Baby’s finally bundled in your arms. On to the final stage of your pregnancy journey, you’ve entered the 4th trimester. What’s that? The fourth trimester is the time between birth and 12 weeks postpartum. The shift of care/attention is now towards your newborn. From your OBGYN’s close observance of your health, you can expect the same intensity of care from your newborn’s pediatrician.
Who would’ve thought that there’s such a term! We’re all aware of the three trimesters of pregnancy, but never the fourth trimester. It’s a newly described period that is critical in women’s lives that will desperately need attention.
Every expecting mommy prepares, as much as possible, the perfect pregnancy plan – during pregnancy and before giving birth. All the appointments to the OBGYN, lab tests, making sure pregnant mommy is in perfect health and other details that go into the pregnancy period.
Expect that emotional, physiological, and social changes happen during early postpartum not only to the mom but can affect the whole family too. More than taking the time to plan and prepare what an expecting family should do postpartum, as well, the focus is given more towards a healthy birth. No right or wrong way to do things here, but families should also pay attention to how they want to navigate everything after giving birth. The next stage, which is postpartum, needs as much attention and planning which you’ve never realized before. From breastfeeding to the health of everyone in the family and many other factors can overwhelm you, so prepare as early as you can. Create your own postpartum plan, it helps a lot and saves you from all the stress!
Here’s how you can create your Postpartum Plan
Before you finally give birth, squeeze in some planning and preparation with your partner on what you intend to do after bringing your little one home including your preferences and strategies for housework, visitors, etc.
Many mamas-to-be have been doing this to take off the nerves of expecting the unknown once the baby’s born. You can do it on your own, consult a postpartum doula, or you can also find templates online.
So, what are the things you should go over? Listed below is what we suggest you should include in your plan.
List down important contact information. Identify who is your primary postpartum care providers, which might include your OBGYN, your baby’s pediatrician, the doula you’ve consulted with, or a lactation consultant. Include family members or friends whom you think you can rely on to get help from.
Don’t forget to self-care. The family’s well-being is just as important. Think of the essential things you need to prepare like what mom might need during the first weeks of postpartum – healthy snacks, comfy clothes, and underwear, entertainment materials, maternity pads.
Don’t forget about sleep, how will your sleep schedule look like? Are you going to alternate taking naps? You need enough sleep to function the whole day to take care of your newborn.
How will you encourage each other to stay positive and happy? Plan short activities or self-care practices that you can do together to stay sane because it’ll surely be a hectic few months. Discuss with your partner what you expect from each other and how you’ll effectively communicate during this period.
Division of housework. How will you divide the household chores? How are you going to prepare the meals? Make sure that you’re eating nutritious meals, especially mom because (1) you’re still recuperating your body from the 9 months of carrying your little one and (2) if you’re breastfeeding, you need to give your baby nutritious breastmilk (what you eat is what they get from your breastmilk, too).
Set boundaries. Are you allowing visitors into your home? Or just close family? Surely everyone you know is excited to see the baby. Don’t feel bad about having to carefully choose people who get to visit you. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a surge of visitors. Rest is essential during this time, and with visitors in and out of your home, you’ll miss the chance to get the needed sleep. So tell your family and friends about your preferences, they’ll understand. Let them understand that it’s not going to be permanent just for the time being while you’re still in the adjustment period.
Breastfeeding. Are you going to breastfeed your baby or choosing to give them formula? Or maybe somewhere halfway? There may be things you need to prepare before you take on the breastfeeding route, you might want to talk with a lactation consultant about what you can expect to do. Also, raise the question of what help you’ll be needing when you’re breastfeeding.
Feel free to change things up and add other items you see fit to your family’s preferences and needs. This is your personal postpartum plan, so go ahead!