Being pregnant and preparing for birth can feel overwhelming enough without considering what happens when you bring baby home. But postpartum planning before baby arrives can save you a lot of stress when you will want to be resting and recovering from delivery. And, you might have postpartum brain fog that makes thinking about your options (not to mention making decisions) hard. At Doulas of Baltimore, we think of the first three months at home as the fourth trimester. The postpartum period comes with its own challenges and joys. Here are some basic questions to consider before you go into labor that will make your postpartum life easier.
What will your home look like?
Because nesting is very real, you may have already set up a nursery or room for your baby. But realistically, this isn’t where baby will be spending most of their time. For the first six months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends baby sleep in your room. But where does baby sleep during daytime naps? Do you want to have a dedicated changing table, setups in different parts of the house, or a moveable station? Where will be the best place to feed baby during the day and at night? Consider the layout of your living space and the setup of cribs, feeding or pumping stations, and changing tables.
What does everyday at home look like?
A baby changes things: we know this. And postpartum planning involves thinking about the details of how things have changed. Who will feed baby when they wake up at night? Who will change baby? Who will cook meals? Who will walk the dog? Who will take big sister to school? Who will go to baby’s appointments? Who will clean and tidy the house?
Who can you go to for extra support?
While everyone might want to meet your new baby, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can provide the support you need. Consider which friends and family can provide practical support, like buying groceries, cooking meals, walking the dog, or taking care of siblings if you are at the hospital longer than expected.
Who are the care providers you need?
With care providers, there are the basic people you need to have planned out, and others that you may want to think about having lined up. While you’ve been dealing with an OB, midwife, and/or doula before birth, afterward you’ll need a pediatrician. You may also want a postpartum doula or lactation consultant. If you are concerned about postpartum depression or emotions after birth, you may want to find a mental health provider before delivery since they can have Before you leave the hospital, you’ll need a carseat installed, and we recommend having it checked by a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) or “car seat tech”.
What does post-parental leave look like?
There is unfortunately no standard for parental leave, so consider when parents will be going back to work and what happens then. Do you have a nanny, babysitter, friend, or grandparent who can care for baby? Will you need a daycare?
This is just a short overview of questions that we see new parents considering as they bring their babies home. Over the next months, we will be going more in depth on these questions and providing guidance and advice for the postpartum period.