20 Jan

Planning for Postpartum

Posted by Jenna, Under baby

I’m a member of a Yahoo group for HAND (Homebirth Association of North Dallas), which provides me with all kinds of useful information about birth photographers, pediatrician recommendations, and how people have dealt with having children present at their home birth, among other things. When I received a notice that the January meeting was happening this week, and that the topic would be on preparing for the first few weeks after baby was born, I decided to go. It was a bit hard, as I didn’t know anyone there and it’s never very fun to be in a situation where you have to put yourself out there to meet people, but I was glad I went because it was wonderful to be in a room surrounded by women who had experienced not just one, but two, three, sometimes four out-of-hospital births. There really are other people doing this!

We spent about an hour talking and eating, and then one of the members, a postpartum doula, took the floor to talk about different ways to best plan for the postpartum period. Pregnancy affords us months and months to plan for birth, a momentous event, but entirely too many women talk about getting home from the hospital (and all of the pampering that came from the nursing staff) and realizing they have no idea how to handle life with this new little person. I’m writing this rather late at night, and I have many other things I should be doing right now, so I’m just going to paste in the notes I took on my iPhone with a few comments added in parantheses for clarification. I’ll eventually be writing up a postpartum plan for myself (as well as some birth plans), and I’ll share what I came up with here on That Wife. This meeting was a great way to jump start the process!

One of the biggest things we are working to do is trying to find a way to coordinate visits from family to make sure everyone doesn’t come at once, leaving me overwhelmed at the end of two weeks because I’ve had people cooking and cleaning for me and then week 3 comes and I’m all alone. That Husband gets two weeks of paternity leave, my mom is going to come, and my sister is going to come down. Finding a way to effectively manage all of those visits has been quite a challenge! Right now I’m thinking Week 1 will be just husband and I, week 2 will be TH and mom, week 3 will be just mom, week 4 sister will come and mom will leave, and at the end of week 5 sister will leave. We’ll see if we can make it all work.

Suggestions from a postpartum doula:

-plan for post partum the way you plan for your birth (research! talk to other moms! gather resources!)
-challenges other moms in the room have faced: breastfeeding, not having food brought over, no help from family, preparing ahead of time for breastfeeding issues, relieving gas, dealing with multiple kids at a time
-line up a lactation consultant before the birth
-the doula visited HEB breastfeeding center when she was struggling
-find the right lactation consultant for you
- have contact information for lactation consultant, pediatrician, take out menus, emergency contacts, and other contact information all ready and readily available
-”lying in” is a time in other cultures when new mom doesn’t have to do everything, create your own lying in environment
-stay in and around your bed for 7 days to recover if possible
-no housework for the first 2 weeks if you can help it
-stock pantry with finger food and freezer with frozen meals
-make friends with another new mom who has recently been through the same thing, find a breastfeeding or new mom support group
-decide ahead of time what dad can do an set certain tasks that are his. Taking baby for a walk, bathing baby, 30-60 mins of alone time with baby. Give dad a “thing” to do with baby.
-let go of the idea that the house needs to be clean
-develop a post partum plan the same way you would develop a birth plan
-enjoy newborn time
-set up changing and feeding stations around the house (baskets with burp cloths, snacks, book, water, diapers, wipes, changing pad)
-get a really good breastfeeding support pillow (The Boppy is talked about a lot, but almost all lactation consultants like the My Breast Friend pillow much better)
-eat well for better breastfeeding
-write down how the laundry is done, where cleaning supplies are, where kitchen supplies are, how and when the dog is walked or fed, and other things that are part of your daily routine so that guests who come to help own’t constantly be asking you questions
-think about using paper and plastic utensils for a week right after baby is born to cut down on dishes (and the stress of a messy sink!)

And a few of the books she recommends to all her moms:

The Fussy Baby Book
Good Nights
The Happiest Baby on the Block
No Cry Sleep Solution
Bestfeeding
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers

A friend commented on Facebook with her top three suggestions:

1. Have the number and name of an IBLCE who will come to your house 2. Have your husband stay home from work (and not bring any home!) 3. Have someone cook your meals for you

Moms who have been through this before, what would you suggest moms-to-be do to get ready for those first few weeks with baby?

66 Comments


  1. Whether or not meals are brought in, it’s definately good to stock up on easy to prepare meals (freezer or otherwise). If I had known that my Relief Society was going to forget and not bring us anything, I would have stocked up on my own meals and made my own freezer meals (wait, we did get one meal from a RS gal…when the baby was 5 weeks old…)

    It’s funny that use the word ‘pampering’ when referring to the time in the hospital. I’m sure others have had better experiences, but my experience post-partum was not pampering!:) I couldn’t wait to get home because they mess with you so much in the hospital – coming in at all hours of the day and night to check on stuff. We once had a person come in to take my blood at 6:00 a.m. – we were sleeping, it was pitch black, and she just walked in, flipped on the light with no warning, and started talking. We were quite upset by that!

