Searching Google images for “plan for baby” brings up hundreds of images of baby showers and toys. A search for “postpartum plan” yields exercise plans. While I don’t want to downplay the importance of baby showers and exercise, these search results are a sad reflection of how little idea we have of what to expect after a baby is born, and how many people don’t really know how to be helpful!
The pressure to “get on with things” while we recover from birth and adjust to life with our babies is tremendous. Without paid parental leave or a culture which really supports new families, many U.S. parents need to deliberately arrange support and teach people what is helpful.
Here are some tips for new parents and their helpers:
Finally, for those well-intentioned but unsure visitors–some rules for visiting from midwife Gloria Lemay.
Even with the most thoughtful planning, the early days are unpredictable
Even with the most thoughtful planning, birth and the early days of parenting can bring unpredictable challenges. For local bodyworkers, new parent support groups, loss groups, breastfeeding support and many other resources, you can use my Resource Guide–sign up for it in blue box at the bottom of this page.
In my years of working with parents, I have seen many unreasonable expectations placed on new parents by friends, family and employers. But the voice inside a new mother’s head is often the harshest, most unreasonable one of all, and needs to be countered with gentleness, reassurance, kindness and reminders about the importance of her rest and recovery.