A support system in the postpartum time can be the missing link between an empowering experience and a disconnected one. The 4th trimester is there to make us feel capable and confident in our new role.
With my clients, I guide them through 6 categories for support in the postpartum:
And the one I want to focus on in this post is “Resource”
A resource list is something you begin to compile and put together during your pregnancy. It's the list of people, organizations, clubs, or networks that can help support you physically and mentally. It's the kind of thing you DON'T want to be googling at 2 am when you're five days postpartum and just picking the first person that has paid for an ad to be on top of the google search! Spending some time before you give birth to research and ask your community who they recommend will help you in making sure you get the best of the best. The best-case scenario is that you never need to contact anyone, because everything is going well, but if something pops up and you need support, then you have your list already! It also helps to empower your partner, by having all this put together, they too don't need to do any googling at 2 am, they can just call ahead and book your appointment. I'm all about empowering the birthing person but ALSO the partner.
My top 5 to have on your Postpartum Support team:
1. Lactation Consultant
A location consultant will help you not only with checking out baby's latch if there is any tenderness or soreness to the nipples, but also with feeding positions that are best for the baby and YOU! They can offer advice and answer all questions about milk, pumping, milk storage, tongue ties, mastitis, pain, or just general confusion! Many of us first-time parents have never fed a baby nor perhaps seen anyone feed a baby. This can be confusing, and having someone there to cheer you on and support you will increase your probability of breastfeeding for the first year if that's what you choose.
2. Pelvic Floor Therapist
Honestly, a pelvic floor therapist should be mandatory like a post-birth check-up. And in some countries like France, it is! A pelvic floor therapist can check the tone and strength of your pelvic floor if there are any signs of prolapse, any scarring, organ displacement, tailbone pain, and how your breathing is. Your breath has a huge effect on your pelvic floor health!
3. Local Mothers Group
Having this number or name on hand will come in handy when you feel ready to leave the house for the first time. Having other mothers to process parenthood, postpartum or just life in general with is so beneficial to our emotional and mental health. This group can be through your yoga studio, local Facebook group, your neighborhood, spiritual organization, or perhaps even through your midwife/OBGYN clinic. Find one that matches your parenting style or hobbies, there are endless mothers groups out there ready to take you in and support you.
4. Postpartum Doula
Many people think they need to hire a postpartum doula before birth, but what many don't realize is that most people hire them after! We don't know what we need until we are in it. A postpartum doula is there for emotional support, holistic healing, to bring you nourishing food, help you debrief your birth, hold your baby so you can nap or shower, tidy up your kitchen, offer daily check-ins, refer you to specialists, and hold space for your motherhood journey. A postpartum doula is also never only for the 4th trimester, you can hire one anytime during the first year!
5. Postpartum Exercise Specialist
There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about postpartum exercise out there. When to start, what to start with, and what to avoid. Having an informed resource can help and guide you to move your body again in a smart and safe way. Your body just grew a baby for 9 months, birthed it, and now needs the same care and love in healing. Movement can be helpful in the postpartum after the initial first 6 weeks, but we need the right movement for where we are in our recovery. Find someone who you resonate with, if you're a runner, find a running coach that specializes in postnatal running, if you love yoga or HIIT, find someone who knows about the postpartum body so you do not injure yourself. The Postpartum time is a time of rest and recovery and there is also great potential to feel better in our bodies than before we became pregnant, but we need the right care and resources from a specialist.
I have many other ideas on who to have on your postpartum support team. You can download this free resource and begin to collect and gather who you want to have on your postpartum support team. It takes a village to support a new mother, and you deserve one that is unique to you. If you want extra support, in person or online I offer postpartum planning sessions and I offer postpartum doula support.