Practical Preparation Tips for Postpartum

Postpartum baby blues affect 50-70% of women recovering from the birth of a child. It is a reality that is important to acknowledge and prepare for. It is important to realize that dealing with a large range of emotions after birth is very common. There are extreme changes happening in your body from various hormones (estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, prolactin, and thyroid hormone) that occur after birth.

Postpartum blues can include mood swings, crying, insomnia, irritability and other symptoms. Postpartum depression is the second level of baby blues that affects 1 in 10 women. It includes more extreme signs of the symptoms above and may include lack of interest in baby, memory loss, extreme fear, etc. I am one that is very susceptible to postpartum blues. I also struggle with fear of depression from my past experience with it and because it runs in my family. With having a baby in the midst of summer, I struggle with the thought of being trapped inside when everyone else is enjoying the summer. This is a new adventure for me as my previous little ones were born in springtime. How can we together be wisely prepared to deal with these varying emotions?

We want this period to be full of joy and delight as we celebrate the newness of life! It is a beautiful season of life. It is a celebration! A party. It is important to safeguard this special period by taking a few preparation steps…

Get Help.

We need to acknowledge that it is foolish not to seek help from others in advance. I confess I can easily think that I can do it all on my own. I am a perfectionist. I like it done my way. It is my sinful nature that tries to handle struggles on my own strength. But that is not how God intended it to be. He designed our need for others. We need to come along side on another, using our various giftings, to make the transition a peaceful one. It is humbly to acknowledge a need, but we must seek it. In this way God is most glorified as well as we don’t foolishly depend upon our own strength. So humbly ask for help.

Ask family. Ask friends. Hire help if necessary. Ask for freezer meals. Sign up for Meal Baby. Or a casserole shower. Hire a postpartum doula.

Remember there are Seasons.

Take the opportunity to rest and embrace this season you are in. Fill your cup by waiting on the Lord. He gives His beloved sleep (Psalms 127:2), so take advantage of the times to sleep when your baby does. Don’t try to take it all on at once. Seek to enjoy each one! I might not be able to enjoy the summer as I would like, but I have a new little one to enjoy. I have a baby that will grow faster than I could ever imagine. Seek to enjoy each season! There will always be opportunity for that “other thing” down the line. Take time to just cuddle, love on, and nurture your baby near you.

Get some Sun.

Vitamin D is essential for counteracting depression or blues. So even if you can just get outside for a brief period, it will be helpful for prevention as well as cure. I plan to nurse outside at least once a day. It’s good for me and baby.

Drink Plenty of Fluids and Eat Nutritionally.

This goes without saying. But having someone there to remind me is important!

Continue Your Supplements.

It is easy to stop taking your pre-natal vitamins or supplements after having your baby. I’m there with you! I’ve been taking these horse-pills for nine months? Finally free! But I am realizing now that if I want to prepare and prevent depression, I need to continue taking them, and my baby still needs the nutrition to grow healthy as well. So, I’m going to keep taking them, along with my Prenatal DHA fish oils to help boost my milk supply and balance my hormones.

I also decided to do something crazy this time around…ready for this?

Placenta Encapsulation.

I always thought it would be a horrid idea, but the more I researched, the more I realized that this would be a hugely beneficial safeguard for my body. Basically, Placentophagy, or consumption of the placenta, has been reported for decades to help stop the baby blues and diminish postpartum fatigue.  Some women have cooked the placenta in a stew, mixed it into a smoothie, or even taken it raw to tap into its powerful effects.  For many who feel squeamish about this or want to reap the benefits of placenta for more than just a day or two, there is another option: encapsulation.  Powdered placenta has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries.  In the postpartum period, placenta capsules can be used to

  • balance your hormones
  • enhance your milk supply
  • increase your energy

Learn more here. Wow! Pretty incredible that God designed my placenta to be able to serve both baby and me! I certainly don’t think it would hurt and now it won’t go to waste! ;)

If you find yourself struggling with depression or moodiness, start St. John’s Wort as a natural herbal supplement. Fish oils are also extremely beneficial.

