Prep for a smooth postpartum recovery is equally as important as prepping for labor and the newborn phase. Although, in our fast paced american culture this isn’t often the case. Here are my top tips as a soon to be fourth time mom!
There’s no reward for bouncing back quickly
Moms are thought of as supermom if they can hop back into normal life quickly, disregarding the psychological, emotional, and physical recovery time it takes after having a baby. Every mom is different but generally getting back to “normal” takes about 6-10 weeks, sometimes longer.
You gain no rewards or prizes if you jump back into normal life quicker than a friend or someone you see on the internet. So you might as well take your time and enjoy this slow season because that’s what this is. A brief season of your life that will be gone in a flash.
Here are my suggestions to transition through this slow season with peace, healing, and community.
1. Create a “lying in” period for optimal healing and bonding with baby
The term “lying in” comes from ancient practices that gives moms time to heal and bond with their new babies. Traditionally, these women are cared for by their village who brings her nuritioning food and beverages, while allowing mom to get as many newborn snuggles as possible. She is learning every coo, crevice, and dimple while also getting the hang of breastfeeding.
There’s no pressure for her to clean up after her household or make dinner. Her job for the “lying in” period is to only look after her new baby.
I can see you now, rolling your eyes, thinking this sounds too good to be true.
This is definitely not entirely possible in our modern America. But we can still gleam wisdom from this practice and do the best we can.
As much as possible in the 1-2 weeks after birth, a new mom should do this as much as possible for a smooth postpartum recovery. Stay in bed, and let people help you as much as possible.
Which brings me to my second tip.
2. Establish a meal train and help with chores
Life with a newborn can be pretty crazy. Between learning to feed baby (bottles or nursing), sleepless nights, and doctors appointments-not to mention if you older kids to tend to-cooking dinner or folding laundry at the end of the day is the last thing new moms want to do.
That’s why setting up a meal train before the baby arrives is essential. If you have a community of friends and family, enlist them in helping in this season. Most people are eager to help but can sometimes be unsure of how to help.
Instead of leaving it up for them to decide, graciously delegating this out to a close friend will help everyone, especially you as a new mom.
If you don’t have a close community of people, I feel for you! I’ve been there too in different seasons. I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and start praying for this community! Not only praying, but actively seek out a new church family that you are comfortable with by visiting local churches and getting plugged in.
After you’ve found your new community, good people are always willing to help even if you haven’t known them long. So don’t hesitate to ask for a meal train and/or help with chores to be set up on your behalf!
3. Freezer meals for postpartum recovery
Let’s face it. While it is great that friends and family can help during the recovery period, unfortunately, that’s not always possible. If that is the case for you being able to prep your own meals ahead of time can make a huge impact on your postpartum recovery.
I am no expert in this area but pinterest is full of freezer meals to prep for postpartum. Think crockpot meals in a bag, ready to reheat and serve casseroles, and nutritious soups galore! It takes mostly chopping and layering to make freezer meals. Your postpartum self will thank you!
4. Prepare postpartum kits that’s easily accessible
Unlike what movies will depict of new moms, postpartum recovery is not the most glamorous part of a woman’s life.
In order to maintain some level of cleanliness, I suggest making three different kinds of baskets for the postpartum period:
- Bathroom basket: This is for all your lady supplies; pads/period underwear, angled peri bottle, extra pair of underwear, perineum cooling spray, and squatty potty or stool for optimal positioning. You may also need a stool softener for your first number two postpartum.
- Breastfeeding basket: For all your breastfeeding supplies: bars/snacks for mom, burp cloths, nipple cream, breastfeeding pillow (obviously won’t go in a basket but keep one nearby).
- Diaper change basket: Diapers, wipes, bum cream, changing pad or blanket, and extra clothes for baby. Even if you have a designated room for baby set up with all the supplies, it can be helpful to have a few of these baskets around the house to limit walking up and down stairs while still healing.
5. Have your postpartum team ready before birth
For me this includes:
- Pelvic Floor Therapist
- Sports Physical Therapist
- Craniosacral Therapist– for if baby has tongue/lip tie or other nursing issues (that’s a whole other blog post)
- Chiropractor-for mom and baby
Your list could look different based on your pregnancy and any unforeseen complications that could occur post-birth. I don’t say this to scare you! Not at all. I only wish someone had told me the possibilities for needing a postpartum team.
Instead, I was sitting on my bed in pain holding a crying newborn (let’s be honest I was crying too) while on the phone being told by every doctor that they didn’t take my insurance or were booked for the next two months. All the while feeling like I was the one doing something wrong as a mom for my new baby. Mind you, I had many healing problems postpartum and my babies had feeding issues so it was all compiled into one big problem.
It was not fun. And it was no way to have smooth postpartum recovery either. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I’d known to find some experts beforehand. Hopefully, you do this and then don’t end up needing any help. But I can assure you, if you do need any of these specialist, you’ll be thankful you prepped ahead of time!
Lastly, I do recommend no matter what finding an excellent pelvic floor therapist and chiropractor! They should be able to work together to get you healing safely and quickly for your postpartum recovery.
6. Use postpartum recovery as a time to catch up on your favorite audiobooks and podcast
With my first, I may have watched all of the seasons of Gilmore Girls while up late feeding and “laying in” during the day…but my mommy brain can’t quite remember- that was a joke because I most definitely did do that.
Nowadays, I prefer listening to my favorite podcast or an audiobook about something I’m interested in. My mindset around television has changed a lot since those Gilmore Girl days. Frankly, I don’t have the time anymore to watch endless hours of tv and postpartum recovery is no different.
My favorite podcast to listen to:
- Courageous Parenting by Isaac and Angie Tolpin
- Simple Farmhouse LIfe by Lisa Bass
- The Table with Anthony O’Neal
- Fit Body, Happy Joints by Dr. Shannon Ritchey
- Redefining Strength by Corey Lefkowith
- Don’t Mom Alone by Heather MacFadyen
- The Morgan Zegers Show
As a newbie to podcast listening, my list is ever growing of people I want to listen to!
7. Accept the help
No, not everyone is going to fold your towels how you like but let them do it anyways!
If you are a first time mom, this could be especially hard for you. It was for me but now four kids in-I’m much more willing to accept the help! Okay, maybe I’m desperate for it sometimes but they say it takes a village. Unless you have an amazing biblically minded community, the village really only comes around right after a baby is born so take it while you can!