    The nursing staff does provide some help and mentoring, but by and large, it’s not relaxing and someone is always coming in and messing with you. That’s one thing to be grateful for at home, Jenna – your husband or others won’t be disturbing you or during your sleep simply because they have some random task to take care of!

    Happy Preparing!

    Jenna Reply:

    Opinions of what the hospital stay is like vary so greatly. I actually know a homebirth mama in Dallas who chose not to give birth in a hospital specifically because she didn’t enjoy how people were constantly barging on. On the other hand, we had a friend tell us we were really missing out by choosing not to birth in a hospital because it was so nice to be taken care of right after the birth. Lots of women talk about how great it is to be fed, be able to send the baby off with the nurses if they want a nap, etc.

    Katy Reply:

    The whole watch-baby-while-you-sleep thing was the only nice thing. I think we only really used it once for a few hours in the middle of the night to catch up on sleep, and we instructed them to bring me the baby if cried/was hungry.

    seriously hospital people – -does the trash *really* need to be emptied at 4:35 in the morning? My brother in law related to me that he got so tired of his wife being messed with that he positioned his chair/bed thing closest to the door in the middle of the night so he could monitor who was coming in and why while his wife got her much needed sleep.

    With Grant, I didn’t stay in the hosptial at all really – he was born at 7:00 am and I was discharged by 6:00 that same night so we could be in LA for his surgery. I always thought how nice it would be the next time around to get to stay in the hospital for a few days….now I realize that as stark a change the adjustment at home can be, it’s still much better than being at the mercy of the staff and hospital policies. It would be awesome if I could have the baby in the hospital (since that is what makes me most comfortable), then quickly go home and get post-partum care at home. That would be awesome I think!

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  2. I thought it was funny when I read the note, “write down how the laundry is done, where cleaning supplies are…” because it ended up being for guests to help out. In MY house it would be for husband to help out! He needs instructions like that too, lol.

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  3. Hi Jenna,

    I had Jane on April 10th last year, probably close to your due date! So excited for you!

    About three weeks before I had Jane I had an all day cooking craze. I maybe a bunch of frozen dinners so that for the first two weeks I wouldn’t have to cook. That helped tremendously and took a ton of stress off my shoulders.

    When I was pregnant I told everyone my rule, that NO one was allowed to come over for the first week Jane was home. This really worked out for me because John and I had to figure stuff out on our own. My husband had planned to take a week off but he ended up only being able to take two off, I was thrown into the pool with no floaties, I was scared and emotional, but in the end I was glad It happened, I had to figure it out on my own.

    I was also a little weepy the first week home, usually right when the sun went down (weird, I know), but I knew what it was, my hormones, and I gave myself a break. Knowing where your feelings are coming from and why they are all messed up, helped me conquer them.

    I think all new momma’s especially for the first month or so, need to just take it easy. You don’t have to be super mom and wife. If your husband is worth his salt (and I believe he is) he will understand that this is a total 360 change. You just need to adjust and that baby will be more than worth the adjustment.

    Last thing, the first week or two I did a lot of sitting on the couch, breastfeeding. Jane was 9lbs 12 oz when she was born and just wanted to eat all the time. Be patient with breastfeeding. But also have something you love to watch on the television. :) I suggest the 6 hour version of Pride and Prejudice. :)

    Congrats on the little one, they fill everyday with sunshine (oh, man that sounded corny, but it is true!)

    Anna Murphey Reply:

    I made a bunch of frozen dinners.*

    Sorry for any grammar or dumb errors.

    Jenna Reply:

    That is my due date. Maybe our kids will be birthday twins!

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  4. Those first few weeks were the hardest days of my life, no lie. But, we survived and are better for it. Now, with number two on the way, I’m wondering how in the heck I’m going to manage a newborn and an almost two year old. CRAZY!

    Anyway, my best advice regarding breastfeeding (since I noticed the majority of your notes related to that) is to go with the flow. Your doctors/lactation consultants may try to give you a “schedule”, ie. feeding every two hours for 20 minutes, 10 minutes each side. Been there, done that. To the point of extremes. Your baby will go through a major growth spurt those first few weeks and he/she will want to nurse (seemingly) 24/7- don’t fight it. Get comfy on the couch or in bed and just let your baby dictate the schedule. If he wants to clusterfeed every night for three hours, don’t fight it- it’s normal.

    I wish my LC would’ve told me to relax. To just go with the flow of the baby, but we had so many issues in the beginning that it was impossible. I wish you all the luck in the world.

    It will hurt and you WILL want to quit (when it’s 3:15am and you haven’t slept in 17 hours and he won’t quit screaming), but it WILL get better. They told me the first two weeks are the hardest. Get past that and you’re home free. And they were right.

