Ask The Placenta Lady is a show about the birth year. Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery – no question is too strange for The Placenta Lady!
Our question for this episode is: “Is there such a thing as a Postpartum Plan?”
Joining us today is Heather Rawlett, Maryland Placenta Nurse. Many expectant parents spend a lot of time on their birth plan, but don’t think about creating a postpartum plan. We discuss ways to plan for the immediate postpartum!
Listen to the podcast:
Hi, welcome to another episode of Ask the Placenta Lady. My name is Jodi, but when I started working with new moms back in 2006, my clients just ended up calling me the Placenta Lady, so that’s what I go by. Our show is all about getting moms prepared for that postpartum recovery period, and I’ve been asked every question under the sun, which is why our tagline is “no question is too strange for the Placenta lady.”
Joining me today is Heather Rawlett. Heather is a PBi Placenta Encapsulation Specialist®, and she also owns Maryland Placenta Nurse. Welcome to the show, Heather.
[Heather]: Yes, I own and operate Maryland Placenta Nurse. I’m a concierge Placenta Encapsulation Specialist®, which serves DC and the surrounding area, and I’m so pleased to be here with you today.
That’s fantastic, Heather. Thanks for being with us again. Our question for this episode is;
I have been spending a lot of time on my birth plan, but I’m not really sure what to do in the immediate postpartum. Is there such a thing as a postpartum plan?
That is just a brilliant, brilliant question. I love this question. A lot of times we get caught up in planning for the birth, we decorate the nursery, and we don’t put a whole lot of time into what’s going to happen once we get the baby home and once we’re kinda flying solo. So that’s an amazing question, it’s always best to be prepared.
Now, obviously, for the immediate postpartum, the one thing I always recommend is placenta encapsulation. Placenta capsules are great for that initial, first two to three week period of time where your hormones aren’t quite regulated yet, you’re going through a big transition, and the placenta is actually extremely beneficial for those first two to three week period of time. There’s a multitude of reasons for this. I will go ahead and just stick to the Traditional Chinese Medicine theories.
Basically, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (and I am always a proponent, always have been and always will be a proponent of the Traditional Chinese Medicine method of preparation) we are talking about a very distinct product called Zî hé chē. This is a medicine in Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been used for centuries for a variety of situations and ailments and issues. Now, one of the theories for how it works is that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, postpartum women are considered cold. So, if you know about Traditional Chinese Medicine in any regard, it’s all about balance, homeostasis, and creating a balance in the body. So if a postpartum women is considered cold, then she would need warming and tonifying things that would help bring her into balance.
Zî hé chē, which is what we get when you prepare a placenta according to the way The Placenta Lady prepares it, the way I teach through PBi and other Placenta Encapsulation Specialists® through my organization – we all prepare it the same way according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. When you do that, you get what’s called Zî hé chē, and Zî hé chē is one of the most powerful tonifiers in the whole TCM arsenal. This works in the immediate postpartum because a postpartum woman is considered cold. We add some heat to the cold, and we bring her into balance and homeostasis, so she feels better.
Zî hé chē has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat insufficient lactation and fatigue – two things that are essential for postpartum recovery and wellness.
It’s also been used to treat insufficient lactation, so it’ll actually help those moms who are planning to breastfeed their babies; it’ll give her a little boost for her milk supply, which babies always appreciate, and it’s also been used to treat fatigue. If you’re a new mom, you’re not sleeping, you’ve been through a whole birth experience, and it really helps with that energy.
It’s especially going to be beneficial for those moms who have children already, because when you’re a mom you don’t get those sick days, you don’t get naps, you don’t get to rest like maybe if it was your first baby. It’s really great to just get you on the path to wellness and make you feel better. And you only need to take it for those first couple of weeks postpartum. But obviously, placenta encapsulation is just one thing that you can do, and I’m really excited because Heather has prepared a series and a list for us for what you can do in the immediate postpartum to have the best possible recovery.
[Heather]: Placenta encapsulation has so many benefits. I too always recommend that first as the first line of defense for postpartum recovery. One of the things I’ve been helping my clients with is a checklist for them, so if you can, grab a pen and paper (if you’re not driving) and write down these quick little tips to help you plan for a happy, easy postpartum.
#1: Meal Train
One of my go-to resources is Meal Train. You don’t have to set this up yourself – have your best friend do it, have another mom friend do it, your mother, your mother in law, it’s a free online service, you can post it to Facebook, you can email it, you can write down the link and give it to the ladies at church. Meal Train basically is a calendar for people to sign up and drop off meals to your home. We are an allergy family – it allows you to write your food allergies down so people can avoid those and your family is fed for as long as you choose to have those meals dropped off. For me personally, the meal train is one of the best resources out there.
#2: Postpartum Doula
Next would be a postpartum doula. Everyone has heard of the doula for labor and delivery, the person that goes to the hospital and tends to mom during labor and delivery. Well those people also will go to your home after you have your baby, they’ll help you with your laundry, they’ll help you with your breastfeeding, they’ll help you with your toddlers. Postpartum doulas, in my opinion, are one of the most underutilized resources out there. So a postpartum doula, they will also do gift certificate packages, so make sure to register for one of those on your baby registry. Your mother in law can buy you that instead of a bouncy seat that your toddler will outgrow in no time.
#3: Lactation Consultant
Lactation consultants! If you’re a nursing mother, they can do consults over the phone, they can come to your home if you’re really needing support, they can evaluate for things like tongue ties and lip ties. There’s also a service called La Leche League which is free which not a lot of people know about. Definitely Google that in your area ahead of time so if you find yourself four days postpartum having trouble nursing, you already know how to contact your local La Leche League.
