Having a child is a life-changing experience but it is also a time that is filled with a lot of questions. ‘How to prepare for postpartum?’ is the most common question and let us look at the answers to it below.
When I had my first daughter I was frantically trying to do a lot of things to prepare for the postpartum at the very last minute. It lead to a lot of tension in the house and warranted a lot of trips to the stores. A lot of my friends have also experienced the effects of not preparing for postpartum properly. But when my second daughter was on board, I made a complete list of ‘How to prepare for postpartum?’ and it really helped me a lot. I have also been sharing the list with my friends and family and I thought that it would be helpful for other mothers if I write an article on it.
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Before jumping into ‘how to prepare for postpartum?’ let us understand what postpartum is. Postpartum in the general sense means the period right after delivery. But it is not as simple as it sounds. There are a lot of changes that will happen after postpartum and it is important to stay prepared for them. As a pregnant mom, you would have realized the changes already happening in yourself. Postpartum is also a period of changes and two of the changes that you should be mindful of are those that happen physically and emotionally.
How to prepare for postpartum physical changes?
Physical changes will be one of the most obvious changes after the delivery. Your body that has carried your little angel will now start to nourish your little one in other ways. Often times new mothers tend to forget to look after themselves as they will completely focus their attention on the baby. But it is of utmost importance to take care of yourself so that you don’t feel extremely exhausted and irritated. It is also equally important to feel connected and belonged in your body after postpartum.
Breastfeeding is another important topic that you’d have to know about. Even though it is believed that babies and mothers will have a natural instinct in this matter, it is not the case sometimes. Apart from that, it should be noted that we must be prepared for bleeding and other such stuff be it natural or c-section. I’ll list down the ways on how to prepare for postpartum physical changes below.
As mentioned above, pregnancy as well as postpartum will lead to a lot of irritation, thus it is important to choose the most comfortable things for yourself. Check out our list of the 5 most comfortable slippers for pregnancy and postpartum to keep your feet happy and breathing!
1. Cotton pads
The first in the list of how to prepare for postpartum is to get organic pads. If you are having a natural birth then pads would come in very handy as the bleeding might go on for a while. It is necessary to make sure that the pads don’t have any artificial chemicals as they might cause irritation. Stock up on pads with different holding capacities so that you can use one depending on the flow. Most often hospitals provide them but it is still advisable to have some handy at home.
2. Hot/ cold packs
The next on the list of how to prepare for postpartum is to get nice hot and cold packs. Both of them help with reducing back and hip pain after delivery. If it is a natural delivery and if you have any tearing, ice packs would be a lifesaver. Even after a c-section, you will experience pain in the back, hot packs would help relieve the pain. They can be used for your breasts as they’ll get heavy and ache. Thus, keeping these handy would give you some comfort.
3. Nursing pads
One of the things that I was completely unaware of was the fact that milk leaks when we don’t breastfeed. Sometimes it happens even without our control and we would have to keep changing clothes. Thus, the next on the list of how to prepare for postpartum is nursing pads. These can be disposed of from time to time and you don’t have to worry about piling laundry. Make sure that the pads are organic and don’t have any artificial scents.
4. Comfortable underwear
The next on the list of how to prepare for postpartum is to get some fresh and comfortable underwear. Make sure that you buy one set of underwear that is one size bigger so that it is not too tight as the baby pooch will take some time to reduce. You can buy them at cheaper prices so that you do not need to worry about bleeding stains as well. Cotton underwear will also help with healing the tears as they aid with proper airflow.
5. Mamma care products
As new moms, we’ll get a lot of baby care products from friends and family but people often forget that moms also need to be cared for. Thus, the next in the list of how to prepare for postpartum is to get some mamma care products for yourself. One thing I noticed after postpartum is that my body odor had changed and that I had to use some sweet-smelling products to make myself feel good. Also, my kept getting dry after delivery and I needed some moisturizer. So, invest in some good skin care for yourself. You deserve it!
How to prepare for postpartum emotional changes?