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  5. I’m glad you have help coming through the fifth week. My mom came the first week, starting the day we got home from the hospital, and my MIL came the second week. They were a huge help in the sense that I didn’t have to do a single thing besides take care of my baby, and it was great to ask questions especially that first week, but honestly I wish they had come later instead! The first three weeks Eli was in that “newborn coma” where he never cried, slept around the clock, ate like a king, etc. Seriously, he was the perfect baby. Then all of a sudden everyone left (and Dave’s paternity was done), Eli “woke up” and cried and cried and cried for five weeks straight (until we worked out his reflux issues) and I was alone all day and really struggled and wished I had our moms to play tag team of walking around and bouncing and doing whatever we could to keep my little guy happy.

    Anyway, my point is that many many babies are perfect and easy those first few weeks and though you are tired you are also so excited it doesn’t really effect you. So, like you are planning, make sure to have help to ease you into the REAL transition a few weeks into life!

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  6. I’m sure postpartum issues happen everywhere, but I really think that our culture is set up for them to be exacerbated. You mentioned “living in”- in lots and lots of cultures- even modern, first world cultures like Japan- the mother of the new mother comes and lives with the new mom for at least a month. Sometimes, she’ll move in during the last month of pregnancy even, to help in preparation. In addition, you are incredibly lucky TH can take paternity leave. Out of the top 15 most successful countries (economically) most offer at least 3 months paternal leave, and at least a year or a year and a half maternal leave. Every job I’ve had the max maternity leave you get paid is 6 weeks- even though, um, daycares won’t take kids that young : /- and you could take a max of 6 weeks more unpaid at most. So many factors that come together for a perfect storm of a worn out, stressed mama.

    I’m very glad that you and TH have such a supportive environment! That will make many things so much better :)

    Evelyn Reply:

    I lived in Kazakhstan, which is former Soviet Union, when my daughter was 3 months until she was 13 months. People were amazed that we didn’t have a grandparent living with us then or at all before we came. I think it’s common that a family member will come and live for the first year with a new baby! (Oh, and parents usually continue to financially support their children even after they’re married… =D) Some of the differences in other cultures I can do without, some sure would be nice! =D

    Jenna Reply:

    3 months paternity leave? We wouldn’t even know what to DO with so much time together.

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  7. I really like the idea of scheduling guests for a period of weeks after the birth. This is what I hope to do someday. If we plan it right, and our first is born during the summer, I may ask my mom to stay for months! She’s a teacher and has off during the summer. Such a nice thought.

    I’m sure my husband think otherwise. :oP

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  8. Because of my severe postpartum hemorrhaging I was beyond exhausted for the first month. I think the common advice everyone gives regarding sleep (when the baby sleeps) is vital, especially if you have any complications of any sort, resting a lot and taking it easy will help your body to focus on healing and not exerting energy in other ways.

    I heard a lot of women mention nightmarish experiences with hemorrhoids as I prepared for birth and then with all my hemorrhaging issues, I had to take iron supplements and a specific type of stool softener (partly/mostly to counteract the constipating effect of the iron, but…)… talk to your midwife and see if she thinks it would be a good idea to have these on hand (at least the stool softener) to help during the first month or two.

    The planned schedule with TH, your mom and TS sounds great. Addie was born on a Tuesday, we were discharged from the hospital on a Thursday and Chris went back to work (4 hours away) the next week. It was rough. Use your help and make sure they know that they’re not just there to entertain you and coddle the baby. =)

    I would also recommend doing some frozen meals, but try not to use them the first couple of weeks. Talk to your visiting teachers, compassionate service leader, etc. and see what the plan is for meal delivery. My old ward would help with 3 meals, and most of those came the first few days (although there were a few friends that brought meals during week 2 & 3, which was AMAZING & wonderfully timed). Most people bring a big casserole that will feed you at least 2 dinners & 1 lunch, so see if the comp. svc. ldr will coordinate to have the meals brought every other day or so. For your own meal prep (especially beforehand) plan to make foods that are good sources of iron and fiber, you’ll probably need both!

    Someone mentioned having snacks on hand. A friend brought me a bag of treats when we were in the hospital. It was full of things she loved during recovery and I highly recommend them. Some of these won’t fit in your diet, but either you’ll break it for a little while or they’ll give you some ideas. High fiber crackers (a few boxes, various types), dried apricots, dried prunes (the individually wrapped kind), yogurt covered raisins, individual-serving juice bottles, fresh bananas and strawberries, etc. I don’t even like prunes or raisins, but I gobbled them up, they were sooo good and really helped.

    You will want to keep your own circumstances in perspective, but I would definitely recommend getting outside and getting fresh air as often and as soon as possible. You’ll probably start feeling like a caged animal if you don’t, but whatever you do, take it easy. Find a place nearby where you’ll feel comfortable strolling leisurely and take your baby out for walks.

