Often I am filled with hope; sometimes I am consumed with dread.
Often I feel blessed; sometimes I feel resentful.
Sometimes I am downright giddy.
Sometimes I am so sentimental an AT&T commercial sends me over the edge.
Sometimes I feel gorgeous, earthy and powerful.
Sometimes I feel like a helium balloon with gravity shoes...
A delusion, you say? Certainly not.
Look, I'm not crazy - I'm pregnant.
~Arlene Modica Matthews~
For years now it has been commonplace for expecting Moms to create a Birth Plan. Creating a Birth Plan is not a necessity but an important step in becoming familiar with all of the things that can take place during childbirth and how to be prepared for them. It also allows expecting parents to think about their preferences and the many choices to make. Some medical professionals love Birth Plans because they feel expecting parents are then so much more prepared. Other medical professionals dislike Birth Plans as they feel expecting parents are setting themselves up for severe disappointment should things not go as planned with the birth of their child. Let's face it, things often do not go as planned in any part of life, however i feel it is always beneficial to be prepared!
Something else that is equally important but often forgotten is a plan for the postpartum period, a Postpartum Plan. So much planning goes into the birth and equipment for the baby, but often so little thought is given to the new Mom and her recovery period. Once you have had your baby and been discharged from the hospital, then what happens next?
Copy and paste the section below into a new document and get started creating your Postpartum Plan. Or simply answer the questions with a pen on paper, whatever suits you best.
PPDA POSTPARTUM PLAN
Full Name of New Mom
Full Name of New Dad/Partner/Support Person
Name of Obstetrician/Midwife
Names of other birth support people (Doula, Family etc.):
Name of Hospital/Birth Centre
*This section is to be filled out as soon after the birth as possible*
Birthdate of baby
Date of dismissal from hospital
Length of hospital stay
Descripton of Birth Experience
List Physical Recovery (ie episiotomy)
List Medical Recommendations (ie warm bath for episiotemy)
*Fill this out before the birth of your child*
You have arrived home from the hospital. During your first two weeks of adjustment to motherhood, whether it be the first time or a subsequent time, who will look after the following things:
A. AROUND THE HOUSE
-Who will look after breakfasts:
Breakfast Meal Plan Ideas:
-Who will look after lunches:
Lunch Meal Plan Ideas:
-Who will look after suppers:
Supper Meal Plan Ideas:
-List of nutritious & affordable take-out/delivery foods when needed:
During the last few weeks of your pregnancy, consider making double-batches of meals to freeze for after the birth of your baby.
2. SLEEP & REST
-What support will you have for helping you to get yourself and baby ready for bed and helping you in and out of bed if necessary?
-How will you go about getting the rest you need during recovery and caring for your baby?
Will you co-sleep with your baby or will the baby be in a basinett in your room?
Where will your baby nap during the day?
-Who can help with making the bed & changing the sheets?
-Make a list here of loving, responsible people you trust who could help with the baby to ensure that you and your partner get enough rest (this list could include family, friends, postpartum doulas).
-Is there someone to Help you in and out of the bath/shower during your recovery?
-Who can help you to bathe your baby?
-Is there someone to help with changing & washing towels?
-Is there someone to assist you with changing the baby and watching the baby so you may have bathroom breaks?
-Help with the laundry is important during those first few weeks, is there someone who can assist you with this?
6. DAILY CHORES
-Is there someone who can look after the day to day chores that need to be looked after like washing the dishes, sweeping etc.?
-Is there someone who can come in and do a thorough clean of your home?
If possible, it's nice to have your home fully cleaned shortly before the birth of your child. This way you come home with your baby to a clean home and also don't need to worry too much about any heavy cleaning for at least a couple of weeks. Enlist your partner, a family member or friend if possible, but don't be afraid to hire a cleaning service if that works better for you. Avoid deep cleaning your home yourself shortly before giving birth for health reasons.
(ie grocery shopping, banking, post office, drugstore items etc.)
-Is there someone who can do a bit of errand running for you once a week for the first little while after your baby is born?
Do what you can to complete your errands before the birth of your child so that you may have a couple of weeks without the worry of 100 little things you need to do. Do a big grocery shop before the birth, get caught up on your banking, mail any letters you need to mail, stock up on personal items such as pantyliners, shampoo, soap, toilet paper, kleenex etc.
B. THE FAMILY
1. CARE FOR MOM
-It's really nice if possible to have someone who can simply care for you a little bit even for just the first week or two while you recover and learn to care for your baby. Things like drinking lots of water, eating regular healthy meals, having time to rest and bathe and even some personal down time are all very important things. For many new Moms their spouse/partner can be this person.
-List some activities that help you to feel nurtured, rested, and energized.
2. CARE FOR BABY
-Nothing is more important than establishing a bond between Mom & baby those first few weeks. This happens in many different ways for different Moms & babies. Don't allow yourself to feel pressured to do this a particular way and certainly don't compare yourself to others on this note. This baby is yours and the two of you will bond in your own way and in your own time. Some things that help are: skin to skin contact, cuddles, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding with cuddles, co-sleeping, singing/story time with baby, lots of love!
Surround yourself with the information and support you need to be the kind of Mother you want to be!
-If baby should require a longer hospital stay due to illness or trauma, think about how will you get to and from the hospital each day. Also consider how will you get you meals while at the hospital and how you will you get the rest you need while still caring for your new baby during his/her recovery.
3. FEEDING BABY
-If you plan to breastfeed your baby what type of support do you have? Do you have family/friends, people close to you who are supportive of your desire to breastfeed your baby? Are they informed and can they guide you if you have trouble? Make a list of these people.
-Do you have contact information for a lactation consultant should you need one?
-Do you have contact information for classes/support groups for breastfeeding should you need one?
-If you choose to bottle-feed so you have someone who can help you with the preparation of bottles until you get into the swing of things?
4. FAMILY'S ADJUSTMENT
-Will your spouse/partner be taking a leave from work and for how long? The longer you have the support from your spouse at home the smoother the transition in your family will be, but arrange what will suit your family best.
-What sort of strategies do you and your partner plan to use to lovingly blend the new baby in with your existing family?
-What sort of needs will your other children have during this time?
-What needs will your partner have and what will he need in order to bond with the new baby as well as still feel connected to you?
-Who can help with other children? Is there someone who can take them to school and activities?
-Make a list of loving, responsible family and friends who you trust who would be willing to help with occasional childcare etc.
-Make a similar list of childcare providers if you wish.
-Consider making a list of other people you know with young babies and children. Connecting with other people who are at a similar place in life can be very fulfilling and supportive.
5. BABY SUPPLIES
-Do you have everything you need for baby? Find lists on the internet.
6. PREGNANCY & POSTPARTUM MENTAL HEALTH
-Should you develop any postpartum mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis, Do you have anyone who can:
a. Help you to recognize what is happening
b. Help you to get to a doctor
c. Help you to get the kind of help you need
d. Assist you with the care of your baby
e. Assist you with all the things that need to be done around the house
f. Offer you understanding & support
-Visit www.ppda.ca and make a list of resources, medical practitioners and support groups that will work for you should you need help in this area!
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