Make a Meal Plan.

For my previous two births, I prepared an assortment of healthy freezer meals. So together with a week of church friends bringing meals and those that I had stocked up, I had a good two weeks of freezer dinners set aside. This is so wonderful and highly recommended. For freezer meal ideas, visit here. This time around I have been quite a bit more lazy, especially with the heat of summer, so I bought more freezer meals. I honestly bought some packaged meals because I think there is perfect grace for this period.I put together a menu plan for two weeks postpartum with breakfast, lunches, and dinners to help my hubby and family assist us. This list is posted on our fridge and ready to go! For inspiration, here is my list.

Write Out Specifics for Hubby/Caregiver.

I also like to write out a basic housecleaning and laundry plan and post on the cupboard for easy reference for my hubby and any other caregiver. This helps me so I don’t have to repeat myself and gives them the tools necessary to address the needs in a simple manner. You can view my list at the bottom of my menu plan above. My husband really appreciates it when I am very clear with him as to our needs and the how-to’s around the house. This is one way I make his job easier.

Don’t Forget the Hubby.

Your time caring for a newborn is very brief compared to the rest of your life. Make sure to invest time together a couple! This can be a challenging period for the husband as well. Make sure to take regular date nights alone, even if it is just 30 minutes. Mommy and Daddy should have regular brief periods to themselves as well to restore their spirits and find rest and comfort. Take advantage of family and friends who offer their services. Being overly protective of baby will not help protect and cultivate your marriage or partnership.

Make a New Baby Activity Basket for other Children.

If you have other little ones, consider putting together a special activity basket of goodies for the postpartum adjustment period. This helps give them a new activity to help them adjust to the changes as well. We spend plenty of time talking about baby and talking to baby in preparation, but I also want to be sensitive to the fact that it may be challenging to give them all the attention they need during this transition. So I have collected a basket with some Kumon learning workbooks, new puzzles, and an assortment of library books and videos for their enjoyment. Simple but they are already looking forward to delving into it!

Make a List of Activities for Kids with to Do With Caregivers.

I am making a simple list of activities to keep the kiddos busy as well and to have special bonding time with daddy during this transition. Again, this serves daddy or others with some ideas to help make it easier for him to care for kiddos as needed. This list might include our local library story times, family swim times at the local community center, a list of other summer or local activities, in addition to fun craft things we have around the house: beading, playdough, painting, etc.

And remember, if you do show symptoms of postpartum depression, please don’t be afraid to seek medical help. Sometimes these methods may still not be helpful for you and you may need further assistance from your physician. Don’t be afraid to seek help, above all!

These are just some simple ideas that I have found helpful for adjusting during this period. I hope you will share your ideas as well!

 Photo Credit

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

57 Responses to Practical Preparation Tips for Postpartum

  1. Tammy @ Godly Homemakers October 17, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Thanks for sharing, this was really helpful, especially the meal planning part, I had plenty in the freezer and pantry, but no one “knew” it was there, a meal plan on the fridge would have been so helpful! Next time will be different :)

  2. Cheryl Jazzar August 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    There are some comments by Dr. Dean Raffelock on placentophagy below this page: http://momswellness.wordpress.com/ (in the comments section) detailing the nutritional value of the placenta.

    One must be careful to keep a very clean body, free from toxic heavy metals, plastics and other industrial chemicals. On average, over 200 are clearly present in fetal cord blood and breastmilk.

    I always hope that these same toxins are not present in the placenta like they are in our children, but there is no data either way. I agree that the benefits of ingesting the placenta can be great- I’ve seen them in my postpartum depression practice, and it makes perfect sense to me from a nutritional standpoint.

    But, given the high levels of toxins passed on to babies it is urgent that mothers understand how to perfom safe detox protocols during pregnancy, or before when possible. Our little ones’ immature systems cannot process toxins like an adult’s.