    The 2-3 weeks before you are due keep your laundry bin as empty as possible so you won’t miss anything if you go into labor very suddenly and it moves fast. I also recommend using plastic plates, cups & silverware (mostly because we didn’t) as that was probably one of my biggest frustrations–seeing a sink FULL of dishes. Buy enough to use for a few weeks though, you’ll use them eventually.

    Remember to expect the unexpected, no matter how well you plan things will go wrong or not work/flow as well as you hoped, just remember it’ll work out in the end.

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  9. Off topic – but I saw this in the Wall Street Journal and (of course!) thought of you.

    46% of births in China are C-Sections now. Yikes!
    http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/01/13/at-hospitals-in-china-caesarean-rate-nears-50/

    Jenna Reply:

    I know! Makes me a bit heartsick.

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  10. I’m trying to figure out when the best time will be to spend a week or so with my sister when she has her baby (she’s due 5 days before you!), so this is helpful for me, too.

    My mom told me that the rule is: “The new mom takes care of the baby. Everyone else takes care of the new mom.” I plan to stick to that.

    Brie Reply:

    “My mom told me that the rule is: “The new mom takes care of the baby. Everyone else takes care of the new mom.” I plan to stick to that.”
    YES YES YES YES

    That was my mom’s philosophy too, and if she hadn’t been there when we came home from the hospital, I don’t know what I would have done. She wasn’t planning on coming right away, but when the birth didn’t go as planned I knew I needed her. She cooked for us, cleaned, washed all my pump parts and the syringes several times a day (probably the best thing) and didn’t need to hold to baby all the time when she knew I needed my baby.

    New dads are tired too, so we ate take-out for every meal that someone else didn’t make.

    I cried, a lot. Several times a day for at least 6 weeks. Not saying you will, but your hormones are crazy and things do get better.

    Something I wish someone had told me- it’s normal if your breasts don’t feel any different, if they don’t feel full, you don’t get engorged, don’t feel letdown, they aren’t painful doesn’t mean you don’t have milk (I was pumping because of our other problems, so I watched milk come out and I felt no different than when I was not lactating). Of course, it’s also normal to experience all those things. Also, I was hungrier after she was born than I ever was pregnant, so have lots of easy snacks around!

    Oh, and I don’t know if they are the same thing, but I was referring to an IBCLC, check it out here – http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1

    Last thing, I saw a great blog post by the navelgazing midwife today. Check it out.

    Jenna Reply:

    Excellent post Brie. I need to report one thousand times “Do not become ‘the academic’ in labor”

    Jenna Reply:

    How can I broadcast this to everyone who will even consider coming to visit? Do you think they know automatically?

    Brie Reply:

    I’ve heard some people make a list of chores or things that need to be done and put it on the fridge. Then, if someone asks how they can help, you just tell them to pick something on the list! My midwives also gave me a piece of paper to put on my front door with a little note and helpful things you could do. I put Claire in the wrap with no top on, you really couldn’t tell unless I told you, but no one is going to ask to hold the baby then! But really, I needed her because I was worried about her not nursing and my milk supply. You could always use that, or just say you have to nurse.

    One last thing, since we are similar in this way. My husband was used to me knowing everything, being in charge of all of this stuff, etc, that after Claire was born, he just assumed it would continue. But I needed someone to remind me to pump every few hours when she wouldn’t nurse, or to get me water. He thought I was handling everything, but I wasn’t. Maybe let TH know that you might not be all there!

    Jenna Reply:

    Oh, I love this list idea! That will help TH as well as he attempts to keep the house in order without me.

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  11. I would make sure you listen to how you feel after the baby. I thought I’d want to stay home for a week and the nurse discharged me with instructions to nap at least twice a day. If I would have stayed in for a week and napped twice a day I would have gone insane. In that first week we were out to stores or for walks every day and I napped maybe 2 times. If you want to stay in and have a laying in, fantastic, but don’t pressure yourself to do it if you feel ok being up and around.

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  12. Our baby is 3 1/2 weeks old and it’s been a total joy, and totally overwhelming. He’s a perfect baby but we are still figuring each other out. I was lucky that my mother was here for a week before our baby was born and for about a week and a half after. She took care of SO much for me, and I wouldn’t have been able to “deal” had she not been here. Now that she is gone, I’ve really had to make myself rest when baby rests, and come to grips with the fact that our house isn’t going to be super clean/laundry is going to lay around for a while/mail is going to pile up. Allow yourself to be taken care of by friends when your family leaves. For example, when someone calls and says “I’m running to Target, what do you need?” give them your list!! I’ve taken advantage of 3 different lactation consultants – 2 from the hospital, and a Le Leche volunteer. They have been a huge resource and I would have been terribly frustrated without their knowledge. Breastfeeding is wonderful and natural, but it is has not been easy for me personally. I will say that I cry every day. Every. Day. And word on the street from my mommy-friends is that this is normal, so have some tissues ready! No matter how many books I read or research I did to “prepare” myself and my husband, it is very overwhelming (in good and bad ways) and a total learning process. Don’t be afraid to tell people (family included) NO. If they want to come visit, even for just a few minutes, and you can’t deal, just say no. I had to struggle with this starting in the hospital – my husband’s family came at a terrible time at the hospital (me coming off of magnesium for the pre-e, having yet to use the bathroom post-delivery or eat solid food for over 36 hours) and let’s just say that they over-stayed their welcome. It’s difficult to breastfeed in a small room with your BIL and FIL standing just feet away. Moral of the story: JUST SAY NO. Oh and as of right now, I hardly ever answer my cell phone. Voicemail is magical, and “no” (politely) is a wonderful, wonderful word!

