Not everyone can have a Postpartum Doula. So, whether it's not in your budget or not available in your area, here are the keys to being your own Postpartum Doula. Believe me when I say, it is worth making the time to prepare! Start preparing before the beginning of your third trimester.
If this is your first baby, imagine being in bed for a month. What will be the hardest for you to let go of? What scares you the most? Use your answers to prioritize your Postpartum Plan.
You will need food--both meals and snacks. Breastfeeding moms are often hungrier than they were in pregnancy with little to no time to make food.
--Find local grocery delivery services (Whole Foods, Pea Pod, etc.) or at least online ordering so someone else can pick it up for you.
--Prepare and freeze at least 2 weeks worth of meals or arrange to have dependable friends or relatives bring meals.
--Snacks are vital! Think densely nutritious and easy to eat with one hand. (I love Kind Bars.)
If you want to have a speedy recovery, avoid complications/infections, and reduce your chances of developing Postpartum Depression, you must prioritize rest. Your body will go from pregnant to recovering from birth & pregnancy and possibly lactating within a matter of minutes. These are massive physical demands while caring for a newborn and getting broken sleep. The more you rest in the first couple weeks, the better you will recover.
This means someone else needs to handle all the stuff you normally do. If your partner can't take over laundry, house cleaning and pet care, find someone who can.
It's best to just stock up on these items....You might not need them all, but it's better to have them!
--Postpartum Belly Binder/Girdle (especially with C-section recovery, but helpful for all!)
--Tucks pads and hemorrhoid cream
--3 week supply of pads
--Probiotics (especially if you're given antibiotics in the hospital or have a C-section)
Hopefully your hospital or birth center will provide you with resources, Either way, look up your local La Leche League and Lactation Consultants in advance.
You were never meant to do this alone! It's really important to connect with other mamas who are (or have recently been) going through what you're going through. If you are lucky enough to have friends nearby who fit the bill, awesome! If not, find the other moms. Social Media is a poor substitute.
Monmouth County moms, check out these resources.
If you have other kids, who can help take care of them? Depending on your child's age, you might consider grandparents, relatives, babysitters....Even the most well-adjusted and independent children need extra attention and reassurance when a new sibling enters the family.
Also, read at least one of these books:
The First 40 Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother
The Year After Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
The Mommy Plan by Valerie Lynn
Wishing you a peaceful and restful fourth trimester!
Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Mother of Three.