Like physical changes, it is important to prepare for postpartum emotional changes as well. The mental health of new moms is often ignored by others, so it is important for us to make sure that we spend enough time on our mental health. Hormonal changes happen not only during pregnancy but also after postpartum. It could lead to a lot of intense feelings and emotions like anger, sadness, irritability, feelings of low self-esteem, and such. With a baby completely dependent on you, you might not be able to process all these feelings and emotions if you are not already prepared for it.
Postpartum depression is one of the most common mental health concerns among new mothers. At least 1 in 7 new moms is affected by postpartum depression. The symptoms include irritability, anxiety, fatigue, alternating highs and lows, and frequent crying. The mothers might also experience feelings of guilt for not being able to care for their baby and themselves. If untreated postpartum depression might go on for years and it could be life-threatening. That is why it is important to know how to prepare for postpartum emotional changes.
The first on the list of how to prepare for postpartum emotional changes is meditation. Studies show that meditation can help reduce symptoms of postpartum depression. Mindfulness can help new moms to help reduce their feelings of anxiety, stress, and confusion. It even helps with increasing milk production as it might be affected due to stress. It also helps you to connect to your body and ground yourself when things get intense. So, start meditation even before delivery so that it’d become a habit after postpartum.
2. Yoga/ Exercise
The next on the list of how to prepare for postpartum emotional changes are doing yoga or some physical exercises. You can start exercising after a few days of delivery if you have a natural uncomplicated delivery. If you undergo a c-section or complicated delivery talk to your gynecologist before you start exercising. Exercising or yoga can help you to reduce the baby pooch quickly. Apart from that, you will also start feeling confident and you can feel connected to your body.
The next on the list of how to prepare for postpartum emotional changes is to learn to communicate your needs to your family and friends. When I had my first daughter, I was very afraid to ask for help as I thought that people would think less of me if I ask them for help. But I realized only later that people were ready to help me and they were just waiting for me to ask. Thus, start trying to voice out your needs so that you can have an easy postpartum period.
The next on the list of how to prepare for postpartum emotional changes is to be prepared for the idea of therapy. As mentioned above, postpartum depression is very common and it can be treated through psychotherapy and medications. So, make a list of therapists who have specialized in postpartum depression and keep their contacts needy. It is okay to seek professional help if you are struggling with your mental health. Sometimes depression starts even before childbirth, so you can start therapy while you are carrying as well.
Last but not least on the list of how to prepare for postpartum emotional changes is to take some self-time. It might not be easy for you as a new mom to take a lot of time to rest and take care of yourself. You might be constantly thinking about the baby and might not have the heart to take some time for yourself. But it is important to do so, as it will help you get replenished and have more energy to take care of the baby. So, be prepared to take a lot of rest and self-time, and don’t feel bad about it.
3 quick tips and tricks
Apart from the above-mentioned tips on how to prepare for postpartum, there are a few other simple tips that would help you prepare for postpartum much easier.
- The first is to make sure that you do meal prep before going for delivery. It is important to make sure that you are having nutritious food. So, store up vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Ask your friends and family to also help you with it.
- One of the most uncomfortable parts of postpartum is receiving visitors. One of my relatives told us all in advance that she would receive visitors only during certain hours of the day. It helped her to rest better and be more attentive to the guests without being annoyed and irritated.
- Another tip on how to prepare for postpartum is to accept the changes in your body after delivery. A lot of women feel that their self-confidence goes does after delivery. Thus, write some affirmations to deal and accept with the changes in your body.
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I hope that the article has helped you with the question of how to prepare for postpartum. The most important point to remember is that it takes a village to raise a baby and so it is okay to seek help after delivery. Make sure that you are not losing yourself while trying to take care of your little bundle of joy and your family. It is important to stay hydrated and include more fluids in your diet. Have a happy and relaxed postpartum!
As mentioned in the article, it would save a lot of time, energy, and confusion on how to prepare for postpartum if you have proper bedside essentials. Check out our article on the 10 must-have newborn bedside essentials to have an easy transition.