelm, exhaustion, doubt. But it doesn’t have to be that way! But the postpartum period can be full of wonderful emotions, too, like joy, excitement, wonder, happiness, and even confidence.
There is so much to consider about the postpartum period, and yet it’s the often forgotten piece of what it’s like to have a baby. “We’ll just wing it!” or “My mom will be around to help,” are common sentiments with the best of intentions. But winging it in postpartum can be the biggest detriment to your confidence as a parent, whether it’s your first baby or your fifth. It can lead to that first set of emotions listed above and prevent you from fully enjoying the early days with your baby.
Instead, we strongly recommend putting together a real plan. Explore the tough questions.
Decide with your partner what parenting might look like and how you’ll handle differences of opinion.
Who will be in charge of the household chores? What do you expect your partner to do? Where will your baby sleep? When should visitors plan to come? Why should you or shouldn’t you use cloth diapers? How will you feed your baby?
Have conversations with your partner, family, and friends about them now so it’s not awkward later when Grandma arrives during your nap or Uncle Frank is embarrassed about seeing you breastfeed. Write out your preferences and expectations of the postpartum period and share it with everyone ahead of time.
Understand that, like your birth plan, your postpartum plan is a flexible, fluid document. What you expect to do may not be what ends up working best for your family. That’s perfectly okay! But having a plan to serve as your guidelines will be a tool you appreciate for those first six weeks and beyond.
We invite you to read through the following sample postpartum plan to get some ideas and if you would like assistance with writing your postpartum plan, contact our office to set up a postpartum consultation. Then, scroll down to download our Easy Postpartum Plan Worksheet to help you get started on
planning for the beginning of the rest of your life.
SAMPLE POSTPARTUM PLAN – PHOENIX FAMILY BIRTH
John and Jane Doe’s Postpartum Plan
We have taken much time to prepare for the birth and postpartum recovery with our daughter, Jenny. We have made decisions regarding recovery that suit our family’s unique needs and we so greatly value your support and respect of this special time. If you have any questions regarding our plan, we are happy to clarify so that each of our friends and family members feels comfortable supporting our desires.
- *In order to maximize our rest and bonding, we invite visitors to come over Tuesday through Saturday between the hours of 10am and 6pm.
- *Please limit visits to one hour or less during the first two weeks.
- *We respectfully request that you refrain from wearing perfume/cologne during the first two weeks.
- *Our postpartum doula, Bethany, may be present during your visit. Please feel free to ask her questions! She has a great deal of experience in helping families during their transitional period following birth.
- *Please remove your shoes and wash your hands upon arrival.
- *During the first month, our family is focusing on bonding and recovery. While we know you are eager to hold Jenny, it is most helpful to us if you can primarily help with other tasks when you visit. There is a list of helpful items posted on our refrigerator including chores, errands, and meal preparation requests.
- *In order to meet her needs, Jane may be feeding Jenny during your visit. You are more than welcome to stay during feedings, but please know that she may or may not be covered.
- *Best ways to help during breastfeeding:
- -Refill water or prepare a light snack
- -Change baby’s diaper before or after a feeding
- -Burp her
- -Answer the phone or door if needed
- -Positive affirmations and words of encouragement.
If Mom is Napping During Your Visit
- *While baby care is appreciated during this time, please wake her if the baby needs to eat. While Jane appreciates any sleep possible, we do not want to bottle feed our baby for at least four weeks.
- *Please help promote a quiet environment; feel free to answer the phone or door if needed, and to accept any packages or mail that may arrive.
- *If other visitors arrive, they are welcome to stay until Jane awakes, but please do not disturb her.
If Mom is Feeling Emotional
- *Grab a tissue
- *Offer a hug
- *Remind her to take her placenta capsules
- *Watch a comedy movie together or discuss humorous topics
- *Avoid “At least…” statements
- *Understand that she may need to talk about her birth or postpartum experience
- *Respect her wishes if she needs some space or privacy
- *Stay calm; the Baby Blues are common in the first week or two
- *If you think it might be more than Baby Blues, please talk to John or Bethany about your concerns privately
Thank you so much for being a part of our village! We appreciate you greatly and know that Jenny will, too.
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