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How (are you?) going to take care of yourself after birth? - Page 2

post #21 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Ess View Post

I'm feeling some serious anxiety about the post partum period as well. DS will be 4.5 when his brother arrives, and is lovely but a pretty intense kid.

 

If I am lucky, my DH will be able to take the day after the birth off, but that's basically it. After that, it'll be myself, DS1 and DS2 home alone. While I have wonderful friends, many of them have small babies or are about to give birth in and around my due date. No family near by that we could rely on.

 

I feel like a terrible parent, but my post partum recovery plan currently relies heavily on parking DS1 in front of the TV with Netflix.

 

Trying now to figure out easy meal things that aren't a) total garbage and b) won't take up a ton of freezer space as we only have a tiny fridge freezer.

You're actually inspiring. I mean, that you're going to be dealing with little support. Movies are definitely good backup for those first couple weeks when walks in the spring air aren't an option.

post #22 of 37

Of course, it depends on who the friends/relatives are who are going to be visiting - some people just aren't really helpful in this kind of situation. But if you feel like the people that you've invited are reliable and will actually help, then I say go for it - you may miss a little alone time but it will be more than made up for by the extra help. And you might actually end up having more alone time if there's someone else who can hang out with the baby for a bit. My husband had to work starting two days after my first guy was born and I had no family or friends close by - and it was so hard. I cried in frustration many times. Those first couple of weeks after the birth - I was recovering from a tear with no stitches and so wasn't allowed to move much - were the worst. I constantly wished that I had someone to help. 

Everyone's experience is different though - so probably best to go with your gut feeling. 

post #23 of 37

I have a strong-willed 2.5yo who hits and a possessive 3.5yo who bites right now and I'm expecting sometime in the middle of April.  My DH won't have more than a day or two off for the birth and will be out of the country in mid-May.  My family lives on the other side of the US from us and we don't have many friends who would understand-- we overwhelmingly know single, childless types.  So...I completely understand what you're saying.

 

I think it's important to identify a way you're willing to slack off PP.  It's different for everybody: some people cannot do dirty kitchens but are happy to let their smalls watch TV, some people need to stick to their homeschooling rhythm but are cool with getting to know the pizza delivery driver really well, some people must abide by their food resolutions but gladly skip housework for a couple of weeks.  Think about where that give is for you and get comfortable with the idea of falling back on that.

 

I'd also like to echo the prep work thing.  I have been socking away some baked goods and soups in small serving sizes in our freezer (and no, we don't have a full freezer, I just found room anyway), and I've hidden a flat of last summer's canning under my dresser to reserve it.  BUT, I have also researched the pre-made food options at our local stores and checked ingredients and made a list of things we can just pick up (some of my favorite things in that category are Amy's burritos).  Last time, we only had one meal brought to us, and the family who brought it moved out of state last year, so food is a big one for me.

 

Prep work also applies to cleaning!  If you are one of those people who gets deep-clean-everything urges during pregnancy, GO WITH IT.  The purpose of nesting is to prepare your nest!  If your house can be really frighteningly clean a week or two before baby arrives, it won't get really nasty, even if you scale way back to minimal housework, for two weeks or better after you give birth.  And, since your DD is older, housework is a great thing for her to help with-- my smalls competently wipe walls, clean windows, wash laundry (with a bit of help, since they aren't really good about keeping water in the washtub), clean the bathtub, scour the sink, wash the dishes, put away laundry, polish furniture, pick up their things...I just make sure they have access to safe supplies and check their work afterward.  They have a great time doing it, and it keeps them out of trouble (um...relatively), AND things get cleaned!  You still have time to get your DD involved if you want to.

 

Childcare is a big one.  You can ask around and see if somebody has a responsible child of 10-13 who could help you out for a couple of hours a couple times per week.  Junior babysitters are super-helpful, because while they cost less than a full babysitter, they help you fill in the gaps in your life.  I personally find it more helpful than full babysitting, because I can be right there to answer questions and step in if things get too wild, but I can rely on being able to finish my baking or getting a chance to sit down at my sewing machine.  You can't go see a movie or anything, but you could have someone to run around in the yard with your DD while you nurse the baby, or keep an eye on things while you take a shower, or bring you tea*.  My smalls are happy to watch Netflix for a while (we highly recommend Ruby Gloom, if anybody is looking for a place to start for solid entertainment and non-appalling social norms), but having a tween come by on Wednesday after school saved me last time and I'm sure it will make a world of difference this time, too.