  3. brook August 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    I had baby #4 about 5.5 weeks ago, and decided upon the advice of my midwife to have my placenta encapsulated. I have had ppd with all of my kiddos, and while I still feel a little weepy, I feel tons better than I did postpartum with the others. I am so glad she recommended it, because I had never heard of it before. I have good energry, and tons of milk! This was our first experience with a midwife too which was so much better than mainstream. Hope it works well for you!

  4. Hannah @ Treasuring It Up July 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    My friends studying holistic nutrition says that a zinc deficiency can also lead to PPD. She said to make extra sure that your prenatal vitamins contain enough zinc and that it is a quality zinc such as zinc picolinate or zinc glycinate. Many prenatal vits do not contain enough zinc nor is it a variety that our body assimilates well. Make sure you are also consuming enough vitamin C as it helps your body assimilate zinc. Hope that helps!

    • Hannah @ Treasuring It Up July 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

      Zinc deficiency can also cause sleep problems and give babies a higher tendency to have reflux. Apparently, Zinc is good! Of course, it isn’t a cure all, but it is very important like all vitamins and minerals :-)

  5. Lexie July 23, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    There is a great FREE online resource called takethemameal.com. It allows people to sign up to bring you meals online so that one person doesn’t have to keep up with all of that. I know our Sunday School class always takes care of meals for the first few weeks when someone is expecting. This website prevents people from having to repeat information over and over. It also helps people by letting them know what food has already been brought. I do not in any way work for this company…. I’ve just used it several times and LOVE it! :)

    • Lindsay July 24, 2011 at 5:51 am #

      Mealbaby.com does the same thing!

  6. Kristen July 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    I am wondering if anyone knows of helpful ways to deal with afterpains from birth? I’m 21 weeks with our fourth, and they were unreal after our third baby. I’ve said I’d go through labor a million times before going through those, and they lasted for four days. They do make the postpartum period emotionally harder, because it is rather hard to enjoy a new life while in so much pain! I’m also unable to get up a whole lot, and start to feel down since they knock me off my feet. Any ideas on something (besides large doses of ibuprofen) to dull the pain without reducing the effectiveness of the contractions? I try to remind myself that my body is keeping me from bleeding too much, and that is good. :)

    • Lindsay July 23, 2011 at 7:07 am #

      My midwife recommends Valerian Root tincture or St John’s Wort, or a combo of Valerian and Wild Lettuce tincture for postpartum contractions. If that doesn’t help, she told me to rotate between ibuprofen and Tylenol, taking two every couple hours.

    • Juliana July 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

      My midwife recommended arnica (a homeopathic little pill – dissolve 3 of the “30c” kind under your tongue at a time, every 4 hours) and Tylenol. They both helped a lot after #2 (I’ve only had two; I don’t remember after pains bothering me much at all after #1 but they brought me to teary-overwhelmed-ness with #2).

    • Stacey August 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

      I REALLY struggle with this too. I have found incredible relief by drinking an herbal tea (Mama’s Red Raspberry Brew from bulkherbstore.com) and putting a dropperful of motherwort tincture in the tea. I sweeten the tea w/honey and drink many glasses a day. An added bonus is that the tea is wonderful for helping your womb to heal, increasing the quality of your milk and your health/well being in general. It works!

    • Jennifer July 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      Just had baby #5 a week ago. Our midwife recommeneded the red raspberry leaf tea with a couple of drops of AfterEase tincture. The after pains only lasted about 2 days and were very mild compared to previous births. I am also trying placenta encapsulation and I have more energy and less depression this time. I have high hopes that I’ll end this first year with great memories…can barely remember much from first years of other children:( thank you for the advice and encouragement!

  7. Monica Elith July 21, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Thanks for this post., Lindsay! I’m not pregnant but with my first being 8 months old, I’m already wondering how it goes with the second. I have some background with depression as well, and had major crazy baby blues (though praise God it didn’t extend into PPD), and have struggled with insomnia on and off (as we’ve discussed before!), so I have to say that the thought of having another is not without some anxiety.

