First off, if you are wondering what the fourth trimester is & why is there a need for a postpartum care plan! Here is the simplest answer. It’s the phase after pregnancy when everything seems normal and precious but the most sensitive time for a new mom. It does not matter if this is the first baby or third baby, postpartum is crucial and every woman experiences it differently. The initial 6 weeks post-birth is normally considered as the crucial phase where a lot happens – including bonding with baby, learning to breastfeed, understanding baby cry, coping with sleep and managing the overwhelm of being needed all the time.
What amazes me is that no one talks about postpartum preparation whole we all prepare the home for the new baby by making a baby essentials list and often forget to plan self-care and understand the need for self-care during postpartum. Having a plan to work through your postpartum reduces half the overwhelm and you can directly focus on the plan.
Why Preparing for Postpartum care plan?
If you are pregnant and reading this to prepare for your postpartum time, here is why you need to plan your postpartum
Though there are a lot of books we read in preparation to welcome our new bundle of joy, there are just a lot of unknowns in the world you are about to enter. Having a plan in place helps with what action to take instead of stressing during your postpartum. You often never know the ifs:
- You might need help with breastfeeding.
- There may be a need for childcare or any kind of support to take care of the baby or an older child.
- You might be experiencing baby blues or postpartum depression which need attention.
- Issues with healing or additional care might be a concern.
- You/ your partner might be stressed out without being able to rest.
Honestly, these were my major ifs behind creating a postpartum plan for myself. Having a support system in place who can help you and having a plan handy makes your recovery smooth & tension free.
Making a Postpartum care plan
The plan I am talking about is very simple. You can just write them out on a piece of paper. And here is what it includes. My suggestion is to spend some time planning this couple of weeks before your due date.
- Making a list of friends and family who can be present in the initial days for support (be it for chores, cooking, childcare, or just to talk to). I would suggest having a list of at least 5 whom you can trust & depend on.
- If you have an older child who might need child care, make a list of three people with whom the child might be comfortable to spend a couple of hours.
- Make your postpartum caddy with all the postpartum essentials in it.
- Do think of hiring a postpartum doula if you happen to not have help around.
- Have support and resources for breastfeeding & postpartum depression handy.
I did not have a postpartum care plan when I had my daughter. But having one during my second pregnancy was by far the best decision that I have taken. I had an entire village as my backup in case I need them and was so thankful to have an amazing support system.
Download my Postpartum Cheatsheet with tips & strategies as a bonus.
Common Postpartum complaints
While you are preparing for your postpartum care plan, it is really important to know the common complaints that are faced during postpartum.
Please NOTE: I am not a doctor or any healthcare professional. And this is not a piece of medical advice. I highly suggest you speak to your healthcare provider and do your own research before using any of the below recommendations. I personally did extensive research and made educated choices that may not be right for everyone.
Vaginal or C-sections, both lead to some amount of bleeding after giving birth. Normally, the doctors or midwives do recommend monitoring the amount of bleeding and the clots. If it is excessive, it is a good idea to contact your doctor right away.
Haemorrhoids & Constipation
Haemorrhoids & constipation can be common problems post-birth due to the pressure on the abdomen veins. A warm sitz bath and cold compress give some relief.
Sore Breasts while Breastfeeding
Initial days will be difficult with discomfort and sore nipples. Here are few things that can help:
- Latch – Getting help to check if the baby is latching properly makes a lot of difference.
- Coconut Oil – Massaging breasts with coconut oil helps in relieving some soreness.
- Airing it out – Take time out in the day to air out the breasts. Airing it out helps in soothing.
- Lanolin cream – You can apply lanolin cream after each feed for a couple of days until the soreness reduces.
- Breast Therapy packs – These are lifesavers. You can use them warm or cold as per what gives you more relief. These soothing packs reduce soreness and pain. I extensively used them while breastfeeding both my kids.
The above suggestions are from my personal experience. I have used them extensively while breastfeeding both my kids.
According to Healthline, about 80% of moms who are postpartum have baby blues. It normally refers to the initial weeks of sadness, anxiety & mood swings after giving birth.
I had baby blues after my daughter was born. It was just a weird feeling of re-living the entire labor, crying with no reason and all the mood swings. It lasted for a week and I was fine soon after. My midwife had suggested to sleep & eat well, go out for walks & talk to someone who is not judgmental.
Postpartum Depression/ Anxiety
While baby blues last for up to 2 weeks, if it continues longer and you feel the symptoms are getting worse – it is better to call the physician immediately as it is considered as PPD/ PPA.
The region of peel has a great support system to help women who are dealing with postpartum depression or anxiety. Talk to someone and get help.
If you do not need emergency assistance, you can also call:
Peel Public Health - 905-799-7700
TeleHealth Ontario - 1-866-797-0000 (or TYY 1-866-797-0007)
Peel Postpartum Family Support Line 905-459-8441
Spectra Community Support Services 905-459-7777 (905-584-7770 in Caledon)
A lot of women go through physical and emotional stress during this time and worry to get any kind of help. If you think you have PPD, you do not have to blame yourself. Get help and take good care.
As a mom of two, who once felt baby blues – I must say asking for help matters especially to help you bond with your child and enjoy motherhood.
After going through the above reasons, hope you now understand the importance of a postpartum plan. Honestly, I did not have a postpartum plan for my firstborn which made me anxious and I did struggle with breastfeeding during the initial weeks. This is why I decided to make a plan for my second kid and I am so thankful to be prepared. Not only I planned to get good rest and help, but I was also able to prepare for baby & toddler sleep regressions. And here I am writing this blog post while both my kids are napping.
Are you ready to plan your postpartum plan? Grab your free cheat sheet here to help you with the plan.
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Good Luck Mama! ❤