Finding Flow And Purpose To Your Postpartum Days

If you are like most new parents, caring for young children in a pandemic at home, you’re probably trying to figure out how to bring some structure, routine or flow into your days. 

And I know it seems impossible when everything is so.. disorganized. And I’m not talking about clutter. I’m talking about your baby’s eating, sleeping and awake time. Your baby has some loose structure to his routines but a growth spurt can make you question everything you thought you knew.

Your days may have become mundane, as you center everything around your baby’s needs and find it nearly impossible to schedule anything other than the absolute essentials like pediatrician appointments. 

Or your battery is running low after you’ve done all the feeding, diaper changes and putting to sleep and now you have to entertain, stimulate and play with your baby. And also make sure they’re hitting those developmental milestones.

Here are 4 tips to help you create some meaningful and purposeful flows to your day:

1. Take it easy with a top 2

Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many todos. Early postpartum, focus on your basic self care needs in addition to caring for your baby. Eating nutritious meals each day, drinking plenty of water, getting as much good sleep as possible, your personal hygiene and your physical recovery from pregnancy and birth. 

If there are home, office, or other things you want to complete, I suggest keeping it to 2 per day. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed or disappointed if you have a list of 5 or 10 things to do. By keeping your todo list to 2 things, you canl steadily boost your self confidence with repeated wins over time.

2. Go with your baby's flow

Even though your baby is still getting themselves organized, you can use what you do know about their routines to your advantage. Take a look over your feeding and/ or sleeping logs. Are you noticing any patterns or rhythms even when your baby is going through a growth spurt? How does their fussiness change in a growth spurt and what do they usually need more of during this time? 

Even if you can predict chill times and growth spurts you can anticipate them and plan accordingly. If your newborn is nursing a lot more and seems to need you more they are probably in a growth spurt or a leap. Plans during this time should include lots of cuddles in bed or on the couch and/or nursing sessions. But can also anticipate that your baby will even out again in the next couple of days and you will find that they fall back into a flow.

You may also notice that your baby is more active and alert during their morning and early afternoon awake times. And more fussy and needing cuddles and nursing during their evening awake times. Use that to your advantage as well. Maybe in the morning they are more open to outdoor time and in the early afternoon enjoy a bit of independent play. 

3. Think about your time in blocks

To maximize your time with a newborn, I highly recommend you think about your time in blocks. Primarily 2 or 3 blocks, the morning, midday and evening. Using the information you have gathered about your newborns general flow, you can block your day into those 2 or 3 chunks. <

In the morning block, you can focus on self care and starting the day with your baby. After the early morning feed, eating a nutrition breakfast is first on your to do list. You can also prioritize showering during this time block. What is your baby’s awake time like in the morning? What activities can you introduce to take advantage?

In the afternoon block, lunch is also happening. If there is a household task or work/office task you need to complete you can prioritize it in the lunch block. Typically, newborns will enjoy some independent play like tummy time with toys or time in a bouncer. What is your newborns’ awake time like in the afternoon?

In the evening block, it’s usually time to wind down for the day. And for many newborns that means turning up. If this is your baby, the only priority here is dinner and your bedtime routine. If you have an opportunity you can try to complete a third top task for the day, but if not that’s perfectly ok too.. You have already accomplished so much already today!

4. Have a plan, but stay flexible

Now that you have your general schedule, it’s time to take it and make it your own. Tweak the top 2 or 3 task and newborn activities to fit your life and style. But also remember to stay flexible. The good times usually are short lived when it comes to postpartum life. Just when you think your newborn has settled into a rhythm along comes another growth spurt. And they just keep growing and growing. 

Allow yourself to rest and take it easy during the times when your newborn needs more snuggles and cuddles from you. Or introduce tools like babywearing to help you get a little more down while keeping your baby close.

If you’re a planner mama like me, check out the Postpartum Daily Planner Page I’ve created. There is space to write in your Top 2 task for the day plus keep track of your personal postpartum must dos each day. There is also space to write notes or journal how your feeling each day. You can print out as many copies as you need or use it on your iPad as a digital planner.

Need some ideas on what to do with your baby during playtime? Here are a few ideas to keep your baby entertained and engaged in a way that encourage growth and development in the major areas:

Use that Ages and Stages Questionaire (ASQ) to your advantage. Practice the activities in the ASQ using what you have at home and even incorporate them into your everyday tasks. You can encourage your baby’s tracking and eye development during and after a happy diaper change.
Pinterest is a great source for child development friendly activity ideas and products. Whether you’re a DIY’er or prefer to purchase the things you love, there is some thing on pinterest for you. But remember, while Pinterest may set a high bar, your baby doesn’t expect perfection. They just want to play and interact with you and the toys they love.
Include balanced, well rounded activities and don’t be afraid to switch it up some days. Make a weekly outing of storytime at your local library or have a music day each week where you listen to different genres of music.
Give your baby lots of praise and cheers. and if needed choose focus areas where you see your baby needs a little help. Don’t stress but don’t be afraid to do more activities in an area where your child needs a boost. You may not see an immediate improvement but over time your efforts will be rewarded.
Remember, each and every baby is different. But don’t stress if your baby isn’t meeting the milestones exactly. But do be sure to share any concerns you have with your pediatrician.

With all that said, I want to remind you that even if you get nothing done in the day but shower and eat, you have still done good. And tomorrow is a new day to try again, mama.
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