    I thought placenta encapsulation was WAY out there!!(and hubby definitely does too)….but after reading this post and all the comments…it actually sounds like it could be a good idea. Hmm….will have lots of time to think about it before the next one! I love all the ideas for meals and keeping the older siblings busy during the postpartum time…I want to be more organized this time around! OH – and having someone come clean – YES what a great idea! I have thought of that for next time – thinking I could find a student from church or someone I know who could use a casual job, instead of just hiring someone from a cleaning company.

    Interested in the idea of a postpartum doula….what does a postpartum doula do?…

    Blessings, rest, peace from God be with you and your family as you prepare for the new little one, Lindsay! I pray specifically God blesses you with the ability to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep (when the opportunities present themselves) after the baby is born. :)

  8. Michelle July 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    A topic that so few who have large families will acknowledge, let alone discuss. It’s heartening to see.

  9. Jackie July 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Hi Lindsay,

    I know this is a little off topic but I just wanted to encourage you that in my experience making the transition to 3 children was much much easier than going from one to two! (For me that one was the hardest – a toddler feeling left out while I had to get things done with baby)

    When I had my third I found that my two older boys (3 and 2 at the time) really bonded together even more strongly and were content to play together while I had to tend to baby. Some days I remember feeling a little guilty as I felt I was just spending time with them at meal and bedtimes but it’s just for season :)

    Hope everything goes well for you!

    Jackie

  10. Allyn July 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Lindsay, thank you so much for posting this…it is SO NEEDED. As a labor doula, I was sure that I was ready for my son’s birth, and my midwife made me feel doubly confident. However, no one prepared me for postpartum. I myself had the serious baby blues and often wondered “What is wrong with me?” because my birth was fantastic. I felt so ashamed. Now, I make it a point to REALLY hit baby blues and preparing moms for the hormonal fluctuations in my prenatals with clients, and REALLY encourage placenta encapsulation. I planned to do that, but was so swept up in all my blues that I never did it (I have plans for that placenta on my son’s first birthday). It is so important that we acknowledge that the postpartum adjustment requires its own suite of preparations BESIDES just newborn care.

  11. Donna July 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Lidsay, do not worry yourself. If I can handle three, you most definitely can! I just find that I have less time for cleaning. But, the laughs never stop! I am usually only 50-50 at guessing, but it looks like a boy to me! I wish you an easy, speedy birth, and a blessed recovery.

  12. Bridie July 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    After my first son was born I suffered from severe postnatal depression and postnatal psychosis with a healthy dose of post traumatic stress disorder. I ended up slashing myself to the bone, having major hallucinations of people and things that weren’t there and events that hadn’t happened, periods where I psyched out at my husband and then had no memory of the incidents, and a couple of times I actually developed a form of amnesia where I couldn’t remember who I was, who my parents, my son or my husband were and that lasted a few days. It was scary to say the least!
    None of the drugs I was trialled on worked well, some actually exacerbating the problems and adding to them so I would get up in the middle of the night and ring people randomly, go for walks, etc while asleep. After 18m or so I found some fish oil and some evening primrose oil in a box that I was unpacking after we moved and figured it couldn’t hurt to see what happened. Within 3 weeks I was a *totally* different person! Finding out 3 months later that we were expecting son number 2, and with the influx of pregnancy hormones, I said goodbye to PND, PNP and PTSD and we were finally able to start living and enjoying our family – something we hadn’t been able to do since I got pregnant with #1 as I suffered terrible hyperemesis gravidarum the whole 9 months.
    My mum has always used evening primrose oil to help her PMS/PMT and later she had a problem-free menopause using it. I used it after my second son arrived and had about 36 hours of being slightly teary at day three (but after a very very VERY long and exhausting labour its not surprising :o )) but other than that nada!! I did find that for the best results I had to be taking the oils in tandem, while each worked ok on its own it was the combination that seemed to kick the depression. I will be taking it again consistently after any more babies we have :)

  13. Sarah July 21, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Lindsay, I just wanted to encourage you about the placenta encapsulation. I just had my fourth baby in March and this was the first time I had my placenta encapsulated. Yes, a wild idea at first but like you mentioned, once you read about it and understand it, it isn’t so crazy after all. This was by far my best pp period ever! I actually enjoyed my newborn and had a much greater stability in my hormone levels along with great milk production, all which I attribute to the placenta encapsulation (and God’s grace of course!). I wish you the best with this and hope you can thoroughly enjoy baby number 3! Thanks for the very open blog post!

