Having a partner, family member or friend nearby is not enough of a postpartum plan. Although mamas are usually pretty great at making sure everything is ready for the little one’s arrival, they often forget to make a care plan for themselves.
The reason why it’s so important for soon-to-be-mom’s to prepare in advance for the new version of themselves will allow the postpartum phase to be significantly less stressful.
The fourth trimester is an intense, beautiful and transformative time. Prepping in advance can help you feel more rested, supported and at ease so you can focus on bonding with your new bundle of joy.
7 Supportive Tips for the Fourth Trimester Postpartum Phase:
As a mother myself, and also as a prenatal and postnatal yoga instructor, these are the tips that have worked for me and that I recommend to new mothers.
Tending to your entire pelvic floor is essential during the postpartum phase. Regardless of whether the delivery was a c-section or a vaginal delivery, there has still been immense pressure on your pelvic floor for nine months.
Buying a sitz bath and herbs to place in the sitz bath is a wonderful and gentle way to assist in healing the pelvic floor in the postpartum phase.
Sitz Bath Instructions:
- Combine 2 oz comfrey leaves, 1 oz calendula flowers, 1 oz lavender flowers, 1 oz sage leaf, 1/2 oz myrrh powder
- Steep one large handful of herbs in 4 cups of boiling water for 30 minutes
- Strain liquid and discard herbs
- Add 2 cups of liquid to the sitz bath
- Keep remaining liquid for another bath, compress or peri bottle
Many mamas are scared to evacuate their bowels for the first time after delivery. Gentle ways to soften bowel movements and avoid constipation include incorporating Magnesium and Vitamin C supplementation before bed.
The only side-effect of taking too much of either of these nutrients is loose bowels, which are often helpful immediately postpartum.
Prepping for postpartum in advance can help you feel more rested, supported and at ease so you can focus on bonding with your new bundle of joy.
Magnesium and Vitamin C, unlike stimulating laxatives such as Senna, are gentle and work by bringing more water into the intestines. Softening bowel movements avoids the need to bear down or strain, which decreases the chance of developing hemorrhoids.
Having several weeks of food on hand is extremely helpful immediately postpartum. Whether you cook and freeze meals in advance, sign up for a meal delivery service or register for a meal train, having a plan is essential.
The less you have to do or even think about postpartum will be extremely helpful for mom’s mental health and energy levels.
To maintain milk supply, moms need 500 MORE calories than they were consuming before. Low milk supply is the number one reason women in North America stop breastfeeding.
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Just as every pregnancy is unique, so are the needs of each postpartum phase. Having a list of resources and contact information for practitioners you may need to use is helpful.
Search in your local area for a lactation consultant for any issues with breastfeeding, a therapist/counselor to help you navigate any postpartum blues or anxiety, and a pelvic floor physiotherapist for any pelvic floor issues such as prolapse or incontinence.
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For engorgement: Ice packs or cabbage leaves can be applied to the breasts after feeding to reduce engorgement. It’s important not to do this for too long and too often as it can reduce milk supply.
Put these in the freezer near the end of pregnancy, so they’ll be ready to go when you need them!
Nipple care: Applying all-natural nipple cream between feeds is helpful to reduce cracked nipples and chafing.
Enhancing milk supply: Teas that include herbs such as blessed thistle, fenugreek, goat’s rue, and fennel are great for increasing milk supply. Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk tea is a high quality and delicious option.
Communicating with family and friends what your visitor policy is beforehand is an essential part of the postpartum plan, especially when it comes to mom’s mental health.
Family and friends are often eager to see the baby as soon as possible. Although it is well-intentioned, it’s not always what new parents need. Laying the ground rules of who is coming to the hospital, birthing center, or home and when is really important.
Sometimes family members coming over to hold the baby isn’t what you need, and that’s okay. Maybe what you really need is a schedule of who can help clean, cook, run errands or watch other children if you have them.
You don’t owe anyone anything. Have clear and direct communication of what you need and when it’s the best time for people to visit.
Having insight on the normal changes that happen postpartum (especially the ones less talked about) will be helpful to know in advance.
The first several months after childbirth can be really hard. From mood swings to prolapse, understanding how to deal with the mental, emotional and physical challenges can be empowering.
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If your healthcare provider or doctor brushes you off, keep asking, searching and digging for information or resources! There is always something that can be done to help you feel like the best possible version of yourself.
Postpartum Resources:The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson. This book is a must-read during pregnancy to properly prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for the first three months postpartum.
Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth by Jennifer Summerfeldt. This guidebook helps mothers make sense of their unexpected birthing experience and how to navigate throughout the postpartum.
The Postnatal Cookbook by Jaren Soloff: This cookbook has 75 easy, healing, and protein-rich recipes designed with new moms in mind.
Postpartum Wellness Plans Are Crucial for New Moms
Take a few days or weeks to create as nurturing of a postpartum sanctuary as possible. Raising a child really does take a village, and in our modern society that isn’t always naturally present.
Gather your resources, prep your materials, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Once you’ve been cleared for exercise, join YogiApproved Classes teacher and momma Tabor Bonde as she guides you through a postnatal practice geared towards strengthening your pelvic floor.