    Jenna Reply:

    So, “Just say yes” to help, and “Just say no” to requests for unwanted visits. :)

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  13. The best thing my mom did to help when she came to stay (first two weeks postpartum) was to help me emotionally, make sure I had balanced meals, and to be up in the night with me when my milk came in. I was a wreck; it was really painful those first couple of days. If you are anything like me, have tons of nursing pads on hand before you deliver. If you don’t need them, that’s great, but my babies had to catch up with the milk production and it led to mastitis.
    And yes, let them take care of you – have meals ready, shopping done, put in the laundry, etc. I was happy to have friends drop by (so proud of baby), but for short periods of time only, and your helpers can coordinate that and defend your need for some quiet.

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  14. I think you are wise to prepare so much.

    Just prepare to not sleep EVER. And if you do get a few minutes here and there, it will be a bonus. And prepare to love like you’ve never loved before – it’s amazing and I’m so excited for you! Aw, now I want another. Stop! Not yet…

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  15. I’m having my first baby in about 3 weeks (I HOPE!). I have been taking 2 or 3 dinners every week and doubling them and freezing the doubles for about 3 weeks. So far I probably have 10 to 12 dinners. I need to make a list of what I have so I can easily grab them. My mom is coming to stay with us the first week and then my hubby is going to take 4 (or at least 3) weeks off to be home with me. One thing one of my friends told me is that as soon as you get done breastfeeding and you put the baby down replenish your “breastfeeding station”. Mainly have one place you breastfeed and keep it stocked with water, snacks, the remote, the phone, a blanket and burp cloths.

    Jenna Reply:

    I’m thinking about trying to convince TH to buy a deep freezer chest for the garage for this very purpose.

    Kristina Reply:

    Aha… I’m not pregnant yet, but stalk your blog :), and am TTC so I’m obsessed with all things pregnancy and baby related. I think this is a fabulous post of your’s, and something to really keep in mind when I do begin really planning.

    As I was reading Bree’s comment I was making a mental note to buy a chest freezer before a baby’s born to store meals. And I was making a mental layout of how my freezer looks now and how no more food could possibly fit (but they aren’t prepared meals).

    It does sound like a good idea, doesn’t it?

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  16. Hire a cleaner on a temporary basis! That was the best thing my sisters did and it saved their lives/sanity/health. Book a three or four sessions ahead of time for after the baby is due. Consider it a necessary expense.

    Jeannie Reply:

    That is the BEST advice, if you can afford it. I didn’t have to recover physically when Warren or Maddie came along, but having a new baby in our home was hard enough. It was months before I could get back into a regular schedule of even basic things: cooking, dishes, laundry… Probably 6 before I could get anything accomplished after Maddie came along. If someone else can take care of cleaning your home and keeping it orderly it will add so much peace to your life.

    Frozen meals are also crucial. Get the deep freezer! :)

    I agree that you should plan for little or no sleep. Low expectations can only lead to pleasant surprises! And definitely sleep when the baby sleeps. Can’t stress that enough!

    Great job preparing, Jenna! Good luck!

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  17. Since you have a long list of books and a tight budget, I’m going to add extra endorsements to Happiest Baby on the Block. I’m not a mom yet, but last year 2 friends had babies, and another friend could not recommend the book enough. 1 couple got it after a few hard weeks and said it changed so much, and the other got it before birth and said it helped from the start, so there you go. oooo Jenna I cannot wait for this baby! I just got so excited for you thinking about it!

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  18. Jenna

    Birthing classes are definitely good. What I do not understand is why you imply that once again, it is the system that causes women to be unprepared when they arrive home from the hospital. You only mention that those coming home from the hospital are unprepared,but you fail to mention that that unpreparedness happens to those who birth at home as well. Although you will probably site some reference from homebirthsarebetter.com, it is not fair to always be so one sided in everything that you say. Have you ever thought that it is the irresponsibility of the parents, and not some inate problem with the system, that is at fault?

    Jenna Reply:

    I never meant to imply that having a home birth makes you more prepared for the post partum period. I think all first time moms are on equal ground in that regard. I’ve just heard many women express that it was so nice to be in the hospital where a nurse was there to take the baby away for a few hours when they needed some rest, and where meals were provided at regular intervals.

