First let's cover language: many people hear the word Postpartum and think of postpartum depression. That is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about the period of time following having a new baby, whether thats your first, fourth, doesn't matter. It is all postpartum to us.
How long does this period last? Well, that is a great question. Really in our opinion its your whole life. But for this purpose let's say its a 12-18 months post birth with the most imperative time being the first 4 months.
So what do you mean plan for postpartum? We mean exactly that. Before your baby is on the outside, you're going to want to sit down and come up with a plan for how this time period is going to look and feel for you and your family.
For example; first baby can rock your world. Your time just vanishes, you feel every minute go by, and you feel like nothing can get done. You are in the holds of your baby's needs; feeding them, holding them, learning about them, changing them, and bonding. It is a heavy, beautiful, consuming time. Once you are in it, it's hard to even come up for air to see where and when help may be necessary.
Subsequent babies are added to a family with a routine already established. This may make getting out the door in the morning, napping during the day, or bedtime seem impossible. Magnified if you have a partner who works odd hours.
Don't muscle through it. If you identify where your help needs will be the highest, we have the help for you!
Worried about not getting enough sleep? There is a doula for that (daytime OR nighttime)
Worried about getting breastfeeding solidified? There is a doula for that!
Worried about routines and structure? We've got a doula for that, an extra set of hands can make all the difference!
Worried about learning all the new parenthood things on your own? Try hiring a postpartum doula.
The benefits are endless. We can get you more rest, sleep, confidence, support, food, and care. Having an experience set of unbiased hands in the first weeks of parenting can really get you off on the right foot. It may seem indulgent to some, but it is not. In the past people would have had neighbours helping with food, family around to help with naps, trusted elders with advice, but all of that can be so hard to come by these days.
All of those questions you have in the early days can be answered by a trusted professional. All while they can care for you and your baby, and help you get rest, nourishment, and fill your own cup.
Don't just take it from me, here are some quotes from clients:
"My family and I have been super grateful for the help we have received from Dynamic Doulas of London. Being first time parents and living a few hours away from family, we were able to learn, experience, and most importantly BREATHE during the beginning months of being a new mom with postnatal care. We had even used Sarah to take care of our 7 month old while my husband and I had dinner at a restaurant, and I was finally able to ditch the sweatpants and t-shirt life for a night. I was lucky to get a lot of knowledge from Sarah on breast milk production...it was a life changer. Thank you so much girls!!!!
Linda, Evan, Oakley"
"I had overnight doula support by Demi and Allie which was such a blessing. Both of these women were so courteous, professional, kind, and helpful during those sleepless nights. I was able to get a longer stretch of sleep and felt comforted knowing babe was in great hands. I would recommend Dynamic Doulas for anyone expecting whether its your first or 10th baby. My heart is filled with gratitude and emotion as this journey comes to an end."
"After our second was born, we hired almost a full month of postpartum support with Demi, Ali, Maddy and Ashley. Between cooking meals, tidying up, talking through the difficulties of being a new mom and their loving snuggles so I could take a shower or sleep.. I can’t put to words how much it has helped. "
Not sure where to begin??
'Here are some steps:
1: Sit down with your partner and discuss the plan for each week/month at a time. Do they leave the house for work? Or stay home? What kind of help can they provide during their work day? If they leave the house do they need to shower when they get home? Is dinner ready something that you would both like when they get home? Can they take a turn in the night to give you sleep?
2: Find the problem spots. Is it sleep, food prep, or caring for a baby that are coming up as stress points? Maybe it's all of them. Identify the spots.
3: Contact your local postpartum doulas (ahem, London Ontario and area, US!) - we always offer free consultations to talk about how we can provide support for you.
When to contact us? Earlier is actually better. If we have you on the calendar its easier to move you than create time for you if we are already booked! We have people hire us 6 months in advance usually!
4: Decide on some hours. We often suggest 2 overnights a week for the first week or two, as well as a couple of 4 hour visits sprinkled in over those two weeks. Then as things change you can adjust! Maybe you make sure you have someone the first day your partner goes back to work? Or works a night shift? We have worked with so many people in the shift work/health care field.
5: Fill in the gaps. Speak with family and friends about how, and when their help will be best suited. You are allowed to ask for what you need. Lots of people will offer "let us know if you need anything"... take them up on it. Ask for a meal drop off, or a hand with laundry or baby holding so you can nap. Once offered, people LOVE actually being asked! We're working on trying to help people offer help in a more constructive way as well, but you can lead the conversation! I promise you and they will be grateful.
6: Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy knowing you have incredible support coming after your baby is born. You've surrounded yourself in trusted, wise, women, and you will thrive in this new role or transition.