After your baby is born, leaving the hospital and heading home can feel pretty overwhelming. Making plans for postpartum support ahead of time ensures you won’t be unprepared for the hard work that comes with the first weeks and months of having a newborn.
As midwives we talk with our patients about ways they can build support networks before the baby is due. We encourage prioritizing time with your newborn and closest family and friends at first, to minimize disruptions to early bonding and body feeding. Oftentimes, new parents need basic support for rest and adequate nutrition and can be fatigued by visitors, even though they’re excited to share their new little one.
The initial postpartum period is an intimate family time, and we advise thinking ahead for what comforts and nourishment you can arrange. Make lists of people you can call for different kinds of help for meals, to help you get a nap, to pick up groceries and to lend an ear if you need to talk.
We recommend books and websites that offer postpartum meal plans, support plans and ideas for self care. Postpartum doulas or other in-home caregivers can offer support to some patients.
Midwifery care involves close postpartum follow up. We see patients in the early days for lactation support, for regular postpartum visits and a “final” six-week visit. However, the relationship rarely ends after six weeks, as we see patients for months of ongoing lactation and mental health support.
It takes time and patience to establish newborn feeding. Some parents leave the hospital before the baby can latch, which can be very challenging physically and emotionally. The good news is that with proper lactation support, the parent’s milk supply can be maintained and the baby’s opportunities for latching can be preserved.
We routinely help establish latch days and even weeks after birth. Ongoing lactation support is crucial when these challenges arrive. McKenzie Midwives has same-day and next day appointments to help.
Anne Ziemba, MSN, CNM
McKenzie Midwives & Lactations Services
960 N. 16th St., Ste 104, Springfield (541) 744-8660