  14. Cheryl Jazzar July 21, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    It is also very important for mood to use a prenatal vitamin that has broad spectrum of minerals. Most do not. In my practice, I use plenty of minerals for new mothers suffering with postpartum mood and anxiety issues. The results are remarkable.

    • shannon July 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

      cheryl, can you recommend a specific brand?

      • Cheryl Jazzar July 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

        Sure, I use Sound Formulas.

        This brand separates out the bulk of the minerals from iron, which interferes with uptake. One must also address toxicities present in the body during pregnancy to ensure adequate use of nutrients and pristine fetal cord blood and breastmilk.

        Thanks for asking about this important topic!
        Cheryl

  15. Hope July 21, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    Thanks for your openess Lindsay. Mess is a big stressor for me and so ofcourse post-partum it became a bigger issue. I love how u allude to the fact that being unwilling to accept/ask for help is really pride and that God has designed us to depend on each other. So many of us really need to keep reminding ourselves of this. I am not God, I can’t do everything, but God is and He can.

  16. [email protected] Made Fun July 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    I wanted to click on your freezer meal ideas…but there was no link :( could I get that link? I’d love to see that! I am DONE having babies…now in my 40s and honestly was fortunate enough not to suffer from any post partum. However, I had AWFUL pregnancies, so I suppose it was even :)

    Becky B.
    http://www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun

    • Lindsay July 21, 2011 at 4:57 am #

      Opps…my bad. I added the link above.

  17. Sheena July 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Thank you for this post. We just had our first baby on the 8th and I have been overwhelmed with all of the different emotions. I am anxious to try some of your suggestions. One thing that has helped me so far is attending a new moms group. Nice to have other new mommies share their experiences.

  18. Nola July 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. Although I must admit I quickly skipped over the placenta part…not because I don’t think its valid but because it made me feel even more queasy than I already am (I am 7 weeks)!!!

    I’ve done many of the same tips you shared when I had baby #2. With her I made almost 3 months of freezer meals (suppers only). It was worth it. But a lot of work. I hope to do that again, since it did help with post partum depression.

    I look forward to having this baby in the late winter. We have long winters where I live (spring is usually late April to early May weather wise). I’ve had my other babies in the dead of winter and that really didn’t help with post partum stuff.

    Another thing that helps me (even in daily life since I struggle with my health) is to have a “basic day outline” on a paper in my binder. On that are the things that must be done or checked if they need to be done to have a good day. It goes something like this: breakfast, devotions with kids, clean up dishes, pull out something from the freezer for supper or think of something simple to make, brush teeth and get dressed (everyone), get outside if we can, etc. I just wrote down the bare basics of our routine. This way when I am overwhelmed and can’t think straight and tired its all there and I just run down the list. I also have a list of fun activities to do that are simple and a list of things that pick up my mood when I am down. Honestly it sounds silly a bit but when I am down or really tired I can’t think of these things. It really really helps me.

  19. Naomi Bjorgan July 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Even more effective than the placenta encapsulation is creating a tincture from your raw placenta. Much less work and will last longer to maintain for use in menopause. It does take 6wks though to prepare. Lots of resources for doing this online. You only need a portion of your placenta to do it, so you could use the rest to encapsulate so you at least have something to get you through the initial postpartum. It is amazing how God has provided what we need from our own bodies to get through major life transitions like birth and menopause. He truly thinks of everything.

    Glory to Him the Creator of all LIFE!

