We’re all familiar with idea of making a birth plan but we often forget about making a postpartum plan. As experienced doula, Samantha Gunn, points out, “After your baby arrives, in addition to recovering from your birth and navigating parenthood, the logistics and rhythms of your life will significantly change. Things that previously felt easy or simple might now take much longer and require some planning.”
What is a postpartum plan?
Making a postpartum plan involves sitting down and considering all the aspects of your life that will change after you bring your baby home; how you’ll manage them, then communicating with your nearest and dearest what you’ll need to feel supported during this time.
Getting as much support during this time is crucial – so it’s worth considering everything from day-to-day life, to things like how you’ll manage groceries and cleaning, to what practical and emotional support you can access.
Here are five things to consider when you make your plan:
1. Decide how much leave you’ll take
Think about how much leave you’ll take from paid work and when you’ll take it. Samantha advises, “If you have a partner, discuss how much leave they will take and if you’ll take leave at the same time, or if you’ll take leave at separate times to take turns caring for the baby.”
2. Communicate with your partner and other household members
If you have a partner, discuss who will do the new everyday tasks like changing nappies, bathing the baby as well as the usual tasks like making dinner, doing the laundry, cleaning the house and caring for any pets. Whoever has primary care of the baby will be sleep-deprived and managing their life around the baby’s cycles, which leaves limited time for other work, so sharing these tasks around can help. While this is a beautiful time for bonding with your new baby, it’s also a time when resentments can build up between family members, so make sure to keep communicating.
3. Ask for help and support
Consider what avenues of support you have available to you in family members and friends, and how you might best use their help in those early weeks.
Some people might be better suited to practical support like helping around the house, while others might be better at offering a listening ear and maybe holding your baby while you have a shower or some rest. “Have a chat to these people before baby arrives,” suggests Samantha, “so that you know what their availability is.”
4. Be prepared to breastfeed
While breastfeeding is natural, it’s not always smooth sailing. You can be prepared by doing a breastfeeding course while you’re pregnant and having the contact details of a lactation consultant on hand in case you need support. Once you’ve established breastfeeding you may want or need to express, so have equipment like a breast pump, bottles, and steriliser ready. Having a comprehensive kit like the Tommee Tippee Essentials Starter Kit that includes six bottles and a steriliser, will make life easier if you find you need to use bottles.
5. Consider practically what your life will look like
Take time to think about practical tasks and how you’ll manage them. Small things you may have done with ease before will become more challenging with a new baby. You may find it more manageable in the early weeks to do things like organise for groceries to be home delivered. If friends or family can help with things like cleaning, or you’re able to afford a cleaning service, this will be helpful too.
Introducing a new life into the home requires major adjustments on everyone’s part – there are huge changes that come in the first months of life with your new but by making a workable plan, you can make life with your new baby more manageable for everyone.
This is a sponsored post for BIG W, where you can find everything you need for pregnancy, baby and beyond.