A daily postpartum care plan to help you do something each day that is either useful, productive, or fun throughout the early days of motherhood.
Most expectant moms have a birth plan, but the birth rarely goes according to said plan. In fact, some health care professionals and women advocates are recommending that new moms forgo the idea of birth plans altogether. These like minds believe that having a birth plan with every detail prearranged can set unfair expectations and put unnecessary stress on a soon-to-be-mom.
Still, while there is so much emphasis put on a strategy for having a baby, there’s not much of a roadmap for the days post birth. Sure, you may know to “sleep when the baby sleeps” or “drink plenty of water” but there’s not a lot of guidance around how to proceed from hour-to-hour or day-to-day.
Further, most women won’t see their doctor for the first 6 weeks after they give birth. And while The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is looking to redefine the traditional 6 week waiting period, many women will be on their own while they navigate this new and intimidating period of motherhood.
In an effort to lend new moms a little emotional support, we’ve created a postpartum care plan to help guide you through the early days of parenthood. The goal is for new moms to do something each day that is either useful, productive or fun. And hopefully having a daily touch point to accomplish will help stimulate you mentally, creatively and physically.
YOUR DAILY POSTPARTUM CARE PLAN
Feel free to mix around the daily goals, repeat your favorites or skip any that don’t speak to you. The whole plan is created to make your days a little lighter—so follow it as long as it brings you joy.
1 Week Postpartum: Take it easy.
“I did so much preparation when I was pregnant but then had such a hard time once I actually had my daughter,” says Amy Motroni, creator of The Postpartum Party. Amy points out that while doing things for yourself might not be easy, it can help you to feel like yourself again.
Day 1-3: Do nothing outside of care for your body and your baby—in other words just lay-in with your baby.
Day 4: Turn on your favorite Spotify channel and continue to focus on your little one and your health.
Day 5: Order your favorite take out—maybe even something that has been off limits throughout your pregnancy. Sushi anyone?
Day 6: Say something nice to your partner. The first week is filled with diaper changes, feedings, swaddling, rocking. Make an effort to get out of your head and the newborn care cycle, by connecting for a moment with your partner.
Day 7: Find a podcast to listen to for entertainment value only.
“Podcasts and fun TV can be a great escape while recovering from birth and while sitting for hours feeding a baby,” says Leigh Anne O’Connor, IBCLC, private practice lactation consultant and mom of three.
2 Weeks Postpartum: Look for connections to the outside world.
Day 1: Find a binge-able show—it can even be something you have already watched, so if you happen to catch a nap while your baby is snoozing, you won’t miss a beat.
Day 2: Follow a mom-fluencer. Look for a parent that you can relate to, some specialize in areas like breastfeeding or eco-friendly living, so their posts can be both entertaining and educational. Or maybe a funny take on parenting is more your style—find someone to follow that will make you smile!
Day 3: Text a friend. And ask them for help. Whether you could use someone to drop off groceries, walk the dogs or just to hang out with while you go through the new mom motions—your friends will likely be more than happy to help—they may just need some direction.
“Even quick calls, texts and IMs help remind new moms that they have a life outside of their baby and while it doesn’t feel like it now, they will have that life again,” says Amy Motroni.
Day 4: Pick a podcast for new parent advice. Save yourself some googling and find a podcast that might cover some of the new mom topics that are on your mind at 2 weeks postpartum.
Day 5: Sign up for an email newsletter, be it about horoscopes, baby milestones, recipes or celebrity gossip, a newsletter can keep fresh content in your inbox even if you only have one hand and three minutes to read it.
Day 6: Choose a quick self-pamper ritual like putting lotion on your feet, braiding your hair or deep breathing and then do it.
Day 7: Take a mama and newborn selfie. Your little newbie is on their way to becoming an infant, so capture the cuteness!
3 Weeks Postpartum: Start actually connecting to the outside world.
Day 1: Start assembling a support group—whatever that means for you. Whether you create a group chat of mom friends or sign up for a mommy and me class, try to formulate a group of parents that can be there for you throughout the ups and downs.
Day 2: Make a mama mantra. Whether you go with a tried and true phrase like, “this too shall pass” or you want to make up your own unique expression, it can help to have a mantra to recite in the more difficult moments of new mommyhood.
Day 3: Call a friend. At 3 weeks postpartum you’ve experienced so many new things!
“Talk, tell your birth story, new parents need to process this life changing experience–all the good and all the bad.” Says Leigh Anne O’Connor.
Day 4: Take your baby for a walk. Weather permitting, of course, fresh air can be great for the both of you.
Day 5: Read something, anything, about your interests.
“It is easy to get lost in new motherhood so keeping some of your interests can help you to maintain a sense of yourself and to have something to look forward to, says” Leigh Anne O’Connor.
