After the Baby Arrives
Managing Postpartum Needs
The difficulty of caring for a new baby often lies not in taking care of your child but in taking care of yourself. It can be emotionally trying, especially if you are not used to being at home. You’re exhausted, and it seems your whole existence is consumed by the baby.

The key to getting through the trying first weeks and months is to find support wherever you can. Ease the stress that comes with a new baby by preparing for your basic postpartum needs.
  • Line up help in advance. If relatives don’t live nearby, ask your neighbors, co-workers, pastor, childbirth educator, midwife if they know anyone who can provide postpartum help.
  • Stagger the help. If your partner plans to take two weeks off from work and your parents want to come and help out, ask them to visit after your partner goes back to work.
  • Join a new moms’ group or organization for new parents.
  • Talk to other parents, particularly those who have recently had babies, and get their recommendations on preparing for life after childbirth.
  • Compile a list of essential phone numbers – your midwife, the baby’s pediatrician and a lactation consultant.
  • Freeze a few week’s worth of meals. Also store quick nutritious snacks.
  • Stock up on postpartum-care supplies, such as medicated pads, laxatives and feminine napkins.
  • Eat three squares a day. No matter how difficult it might be, eat properly and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Let others take care of meals and housework. Concentrate on getting enough rest and meeting your baby’s needs.
  • Involve your partner. Your partner can bring the baby to you for nursing in the middle of the night. If you are napping your partner can cuddle and feed the baby pumped breast milk.
  • Get as much sleep as possible.
  • Acknowledge your fatigue, financial concerns and frustrations. Take time to communicate your concerns to your partner.
  • Enjoy your baby! Take your baby for a stroll. Invite over a friend who has a baby. Visit a relative. Record your baby’s first months with photographs and videotape.
Copied from BABY, Spring 2005