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Postpartum Tips for New Moms (from a Postpartum Doula!)

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Postpartum Tips for New Moms

You’re expecting a baby! This is an exciting time, full of changes for your expanding family. The second those little blue lines appear, your thoughts and dreams naturally start to center around what’s best for your growing child. And then the postpartum tips for new moms start coming…

All of a sudden, every stranger has to give you advice about what’s okay (or not okay) for you and baby.
How to tell the gender of your child based on the shape of your expanded uterus.
What foods to avoid to prevent swelling.
How every door is suddenly too heavy for you to open by yourself.
How big, or small, your torso looks.
And it only multiplies once the baby is born!

Everyone seems to be an expert on postpartum tips for new moms, and sorting through all the information can leave your head spinning. So what are some basics that you can focus on to help you in planning for the postpartum period?

To answer this question, I’ve partnered with postpartum doula Alex Sparrow from The Well-Carried Child to create a list of what advice she gives her postpartum clients!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through my links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Fill in your Postpartum Resource List before Baby Arrives

One of the most valuable things a pregnant mom can do while preparing for her new baby is to prepare your list of postpartum resources before baby is born.

Make a list of the ALL the services you think you might need, even if you don’t plan on using every one right away! Becoming a new mom is a radical life shift that can leave you mentally (and physically) exhausted for a while. Trying to find and make choices when you’re this tired is almost impossible- so have the information readily available for when you need it!

mom making a list of things new moms need for themselves

Some info to have on hand:

The beauty of this list is that it will probably stay basically the same whether this is your first baby or your third! And your resource list will only grow the more you use it. This is one of the most critical postpartum tips for new moms!

Postpartum Tip for New Moms: Build your Local Community

One of the side effects of having so much information available for free online is that many parents use ONLY online education during the birth and postpartum time period. And while there is something to be said for the convenience and affordability of online education, there are benefits to connecting with your local community as well!

The Benefits of Local Networking

One of the advantages comes into play while you’re creating the resource list we mentioned above! Just like you network as a professional, part of any birth worker’s job is to network for their clients. If you connect with even ONE of these services locally, they will likely help refer you to the other local businesses for the services on your list.

Not only can they refer you (saving you time and energy) but most likely, they have already vetted these companies for their clients. Birth and postpartum support includes working with many different specialists to make sure ALL of your client’s needs are met, not just the niche service you provide as an individual professional- so take advantage of these referrals to form your support team!

Have a Meal Train

One of the simplest ways to build your local community is the have a Meal Train! Not having to worry about meals can significantly decrease the stress on the new parents! And since most of the participants will also be members of the immediate community where you live, work and play, it naturally creates connections for your family.

I (Alex) still remember the first meal we received after my son was born eight years ago. I gave birth via CS because he was breech (feet first). My milk hadn’t come in yet. I was pumping in our living room to feed him. Another mom, a complete stranger, brought us a rotisserie chicken (and paper plates!) from the grocery store. She didn’t even blink an eye, just asked how she could help. Amazingly, two years later, I reconnected with this woman, and was able to return the favor when she had her third child. We are still friends today!

meal train things new moms need for themselves

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Many mental health support services are more effective locally, even if attendance is virtual. When you create your postpartum resources list, be sure and include local mental health services for yourself. Many moms find themselves struggling with postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, and other perinatal mood disorders, and if you already have the resources already chosen, it’ll help you be that much more likely to take care of yourself in that way.

Support Local Stores!

I am a huge fan of finding your local baby store. Not only will you be supporting a small business, but they are often a physical gathering place for other parents. My local stores even organize and host classes and social events! And many of these stores are run by caregivers who have small children and are experiencing the same ups and downs of parenting daily- another chance to connect with your community!

Postpartum Tips for New Moms: Ask for {Specific} Help

I see sooooo many posts on social media platforms asking, “What is the best {insert item or topic here}?” (baby carrier, sleep sack, nursing bra, day care).

The truth is what’s “best” for you is not the “best” for everyone. Including specific qualities (and sometimes your budget) will get you a better recommendation. Consider the size of the online platform or group you are asking in. Not every parent ‘parents’ in the same way, and there will often be a variety of opinions!

Be Specific with Your Needs

The same concept applies for any postpartum hands-on help you may receive. This is your recovery and your baby, so be specific in your requests. Using a trained listener, like a postpartum doula, instead of family, may be more helpful. In my experience, friends and family often come with their own expectations of what is ‘helpful’. Their intentions are good, but the results are not always positive!

I (Alex) will never forget when I broke my ankle and my son was 16 months old. Because I was stuck on the sofa, I had a friend helping me. My idea of help was getting my crazy, energetic, destructive toddler OUT of the house. My friend’s idea was a clean house. Don’t get me wrong, a clean house is a great thing. But anyone that has had a toddler knows a clean house does not last very long. Both of our feelings got hurt that day unnecessarily!

Make a List

If you are relying on people who might have different ideas about your needs, make a list for them! Cross off the first one, like it has already been done (hopefully, it has!). Other people will see that someone else has already ‘helped’ you in a specific, requested way and hopefully continue down the list.

