5 Tips For Creating your Postpartum Support Plan

The BEST THING YOU CAN DO for your future self, is to plan your postpartum. Whether you plan on Lying In for a month, or actively managing risk of postpartum depression by ensuring you can take a break for a week or two, we hope you’ll consider these tips and tricks for putting together your plan.

 1. Recruit Help Now to Level Set Expectations

Find dedicated postpartum helpers, and be realistic about what you will need help with. When someone says they will be there for you - decide early on what that means to them.

There are MANY things a postpartum family needs help with beyond meals.

Go over this household list with your helpers - they will all bring specific skills and talents. At the same time - Give your helpers an opportunity to say what they are not able to help with. Where you see a gap - think about who else you may know that could assist you with that particular task or find outside resources that can assist you short term.

o   Meals and Snacks - Alternative, freeze at least 12 crock pot meals before baby comes, stock up on dry goods and non perishable snacks that will last for at least 3 weeks.

o   Shopping, Grocery Pickup - Prescription pickup - Alternative - Utilize online ordering and/or delivery services if available

o   Housekeeping - Bathrooms, Kitchen, Living areas, Porches - Alternative, hire cleaning service, or a short term mother’s helper service like Chicadee Mom

o   Trash Day/Bulk Pickup/Recycling Hauling

o   Laundry – Wash, Dry and Fold/Hang your clothes, babies clothes, towels, possibly treat bedding for stains etc.

o   Bed Making – Freshen up moms bed with fresh sheets and blankets at least every three days, and whenever there is blood, excess sweat etc.

o   Caring for/entertaining other children - Hugs, fun, instruction to clean up after themselves, rides to school, practices and events

o   Pet/Animal Care - Dog walking, poo cleanup, litterboxes, play time and affection

o   Garden Care - watering, harvesting, watching out for pests and abundance of weeds

o   Yardwork - mowing, raking leaves, debris removal, snow and ice removal - Alternative, hire a service

o   Appointment Assistant - Driving, car seat carrier, companionship

o  Package and Mail pickup - Unboxing, stacking, ensuring important mail is separated from junk mail, discarding boxes

o   Babycare - to allow for naps, mental breaks, alone time with partner or other children, showering and other physical and emotional self-care as needed on a daily basis

2. Provide your support team with your favorites!

  • My Favorite Meals

  •  My Favorite Snacks

  •  My Favorite Healing Drinks and Herbal Teas

  •  Foods I am not going to be eating postpartum even though I love them

  •  Foods I haven’t been eating while pregnant that I can’t wait to have

  •  Allergies and Aversions (Please don’t give me) 

  •  If you were to pack my kid a lunchbox, they prefer:

 

3. Gather postpartum essentials!

Beyond the diapers, wipes, creams and sweet little outfits for your newborn - you will want to collect items for yourself as well! Here are some of our favorite things to have immediately on hand postpartum. Get these ready several weeks in advance of your due time!

Must Haves

o   Maternity Pads w/Cold Packs

o   XL /Overnight Menstrual Pads

o   Ice Packs – Gel, Small and Large – enough for breasts, belly and bottom

o   Extra pillows to help you sit up comfortably, and to support various nursing positions

o   Nursing Creams – suggest two types – at least one non- lanolin and one lanolin

o   Bassinet, pack n play or co-sleeper unit for baby to stay in your room with you

o   Old towels or chux pads for your bed

o   Two sets of Soft, easy to wash sheets and blankets

o   Nursing Tank tops

o   Hemorrhoid Suppositories, Creams and Witch Hazel Wipes

o   Ibuprofen, Cramp Bark or After Birth Tincture

o   Very soft toilet paper or better yet, flushable wipes (you can throw them away rather than flush)

o   Perineal cleansing spray

o   Large water cup that can be opened and held with one hand

o   Diaper “station” basket with diapers, wipes, baby clothing if needed, extra burp cloth etc

o   In room trash can with lid          

Nice to Haves

o   Mattress Protector for your bed– fabric layer on top (plastic should be on underside only)

o   Microwavable rice packs or heating pad with a cord long enough to reach your bed

o   Haakaa breast milk collector

o   Nursing pillow

o   Rocking chair or glider in your bedroom (borrow from babies nursery short term if it’s in there presently!

o   Noise machine or loud fan to muffle outside noise

o   Nursing/Breastfeeding Reference Book

o   Phone and laptop charger cables that reach your bed

o   Basket of easy go to healthy, non perishable snacks that you like

o   Nursing bras

o   Belly Binder or Wrap

o   Sitz bath, herbal bath

o   Postpartum Tea

o   Dry shampoo

o   Lip Balm

o   Calming/Make up remover Face Wipes

 

4. Write down your “Why’s”

  • What is a quote or mantra that will serve to remind yourself of this special, limited time when you feel pressured to do anything aside from resting, healing, and bonding with your newborn?

