If you are pregnant, you may have probably put a lot of thought into your birth plan, or what will happen on the day you give birth. However, have you put any thought into what to expect after the baby is born, and how you will successfully care for yourself and your child? Read on as Dr. Nathan Fox, an OBGYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist practicing in New York City, and Pediatrician Dr. Tracey Agnese discuss how new mothers can best prepare for the first couple of months with their new baby.
While many women spend a lot of time thinking about their birth plans, many do not really think about what is going to happen after. “So, you go home and you’re alone with the baby and that’s what people don’t plan for,” explained Dr. Agnese. “So, I think it’s really important to just try and think about that and to plan, not just for that one day of the birth of your baby, but to try to plan for after.”
One great way to start is to begin thinking about what you normally do in your typical day, week, or month. What are your regular activities and responsibilities? Writing these down can help you to appreciate how much you do on a daily basis and create a plan for going forward with your new baby.
“The first part is just really acknowledging what you need as a new mom…and you need to prioritize taking care of yourself in some way,” said Dr. Agnese. “And that’s one of the best ways you could take care of your baby.”
Another great step as part of a postpartum plan is to identify two or three trustworthy people who you can go to for advice regarding being a new mother. Family, friends, and your pediatrician are often great resources. It is best to turn to trusted people in your circle who have children or who have raised children for advice rather than going down the rabbit hole of internet groups and websites.
Your Physical and Mental Health
A new mother should take into account different aspects of her postpartum plan, including her own physical and mental health. A great first step is to identify people who will help with nutrition, chores, and personal care. Think about how you are going to feed yourself, grocery shop, and prepare meals. Find what works best for you. “Think about things that, you know, you can eat to nourish yourself as a new mom quickly that are very nourishing, like, you know, smoothies that you could quickly make or nuts” said Dr. Agnese.
Mental health is also a very important pillar of a new mom’s postpartum plan. Think about your basic needs, what makes you feel more like yourself, how many hours of sleep you need to function, etc. Also communicate with your partner about how they can help you with the new baby and how they can help you balance your mental wellness.
“For some women, they know ‘I have a history of OCD I have a history of anxiety’,” said Dr. Fox “’I have a history of depression, or I had a baby before, and I had postpartum depression’ or whatever it might be. And again, just know it doesn’t mean it’s gonna get worse after you deliver, but it could. You’re at risk for it. And that’s something to be open about with whoever took care of you or takes care of you for mental health.”
Being open with counselors and doctors is a great way to ensure that you are both mentally and physically healthy so you can enjoy this time with your baby.
Schedule a Consultation
Overall, creating a postpartum plan can help you put support services in place to set yourself and your baby up for success to avoid being overly stressed or overwhelmed.
If you are seeking assistance by a physician regarding a birth plan or postpartum plan, reach out to Carnegie Women’s Health by calling our office at 315-628-7063 or filling out the online form. We also offer an array of women’s wellness and GYN services to help keep you and your baby healthy.