What I Did for a Peaceful Postpartum

Postpartum is difficult by nature. But it is significantly more doable with proper support and rest. Each postpartum phase since my first (unbearably challenging) one has been an experiment in How can I make this better? Fortunately, the postpartum phase I’m currently experiencing – my fourth – has been exponentially better than the other three. Here’s how I did things differently to make my postpartum experience more peaceful and my recovery more complete:

1. A full-blown postpartum plan

This time, I planned… hardcore. Our first three postpartum plans included preparing frozen meals, planning paternity leave and discussing hospital visits. That was about it! But this time we got real and took it very seriously. I had a binder and everything. Part of my planning leveraged the resources my postpartum doula provided (more on that later) and the rest was incorporating lessons learned from my previous experiences. I shared my process of postpartum planning as I went through it. I’m here on the flip side to say: it worked! I’ve had a great postpartum so far and it all started with good planning.

2. A postpartum gift registry

Registries seem to be popping up for everything these days. You can start one for your honeymoon or adopting a child, so it makes a lot of sense to have one for something so crucial: postpartum support. The US is such a dispersed country now, and we often live hundreds of miles from family. This means we rarely have the necessary in-home support that was once standard for women after they give birth.

We need a way to compensate for the village!

I started a registry for myself (here at Marabou Services) asking for a postpartum doula and postpartum chiropractic care through CHIRO FOR MOMS. Our friends and family made contributions and we were able to afford this meaningful support! I’ve never had professional support after birth, and I was grateful for the gaps it filled. My husband works a contract job, so time off meant no pay. When he went back to work early in my postpartum, I was able to still rest and recover during visits from my postpartum doula [Hallie Rogers from Better Beginnings MN]. It allowed me to gently ease back into reality, and not push it before I was ready.

3. A nesting party

This was my fourth babe. Clearly, I don’t need more stuff. The traditional baby showers I had for my first child were so helpful since we had a lot to stock up on. But what I need every time I have a baby is help! One way my family and friends were able to do that was through a nesting party. There are many different versions of this concept, but they all center around one idea: family and friends coming together to help mama “nest” before baby arrives. This could take the form of having a cleaning party, a baking party, or some other out-of-the-box idea. For me, my best friend and hostess decided a combination of frozen meals and kid activities prep.

The nesting party idea was new to all of us, but it turned out to be an incredible day! Instead of gifts, people made frozen meals, satisfying the itch to bring something to an event like this. Our freezer was PACKED with food, which I’m still reaping the benefits from. It’s been so helpful!  

4. Home within hours of birth

Our first three babies were born in hospitals, like 90% of the births in America. I have no complaints about our hospital experiences – they were all in Naval hospitals which were professional yet accommodating to my wishes. I can’t praise the Navy midwives enough for how well they cared for me. Still, I struggled to recover after birth. As contrary as it sounds, hospitals do not encourage rest. The environment is sterile, nurses and doctors shuffle in and out constantly, the food is decent but not considerate of postpartum healing, and you’re living out of a suitcase. My first three stays were 2-3 days and by the time I got home I was already exhausted.

This fourth birth, we planned to do things differently. I delivered our son at the birth center at 6:39 am and we were home by noon. My own bed, my own food, a husband who kept the house quiet for days (don’t ask me how he did it).

From day one I was getting the rest my body needed. I had uninterrupted time with my new baby boy. It must have made a difference because within that first week my husband commented on how healthy I looked. I told him it’s because I’m well-rested!

5. Postpartum doula support

Unfortunately, so much of the good and right things in life are determined by finances. Even if self-care is high on our list of priorities, some of those things can be difficult to afford, including postpartum doula visits. There’s little doubt the benefit they provide a new mother – their training and expertise make them the perfect helper and confidant in those first six-weeks. The number of women who experience traumatic births is severely high and postpartum depression in America is the highest than anywhere else in the world. Beyond that, they offer critical extra hands all mothers need in those first few weeks during recovery. I asked for a postpartum doula on my postpartum gift registry and am eternally grateful my family and friends provided!

Our doula, Hallie, came to support our family over five 4-hour sessions. Some of the great things she did for me were:

  • Made sure I was properly nourished
  • Made tea, brought coffee and made lunches
  • Gave me lactation advice (even with my fourth, each baby is different and I needed her guidance)
  • Answered questions about my newborn
  • Entertained our kids so I could rest, and even took them to the park
  • Held the baby so I could take sitz baths (see #7) and showers when I needed them.
  • Emailed me resources and was available by phone whenever I needed her

If you’re in the Twin Cities, I highly recommend her agency. She was a constant sounding board when I needed it. Even as a fourth-time mom (…especially as a fourth-time mom…), her advice and support was invaluable! Check out Better Beginnings MN.