 

Oh wow, I'm really ramble-y today.  I hope I said at least a couple of useful things somewhere in there...good luck, OP!

 

*Specifically about the tea, we have an insulated carafe (I want to say it's Trudeau brand?) that keeps tea hot all day.  I make a pot in the morning, pour it in there, and still have too-hot-to-drink-right-away tea at 2pm. It rocks my socks.

post #24 of 37
I am really not sure what my boyfriend is going to be able yo do postpartum. Not usually worth a work day drive for him. We have 1.5 hr drive between us. His step dad just retired and mom is retiring at the end of the school year. Yet I don't know what they'll do either.

I do have 2 single momma friends gonna come stay with me, taking turns. I have an rv for them to stay in and DS may stay out there a bit. One of my friends was on the birth team when our other friend went to The Farm for her midwife birth. They will both be super helpful with the farm animals and DS. I'm sure there will be lots of great food. My boyfriend has been great about bringing groceries. The farm will be in season so fresh fruit, yay strawberries! I'm hoping for a week from one and maybe a couple from the other after her LO and she are done w the school year.

My mom lives close by but will be the start of her work season. I do have some other momma friends that are local but they don't often come to my house. I have a few daddy friends that can be really helpful though.

My aunt, a nurse, stayed with us a week after DS's birth and I felt so alone when she left. I definitely had some PPD that I never admited to. DS got major sick at 2 weeks and my x husband walked out when DS was 3 months old. So I had some major crap then that I don't expect this time. And I've been a single mom to a little babe. So maybe it's better that my team is a little more spread out and I'm not really relying on just one person. I'm sure my boyfriend is going to help, his life will change when he meets the babe, but I'm glad he's not the only one I'm depending on.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissAnthrope View Post

 

I think it's important to identify a way you're willing to slack off PP.  It's different for everybody: some people cannot do dirty kitchens but are happy to let their smalls watch TV, some people need to stick to their homeschooling rhythm but are cool with getting to know the pizza delivery driver really well, some people must abide by their food resolutions but gladly skip housework for a couple of weeks.  Think about where that give is for you and get comfortable with the idea of falling back on that.

 

 

This is a great mental exercise! Definitely going to think about that one and discuss with DH.

 

We decided to email my parents and say their visit plans would not work for us. Of course, got back an extremely passive-aggressive, pouty note about how sad they are not to come this year. Well, that's what happens when you give an ultimatum - now or never - and 'now' doesn't work. I'm sad for them too, but I am already feeling much calmer again about the post-partum period. And, it was a good reminder of what it's like to try to deal with them. The note we sent was very kind and straightforward, but they're incapable of understanding and responding in kind. That's how it'd be when they were here, too. Not what I need. And I'm not responsible for the fact that in their anger they are spending their vacation time/money elsewhere instead of planning for a trip later in the year (the email actually started "We had already decided not to come." sigh).

 

Everyone says the "mama bear" comes out ... I think my mama bear just yawned, stretched, and ambled out of her cave. Doing what's best for my new family is hard but feels right.

post #26 of 37
Yes, deciding what you are willing to let go is a good idea ahead of time as you will have to let something go (at least to your partner/helpers).

And yeah, as far as people visiting early, my whole family came a few days after I gave birth and it was wonderful. I didn't see them much as I needed to sleep as much as I could, but I'm glad they were there. But they are good helpers and don't expect to be waited on by a mom with a new infant. They helped cook and clean and with baby care and our house was much cleaner when they left. If you have family/friends like that, you will probably love having them over at least for a bit, even in the early days.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarieWalter View Post

 

This is a great mental exercise! Definitely going to think about that one and discuss with DH.