    I do think this system sets parents up for a big shock when they get home and they are left to figure out everything without a nurse to call for help, but the same shock happens for a home birth family, only earlier.

    You have come to expect me to be one sided in everything I say, thus I think you read into my statements as such.

    Chelsea McGowan Reply:

    I have to say, I don’t understand comments like the one above. Jenna, I disagree with you a TON about stuff. We just have very different ways of thinking. But I read your blog because it’s interesting and well-written, and you always respectfully present your thoughts, and I can trust you to be well-researched.
    And of COURSE your blogs are going to be slanted toward your opinion… it’s YOUR BLOG!
    The idea that someone would criticize you for saying what you think is ridiculous to me. You’re not putting yourself out there as some trusted medical source… you’re just a woman with a blog who’s learning as she goes and presenting her opinions. In the event someone doesn’t agree, or thinks you’re being one-sided, well, they certainly don’t have to read anymore!

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  19. hickchick says:

    All that stuff is great, but what about screening for postpartum depression?

    Jenna Reply:

    I think this is something that spouses should communicate about, as the thing I hear most about postpartum depression is that women don’t recognize it in themselves. I’m going to count on my husband to let me know if he thinks he is seeing any warning signs.

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  20. I’m so glad you posted this. I had my baby 3 months ago and I think you’re right on…you need to have a plan for after the birth just as much as the actual birth. That part often gets forgotten. I thought a lot about the pain of birth but I didn’t realize how much you still hurt afterwards! Here are some things I found helpful and some things I wish I would have known!
    –have heavy pads on hand. I bled for quite a few days after the baby, didn’t think about that.
    –dermoplast. I didn’t have an episiotomy (sp?) but the hospital gave me this to spray on a pad and put in my underwear. It gives a cool sensation and really helped relieve some of the burning pain. This stuff was a lifesaver!!!
    –stool softener pills. No one tells you how constipated you can get after birth! And it really, really hurts. TMI? Maybe.
    –it took my milk a while to come in (normal) but it stressed me out so bad–to the point of tears almost every night. But once it came in, breastfeeding has been so easy. I know it’s not always that way for everyone, but so many people told me horror stories about breastfeeding. I think I was almost more nervous for feeding than I was for the birth. Just do your best and hang in there. Be prepared to have it be rough for a while but it will get better! Have an open mind.
    That’s all I can think of!

    Brie Reply:

    Ok, more comments from me. If you had a hospital birth, they just give you the prescription stool softener (NOT a laxative, those are different), so make sure to find out from your midwife if she’ll do that or how to make it happen. I took mine for maybe 2 weeks or less (didn’t use the whole bottle they gave me) and I never had any problems in that area.

    Rebecca Walters Reply:

    I just discovered something even better than a stool softener and tastier too:)

    Fat free brownie mix (here they have Krusteaz, but its not available in TX as far as I could find)

    3 cups water and 3 cups of fiber one cereal blended together

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    bake at 350 for about 16 minutes

    Trust me:)

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  21. Jenna
    I think you are pathetic. You are just like an anti Mormon. The only way you know how to promote your ideas is by slandering the apposing view. You do this by attacking physicians, hospitals, and the healthcare system .

    Chelsea McGowan Reply:

    Jenna, do not let this person get you down. It got angry and showed this comment to my husband, and wrote a long comment… then decided to keep my witness and just say that I hope this person decides not to read your blog anymore, so that you don’t have to deal with them.
    (For the record, I’m not LDS, and I don’t agree with a lot of what Jenna has to say. But I DO support her right to say it, and think she’s always been responsible in her presentation. If you have a genuine criticism that comes from a place of knowledge, I’m sure she’d accept it. But hatefulness? Come on now… be a grownup.)

    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks Chelsea. It’s always nice to hear from people who don’t necessarily share all (or sometimes any!) of my beliefs but can still stand up and say that I’m not doing as bad as the critics would make me think regarding my attempts to convey them.

    Kristin Reply:

    Taylor-

    If you don’t care for the content of this blog, then don’t read it. It is quite simple.

    I know you comment to get people all riled up, but the ones who are here, regarless of beliefes, genuinely care for Jenna & aren’t going to stoop to your level.

    Thanks,
    Kristin

    Jenna Reply:

    I adore you Kristin (I hope you know that!). Thanks for taking the time to stick up for me.

    P.S.-Yay for your new blog! I just subscribed.

    Katherine (a.k.a. Sparkles) Reply:

    Taylor,
    Sometimes you need to step away from the computer and not say such demeaning, belittling comments.

    I believe TW’s approach is to share what she has learned and what makes her pregnancy/birth a nurturing, safe and personally satisfying experience.