Postpartum doula support
Me with my two littlest and my postpartum doula, Hallie!

6. Adult diapers

Seriously. I wore Depends. And honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t before! I always imagined Depends would be bulky and uncomfortable, but they surprised me. I wouldn’t want to be in diapers for much longer than the two weeks I wore them, but I was happy to have that extra reassurance against leaks. If you feel weird buying them, just make your husband go shopping. 😊

7. Daily soaks

I didn’t know about sitz baths until this pregnancy. Better Beginnings MN had bath sachets as part of their service and I had an awesome sitz bath concoction from Forever & Always; both encouraged me to take baths on a daily basis. Soaking helped me relax and supports pelvic floor recovery. Air drying afterward made me feel great in my undercarriage (*wink).

8. Acupuncture

Dr. Tiffany Egan from Holistic House Calls is a certified acupuncturist and chiropractor who is a traveling in-home care provider. She comes to you! It’s great when you have the one child and wonderful when you have four! I never experienced acupuncture before but I was determined to make this postpartum experience better than my previous postpartum phases, so I went for it.

Dr. Tiffany came to my home the week after I had my baby. It was my first time, so the needles were a little scary. I thought they were going to hurt going in, but I was wrong! Before this experience, I thought of acupuncture as a magical practice that instantly fixes maladies, which of course there is no such thing as a medical silver bullet. Like all medical practice, regularity is how recovery happens. I didn’t jump out of my postpartum phase after this one experience, but my body was relaxed and balanced all day. Next time, I think I’ll plan to pursue this kind of care more.

9. Vaginal steaming

I also never heard of vaginal steaming before this pregnancy. Everyone who’s tried it gets hooked, me included! I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about, so I ordered some herbs through Nourishing Her. V steaming is still an under-researched method of postpartum recovery, so if you’re going to embark down this path like I did, make sure to use caution. This is an effective way to take care of yourself, so the research is worth it. Steamy Chick offers up some information on postpartum vaginal steaming.

Like most things, regularity is what’s important. Vaginal steaming wasn’t a magical cure-all, but I can say it felt good and wholesome. It cleared out my uterus of residual lochia and dried clots quickly. Gross, I know. Even more reason to clean it out!

I hope this list of best practices helps you through your postpartum journey. I can’t stress enough the importance of number one: postpartum planning. If you’re in the Twin Cities, check out some of the services I used; I would recommend all of them. And if you find that you have gaps in your postpartum support, if there is a service you need but can’t afford, or if you want to redirect the financial support of your community away from more stuff, check out our registries here at Marabou Services.

Better Beginnings, MN

CHIRO FOR MOMS

Twin Cities Postpartum Package

Holistic House Calls

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

SIX Alternative Baby Shower Ideas!

Baby showers are a prenatal necessity… once, maybe twice. But perinatal support is necessary with every pregnancy. Every time a mother is pregnant, her body, mind, and spirit require a recovery period, and one way to lend a hand in that arena is to embrace alternative baby showers and throw a nesting party! The idea is simple: you gather as mom’s friends and family and help her nest. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

House Cleaning

Divide and conquer. Deep clean mom’s house to prepare her family for baby’s arrival. Each guest (or group of guests) tackles a specific area of the home (e.g., bathroom, bedrooms, all the vacuuming) divvied up by the host. You can even make fun cards for each area with information on how this area is cleaned. KEEP THE CARDS. When someone visits mom postpartum, they can easily lend a hand and do a quick cleaning of the same area they had for the nesting party. Huzzah! Continued support for mom!

Freezer Meals

Guests are asked prepare their favorite freezer meals and bring the extras needed like canned goods and chicken stock to fill mom’s freezer with hearty meals to be enjoyed postpartum. This takes the meal prep burden off the family without compromising the nutritional components essential to postpartum recovery.

Slow Cooker Meal Prep

Nesting Party Guests gather to chop veggies and prep ingredients for freezer bags to be used for easy and nourishing postpartum slow cooker meals. After the baby is born, mom, or whomever is supporting her, can throw the contents of a bag into the crockpot for an easy family meal.

Kid Activity Kits

If mom has older children, her fellow mom friends can help her prepare activity kits to help keep them entertained when postpartum mama needs a break. Self-contained kits can be designed or found online and can be designed to meet the interests of any age of older brother or sister: Painting, Lego fun, or clay sculptures.

Pantry Prep

Grocery shopping can get cumbersome with the addition of children and one way to reduce the in-store burden for later is to stock up on non-perishables beforehand. Mom can make a wish list and your nesting party guests can bring pantry staples to stock. It’s like a baby registry for her kitchen!

