How to create your postpartum plan

A postpartum plan is a must have if you are pregnant or expecting a baby. But making a postpartum plan or knowing where to even start can be confusing.

A good postpartum plan can include a range of information, strategies, systems and supports and is going to be unique to each mother and baby.

You might be wondering how to even keep track of all of this information without getting overwhelmed. Or perhaps the thought of figuring out where to start is too daunting and you’ve decided to just figure it all out after baby gets here.

If you’re pregnant and you know you need a good postpartum plan of care for yourself, you and your baby deserve better than winging it.

Here are my postpartum doula approved steps to making a healing postpartum plan: 

1. Gather your materials – like paper, pencil, calendar, fliers, printouts, etc – and keep everything together in a binder or folder. You can keep this with your pregnancy/birth related stuff or have a separate binder.

2. Get into a maternal mindset by taking time to think about your vision for your life as a new parent and what those early days and months look like, what values drive you and the goals you are working towards now as a new parent.

3. Next your going to use your notebook or binder to set up 3 lists

  1. Home – Take a moment to think about the bare minimum that needs get done each day in your household (in addition now to baby care and parent care). List them all out on a sheet a paper.
  2. Baby Prep – As you plan you will create a list of action tasks, and community resources that will help you start to use your plan and get your home and self set up for newborn life.
  3. Support Squad – This is where you will keep track of who is on your support squad, how they can help you and a calendar to schedule out your support.

4. Consider the 12 areas that I have found to be most important and impactful to new parents who have a postpartum plan:

  • Physical recovery from pregnancy and birth 
  • Postpartum nutrition and meals 
  • New parent self care
  • Sleeping arrangements 
  • Mental wellness
  • Caring for your baby 
  • Feeding your baby
  • Bonding with your baby
  • Managing expectations
  • Your support squad
  • Visitors and guests
  • Processing your birth story
As you look over the areas here, where are you feeling like you need the most support? Or maybe there’s an areas that’s calling to you. Let’s start there.
For example: Do you really need to figure out your postpartum nutrition plan? Or get your home set up for life with a newborn? Maybe you’ve been putting off learning about the lactation educators and community near you.
5. Work through the 10 questions in each area to start creating a game plan to combat challenges and lean into your strengths. As you are working through each area and asking yourself the questions, make sure that you are adding any action items you come up with to your baby prep list and give them a due date. You’ll also want to fill in your support squad list and calendar as you are working out your plan. You’ll use your home tasks list to delegate who will be responsible for each, whether it is you, your partner or someone on your support squad.

6. Repeat this process for each postpartum planning area. You will see your postpartum plan starting to come together. You will have a plan and strategy for taking care of yourself and for taking care of your newborn baby.

Now it’s time to work your plan.

7. If you haven’t done so already, this is a great time to get your support squad on board and be as clear as possible about how they can best help you after birth. You’ll want to arrange a schedule so that your support squad is ready to go as soon as you need them.

8. Tackle the baby prep list and get your mind, body and home ready. This includes tasks like signing up for and taking those classes, setting up your care stations and snack stations around your home and any other tasks you came up with during the planning process.

9. Bring your baby home and start using those systems and strategies you’ve set up. Read over your plan if you need a reminder after the whirlwind of labor and delivery and mobilize your support squad.

10. Lean into what is working for you and making life as a new mom go smoothly. If something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change directions towards something that better aligns with your original vision for how you wanted to be and feel as a new parent.

Here is a quick postpartum planning checklist to guide you.:

  • Gather your materials
  • Get into the right mindset
  • Set up your lists and calendar
  • Create your parent care plan
  • Create your baby care plan
  • Invite your support squad
  • Complete your baby prep list
  • Bring your baby home
  • Work your postpartum plan