  •  Prepare a light statement for how you will deal with friends or family who want to come see the baby, but are not on your helpers list and will make you feel like you need to host them.

  •  Select a goal or goals for what you wish to enable through maximizing your postpartum rest period. Some examples:

o   I will stay in bed for at least { } amount of time before I consider shortening my rest period because my priority right now is to heal and bond with my baby. 

o   I will get at least 20 minutes of sunshine every day.

o   I will limit visitors to the following people. Everyone will eventually meet the baby but they are not my priority right now. 

o   I will ask for what I need, when I need it.  I have people who I can text or call that will take care of my needs for me. 

o   I will only leave the house for my baby’s or my own medical appointments. 

o   I will not wear pants (or a shirt)! Wearing pants leads to cleaning the house and right now, I am focusing on physical healing and bonding with my baby.

o   I will lift nothing heavier than the baby.  I will have someone else carry the carseat if necessary. 

 5. Think ahead - Who can I call IF…..?

  • I need breastfeeding help?

  • Baby seems ill?

  • I am struggling with my emotions?

  • I am struggling with pain?

  • My partner or helpers are not supporting me like I need them to?

  • My child missed the bus?

  • I am lonely?

  • I need help during the night?

  • I need a nutritious takeout meal?

  • I need someone to stay with me for a few days?

  • I need a calm reassuring voice?

Start your plan today. Ensure the Peaceful Postpartum that You Deserve!

And remember mama, If you need help to fill in those gaps, Chicadee Mom is here to help!

Warmly,

Jessie

Excuse Me While I Grow This Baby

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I guess I’d say the most bad-ass sounding certification that I’ve become aware of in the past year or so is probably the “trauma informed professional.”

From what I understand, a trauma informed professional is someone who has taken additional advanced training on top of whatever they do for their regular job, to support clients who have experienced or observed abuse or violence.   They work in many fields, particularly medical and social services. The birth community is seeing certification programs pop up.  One of them, Childbirth International, which certifies doulas, childbirth educators and breastfeeding counselors writes:

“This is the first course in the world that specifically covers trauma in relation to pregnancy, birth and parenting. With one-third of birthing individuals describing their births as traumatic, and one in ten parents beginning their journey with PTSD, trauma has a profound impact on the health and well being of families and communities. “

Kind of scary, but interesting isn’t it? 

So I ask myself – why on earth are we so traumatized by our birth experiences that we are suffering from PTSD at a level that we need certified professionals to help us through that trauma? And what can we do on our own to avoid trauma during childbirth? 

I guess the simplest answer is probably this:

Don’t mess with Mother Nature unless you really, REALLY need to.  

So it is within that spirit that today’s blog is about arming yourself with some information that will help you to explain to your folks or anyone else that is pressuring you towards elective induction,  that you won’t be customizing your baby’s birth date to suit plane tickets and vacation schedules. 

Here are some things going on with our babies in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy (38-42 weeks) that don’t have anything to do with how “big” that lil chunk looks on ultrasound.   

* Feel free to bookmark this post for easy reference to these legit excuses.    

1.    Sorry, but my baby can’t come out to play until they have finished developing their HPA Axis This sounds like math homework, but is actually the interdependent relationship between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands necessary for normal human physiology such as:   

o   Reactions to stress

o   Digestion

o   Immune System

o   Mood and emotions

o   Storage and use of energy

 2.    I’d love to help you out, but I’m super busy providing my baby with antibodies right now.   These antibodies help your baby to fight infection in the first weeks of life.     

 3.       We believe in raising our child to stick with his commitments.  He’s in a 40 week strength training program and he’s **this close** to finishing!  In these last couple of weeks, your baby gets stronger and develops the ability to maintain coordinated sucking and swallowing that they will need to nurse on their own after birth.   

 4.      We’ve made a family decision to enjoy our baby outside of a warmer.  Right now your baby is storing brown fat that will help her to maintain her own body temperature earth side.   This will not make it harder to deliver your baby vaginally, and neither will the other types of fat on your baby – fat is squishy!    

 5.      Our baby is prepping for Jeopardy tryouts.  Your baby’s brain is still developing. Let them question this! Let them!

6.     As laid back as we are –we’d still really like our baby to be able to breathe, like right away, after they are born.  Did you know that fetal lungs are the very last organ to develop in utero?  

 

If you are still having trouble deciding whether to electively induce your baby or not, I guess the question you could ask yourself is this: 

  “Is inducing my baby, who doesn’t appear to be ready to be born, AND risking a cascade of interventions  that can lead to serious complications worth the tradeoff for making sure I accommodate the needs or desires of an adult person?”    