Baked Goods Haul

Nesting party guests can participate in a day of baking hearty baked snacks (e.g., muffins, granola bars, lactation cookies). Guests can make a day of baking in the kitchen, maybe with a little wine on the side. Healthy snacking is happy snacking, and we all know how big a nursing mom’s appetite can be!

If you throw any of these alternative baby showers, let us know! Email photos and a description of what you did as a group to carrie.gaynor@marabouservices.com. If we share your party, we’ll send you a free Marabou gift as our thanks for doing your part to encourage the spread of nesting parties to help moms prepare for postpartum and unite her community!

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

I Had a Nesting Party!

Nesting parties are an underdeveloped concept, but I love them. A quick Google search results in a Pinterest board that believes nesting parties are like baby showers.

Clarification: they’re not.

Baby showers are baby celebrations. They involve gifts and games that are baby-centric. But nesting parties are about helping mom prepare herself for what’s to come, and they involve – most of the time – only mom’s most intimate friends and family. A nesting party can mean a group of friends comes together to deep clean a mom’s home. Or they can prepare meals or snacks for her family to enjoy after birth without the burden of having to do the cooking themselves. It can be an intimate chat to help mom embrace the transition, process past loss, or be encouraged.

Before I had our baby, I had a nesting party of my own. This was my 4th pregnancy but my first nesting party. I had never even attended a nesting party, but I sure hope this one won’t my last. My closest people came and helped me prepare for postpartum, and it left me thankful and relieved. Here’s what we did:

Freezer Meals:

I asked everyone to bring a freezer meal to put in our deep freezer. Everyone brought a meal with instructions – mostly yummy casseroles and easy freezer-to-crockpot meals – and the freezer filled right up. Associated pantry items were labeled and put in a basket and recipes were placed in a folder for reference.

See my post explaining freezer meals here.

Look at that beautiful FULL freezer!
Basket + labels for non-perishable items: canned goods, pantry items, sauces.

Kid Activity Kits:

One of my postpartum concerns postpartum was childcare! I have three children, ages 5-and-a-half, 4, and 2. Before the nesting party, I chose some simple and fun kids’ activities and bought supplies. I had my friends organize these into gallon-sized baggies that are easily pulled from a large bin. It’s been easy to entertain my kids while also caring for baby!

Supplies went inside gallon baggies and instructions were taped on the outside.
Cutting strips for a snake paper chain!
Prepping homemade Jell-O worms!
The finished bin! The kids can't wait!

Pie + Tea!

After our work was done, I put out pie, snacks, tea, and wine for everyone to enjoy for a social hour. It was my way of saying thank you. I mean, let’s be honest: this was the fun part.

And I also prepared…

Favor Bags!

Each lady got a small token of my appreciation. I was so thankful for their support and love, so I gave each person a mini bottle of wine, homemade bath salts prepared by my best friend and hostess, and had my kids color them each a card since they’ll be benefitting, too! This would’ve also be a great place to add information about a Meal Train for them to sign up for, but I chose to share my Marabou registry in case they’d like to help out.

There you have it. We had a great time!

I know not every pregnant mother needs or wants a baby shower – once you have all the gear and clothes you need for baby, you’re all set. But because you experience a postpartum recovery each time you give birth, I feel strongly that every mom should have a nesting party for every pregnancy! It’s such a great way to prepare for the time after birth and puts that postpartum phase on everyone’s mind. It opens the conversation of what a family’s needs will be after birth and how people can help out. You need that support whether it’s your first baby or your fifth!

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

The Basics of Placenta Encapsulation with Kayla Levine

Did you know a pregnant woman not only grows a brand-new human during gestation, but also a brand-new organ?! The placenta is an amazing thing, used to provide oxygen and nutrients to the growing fetus and discard its waste. Pregnancy cannot work without it. After birth, it detaches from the uterine wall and passes through the birth canal within 30 minutes after the baby is born.

Placenta encapsulation is a new idea for many of us, but the practice is quite antique. When you bring it up with someone, you’ll either get a nod of approval or, well, bulging eyes of bewilderment. It is a strange concept in the context of our modern world, so I think it’s important for us to seek to understand it scientifically.

For this, I reached out to Kayla Levine of Nourishing Her, the most knowledgeable and professional placenta lady I know. Read below for her basics on placenta encapsulation.

Placenta encapsulation is the process of turning the placenta into pills or tincture after birth for the mother to take as a natural way to support her healing. Consuming the placenta has been noted in Chinese medicine textbooks dating back thousands of years and is still a traditional practice in many cultures around the world. 