#4: Baby Nurse
A baby nurse; a baby nurse is an actual nurse that comes to your home, they’ll do overnight shifts while you sleep, they will watch the baby. When it’s time for the baby to eat, they will either bottle feed the baby for you or they will pick up the baby, walk the baby to you, let you nurse the baby, they will then take the baby, change the baby, new clothes, burp the baby, get the baby back to sleep all while you’ve long fallen asleep. A baby nurse.
#5: Visiting Hours
Visiting hours; let your friends and family know what the visiting hours in your home are, so when it’s 7:00 A.M. as your best friend is headed off to work, she doesn’t pop over to see the baby before she heads off to her workday, while you’re still getting those early morning hours of sleep. Visiting hours are a really nice thing to have. It’s okay to have boundaries.
#6: Dog Walker
A dog walker: set up the teenage kid down the street to come walk your dog for you. You’re not going to want to take your puppy out for a walk four days postpartum. That is a great thing to have the neighbor kids do for you.
#7: Toddler Entertainment
Toddler entertainment – have the neighbor kids come play in the backyard. If you have small children, enlist the neighbor kids to come play, enlist one of your mom friends to maybe take your kid for a play date. Postpartum doulas will sometimes do toddler entertainment.
#8: Laundry Assistance
And then of course, laundry assistance. One of the things I do whenever I go visit a friend that just had a baby is fold a basket of laundry. I don’t think those baby snuggles should be given out freely. If you want to snuggle that baby, it should come with a folding of a basket of laundry. Every new mother has a basket of laundry waiting somewhere to be folded. Ask her to get the laundry, fold the laundry and then snuggle the baby.
So those are my short list that you can do just like you would your birth plan, that can be your postpartum plan. Work with your partner to say how can we get these things arranged so that after the baby’s here, we can have these needs of mine met so that I’m not stressing out. In America, we don’t have a lot of paid time off after the baby comes, so it’s important to set up your support before the baby gets here. Like Jodi said, put as much effort into planning for your postpartum support as you do in planning the nursery decor, so that you’re not blindsided by how difficult it is when you get that baby home. That way you’re supported.
[Jodi]: Those were all great suggestions, Heather. Thank you so much for that. As you were talking, I just wanted to just kind of extrapolate on what you mentioned with the chores and then also I loved the visiting hours. That’s just brilliant. Make sure that that is definitely communicated to your friends and family.
#9: Chore List
Another thing that I love to suggest to my clients is to create that chore list, and print it out. We all have things that we don’t want other people doing for us, but a load of laundry, dishes in the sink, unloading or loading the dishwasher… any of those tasks that can help keep your sanity intact and make you feel a little bit better about being in your home so much exclusively after you have the baby… let other people do those things for you. So print out a list, add in “fold a load of laundry”. Put on there “empty the dishwasher, clear out the sinks”; things like that. Tape it to your fridge and if people come and they’re like “hey, what can I do to help?” You can be like “oh great, I have a list on the fridge!”. That way you don’t have to sit there and feel like you’re telling people what to do, which can feel a little bit awkward, but you’re also getting your needs met. So definitely have a chore list there.
#10: Outsource Tasks
I love the suggestion about the dog walker and just to add onto that too – You’re going to need your partner to be spending a little bit of extra time on you, little bit of extra time on the house, maybe some things that your partner is not typically used to doing. So if they’re doing chores that are typically “their job” such as mowing the lawn, hire that out for a few months to take that off of your partner’s plate, and they don’t feel like that task is getting away while they’re focusing on you and the baby.
Outsource other things, maybe just for those first few months. It doesn’t have to be forever, but for those first few months hire a housekeeper to come in every couple weeks, just to keep the bathrooms clean and the floors decent and things like that. And just until you’re back on your feet and you and your partner kind of feel like you have the hang of things and are keeping up with things again.
#11: Postpartum Planner
Another thing is there is absolutely nothing wrong with designating someone to be your postpartum planner. I know some of us feel a little bit awkward dictating what maybe friends and family should be doing when they come to visit, or scheduling those visiting hours. Scheduling the visiting hours can be easy but enforcing them can be a little bit more difficult. If you have somebody that is your postpartum planner – having a close friend or a sister or a close family member – running interference for you would be fantastic.
So instead of getting all these calls, “I heard you had the baby!”, put a recording on your voicemail: “Hi, baby has arrived, this is the height and the weight, if you want to see the baby, please go ahead and just leave a message for so-and-so, (your postpartum planner)” and give them their number and they can schedule a time to come see you. They [the postpartum planner] knows what your time preferences are and that can keep you from feeling like you’re managing your friends and family. And if they’re upset, then they can tell HER about it and she can be like “too bad”.
Did you have anything else to add to that, Heather?
[Heather]: I love the idea of a postpartum planner, somebody to run interference for you and having that phone number of your postpartum interference on your voicemail, that is a tip that I’m going to carry onto my clients and my patients at the hospital. That is a great tip, thank you for sharing.
[Jodi]: That’s awesome, Heather. Well thank you so much for being with us today again. I really appreciate you taking the time, you had some great suggestions.
[Heather]: Well thank you for having me, I enjoy speaking with you.
[Jodi]: Where can people reach you if they would like to hire you as the Maryland Placenta Nurse?
[Jodi]: That’s fantastic Heather, thank you so much.
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