    To make such derogatory statements doesn’t make any constructive arguments or points. I don’t necessarily like how she generalizes “Ob’s this” and “Hospitals that”, but I see what her intent is. Though I wish she could have met Ob’s/Nurses and seen hospitals that are in fact baby friendly to see that there are people out there who are making a positive change to the culture of hospital birthing.

    If you really feel that strongly, I would probably say you need to find another interest online that doesn’t include taking cheap shots at someone on their personal blog where they are exercising the right to navigate through their personal feelings and thoughts on life.

    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks Katherine. Really.

    And Taylor, if you ever read this, Kathryn is a very hospital friendly pregnant lady who disagrees with the way I’ve presented the hospital experience in the past. And yet I count her as a friend because we are able to have constructive, respectful discussions about our ideas. Those are the kind of comments/feedback that I think are the best to leave.

    megan Reply:

    This is just rude. I frequently don’t agree with Jenna, but there’s no need to call someone pathetic or even comment in this situation.

    taylor Reply:

    Pathetic might have been a little harsh. But trying to prove emphatically that one view is better than the other by only pointing out flaws is the exact way that anti-mormons try and criticize mormons. It is a uneducated way at trying to prove a point.

    Jenna Reply:

    Taylor, I hardly think I am “uneducated” when it comes to birth. I certainly don’t know everything about hospitals and I freely admit to that, but I can only write from my own experience and viewpoint. If there are women out there that want to write blogs about hospitals, how wonderful the care is, and why women should choose that route, they are certainly free to do so. I wouldn’t call them “pathetic like an anti-mormon” for never acknowledging that they don’t know anything about alternative birthing options if they never wrote about them.

    At this point, if you’re so frustrated by my posts, I think you should just stop reading. I’m not going to change my stance that women should look into ALL of their options, and that the current medical birthing system in the US is seriously screwed up, so I think you are going to continue to be dissatisfied with what I write.

    Starting your own blog with the viewpoint of your choice might be a great solution for spreading the truth, as you see it, about hospital births, and other such topics.

    21
  22. 1. Relax. This is my number one top for successful breastfeeding, but also just for newborn care. They are little sponges, right from the off, and if you are stressed, they are stressed, which leads to more crying and difficulty feeding. Any time you start getting stressed, take a deep breath and remind yourself you will never have this time with your 3 week, 2 day and 17 hour old baby ever again, so relax, enjoy, admire.

    2. Moby wrap. I think you’re planning on attachment parenting, so you’re probably already looking into slings. In my opinion this is the best thing for calming a newborn and well worth the investment. TH can wear the baby too of course.

    3. Be prepared (mentally) for the baby blues. I am still planning on writing about this at some point (wish I had while it was still fresh) but the short version is this… you might feel really, truly terrible in the days after your baby’s birth, the worst lows you have ever experienced. You might cry A LOT. It is ok. It is normal. It is hormones. It will only last a few days and you will feel a little better each day. Talk to TH about this in advance so that he doesn’t freak out and knows to just hold you and listen to you and make sure you sleep and eat enough.

    Just wonderful that you’re thinking about all this. I actually had been thinking you’ve been preparing a lot for the birth and hope you were aware that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning! :)

    Jenna Reply:

    Did you try out different wraps/slings before you decided on the Moby? I don’t know enough baby wearers to try out the different options for free and there are so many out there (as with cloth diapers) that I feel overwhelmed in trying to decide which to invest in!

    Rebecca Walters Reply:

    I also have heard from many different people that Moby is the best…I have tried out the Baby bjorn and the sling one…can’t remember the name.

    Cate Subrosa Reply:

    We only used the Moby Wrap with Talia, but I have used other slings in the past when I was nannying, and nothing came close for a small baby. Once they’re bigger, Baby Bjorn-style carriers are excellent, but in my opinion the Moby Wrap beats the more basic sling-shaped slings (if you know what I mean!) hands-down.

    Jeannie Reply:

    I like the Baby Hawk Mei-Tai. http://www.babyhawk.com/Gallery/

    Not only are they for front carrying (baby just snuggles right in!) but you can also transition them to the back (what Maddie is currently doing). It’s the most comfortable one I’ve used and it’s not as large as a Moby Wrap which almost seems like you’re wearing another shirt. The BabyHawk works great in warmer climates. And they have super cute patterns, too! :)

    22
  23. Hi Jenna!
    This if the first time I have ever commented on your blog but have been reading for a while now. First of all congratulations, your life is about to change in the most amazing way.

    I am a Mom to an almost nine month old little boy. I am from Canada so we have a year off for maternity leave, I work a school board so I was also “topped up” to my salary from benefits for 16 weeks. My husband was able to take 2 weeks off after while still getting paid.

