Four Postpartum Must Haves For Every Parent

While there are plenty of great physical items that are helpful in the postpartum period, it’s important to also prepare some things internally for this challenging phase of life. Here’s a list of four postpartum must-haves every parent should prepare before the birth of their child.

By Emily Chaffee

When planning for your postpartum period, there are so many products to buy, it can be rather overwhelming. And yes, there are some great items that you definitely should add to your baby registry. But this is not about what you should buy. Rather, It is about the internal must-haves you need as a new parent because in all honesty, Amazon exists and you can get the bottle warmer with Prime in 24 hours if needed.

 

Research has found just 15 minutes of anticipatory guidance on: feeling sad and blue/depressive symptoms, bleeding, cesarean site pain, episiotomy site pain, urinary incontinence, breast pain, back pain, headaches, hair loss, hemorrhoids, infant colic, and other topics can reduce perinatal mood and anxiety symptoms up to 20% for new moms.

 

So, let’s take our 15 minutes of planning now!

Must Have #1: Find Your Support Now

We encourage each and every one of our clients to build a provider toolkit now, so that if these providers are needed in the moment, you are not left Googling in the middle of the night. We recommend you find contact information for the following providers at a minimum:

 

  • Postpartum Doula
  • Lactation consultant 
  • Mental health practitioner 
  • Pharmacy (seems like a given, but we have heard reports that non-local pharmacies may not fill prescriptions if there are negative impacts on breastfeeding)
  • Dietitian 
  • Parent/Childbirth educator 
  • Chiropractor 
  • Pelvic floor therapist 
  • Pediatric physical therapist 
  • Baby wearing consultant 


As an added bonus, many of these providers are current and past experts with HER Health Collective, so you have an ready made, narrowed-down list at your fingertips!

You must care for yourself to be the best parent you can be. That also goes for your partner, and your relationship with your partner.

- Emily Chaffee

Must Have #2: Take Care of Yourself

Self care is vital for a new parent. It can be easy to get caught up in caring for everyone else in your family, especially the new baby, but you cannot fill from an empty cup. You must care for yourself to be the best parent you can be. That also goes for your partner, and your relationship with your partner. And this self care doesn’t include a pampering day at the spa, nor does it include basic adult functions like cleaning your body.

 

Making a list of what makes you happy that doesn’t include scrolling through Tik Tok, and referring to this list weekly, daily, or even hourly to remind yourself that you matter too. Take the time to care for yourself, even if it is 5 minutes, because those 5 minutes can make you feel like your normal self. I love Tik Tok just as much as the next person, but it is not fulfilling in the same way. It may sound silly, but you might forget what exactly you enjoy doing when you are sleep deprived and mindlessly scrolling through your phone seems more appealing.

 

And taking care of yourself in the postpartum period also means knowing your limits, and letting some stuff go that simply do not matter.

 

Which leads us to our next must have…

Must Have #3: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

As a new parent, it is physically impossible to take care of everything you did pre baby. There simply is not enough time in the day. And that is okay! That is where the ability to ask for help becomes a must have in the postpartum period.

 

Some new parents find it helpful to ask for help around the house so they can fully focus on their newborn. Other new parents ask for help with the baby so they can care for other aspects of their life. There is no right way to ask for help, but the wrong way is thinking that you are required to do all of this on your own.

 

A form of self care is knowing what you cannot do, and asking someone for help. Whatever that need is, I guarantee that there is someone in your circle or a postpartum doula that is able to help!

Must Have #4: Embrace Your Postpartum Body

It took months for your body to grow your baby, so you give yourself permission to allow months to recover from pregnancy and birth. And embrace your body, because it is pretty amazing. 

 

Below are some bodily changes that you may encounter during the first weeks and months after having a baby. Remember, you know your body best. Trust your intuition: if something does not feel right, ask for help. While you may feel tired and sore, pain (even minor pain) is never a normal feeling after pregnancy and birth. If you experience consistent or long term pain, you should speak to a medical professional.

 

Normal Postpartum Symptoms:

  • Bleeding for weeks
  • Stretch marks
  • Differences in sex after childbirth 
  • Hemorrhoids 
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Swelling 
  • Breast changes
  • Stomach changes
  • Breast discomfort 
  • Back pain
  • Hair loss

 

Outside the Scope of Normal Postpartum Symptoms 

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Headaches
  • Daily pain
  • Pelvic floor pain and pressure
  • Breast pain
  • Abdominal separation (diastasis recti)
  • Vaginal tearing/episiotomy site pain
  • Cesarean site pain
  • Painful intercourse 
  • Fear of looking “down there”

 

We hope that this list was helpful as you think about preparing for your baby’s arrival. Focusing on postpartum planning can help make your time with your baby so much more enjoyable.

Emily is a fertility and birth doula, childbirth educator, perinatal massage therapist and certified educator of infant massage. She started her doula journey during her own pregnancy in 2015 as she learned the power of her own voice, and realized that she could help others find theirs. Since then, she has built Carolina Birth and Wellness (www.carolinabirthandwellness.com) to be a full spectrum doula agency that provides support for individuals and families from preconception through the first years of having a baby. Her own struggles with infertility has also opened her eyes to helping women understand what their body is telling them through the menstrual cycle and various other biomarkers that are so often ignored or not talked about because it seems too personal. She strongly believes in helping her clients learn each and every option available to them as the only right choice is what is best for you, your body, and your family.

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Medical Disclaimer: All content found on the HER Health Collective Website was created for informational purposes only and are the opinions of the HER Health Collective experts and professional contributors. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.  If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.

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