If your answer is “yes,” then I’m sure you have a very good reason.  We still love and support you regardless, mama, because life is already hard enough. Isn’t it? 

If your answer is “no,” and your main concern is getting help after the baby is born until your family or friends can arrive to help – please know that this is exactly what Chicadee Mom is here for!   Whether you are new to the area and don’t have family here, you haven’t found your mom tribe yet, or you just know you would like an extra set of hands for a period of time postpartum – check out our postpartum Mother’s Helpers

We are now also offering Gift Certificates for three hours of Mother’s Helper assistance around the house and with your baby for only $55 while we are still ramping up our Chicadee Team! 

And I have some great news: We have eight more slots open for FREE postpartum Mother’s Helpers service – contact us today if you are interested in helping with our pilot program, and we will give you a coupon code to use when you schedule!  

Good luck out there ladies! I know the pressure to induce is tempting, especially at the end of pregnancy when we are just so over it! You’ve got this mama. Believe it or not, you might miss being pregnant when it’s all said and done.

If you have your own story of induction that you’d like to share for future blog posts, or questions about our services, please send us a note at thenest@chicadeemom.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Warmly,

Jessie

Waiting on the Village

I continue to think of this Mommy meme that I saw a few months ago.

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 It’s been stuck in my head like a song on repeat.

It is also the reason why - at 1 a.m. on a Tuesday – I’m writing my first blog post…

So the meme. Do you get it?  The reference to the book?  It might be a Gen X and up thing.  Not to imply I have read the book; I hadn’t actually thought about reading it until just now. I was 20 years old in 1996 when then First Lady of the United States Hillary Rodham Clinton published It Takes a Village.  A book, I assume, about how society ought to ensure the wellbeing of every child in America.  Please, no arguments on that ideology - I get it – some of you have seen society and don’t want it raising your children. I respect that.  Anyway, even though I was a young parent at that time, I was reading midwifery books and the entire catalog of Anne Rice. I didn’t really care what a politician had to say about parenting one way or another. 

Tonight though, the meme and the thought of the village - It keeps me awake.  I really needed a village when my four kiddos were newborn babies.  Did I ask for help? I can’t remember.  I don’t know if I did. I can be stubborn. It was lonely, painful, and once for about a year, there was crippling anxiety and depression. 

Truer though is that through the lens of 20+ years, I suppose I should revalidate my perspective about my postpartum experiences.  I did have some help, a lot, actually, with some of the babies.

I was so tired between 1999 and 2001 that I can’t remember large chunks of time, but there are flashes of Mothers, Grandmothers and Sisters folding towels, making a bed up around me, bringing me food, rocking the baby endlessly while I tried to quiet my restless mind.  I still feel the thrill of a hot shower ALONE after too long without, a hot cup of tea, honey butter toast in bed and giant glasses of ice water. So much ice water.

So, I don’t know if it takes a village to raise a child but I like the thought of it, and I am certainly a parent who doesn’t mind close friends and family giving my kid the what for if they need it. And I will say at the very least, the support of a “Village” is important, and something that too many humans don’t have for one reason or another. 

It’s for that reason that my thoughts tonight shift a little further up the family tree when I think of the potential for what a village could bring to bear given the right tools and opportunity.

About a year ago I started a journey without knowing exactly where I was going.  I had the end result in mind, but there are not enough hours in the day to build something this immense alone.  I’m happy to say that little by little, a business plan came to life.  I’ve found a supportive team who really believes in women helping women, and they have put the plan into action with me.

  So here in our village, in the blue mountains of Southwest Virginia, we are building a foundation from which to collectively uplift a mother.  A village to offer her tools of comfort and the household support she needs to replenish herself - from the very beginning - to raise her child. Tea and a sandwich, a nap, a sink free of dishes, a boost of confidence, a chicken in the crock pot.  Some comfort and respect in the fourth trimester – a short but vital season of life. What better way to care for our children, than to care for their mothers? 

   We are building a company to bring the Village to Mothers.  A postpartum doula and mother’s helper agency that brings local women an opportunity to serve other local women during postpartum.  

Our village is Chicadee Mom.

  The Chicadee Mom team is preparing to launch a Postpartum Mother’s Helper proof of concept this summer in the Virginia counties of Roanoke, Montgomery, Floyd and Franklin and we need some help. I need to ensure that our processes and services are exceptional, and that takes practice.  We will be considering customers for the pilot starting immediately. 

   If you are interested, we’d love to talk with you!  Please contact us at thenest@chicadeemom.com.  Not only will you enjoy two mother’s helpers tidying your house and making sure your comfort needs are met postpartum, but you will also be a part of helping us create something really special in our community. 

Thank you for reading my post.  Please let me know what you think!

 

Warmly,

Jessie Hirsh