We all talk about writing a birth plan, but not so many of us consider writing a postnatal plan.
What is a postnatal plan?
A postnatal plan is simply a written document detailing how you intend to navigate the postnatal period. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy! It could be handwritten on the back of an envelope or you could type it up on your computer - whatever works for you!
Why write a postnatal plan?
Once your baby arrives, you’re going to have your hands pretty full. You’re likely to be tired and your decision-making skills might not be what they usually are. Writing a postnatal plan in advance just takes the pressure off. It flags up anything you can do in advance to help you prepare for the postnatal period and allows you to think about what support you may need.
Postnatal plan tips
1. Consider what your stance will be on visitors
When you have a baby, suddenly lots of people can come out of the woodwork and expect to come and meet and cuddle the baby. It’s worth considering whether you want to put any boundaries in place about who can visit, when they can visit and whether there are any specific ground-rules about their visit.
Here are some example boundaries/ground rules:
Visitors will only be welcomed at particular times of day
No refreshments will be provided - please come in and put the kettle on
We’re only allowing grandparents in the first 2 weeks
We’re not allowing any visitors until breastfeeding has been established
Visitors are welcome but please don’t expect to hold the baby
We’d love visitors to come and help us with household chores
Visits to be limited to 1 hour each
We’re only allowing 1 visit per day
2. Write a list of meals to batch cook and then cook and freeze them
Having meals that can be grabbed out of the freezer and popped in the oven can feel like a life-safer in those first days and weeks with a newborn.
Top tip: consider meals that you can easily eat with 1 hand as there’s a good chance you’ll be eating and holding/feeding the baby simultaneously!
3. Think about all the things you’ll need support with and who will be able to support you
Things that you might require support with might include:
Childcare for older children
Feeding i.e. free or paid breastfeeding support
4. Expectations around partner’s role
It’s worth getting on the same page and being clear about what you both foresee your partner doing. Remember as well that if you’re breastfeeding, there are lots of other ways your partner can be involved and bond with the baby: skin to skin cuddles, nap snuggles, changing nappies, bathing the baby etc. Also make sure you consider how this might change when they return to work. Is it worth arranging extra support from elsewhere when your partner returns to work such as a family member or postnatal doula?
5. Consider what self care measures you intend to set aside time for
This can include post partum recovery as well as ways of supporting your mental and emotional health.
You might want to think about:
Time to rest when someone else cuddles the baby
Keeping up with beauty treatments if you already have them
Getting out in the fresh air
Just 5 or 10 minutes to yourself with a hot drink
Want to find out more about how Hynobirthing can help you get confident for birth? Book onto my next free Introduction to Hypnobirthing Session.