  20. Gabrielle July 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    I love your suggestions. I’m highly emotional in the weeks after giving birth. It was no different when my second child was born in February. The difference, however, is that around the same time that I “got over” the emotions, my son had emergency life-saving surgery to remove half of his lung, due to a rare lung defect. I was able to handle the situation well, but once we got home, I dealt with irrational fears and I was highly emotional. I definitely experienced some depression, and most women I’ve talked with say it sounds just like post-partum depression. Anyway, all that to say that you can plan, plan, plan, but sometimes, things will still happen that are unplanned for. Give yourself some grace. God does. Understand it’s a season, and make sure that you take care of yourself and your baby first. All else will care for itself as you heal emotionally. We accepted meals from the church again after we got home from lung surgery, and I also let women from the church stay with me from time to time to help with the baby or clean my house. It was humbling but sweet.

  21. Michelle July 20, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Hi Lindsay,

    Just over a week ago, I gave birth to my eighth baby. I, too, struggle with the baby blues. Your suggestions are great, and I have one more tip to add. For me, a large part of my baby blues was a simple matter of dehydration. It wasn’t until the birth of my second child that I realized that there was a correlation between how much water I drank and how I was feeling emotionally. Since discovering this, I haven’t suffered from “weepiness” nearly as much. Every time I become weepy, my husband or one of the children will fill up a large mason jar of water for me, and it affects me almost instantly. The water hasn’t completely eliminated the baby blues, but it’s certainly helped a lot! :-)

    God Bless! I hope all goes wonderfully with your delivery and that you won’t suffer too much from the baby blues this time around. Enjoy that darling little baby!

    • Lindsay July 21, 2011 at 5:01 am #

      Good to hear your own testimony of the value of water! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Brooke July 20, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    Best of wishes Lindsay! I’ve had 2 summer babies. With my 1st daughter, born in VERY hot July – I really struggled with PPD and it was tough. I was in a fog for several months. I had never heard of what a duola was, anything about the placenta encapsulation, etc… I wish I was better prepared. Sounds like you’ll do great being so prepared! With my 3 daughter, being born in July also, and having the 2 older ones, it was so helpful for me have the help with the girls and around the house. With her I tried for a VBAC after 2 cesearans, and after 58 hours of drug-free labor, I felt God calling me to another c-sec. Which was an answered prayer b/c my uterus rupture on the table. So I was recovering from 58 hours of labor, a rupture uterus, abdominal sugery, dealing with a baby in the NICU (short time), and knowing I had 2 other kids at home who needed me. I tell you this b/c it sounds like you’ll do great and you’re on the right path to having success. I’ve always had the baby blues after my girls were born but it does help to remember, like you said, it is a season. We won’t be stuck inside forever, or sleep deprived forever… And it really helped me to have family and friends, esp those in my church, who either came over and played with the older 2 or took them to the park or other places when I couldn’t. Spend those moments when you have the older kids reading, coloring, playing a calm game.
    Blessing and prayers for a healthy labor and delivery for you and your baby to come!

  23. Elise July 20, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    The latest research that I could find on St John’s Wort use while breastfeeding is summarized here:
    http://mamashine.net/the-scoop-on-st-johns-wort-for-postpartum-depression/

  24. Wendy July 20, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Thanks. I saved your meal plan and I love your activity box for older siblings as well as a list of activities for them. Not pregnant now but saving those ideas for the next one.

  25. Sarah July 20, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    For increasing your milk supply, I would highly recommend fenugreek. You can buy it at Super Supplements.

  26. Sarah July 20, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    I think breastfeeding is very beneficial for a mother’s mood. It totally relaxed me when I breastfed my baby.

    I would also advise mothers to hire a housekeeper after the baby is born. It was a stretch within my budget, but I had a housekeeper come every other week for 6 weeks (3 visits) after all my children were born and it was worth the money. It reduces your stress and allows you to focus on your babies. You will never get that time again in your life, but you can always work to make more money.