 

We decided to email my parents and say their visit plans would not work for us. Of course, got back an extremely passive-aggressive, pouty note about how sad they are not to come this year. Well, that's what happens when you give an ultimatum - now or never - and 'now' doesn't work. I'm sad for them too, but I am already feeling much calmer again about the post-partum period. And, it was a good reminder of what it's like to try to deal with them. The note we sent was very kind and straightforward, but they're incapable of understanding and responding in kind. That's how it'd be when they were here, too. Not what I need. And I'm not responsible for the fact that in their anger they are spending their vacation time/money elsewhere instead of planning for a trip later in the year (the email actually started "We had already decided not to come." sigh).

 

Everyone says the "mama bear" comes out ... I think my mama bear just yawned, stretched, and ambled out of her cave. Doing what's best for my new family is hard but feels right.

 

Agree with MarieWalter, MissAnthrope that is excellent advice and something I'm going to ponder.  I'm probably most comfortable with letting the housework go, so I'll embrace your idea of getting on this nesting urge to spring clean everything that both is and isn't nailed down!

post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarieWalter View Post

 

This is a great mental exercise! Definitely going to think about that one and discuss with DH.

 

We decided to email my parents and say their visit plans would not work for us. Of course, got back an extremely passive-aggressive, pouty note about how sad they are not to come this year. Well, that's what happens when you give an ultimatum - now or never - and 'now' doesn't work. I'm sad for them too, but I am already feeling much calmer again about the post-partum period. And, it was a good reminder of what it's like to try to deal with them. The note we sent was very kind and straightforward, but they're incapable of understanding and responding in kind. That's how it'd be when they were here, too. Not what I need. And I'm not responsible for the fact that in their anger they are spending their vacation time/money elsewhere instead of planning for a trip later in the year (the email actually started "We had already decided not to come." sigh).

 

Everyone says the "mama bear" comes out ... I think my mama bear just yawned, stretched, and ambled out of her cave. Doing what's best for my new family is hard but feels right.


I applaud you for that! It's really hard to make a choice like that, and I can see how it being put into an ultimatum makes it distasteful - and probably does indicate how the visit would go.  It's wonderful to have family that will help around, but not all of us have that and I think that sometimes we *hope* that people will change and become helpful in these circumstances.  Setting boundaries with family can be a really tricky thing, and the earlier you are able to do it, the better, IMO.  You can always relax once you feel more comfortable, but it's really hard to go the other way.  I'm glad that you are feeling calmer about things too.

 

The advice about what gets to slide is good advice - i tend to let a lot slide and even when DH goes back to work, he is on cleaning and cooking duty when he gets home.  It can be a tough transition for some and a bit easier for others - it depends on so much.  I feel for those of you with little or no support - makes me think I can "handle" my situation just fine.

post #29 of 37
And I'm glad you were able to come to a decision MarieWalter! Sorry your parents didn't take it well, but it is a good thing to set limits you are comfortable with and maybe when they cool off they will decide to come at another time this year and then you can show them how to be gracious. I've had my own uncomfortable limit-setting with my parents and it sucks at the time, but it does end up good for everyone in the long run!

Some other things I'm doing to prepare:
  • Making a list of lactation consultants, LLL contacts, etc. so I will have that info available if I need BFing help.
  • Collecting carryout menus for ease of ordering food.
  • List of post-partum doulas (I think I said this in the other post?) in case I need a break at some point and my Mom isn't available.
  • List of activities that are baby friendly that I can do, organized ones like library reading time and just ideas like the park and whatnot cause I know my brain will be fried.
post #30 of 37

I'm trying to arrange for an Ayurvedic postpartum doula to come stay with me for 2-3 weeks after I give birth.  (It has been tricky to arrange, as I live in a European country where there aren't many women trained in this...so I'm looking to bring someone from another country!)  Ayurveda, in short, is the ancient wisdom of whole-body wellness, stemming from South Asia thousands of years ago.  In India, many women still honor the 42-day "sacred window" of time after giving birth, and are given full care from female family members during those weeks.  The idea is that everyone else takes care of Mamma while Mamma takes care of baby.  On a very practical level, the more nourished Mamma is, the more nourishing her breast milk will be, and the less likely it will be for the baby to have any digestive discomforts.  (In cultures where this kind of postpartum care is standard, colic and even spitting up essentially never happen!)