    We had NO help. Not one single person, not even our parents brought food over for us. The day after I brought Hayden home we were bombarded with visitors. He was also an April baby, so we were still in the “cold and flu” season. I made my hubby put a sign on the door asking people to wash hands. We also had hand sanitizer near by but, most people didn’t bother. I remember going to my room the day after we came home and just crying. I was running around getting people coffee, tea etc. No one offered to help me at all. For our next baby I don’t want any visitors for the first week or so, they can call me selfish but I need my rest.

    I am still breast feeding my son. I remember crying in the hospital because he wouldn’t get a proper latch. The nurses made me practice, practice, practice with him latching. My nipples were raw and bleeding and I was in pain. I wish they didn’t put so much pressure on me because it just didn’t feel natural. He finally learned how to latch and breast feeding became a breeze. With that said, I tried 4 different breast feeding pillows before I finally bought My Breast Friend. It was my saviour!! Without out it I may have given up on breast feeding.
    I would also read The Happiest Baby on the block, my husband just downloaded the torrent online for free and we watched the video. It is fantastic and gave us a few extra hours of much needed sleep.
    Lastly….YOGA pants…lots of them that are clean. I still wear them, but they are somewhat stylish to wear if you need to get groceries or something (and stretchy to).

    All the best to you, I look forward to reading about the rest of your journey.

    Crystal Reply:

    I second the yoga pants!

    Jenna Reply:

    Alicia,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I made a few notes for my own postpartum period based on what you said.

    And I just picked up two pairs of Yoga pants from Costco for $20. I think I’ll go back and get another set!

    23
  24. I always want full meals after birth for every meal. I’m talking eggs, toast, bacon, and oatmeal. With a glass of milk and juice. Thanksgiving for lunch and even more for dinner.
    Think about the calories you burn through labor, plus the not eating during all of it, plus the added calories for Breastfeeding. Your body is spent and you need to re-build the nutrition.
    I definately eat more per meal the first few days after delievery than I ever did when I was pregnant.

    Also zero sleep is normal. For about 2 weeks. I’m sorry, but it is true. Keep in mind that service is what builds relationships. Those night feedings will be precious later.

    Try to get out of the house earlier. It will help you feel normal to take a short walk in the sunshine.

    Jenna Reply:

    I’m trying to sleep as much as I can right now because I know that it’s never going to be like this again!

    24
  25. Lower your expectations about everything…blogging, picture taking, getting ready, being socially correct, returning calls/emails/comments, sending out birth announcements, going to church, doing your calling, etc… There’s time for all of that later. (this goes for pre-birth as well)

    Don’t feel bad accepting help.(even if you feel great) Live it up! You only get this experience at the most every 10 months:)

    Don’t be surprised if you feel totally great and ready to conquer the world after birth. It happens!

    Enjoy that special time. Like everyone says…they grow SO fast.

    I totally agree with the advice on getting a good lactation consultant….maybe it will be a smooth process for you and your bebe and maybe not, but it’s good to be prepared. I have probably mentioned this to you before, but if you get some serious thrush that won’t go away there is a magical creme that a non-chain pharmacy can mix up for you (with a prescription) called Newman’s Nipple Cream. Magic. I was about ready to throw in the towel with Talmage and breastfeeding, but that week happened to be the beginning of National Breastfeeding month and I happened to be quoted in an article, so my own quote gave me the desire to try a bit longer and with the help of Newman and his creme I made it to one year which was my goal.

    Oh ya. And Depends. Those older folks have something there.

    A housecleaner. Patricia Mendoza is great. I can send you her number. Even if it’s just once.

    One more idea that Tyler’s cousin did on baby #3. She had a casserole shower where instead of bringing gifts, all the guests brought a casserole or other meal that she could put in the freezer for later use.

    Jenna Reply:

    Casserole shower is the BEST idea ever. I want to throw one for the next pregnant woman I know.

    Jenna Reply:

    Also, I need Depends ALREADY. I will for sure have them stocked by the time baby comes. :)

    25
  26. Oh ya, and make sure to read those sleep books BEFORE baby comes. Not going to happen after he/she is born.

    26
  27. Hey hun! Okay my biggest advice would be, don’t stress about what you do and don’t have ready in the nursery, your little one won’t care! Do: stock up on diapers, gentle unscented wipes, spit-up rags, and blankets (also I loved white onsies because you can bleach them!) Do: Make frozen dinners for your hubby and you to just pop in the oven for quick dinners. Don’t: stay up and watch your baby sleep ALL night (if something is wrong, they will let you know with the monitor) Don’t: feel like you have to let people come over right away, it’s okay to want space and want to do things your own way. Finally Do: spend time with your hubby, keep the love alive… if the baby goes down early, instead of fretting about the loads of laundry and dishes piling up, cuddle, laugh and smile with your husband, chores will always be there tomorrow…

    You’ll be an amazing mother and although you’ll make mistakes (we all do!) you’ll learn from them and you’ll grown from them, and your little one will survive those little mistakes :) Love you Jenna!

    27

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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