    • Rachel July 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

      Breastfeeding is beneficial in many ways, but for me we’ve had many feeding challenges which have actually made every feeding very stressful. With all 3 kids, breastfeeding them was the hardest part of mothering my baby. I utilized La Leche and our local Lactation Consultant (as well as every friend and family member that had ever breastfed) to help me out, but no one was able to help. I would encourage all new moms to be prepared in case feeding is a challenge, and be willing to ask for help (in whatever form you need it). Don’t wait and hope things get better, as they may not. I did continue to breastfeed until at least 1 year with all my kids, but it wasn’t relaxing, bonding or enjoyable at the time (as all the experts said it would be). Only when I look back can I see the benefits in my children’s health, emotional stability, & bonding that came in that time together which gives me hope to do it again with baby #4 due in Sept.

    • Lindsay July 21, 2011 at 5:03 am #

      Yes! That is what I am doing this time around as well. Especially since we have moved and have a bigger home I knew I needed to hire someone to come help me out for a few weeks. Glad to hear how well it worked for you!

  27. Chloe July 20, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Thanks, Lindsay! I’m due in October with our first and have been concerned as depression runs in my family as well. Your suggestions are great! Could you tell us about your fish oil source? Your supplements are always so well researched and I have not found a good fermented source. Maybe there is another post on your site that you could point us towards?

    • Lindsay July 21, 2011 at 5:05 am #

      I use Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA during pregnancy and plan to use it for postpartum. IT is not fermented but it is a lot more doable for our budget. ;)

  28. Sarah July 20, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    I love all your tips for making the postpartum period go smoothly for the whole family. Especially like the basket of goodies for the older children, it would be great for Baby’s nursing times.
    I did want to add a thought. It has been shown that labor drugs increase postpartum depression, even being detected in the baby for up to 8 weeks after delivery. I know there may be other factors that contribute to a woman experiencing postpartum depression, but want to encourage women to learn about natural pain lessening measures instead of resorting to drugs. God made our bodies fearfully and wonderfully, I was so thankful for my last midwife who knew about natural ways to make the delivery go more smoothly. By God’s grace, I have been able to have 4 unmedicated deliveries. Blessings!

  29. Sara @ Happy Brown House July 20, 2011 at 7:17 am #

    I’ve been paying lots of attention to how I prepare for postpartum this time, too. The struggle I had with my first son isn’t something I want to repeat. It was a timely post for me Lindsay! Although I gotta say, the placenta thing is not somewhere I’m willing to go.

    • Danielle B July 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

      Yeah me either. Of course we’re done w/having children. But even if we weren’t I don’t think I’d want to do that. Of course we don’t have homebirths either. Not sure if the hospital would save the placenta.

    • Lindsay July 21, 2011 at 5:07 am #

      I totally understand! It took me two baby’s and some serious boughts of depression before being willing to consider it myself. Now that my midwife does it all completely and takes it immediately from birth and brings it back the next day in capsules, I thought…why not? It’s just like taking another supplement. And since I have a struggle with milk supply as well, I knew I needed to give it a whirl. ;)

  30. Ashley Willcox July 20, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    I would love to know how to encapsulate placentas in my area! Any idea on searching locally?

    Also, to all pregnant and nursing Mamas, be careful with your fish oil and make sure it does not contain mercury. Consuming encapsulated fish oil is a practice that is a recent widespread practice, and the connection with extreme rates of autism and mercury poisoning is well documented. The more we eliminate any trace of this toxin, the safer our children are! Nordic Naturals is possible source I am still researching myself.

    • Danielle B July 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

      I’ve only ever seen fish capsules w/o mercury. It’s right on the label.

    • Amy Durham July 21, 2011 at 4:36 am #

      http://placentabenefits.info/ to find someone in your area. Many doulas and midwives offer this service as well, so you can always ask them, look for their websites in your area.
      My results were nothing short of a miracle doing this with baby #3 (after 2 very serious bouts of post-partum depression).

    • Lindsay July 21, 2011 at 5:10 am #

      I would also recommend you talk to your midwife or local doulas. My midwife actually does it. She takes it immediately from birth and brings it back the next day encapsulated, so I don’t have to deal with it at all. If you search google in your area I am sure you would likely find something. It is certainly becoming more popular. You can also do it yourself, so I’ve heard, with a few basic supplies.

