We get so caught up in all the preparations for the arrival of our little ones, that we often overlook one very important detail ⸺ postpartum. For nine months, we dream of our new bundle of joy, prepare their nursery, figure out a name, prepare siblings/pets for the new arrival, and get all of our ducks in a row. But how about us? Preparing for postpartum is such a crucial facet of preparing for our new addition to the family. If we’re prepared for postpartum and what we’ll need, we’ll be better prepared for our newborns.
Here are some ways to prepare yourself for postpartum:
Know What to Expect
While not everyone experiences postpartum the same way, it’s very important to be aware of the changes your body will most likely go through. Many women aren’t aware of these changes until they’re actually living it, which can be overwhelming. Here are a few:
There’s also a chance of developing postpartum psychiatric disorders (click here for some more information on these disorders).
While not everyone experiences these changes the same way (or at all), be mindful that these are a possibility. Yes, you’ll bleed. A lot. Yes, you’ll cramp. Yes, you’ll leak milk. While these changes can be very dramatic and new, there are ways you can better prepare for them, like stocking up on products you’ll need….
Stock Up on Products You’ll Need
So now that you know what to expect body-wise, you may be wondering how you can adequately prepare for these changes. Well, luckily, there are many products/DIY projects that can help you prepare.
Let’s start with postpartum bleeding. This can be one of the most annoying parts of postpartum life. Periods are bad enough already, but imagine having one that lasts for weeks. To be honest, it sounds worse than it actually is. Your hands will be so full with your newborn that you’ll most likely forget that you’re even experiencing bleeding. Now, to prepare for bleeding, you obviously just need to stock up on feminine products. DO NOT wear tampons until this is approved by doctors, which usually takes 6 weeks or so. While that may be what you’re used to when it’s your time of the month, this is not a safe option with postpartum bleeding. Pads or adult diapers are recommended. Honestly, the adult diapers are usually the most comfortable options for the first week or so after delivery. After that, night time pads usually do the trick. Stock up on these as you’ll need a lot!
Stock up on stool softeners and Motrin. The first couple weeks will be filled with some interesting changes. It’ll be difficult and sometimes painful to use the bathroom, as your body will have recently endured trauma, so stool softeners can be a huge help. Motrin will also be helpful for the residual discomfort from delivery.
Ice packs will be an important tool in recovering. If you have a vaginal delivery, swelling can be a huge side effect. Swelling down there can be quite uncomfortable, so sitting on ice packs can really come in handy.
Milk storage bags and catchers will also be important items to stock up on. Milk storage bags are amazing for mothers who pump. When you have extra milk from pumping, these storage bags hold the leftover milk, and are able to be stored in either the freezer or fridge for a time when it’s needed. Milk catchers are used when you breastfeed or pump. When baby feeds on one side, or you pump on one side, the milk catchers save the milk that inevitably leaks from the other side. While that may not seem like a significant amount, some moms leak a couple ounces when nursing.
Learn How to Make Postpartum Padsicles
Just in case you have a rough labor, learning how to make padsicles can be very important. These are usually made with witch hazel and aloe vera, and are placed in the freezer until they’re needed. They can provide you with some much needed relief (and coolness) when you’re venturing through your postpartum journey. Directions on how to make padsicles can be found on Pinterest, or through a simple google search! Click here for the link to our own Pinterest where you can find directions on how to make padsicles, and more!
Figure Out Your Sleeping Situation
Many parents think their newborn will be sleeping in their nursery once they’re home. That’s really not realistic, or even recommended. WebMD refers to sleep recommendations and safety rules that show that sharing a room is the safest for an infant. This ensures that parents are close enough to hear baby’s breathing, and are able to monitor them throughout the night. The safest way to do this is to use a bassinet of some kind. There are plenty to choose from. Some parents also choose co-sleepers that fit in bed with them, although they may not be as safe as a bassinet. Whatever you choose, it’s important to buy what’s needed before bringing the baby home. You don’t want to be scrambling around to find a sleeping situation while you’re exhausted!
Find Nursing Shirts and Bras
Your newborn will be eating…a lot. It’ll seem impossible for them to really need that much milk, but they do! And many times, your newborn will go through phases of cluster feeding. Which means you’ll be called upon quite often. Taking off your shirt and bra every single time your baby needs to eat can be quite monotonous. That’s why you’ll want to find some nursing clothes. Nursing bras allow for a strap to be released so that your baby can access your breast much easier! These shirts are very similar, and are usually loose which allows for easier access as well!
Set-up a Support System
It’s hard to fathom how difficult your journey into motherhood will be. Regardless of how easy or difficult you’ll find it, one thing is for sure ⸺ you’ll need a solid support system. We all need some help from time to time. From physical help, to emotional help, a support system will be able to assist you in this journey. Pregnancy tends to thin out your friend group. You’re taking a huge step forward in life, and it’s only natural that some people are left behind. It’s important to find those friends who will stick with you, and lean on them when you need the help. Postpartum can be such a tricky time, and it’s important to be surrounded with love.
This is one of the most important, and more serious issues that you need to be aware of. Postpartum psychiatric disorders can be very scary, lonely, and difficult. It’s so important to read up on the symptoms/indicators of these illnesses now, so that you’ll be able to detect if you are dealing with one of these postpartum issues once the time comes.
It’s also important to talk to your family about a game plan. Often, when a mom is dealing with one of these issues, it can be difficult to admit it. It can also be difficult or even embarrassing to reach out for help. Notifying family members of these possible issues and your game plan, can be key to keeping you healthy. Maybe your game plan is appointing a single person in your support system to consistently check up on your mental health. Maybe your game plan is having someone speak up for you if they believe you are dealing with one of these issues. It’s just very important to keep these illnesses in mind, and prepare for all possibilities. Your mental health is super important in the postpartum period.
That’s it! Those were just a couple of ways that you can prepare yourself for your postpartum journey. Of course, everyone is unique, and everyone experiences the postpartum period differently. These were just some ideas that could possibly provide you with a smoother transition into this new journey!
While you’re making all these preparations, be sure to get a gender prediction on our site to help pass the time with some fun!