 

Two important parts of the Ayurvedic PP care are eating appropriate foods (easy-to-digest, gently spiced, healthy, fresh-cooked meals) and receiving warm oil body massages.  There are some other aspects, too, some easier than others to implement -- e.g., daily wrapping the mamma's torso in a cotton cloth with a warm oil compress beneath, taking specific enemas and eating specific herbs.   I don't know much more than that yet.  I'm looking forward to learning more...through experience!

 

Finding "Ayur-doulas" in the U.S. is much easier than finding them in Europe, since there is a great school in Colorado that trains them: http://www.sacredwindow.com/  You can find some e-books about Ayurvedic PP care and with PP recipes on their website, which are really helpful.  (If you don't have a doula, don't be afraid to ask your friends and family to cook for you when they come to meet the baby!!)

 

Around the time the Ayur-doula leaves, my mom will be able to fly over from the U.S.  I've already sent her the Sacred Window cookbook above so she can cook some of these meals for us.  She knows I'm not in any rush to start super-socializing the baby (trips into town, etc.), and she says she'll be happy to just hang out with us at home most of the time, help around the house and of course hold her grandbaby a lot! 

 

My sister in the U.S. is also pregnant right now.  If I could afford to hire an Ayur-doula for her, I would!  Instead, I'm organizing a "meal train" for her online, so family/friends/neighbors can sign up to bring a fresh-cooked meal to her each day for the first couple of weeks (maybe longer).  She and her husband are also hiring a "mother's helper" (I think this will be their neighbor's teenage daughter) for a while, who will help with some household chores and hang out with my nephew.

 

One more thing: I recently got a really good book called The Mommy Plan, which is all about how to care for yourself during the postpartum period.  I recommend it!

post #31 of 37

Good forethought! I didn't think about it much the first time around, so this next time I will be more prepared! Luckily my mom showed up the day my daughter was born after driving like 1000 miles (Montana to San Diego) and she stayed a little over a week. It was so great having her there to hold our daughter while we slept, and she helped a ton with chores too. Also, my husband took 30 days of leave, and having him around for an entire month was amazing. But what I will do next time is get a chest freezer and fill that baby up with all kinds of portioned homemade meals and snacks. 

post #32 of 37

My biggest post-partum concern is my 3 year old daughter.  Although it may be nice for her to go out to children's activities/programs, I am really concerned about the increased possibility of infection if she spends a lot of time out of the home or with other small children. Unfortunately, I've also seen newborns get really sick with colds and need to be hospitalized.  So I am not sure how to protect the newborn while also meeting my daughter's needs.

post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SplashingPuddle View Post

My biggest post-partum concern is my 3 year old daughter.  Although it may be nice for her to go out to children's activities/programs, I am really concerned about the increased possibility of infection if she spends a lot of time out of the home or with other small children. Unfortunately, I've also seen newborns get really sick with colds and need to be hospitalized.  So I am not sure how to protect the newborn while also meeting my daughter's needs.

i've signed up my 4yr old for summer camp at the local waldorf school, the program was originally 3-5 days/ week, but I discussed the situation and they are allowing her to attend for 2 days/ week. This will be her first time out of the house in any type of nursery program so we'll see how it goes. 

post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SplashingPuddle View Post

My biggest post-partum concern is my 3 year old daughter.  Although it may be nice for her to go out to children's activities/programs, I am really concerned about the increased possibility of infection if she spends a lot of time out of the home or with other small children. Unfortunately, I've also seen newborns get really sick with colds and need to be hospitalized.  So I am not sure how to protect the newborn while also meeting my daughter's needs.

 



Nurse on demand.  If your DD brings home a bug, you will produce antibodies, and those antibodies will be present in your milk and will transfer protection to the newbie.  That's one of the magical things about breastfeeding!  There is also some evidence that kissing your baby's face and hands is an instinctive behavior that helps your body "sample" the pathogens they are exposed to and produce antibodies responsively, so don't resist the temptation to snuggle up.