  31. Lacey Wilcox July 20, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    I had heard about placenta encapsulation, but just dismissed it at first. Now that you talk about it so positively, I might have to check it out for the next time!! Such a great post! Your thoughts on asking for help were great–thank you for sharing!

  32. Bethany July 20, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    I just had my third baby, and seriously considered placenta encapsulation. My husband is still a little squeamish about the idea so we donated it to an EMS training program. Each birth, though, I get a little more adjusted to the idea, so I’m thinking with baby number four I’m going to have to do it!

  33. c July 20, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    Thank you for the ideas. I’m not pregnant, but I had a lot of trouble after the twins were born, and then again when I weaned them. I found the fish oil very helpful, and also avoiding sugar and white flour seemed to help me a lot. “The Female Brain Gone Insane” had a lot of very useful information that helped me get back on track.

  34. Amanda July 20, 2011 at 5:25 am #

    Thank you for these wonderful tips!! I’m due with my 2nd in November, and have been a bit nervous about how to handle the postpartum time with a 3-yo. I love the idea of the activity basket and making lists to help daddy know what to do to help. :)

    Another small thing that helps me is to use paper/plastic plates, cups, and utensils so we can avoid doing as many dishes. If you have any more tips for preparing big brothers/sisters for the new baby, I’d love to hear them! My little guy seems somewhat interested in baby, but is also nervous that baby will take away his toys! We’ve been making a pile of “baby toys” so he knows that he won’t have to share all his toys right away. :)

    • Justyn July 20, 2011 at 6:06 am #

      Amanda,
      That is too funny! I could have written your comment myself, except that my three-year-old is a girl, not a boy. :-) We are also expecting our new little one in November (according to the ultrasound, we’re having a girl… we’ll see) and I have been planning to have a huge collection of paper/plastic supplies for the kitchen, too. I will start hunting next week for little activities and books for our daughter’s activity basket (wonderful idea, Lindsay! Thanks!). She loves animals and crafts, so I’ll try to incorporate a lot of those… Starting now will make it much more affordable to be creative, since we can spread the cost out over several months.
      I’m not sure if you’ve mentioned this, Lindsay, but for freezer meals I’ve heard it works much better to freeze soups and stews in canning jars, rather than ziploc bags. I froze several batches of soup in ziplocs last time and had to throw them out because of the plastic taste and grainy texture. (Yep, I did let them cool all the way first and I squeezed all the air out… I even double-bagged them! :-) What I read was that freezing them in a jar keeps that from happening. Just be sure to leave an inch or two in the top of the jar to allow for expansion. I’ll try it with the fajita chili I made last night and let you know in a few weeks if it tastes alright.

    • Lindsay July 21, 2011 at 5:11 am #

      Yes! Another great tip. I love the grace available to make clean up simple!

  35. jen July 20, 2011 at 4:42 am #

    I encapsulated too! Best thing I ever did!
    Be careful with st. John’s… It reduces milk supply. Try vitex instead.
    Everyone should encapsulate their Placenta though. My husband did mine and because we couldn’t afford a kit we hand filled the capsules. I did placenta & red Raspberry leaf.

  36. Jessica July 20, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    Wonderful post! I had my placenta encapsulated and i feel it helped keep my strength up during a challenging start to nursing. There’s also something spiritual and empowering about honoring what sustained your baby in the womb by putting it back in your body.

    Love your meal plan. I also made a list of healthy snacks that my hubby could bring me while I spent endless hours in bed nursing. It was helpful for him. :-)
    Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy! Many blessings to you and your family.

  37. Angela Palmer July 20, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    This was a great post Lindsay. I struggle with the same things and it was fascinating to me that you do as well, since you seem so together to me :)

    Look forward to hearing how it goes this time around, if the placenta helps. It wouldn’t surprise me if it did, I’ve long believed that God gave us all the medicine we need naturally.

    I am currently ttc and I hope that I remember this post when the time comes that we have our third baby!

    Many blessings,
    Angela