Birth Doula Blog
Not one book could ever truly prepare me for breastfeeding. Yes, I had understood the physiology behind it and knew of the benefits, but the actual feeling and experience could never be accurately described in the books. And it wasn't just the feel of a small mouth on my nipple that was never explained, it was the emotional toll it would take.
Thirteen years ago, I was the first in my family to breastfeed, so I wasn't able to get any insight and words of wisdom from my sisters or mother. It was somehow easier for me to envision being a first-time mom than it was to have a baby latched at my breast. That first feeding in the hospital was so awkward. How could something so natural feel so unnatural? I thought that first latch would be the end of the uncomfortableness of nursing, but so many more challenges faced me.
You're almost there, but don't quit just yet! You did great on that birth plan but have you planned for the "after" time? Also known as the fourth trimester, the twelve weeks after baby's birth is a period of growth, change, and adjustment for parents and baby. It's no secret babies require lots of time and attention from both parents while they're running on little sleep. This can make some new parents pretty overwhelmed and make it harder to make decisions, find time for themselves, or feel like they're nailing it.
To prevent feeling underprepared, many experts recommend crafting a postpartum plan that can help you transition into parenthood and identify helpful resources before you need them. You don't need to literally write one up, but you should discuss important questions with your partner, such as household responsibilities, newborn care, intimacy, and visitor policy.
Just as with a birth plan, your postpartum period may not go according to plan, but it will help you feel prepared to make decisions and make clear how you envision the first few months after giving birth.
Click here for a printable postpartum worksheet and scroll down.