When choosing to have your placenta encapsulated it is important to select a placenta specialist who is trained and preferably certified for bloodborne pathogens safety to ensure they know how to properly handle the placenta and avoid contamination. Different specialists also offer different types of placenta medicine. Most all make placenta pills, and many also offer placenta tinctures which can last you many years, placenta prints to have a keepsake painting of your placenta, placenta essence which is a very gentle energetic medicine, and even cesarean balm that is a healing salve that includes dried placenta to boost the cesarean incision healing. 

There are few studies at this time about placenta medicine, but the current research does show that placenta pills can provide about 25% of your daily iron, which is essential for postpartum recovery, especially if you had significant blood loss. Placenta also contains a mix of hormones that support balanced moods, help support breastmilk supply, and supplement your body until your ovaries begin making these hormones again at 4-6 weeks postpartum. 

Placenta encapsulation has also been proven safe for the infant, there are no side effects known for your baby while taking the pills. The pills have a significant amount of protein to help give you energy and placenta pills are known to reduce pain and speed healing because of the stem cells and a substance called Placenta Opioid Enhancing Factor which is found in the amniotic fluid. 

Every state is a little different with their rules and regulations around taking the placenta home from the hospital, so check with your local placenta specialist to find out before your birth. It is best to book with your specialist ahead of time, sign the forms, and make the payment so then you can just call them when you are in labor and they will come pick up the placenta. Usually 1-3 days later they will return the placenta medicine back to you and go over all the instructions for consuming the pills. 

Nearly all clients report improved energy levels, better breastmilk supply, more stable moods, and faster healing, especially when they compare to their previous birth and postpartum experience where they did not consume the pills! Consider adding placenta pills to your postpartum plan because you may feel great and not need them, or you may really wish you had them and regret not doing it. It’s better to have them and not need them, you can save them for when you do feel hormonally imbalanced or when your period returns. 

 

If you’d like to know more, you can contact Kayla Levine of Nourishing Her. Kayla is a Certified Placenta Specialist since 2017 and also a Postpartum Doula and Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator. Kayla provides online postpartum coaching and postpartum planning sessions to anyone around the world and placenta services to families in Southern Arizona. You can learn more about Kayla at www.NourishingHer.com

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.

Cheer Here #9: Just in the Nick of Time

It was a simple March day. I had driven my three kids 40 minutes to drop off a meal for a friend who had a newborn and was moving. We decided to capitalize on our trip by going to a local indoor kids’ park. This place was awesome. It was this whole play structure of tubes and slides and ropes and things on which to frolic. We could easily have spent hours there. My two sons, ages 5 and 3, disappeared smoothly into it, and I realized my daughter, almost 2 at the time, needed a diaper change. So, into the bathroom we went.

When I finished my daughter’s diaper change, her spirited little self was eager to go off and play. The only problem: I was 20 weeks pregnant (read: NOT able to navigate this park myself) and she was too little to go by herself with all the big kids around. Ugh. Certainly, this was going to put a premature end to an otherwise enjoyable afternoon. Before I could troubleshoot, or expend my energies on appeasing my youngest who would not understand the artificial restrictions I was putting on her, my 5-year-old came out of nowhere to save the day without so much as a request.

“Ruthie, let’s go!”

After confirming he would stay with her the whole time, off they went. I watched her brother carefully keep older kids from accidentally hurting her and leading her boldly around this exciting new realm, spending his freedom in the care and comfort of his sister. I sat down and let the feeling of relief wash over me.

There are times when it seems like things fall apart, chaos foments, and we completely lose our minds. But more often than I would expect, the above happens to me. In small ways, I get exactly what I need just in the nick of time. I don’t know what you believe, but it’s as if God Himself reaches down and removes the obstacles of motherhood, just for a moment, to let me catch up.

Most of the things that work out are out are luck. Stars align. Impossible timing works out. It’s not magic, and the grind is still there. But, God has a special place in his heart for us mamas who struggle so much. He sees us carrying on in the trenches and calms the field of battle, making us strong again in moments of crushing weakness.

Remember mama, and believe, you’ll get what you need when you need it. Things work out, even when it feels like the world is crashing down. God is good and he’ll be there for you at your strongest and at your weakest.

How does Marabou support women?

We live in culture where “bouncing back” is more valued than proper rest. As admirable as it may be for a sports star to get back on the field, the same rules don’t apply to postpartum recovery. The traditional resting period has been stolen from women through pressure to get back to their job or simply through lack of presence.

Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood often live too far away to be of any help. Household chores and caring for older children inevitably fall on the mom. But she just delivered a new life! She needs rest. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. Break out of a destructive cultural norm and start a Marabou registry today.

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou registry you can sing up for any service which will benefit you or someone you know during the postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Or women are embittered by the journey of motherhood? We can change that by giving the gift of peace.