You Forgot This Detail on Your Birth Plan


Your baby’s birth is kind of a big deal.

You’ve researched and researched. You interviewed doctors, hired a doula, watched documentaries, read books, took classes, and you are ready to rock your birth in that tub with the hypnosis tracks playing.

The Birth Plan = serious business.

After all the work you put into planning for a safe and satisfying birth experience, what would you say if I told you there was a 100% chance you forgot to put a super important detail in your birth plan?

I’m talking about the postpartum recovery period. What’s your plan for getting through THAT?

Trust me, I am in no way downplaying the significance of birth or birth plans. After all, I’m a doula! Enhancing the birth experience is kind of the whole point of Arkansas Family Doulas.

But if you think about it, the birth is just a one day (or probably night) thing - a drop in the bucket when it comes to the days, weeks, and months ahead of adjusting to parenthood. There is no epidural for parenthood.

In our “birth culture” we place a disproportionate amount of focus on the delivery versus the postpartum period. However, those six weeks and beyond of recovery from birth can be full of not only possible medical complications, but also wildly fluctuating hormones, pain and soreness, postpartum depression and anxiety, breastfeeding struggles, and grappling with the identity shift. We no longer live in a “village” society and most of us are lucky if our friends bring us a few casseroles after birth.

You can see why you might want to put some extra effort into planning for a smoother postpartum period!

Almost all new parents underestimate the amount of support they will need once the baby has arrived. As babies are biologically wired to wake for feeding every hour or two - all night long - by the time you have fed them, burped them, and settled them back down you only get 20-40 minutes of sleep at a time. This doesn’t exactly bode well for getting to cook healthy meals, take hot showers, or, well, much of anything during the day.

So here are the main things that we know parents need to put in their postpartum plan.


Stock your freezer with casseroles, snacks, and crock pot meals. Set up a meal train website, and get your friends, relatives, church - whoever, to sign up to bring healthy hot meals after you give birth.


Figure out who is going to help you keep your home under control - because it’s not going to be you for a little while. Is your partner going to pick up extra slack? Your mom or sister? Your postpartum doula? Hint: ask for gift certificates to a local cleaning service for Christmas.


Babies demand snuggles pretty much 24/7. That’s okay, that’s what babies do and it ensures healthy development. But the snuggler doesn’t have to be you for all 24 hours. Plan for who those extra pairs of hands are going to be, so you can eat and take baths and naps.


Parenthood can be very isolating, even without extra complications like postpartum depression thrown into the mix. Know the numbers you need to call for any issues such as mental wellness, breastfeeding help, or questions about the baby’s health. Plan to get out of the house at least a couple times a week, whether that’s to a mommy & me group, a women’s health counselor, a breastfeeding peer support group, or a solo shopping trip.

Now, I’m not trying to scare you out of having a baby - just keepin’ it real. You can do this, and actually enjoy it. But you need to have a plan, and you need to have support!

You can ensure that all four of these areas are covered, when you add a postpartum doula to your birth plan. Your postpartum doula specializes in infant-related care and education; childbirth recovery needs; emotional support; feeding support; and household care and can be all of those octopus arms for you as you settle into your life as a new parent.

Support is the key that will unlock a smooth, low-stress, and memorable postpartum recovery period for you and your family. Whether that support comes in the form of your family, a local group, a mother’s helper, or our professional postpartum doulas, a little planning is going to go a LONG way when your sweet new baby finally arrives!