I just returned from spending a few days in Ohio with my best friend who just had a baby. She had a full term baby but still ended up spending a few days in the NICU. They have no family where they live, so I offered to go down for a few days to help her once her mom came home. I have to say, watching my best friend handle everything from labor and delivery to postpartum to her daughter being in the NICU with such grace has been inspiring. I prayed for her a lot as she told me she was going in to be induced. I prayed for her labor and delivery to be much smoother than mine. I prayed for a healthy and safe arrival for her baby girl. I prayed that she wouldn't struggle with postpartum the way I did. It's amazing how all of these things have a different affect on each person. While I severely struggled with postpartum anxiety, she has handled every curve ball thrown at her with ease. While you can't totally prepare yourself for postpartum, there are certain steps you can take to make the transition as smooth as possible!
As I entered the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I had no concerns that I wouldn't be able to have a vaginal delivery. I'm tall, my hips are wide, I thought I had everything working with me to be able to go into labor on my own and have a vaginal delivery, so I prepared for that. Here are ways I prepared for postpartum before I even delivered!
Have Conversations With Your Partner
I CANNOT stress this enough. Make sure your partner is aware of the time and rest you will need to heal from your delivery. Even if you plan to have a vaginal birth, still talk about the possibility of a c-section and prepare yourself for it. While I fully thought I would have a vaginal delivery, I ended up needing a c-section and I was not prepared for all that would entail, including the recovery once I was home. Have honest conversations about what you might need both physically and emotionally as you transition to being at home with your little one while recovering at the same time.
Spend Time With Your Partner And Baby Before Allowing Other Visitors
This is a big one for me. I had my baby at 6:45pm. Our whole family was in the waiting room waiting for us from my surgery. Once we were back in our room, we almost immediately started letting visitors in to see our daughter. Do not be afraid to tell people no or that you want to wait for visitors. You will never get those first few hours back with your little one. I don't feel like i totally enjoyed that first night with her because we had so many visitors in and out of the room wanting to hold her. I was so excited for my family to meet her, but because I had a c-section, I didn't have a whole lot of time with her before others came into the room. It is okay to be selfish and not allow people to visit right away. It is important that you get to spend that time with your baby and significant other before sharing that joy with others!
Have a Plan for Visitors
Oh my goodness, I cannot stress this one enough. Having a baby is emotional as it is. Everyone is so excited and is anxiously waiting to be able to come visit your new sweet bundle of joy. I highly recommend limiting visitors to immediate family only while in the hospital. Set times that you are willing to allow visitors and ask your family to respect the time you would like to spend alone as a family. Once you are home, continue to be strict about visitors. People will want to help with meals, come visit, etc. While that's great, visitors can be overwhelming. You are still settling at home and people are breaking your door down to try to visit. Talk with your partner beforehand about how you will allow extended family and friends to visit. Don't be afraid to set a time limit for visitors so they don't stay too long. Also don't be afraid to only allow a certain amount of people per day or week as you adjust. Everyone is so excited, but it is most important that you and your partner are having time to bond with your baby as well as get the most rest you possibly can!
You Are the Mama
One of the hardest parts about becoming a new mom is that everyone will want to give you all the advice they have about parenting and things that worked for them. Usually, this comes in good faith, but sometimes people can be pushy with their information or try to tell you how to do things when it comes to your baby. Always remember, YOU ARE THE MAMA. It doesn't matter if your baby is one week old, one day old, or one hour old, YOU know what's best for your baby. You are more than welcome to ask people for suggestions or advice, but DO NOT let people tell you what to do with your baby or how you should care for your baby. You've got this!
Having a baby is hard enough, but preparing for postpartum with these tips can help make the transition home a smooth one!
My family and I are heading to South Carolina tonight for a short vacation, so I'll be off the grid enjoying time with my family at the beach! When I return, I'll be sharing my tips for surviving the beach with a baby!
xo-The Home Team Mama
Hi everyone! I am a working mama in Indianpolis, Indiana. I am a middle school special education teacher and basketball coach as well as wife to a social studies teacher/assistant athletic director and mama to our sweet baby girl, Mila! On this blog, I'll share helpful tips and tricks to navigate through pregnancy, labor and delivery, postpartum, newborn care, and balancing work and home life. Enjoy!