• Denise A Olson

6 Tips To Help You Prepare for Postpartum

During pregnancy, we spend months preparing for our babies. We read books, take classes, paint and decorate, celebrate with family, spend hours researching the carseats...we do everything we possibly can to set ourselves up for success when we bring that baby home. There’s a missing piece however. In all of our prep for baby, there’s little to no prep for postpartum. If you’re like me, while pregnant with my first baby, I never spent a moment thinking about my recovery, or what I would need after birth. Looking back, it makes sense that I struggled as much as I did in those initial weeks. I had everything I needed for a newborn, yet I neglected to think about what I might need.

The fourth trimester is the 12-week period after giving birth. It’s a time of enormous change-both physical and emotional. Your baby is adjusting to life outside of you, and you’re adjusting to being a mother, experiencing huge hormonal changes, and recovering from birth. It’s magical, and special...and can be really, really hard. I don’t consider myself an expert. However, having had two babies, I’ve learned a lot and want to support new moms in any way I can. I want YOU to set yourself up for success. So here are a few tips for preparing for postpartum.

  1. Lower your expectations. Know that it will take you longer to do things. “Productivity” is going to look different for a little while, and getting the laundry into the dryer before the mold sets in is a victory in those first few weeks with your newborn. If you’re normally a “go, go, go” type of person...this is TOUGH. Talk about it with your partner. Give yourself permission to slow down.

  2. Prepare and freeze a few meals OR accept meals from your family/friends. You will forget to eat and there will be days that time to cook sounds like a luxury. Make a few crockpot dishes and pop them into the freezer, or take your mom up on her offer to drop off dinner. You cannot do it all. Take cooking out of the equation.

  3. Get yourself a water bottle with a straw. You’ll never have two free hands again....forget those twist off caps. Hydrate, momma! At least 80 ounces a day.

  4. Start breathwork immediately postpartum. Practice diaphragmatic breathing each day. This not only promotes relaxation, it strengthens the diaphragm and stabilizes core muscles!! You cannot and should not be working out for a minimum of a few weeks postpartum, but you CAN start diaphragmatic breathing right away.

  5. Have a baby carrier you are comfortable with using. Trying to wrap a Moby on 3 hours of sleep, with a crying baby is a disaster. Practice putting your carrier on, so that you can strap that baby in and get outside for 10 minutes each day. The fresh air will do wonders for you both.

  6. Talk to your partner about what he/she can do to help you. Maybe they take over some household chores, or wash your pump parts each night, or restock the diaper changing stations….ANYTHING. Allow them to take something off your plate. It can be a challenging time for you...AND for them, and they don’t know what to do to help you, unless you tell them. Have a plan...give them some tasks.

If you’re a momma-to-be, start giving some thought to how you can set yourself up for an optimal fourth trimester. As with any season of change, there will be struggles...but with those, come enormous growth. Make sure you have what you need to flourish.

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