Postpartum can be the most exciting and overwhelming time in your life, but it can also be exhausting. You’ll need help with all of those things you think you’ll have energy and time to do. The best way to experience a slow, less overwhelming postpartum is to plan for it, and if you are active in asking for help.
Here are some tips to make sure you’re not overdoing it during this amazing phase of your life:
The first few weeks of a new baby’s life can be overwhelming for parents, especially if you don’t have any family or friends nearby. To make sure you get the help you need without overloading anyone, set up some sort of schedule where friends and family can come by to cook meals, clean up around the house and run errands while you rest with your new little one. If you’re lucky enough to live near family members who are willing to pitch in during this time frame—even better! They might provide support not only when it comes to childcare but also with other tasks like laundry and meal preparation (or at least delegate them). In our experience, though, the initiative in asking has to come from you. Family and friends are mostly willing to help, but they will need direction from you.
You can make your own meals ahead of time and freeze them. Or, you can buy frozen pre-made meals that just need to be heated up. This is a good option because you most likely won’t have the time or energy to cook during the first few weeks after having a baby. It’s also helpful if you have family or friends who want to help by bringing food over when they visit so that you don’t have to cook every meal yourself or rely solely on takeout options. Ask someone you trust to set up a “meal train” or meal schedule for you. This is good practice on delegating and letting go of some of the responsibilities.
If you’re looking for some simple ways to get back on your feet, try doing one thing a day for yourself. Whether it’s indulging in a bath, reading a book or taking a walk around the neighborhood, these small pleasures will help you feel like yourself again after having an infant.
This is a great way to feel like you’re getting stuff done while someone else does the heavy lifting. Whether it’s asking your mother in law or sister to run to the grocery store, give them a list of items and let them do their thing. The key is to create a schedule ahead of time, talking to people about your needs and letting them choose whichever errands they feel most capable of taking care of for you.
If you have kids, add this to your plan, so that someone can volunteer to watch them so that you can take an hour for you. If not, think about asking someone else (like a friend) if they could come over and play with them to give you some rest.
Ask for help. You don’t have to do everything yourself! Let your husband, partner, or family know that you need help with the baby and other tasks.
Rest as much as possible while recovering from childbirth. We know sleep will get tricky, but rest is more than getting 8 hrs of sleep. Getting in the mindset of recovery will be helpful. Childbirth is an event that impacts the body greatly and the more you practice rest, the easier it will go.
If you’re not sure where to start, just remember that a little bit of planning and preparation goes a long way. It’s nice to know that when the baby comes, there will be someone around to help out with meal prep or housework or laundry—and it’s also nice to know that when you do have time off from being on duty 24/7, there will be someone else around too!
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Our workbook will walk you through how to envision and move toward an empowered birth. We have witnessed over 500 births and have taken key moments and distilled them into practical thought exercises you can apply to your pregnancy and birth.