 

It's also good to review handwashing procedures with toddlers and preschoolers regularly-- but I would steer clear of antibiotic soaps as they can give more dangerous organisms the leverage they need to become a big problem.

 

You can also ask around and find programs frequented by kids who are more likely to be healthy-- kids who have a SAHP are less likely to go to activities if they're sick, kids who eat whole foods have better immune systems and are less likely to be sick, kids whose siblings are homeschooled are less likely to be sick, etc.

post #35 of 37

I feel so fortunate, DH should get to spend at least a week at home with us (this is our firstjoy.gif). My best friend is coming to stay with us for a couple of months, as she might be moving here. She has offered to keep the house clean (with 2 cats & 2 dogs-all fluffy & longhaired this will be so appreciated-I have a hard time keeping up with their shedding as it is) & help with anything we need. I am not modest so being topless & constantly nursing around her won't be an issue for me. If there is anyone I can let it all hang out (physically & emotionally, lol!)  around, it is her. My DH works 13 hour days, so it will be nice having her there so I don't feel isolated. My Mom will coming by a couple of times a week to see us (her first grandbaby) , and bring food, so that will be great. My sister & MIL are also going to bring food, which is wonderful. I am so grateful to have so much support so I can focus my energy on taking care of the baby & getting a handle on breastfeeding. 

post #36 of 37

Something I just thought of to add to the conversation - newborn support groups or breastfeeding groups.  Last time with DS, I attended monthly La Leche League meetings at our local library and weekly breastfeeding support group meetings run by the local hospital's four on-staff lactation consultants on a rotational basis.  Even though this time around we're planning to birth at home, I still intend to go to the breastfeeding support group at the hospital, as well as LLL.  Just being around other women who'd had no sleep and knew how to listen to and handle any self-doubt I may have needed to express AND having a place where I was literally SUPPOSED to nurse and change my infant (they had a hospital scale available so you could weigh pre- and post-feeding if you wanted) was a huge sanity giver for me last time.  I'm sure I'll welcome the emotional support this time around as well, even if breastfeeding is not posing any problems.  I will be able to attend these meetings without 3yo DS because he'll be at preschool, so I recognize that's a luxury in my situation, but I just wanted to stress to others the help it is to get out and socialize, even if/when you're worried about germs, because in my opinion it's a HUGE help in warding off PPD, feeling normal, finding emotional support, etc.  Just a thought.  :)

post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SplashingPuddle View Post

My biggest post-partum concern is my 3 year old daughter.  Although it may be nice for her to go out to children's activities/programs, I am really concerned about the increased possibility of infection if she spends a lot of time out of the home or with other small children. Unfortunately, I've also seen newborns get really sick with colds and need to be hospitalized.  So I am not sure how to protect the newborn while also meeting my daughter's needs.


Yeah, that is definitely a concern for sure, although I feel like the warmer weather and being able to be outside should minimize those risks.  I signed up my two year old for a mommy and me class this past fall and we seriously only made every other class because each time we would go we would get sick.  Nothing serious, more just stuffy and annoying and not really appropriate to be out....but it was cold and flu season and every one was stuck inside a closed space, and most kids had older siblings that were in school and so sharing germs was inevitable.  I feel like spring/summer activities should pose a lesser risk, especially if you can get into programs that are based outside - nature walks, vernal pools, gardening stuff, etc.  Not being couped up means germs have less opportunity to spread.  And I agree with the other posters that going to programs with other SAHP are going to pose less of a risk, and keeping in contact with ODD and breastfeeding Baby will definitely help.

 

I also agree with finding LLL groups!!! I didn't do that with DS and I really wish I did.  I have been going to meetings more recently and it's been awesome! Not only is there a formal meeting type set up where I am, but there is also a yahoo meetup group where we all get together and hang out and go on outings/playdates and it's really great to get out of the house with like minded mamas and not feel awkward when you need to nurse in public :)  I have also been able to find AP/crunchy mama type meet up groups and it really, really helps when I am feeling overwhelmed.  And in every group there are mamas with kids of all ages who can support you basically no matter what comes up, and there is a lot of different perspectives so you get to see what a wide variation there is of "normal". 

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