Day 6: Establish a mama and baby activity–read a book, sing a song or look at the trees dance in the wind, creating a ritual the two of you share can help you bond and pass the time.
Day 7: Do something you have always loved to do. At 3 weeks postpartum, you have (understandably) spent all of your energy on your little baby.
“I always encourage my clients to do something they enjoyed doing before they got pregnant,” says Kristin White, a health and wellness coach who helps women with the transition into motherhood. “Whether that is happy hour with girlfriends, watching movies, taking long showers or hiking, she has to do it. It’s been shown that if not resolved, a lot of this loss of self can lead to Postpartum mood disorders.”
4 Weeks Postpartum: Look for child care help if you haven’t already.
Whether you are going back to work or plan to stay at home with your baby, it’s smart to have a go-to caretaker you can call if you’re in need.
Day 1: Take some one-month photos of your baby. Putting a prop next to your baby can help show how much they grow over time.
Day 2: Read something about baby care or one-month milestones.
“Ask for help–people are not mind readers and many people who have not had babies or have had babies a long time ago may not know what you need,” says shares Leigh Anne O’Connor. “If you have trouble asking for help make a wish list and put it on your refrigerator or share via email or social media and let people see it.”
Day 4: Take your baby for a walk. Yes, you’ve seen this one before! If the season permits, you may even want to make this a part of your daily routine and postpartum care plan.
Day 5: Give yourself a facial massage as you wash your face… or just wash your face.
Day 6: Order something for yourself. New parents order baby items every other day, okay maybe even every day. Get a little something for you, it doesn’t have to be a big purchase, just something that will make you smile.
Day 7: Write something. Write down your favorite moment from the last week or your worst moment of the day. Write a message of encouragement to yourself or just write your baby’s name down and see what comes next. Your postpartum care plan should help get your mind working in creative as well as practical ways.
5 Weeks Postpartum: Shift some focus to your needs.
“Whenever my baby was sleeping, I tried to do something for myself,” shares Amy Motroni. “Sometimes that meant taking a nap and sometimes that meant watching a trashy TV show. I knew the dishes and laundry could wait for another time.”
Day 1: Indulge in some light stretching. Try to relieve some pain from that kink in your neck that we know you have: look up for ten seconds and then look down for ten seconds. Then look left for ten seconds and right for ten seconds. Repeat one more time.
Day 2: Print some pictures. We bet you’ve accumulated a fair amount of baby pics on your phone. Find an online printer and place a few in an album or a frame.
Day 3: Invite a friend over and take a nap.
Day 4: Take a shower and put on a top that doesn’t have baby drool on it.
Day 5: If you haven’t gotten out of the house yet this week, take your baby for a walk!
Day 6: Look at your closet and remove some clothes you don’t want to wear—this includes maternity and pre-baby items!
Day 7: Take your spouse or partner on a date—even if it’s just to the living room. Put on that pretty top you uncovered after your closet cleanse yesterday, brush your hair—and your teeth—and spend some quality time with your partner… remember that person you kind of like?
“With the new baby, lack of sleep, and pretty much chaos, relationships get put on the back burner and emotions can be at an all-time high, says Kristen White. “Talk with your partner about what you both enjoyed doing before baby and try and recreate it.”
6 Weeks Postpartum: It’s time for your six-week postpartum visit.
Currently, as many as 40% of women do not attend a postpartum visit, don’t overlook your own health. It’s fundamental to your baby’s wellbeing, too!
Day 1: While your health is top of mind, try to make any other doctor’s appointments you may need, like with the dentist or the specialist you might see if you have a chronic condition. Or take some time to read up on natural solutions, like this treatment for hemorrhoids, for any lingering post-birth pains.
Day 3: Take a natural sitz bath for postpartum recovery and exhale.
Day 4: Read something about the world. At six weeks postpartum, your baby is the top headline of your life, today and always, but take a beat to check in on world events.
Day 5: Take baby for an outing and meet up with a friend for coffee or a quick lunch. If you are planning on returning to work after maternity leave, check out this guide with useful tips for going back to work after baby.
Day 6: If your doctor gave you the green light to get moving at your checkup, find gentle ways to exercise. Today, maybe just research some options and you can get moving next week.
Day 7: Filter out newborn clothes from your baby’s drawers—your infant is on the road to becoming a baby, make room for 0-3-month clothes!
Mama, while it’s great to stay busy, remember that this time flies, so take a breath and enjoy these early moments. Don’t get too worked up about following your daily postpartum care plan to the letter. Enjoy your little one and shower them with all the love you can. And don’t forget about yourself in the process—a happy mom makes for a happy baby after all.
Inspired to help other new moms through their postpartum journey? Consider making a recovery postpartum kit and share this daily guide with them!