These things could be as simple as “Load the dishwasher” or “Take the toddler to the park”. I always appreciated the people that paid attention to the whole family’s needs the most instead of spending all their time ‘helping’ by holding the new baby! And pro-tip: if you don’t want people in your house, have a cooler or box on the front porch for anyone dropping off food, clothes, etc.

pin for postpartum tips for new moms with new mom holding new baby

Set Realistic Expectations

If you have specific requests for postpartum help, it is also easier to set realistic expectations for yourself. And by realistic, I mean lower your expectations. Then lower them some more. Then even more! This is another wonderful postpartum tip for new moms- remember that this is only a season and it’s okay to do things differently for a while.

Ways to Make things Easier

  • Consider adding a time for the whole family to rest in the afternoon, even if that means screen time for the other kids.
  • Make freezer meals or set up a Meal Train so cooking is not time consuming.
  • Use paper plates if dishes are a stressor. I remember my oldest two children eating frozen chicken nuggets for lunch for several weeks after the birth of my third baby. It might not be the healthiest meal, but it was easy for me. They LOVED it, of course! 
  • No matter how they are fed, baby is going to want to eat frequently. Have your feeding station set up in advance with snacks, water and a phone charger. Maybe even a special box of toys for the older children to play with while baby is feeding.
  • Don’t feel like visitors? It’s okay to say, “No!” 
  • Don’t want to get dressed? Pajamas all day are okay!

Setting realistic expectations for yourself and making things as easy as possible is a great way to set yourself up for success postpartum!

New Mom Tip: Buy Preloved

If you’ve read my other articles Babywearing on a Budget and Cloth Diapers on a Budget, you may already know something about buying Preloved.

I love buying things preloved for kids (and myself!). It saves money. It’s a sustainable practice for the environment. I don’t have to worry about getting the full value of those items, since I didn’t pay full price. It’s a fact of life that anything that comes in contact with kids often ends up dirty and/or broken- so why not pay less?

If there are large items you don’t get from your registry, consider going to a resale or consignment shop to a purchase them. My area holds two different consignments sales several times a year. You can also check Facebook Marketplace, Mercadi or Kidizen. 

And don’t forget you can ask your friends who have older kids for things they have outgrown! Many families are very happy to pass along the boxes and boxes of kids’ things their kids are done with so they can regain the space in their house!

Kids don’t care if it’s brand new, so get the deal if you can!

Getting Out as a New Mom

When you plan on getting out of the house with your new baby, don’t over do it! Start slow. Make a plan. And be ready to adjust that plan. If you’d like more ideas of what to think through when heading out, check out this list!

If you’re able, pack things ahead of time so you know you’ve got what you need while you’re out. I also like to keep an extra change of clothes, extra diapers, and wipes in the car (and maybe a carrier, too!) since those are the things I’d be in trouble without!

Want a full diaper bag list assembled by experienced moms? Toss your email in below and I’ll send you an easy checklist!

Pack your diaper bag like a pro.

I’ve assembled the ultimate diaper bag list– all the essentials + helpful optional items to make things eaiser. If you’ve got a newborn (or one on the way) and like to be prepared, this list is for YOU!

Download the Ultimate Diaper Bag List below!

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    When you’re out, know that if you have to take a break mid trip, IT’S OKAY. Take a few minutes to rest in the car or find a quiet place where ever you are. Lunch in the car or walking around a store while the kids sleep is great time to recharge! Babies get hungry and need to sleep in all sorts of situations and places. I fed all of my babies in so many weird places: the floor, a display chair, dressing rooms, and eventually in the carrier- you’ll get the hang of it as time goes on! Just know that it’s okay to adjust your plans and go with baby’s flow while you’re out.

    When it doesn’t go as planned…

    When my second child was 4 months old, I took both kids to the grocery store for a ‘quick trip’ by myself. My oldest, a toddler at the time, was an angel inside the grocery store. I was so hopeful we were going to make it home, without any interruptions and in time for my baby’s nap. We got to the car, and he refused to get in his car seat. His sister was screaming because she needed to eat. The groceries were still in the cart. We all fell apart.

    My toddler and I sat in the trunk of the car and cried together for 10 minutes. He needed to reconnect with his mom, and that is the only way he knew how. Another mom came over and loaded the groceries in the car for me. I have never been so grateful before. She told me I was doing a good job, so of course I cried harder. My quick grocery trip turned into a two hour adventure, but we all made it home in one piece.

    Chance are that you’ll also have a similar adventure along the way (and I hope someone to encourage you when you’re there, too!). Know that we’ve ALL been there as moms, you’re still a good mom, and you WILL get through it!

    Postpartum Tips for New Moms: Conclusion

    So, you’re having a baby! This is an exciting time, full of changes for your expanding family. Having a list of resources and a plan will help you have realistic expectations during your postpartum period. And know that even when your plans get thrown out the window- you’ll make it!

    What are your favorite postpartum tips for new moms?

    If you’d like to get more postpartum support, connect with The Well Carried Child and we’d be happy to get the conversation started!

    Instagram: @thewellcarriedchild

    Alex Sparrow is a Certified Babywearing Consultant, Certified Postpartum Doula, Cloth Diaper Educator with The Well Carried Child: A Postpartum Support Service.  She and her family, including three young children, live in the Triangle area of NC. Babywearing is a tool that she still uses every day with her children. She loves sharing all of her passions with others, including baking, reading, being outside, and supporting postpartum families.

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