How to Get a Great Postpartum Experience

How to Get a Great Postpartum Experience

As humans we generally focus on the biggest, or most stressful, or closest situation at a time.

If I can just get this thing done, then I'll be able to think about the next thing.

So it makes perfect sense that most women will have taken lots of time to think, prepare, and plan for the labor and delivery of their baby. Very few women will think, prepare and plan for their postpartum experience. 

Pregnancy and birth are pretty awesome in that the body just kind of knows what to do. You don't have to think about growing a baby for 9 months. While in labor the more you leave the laboring mother alone her body will take over and work with the baby to deliver the baby. 

But postpartum is a little trickier. It feels like it should be as instinctual as pregnancy but there is typically a large learning curve for both you and for your baby.

Here are a few great tips that can help you to have a much better postpartum experience than if you were to just wing it.

  • Lower your Expectations. Not only to manage your own expectations of yourself but inform your partner, your mother, your other kids, anyone in your life. Not to have any expectations of you doing any cleaning, cooking, showering, laundry, grocery shopping, leaving the house, etc. Then if you DO get any of those things done it feels like a bonus! How great to come from a feeling of accomplishment! Instead of a feeling of disappoint that you didn't get more done or that you aren't able to do and keep up with what you did before you had a newborn. Having lower expectations of yourself lowers the negative talk/ feelings and can help keep the postpartum depression from creeping in or becoming fully rampant. 


  • Sleep. We know. It might be the most ridiculous suggestion because that's ALL you will want is to sleep. But it's here because you need to plan for it. Having a new baby that wants to eat every couple of hours will ensure that you will not be getting as much sleep as you did in your past life. (although pregnancy usually helps you prep for this stage by waking you up several times a night anyway). But asses how many consecutive hours of sleep you need to feel your best, 8? 7? 10? 5? Then make a plan that maybe every Thursday you pump and you sleep in a completely different room and your partner gets up with the baby all night long. Or whatever the plan is see if you can figure out a way that you are getting those consecutive hours at least once or twice a week.


  • Breastfeeding. If you plan to breastfeed know that this in not an innate skill and each baby is different. There is a learning curve as you and each of your babies gets the hang of it. Breastfeeding can cause a lot of stress in the beginning so if you are struggling seek out help! There are lots of resources online. Find a lactation consultant in your area to come to your house. Get your baby adjusted by a chiropractor who specializes in newborns or a craniosacral therapy to align their bodies which will help their latch and digestion (usually helpful for colicky babies.) 


  • Reach out for HELP especially after the 4-week mark. We often get a surge of help the first week sometimes two. But it's usually after baby is a month old our help distinctly diminishes. That's when the lack of sleep has taken its toll and if hygiene has been compromised you officially stink. See if you can figure out how and who to ask for help when or if you hit that point. Make freezer meals before your baby comes and save them for this point.


  • What will your resources will allow? A Postpartum Doula? a monthly maid coming in to clean your house? A friend taking your older kids for two hours twice a week during the day for months? Talk to your partner and see what you can do to help in the ways you need it most.


  • The Postpartum Journal. We at Dear Darby created a postpartum journal with 52 weekly prompts that will help you to reflect, appreciate, and enhance your postpartum experience. We created it because of my (April's) postpartum experience. I was essentially journaling weekly to share my postpartum journey on our blog as I was posting I had so many moms reach out and message me with their similar experiences. Each journal prompt was thoughtfully written to help you fully embrace each week. I have loved my experience journaling and has helped me to better bond with my baby and appreciate my postpartum body. To get your digital download for the journal follow this link. PLUS the journal is digitally interactive so if you don't want to print it out you can type right in the page.

You got this mama. Decide what you need now to help you lay the foundation for a great postpartum experience. 


Watch the full video where we talk all about Postpartum and the ways you can make it easier for yourself:


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