The importance of planning for postnatal
Have you planned for the immidiate postnatal period/ fourth trimester? What plans have you put into place? If you have experienced this intense and tender time what advice do you have for new mothers?
Often a lot of thought and planning goes into birthing your baby, which is wonderful and of course very important. In my antenatal sessions I always ask my clients if they have planned for the fourth trimester and the answer is usually no, which is totally understandable as it's not really something we tend to talk about or see depicted in a very real way on film or TV. I certainly didn't give it much thought with my first pregnancy.
It is a good plan to put some thought into how you might feel, of course it's hard to know how you might feel after birth but regardless I think we can all agree that it will take a lot of physical and emotional energy to birth a life into the world! As a birth and postnatal doula I have had the privilege of being invited into the homes of many mothers to gently support their postnatal season, it feels so natural and very much a return to the ways we would have and should be caring for new mothers. Some days it's with warming food and loving massage and some days it's simply with a listening ear and long warm hugs.
The fourth trimester is a short but intense season, you are a new born mother, no matter if it's baby number one, two, three or more. It's easy to forget that the mother is also new born and very easy to fall into the trap of 'doing' or 'bouncing back'. In these transitional weeks from giving birth to new motherhood you will go through some quite incredible physical, spiritual and emotional adjustments, from landing back to earth in the first hours after giving birth, to the after pains for the first few days/ week, the hormonal and emotional changes that go hand in hand with the time consuming task of feeding your newborn.... just a few of the adjustments you will be experiencing. I feel very strongly that mothers NEED to prepare for this phase with just as much care and thought as she does her pregnancy and birth. Some mothers may have an extended hospital stay with their baby for various reasons and this will add to the intensity of this time. All the more reason to put some thought into this time.
You cannot mother well if you are depleted, I will say again and again that MOTHERS MATTER. You deserve to be cared for in order to care for your baby in the way you need to. I feel that a positive postnatal plan includes:
Your village - A list of people that you trust to support you in a way that is HELPFUL to you. A mothers blessing is a good time to have this list co ordinated including people to offer:
. school runs for siblings
. positive visits for emotional support, light cleaning, hold baby so you can shower or simply get some time for body autonomy! cook you a meal
. food deliveries
. feeding support, proffesional support is good but I have found that support for a fellow mother can be just as amazing.
Seek out local groups and find your motherhood tribe. Honestly new motherhood can become quite lonely, mothers need other mothers!
Food - Nourishment is very very important. Fill the freezer with easy nourishing meals. Ask for gift vouchers for cook/ or my food doula boxes
Self care - this is more than just bubble baths and meditation but this is important too of course! This is making time whenever possible for the things that make you feel good, even if they seem small and unimportant if they make you feel good then that should be classed as important.
*find a local therapist before you birth who offers a postnatal massage. Massage is one thing I would class as essential post birth. Important for both body and mind and is so much more than a luxury, I cannot stress this enough!
*Also seek out a pelvic physical therapist before you birth
Shop for postnatal recovery essentials -
. maxi pads (make padsicles with aloe/ sitz)
. aloe vera gel for the pads
. peri bottle
. postnatal bath sitz - contains healing herbs and can be diluted to clean babies cord stump and can be soaked onto pads and frozen. See my blog for a recipe
. Herbal tincture for after pains
. herbal or flower remedies for emotional support
. lip balm (feeding can be dehydrating) nipple balm
. sports bottle/ bottle with straw for water and keep it full!
. lots of healthy one handed snacks, lactation cookies and energy bites. See my blog for recipes or order some from me
. big knickers!
. belly support
. breast pads
. comfortable easy feeding clothes, think front opening tops
. Essential reading! The fourth trimester by Kimberly Anne Johnson Magamama also the podcast is essential listening. I recommend getting this book before you birth and if you have time read it alongside your pregnancy book
. Book the first 40 days by Heng Ou for recipe inspiration
. feeding - drop in clinics/ la leche/ nhs peer support/ LC
. Postnatal doula
. osteopath for you and baby
I know the below where in self care but...
. massage therapist
. pelvic physio
I have created a postnatal plan that you are very welcome to download and use. I would love to hear from you if you chose to use it. postnatal plan