The post-birth phase is often overlooked when preparing for baby’s arrival. It is easy to put aside your physical and emotional needs while you learn the ins and outs of motherhood.
The first weeks following birth can be the most challenging for mamas. While your heart is so full, your hands may be even busier! This phase is challenging as you learn to meet the needs of your child, care for yourself, and heal your body and mind all while sleep deprived.
You’ve likely heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” That saying refers to the community that is needed to support a new baby, new mother, and new family. We need community and support. There are many practitioners and providers that can be part of your village during this time.
Since the postpartum period can be a bit of a whirlwind, it is recommended to consider who you want on your postpartum squad and to start making connections prior to birth. This can help to prevent frantic searching should you need a breastfeeding or latch consultation, relief from aches and pains, or even help with housework when you haven’t slept in days and are buried under laundry.
In addition to your birth provider (OB, midwife), your primary care doctor (MD, nurse practitioner, ND, GYN, etc), and your baby’s pediatrician here are some practitioners and providers that might be just who you need in your village:
For help with infant feeding of all types, lactation consultants are there to provide education and support. Some consultants are also trained to assess for tongue and lip ties. It is best to contact a lactation consultant prior to giving birth, especially if you plan to breastfeed as they can help you to prepare and practice. Consultants can also help with alternative feeding help and support. There are a few different levels of training for lactation consultants.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC): This certification is considered the gold standard. Consultants trained as an IBCLC will specialize in management, support, and education for breastfeeding and assessing any issues in feeding. An IBCLC is typically the best trained to assess tongue or lip ties in infants. Certified Breastfeeding Specialists (CLC, CLS, CLE, CBC, LEC, etc): These specialists have passed a certification program. This allows them to offer support for the most common struggles associated with breastfeeding or infant feeding.
Breastfeeding Counselors and Peer Support: These counselors offer ‘mother to mother’ support from their own personal breastfeeding experience to share tips and tricks.
Doulas, childbirth educators, and other types of providers may also be lactation consultants.
Your body is amazing. You just grew and supported a new life. After birth, it is essential to support you too. Body work can help your body to heal, minimize scar tissue, and avoid future issues such as peeing when you sneeze.
Perinatal Chiropractor: Chiropractic care assists with brain/body connection and provides stress relief. Chiropractic adjustments also help to restore balance to the body and reduce aches and pain associated with the postpartum period.
Massage: Scheduling a post birth massage can provide support for your muscles and body, assist with lymphatic flow, and may also relieve tension.
Mayan Abdominal Therapy: A specialized massage that assists in blood flow to the uterus, helps to allow the uterus to settle back into ease, and helps to reduce scar tissue formation in the uterus.
Pelvic floor Physical Therapy: This provider can assess internal and external muscles in and around the pelvic bowl. They will monitor movement patterns to ensure you are correctly activating and controlling your body as it moves.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been shown to support healing and may help with pain and discomfort. Some have found that acupuncture assists with milk supply when breastfeeding.
Personal Trainer: Hiring a personal trainer to help you get back to movement and exercise in a safe way can be very supportive and empowering.
Growing a baby can use many of your body’s resources. These resources include your stores of vitamins and minerals in your body as well as your reserves of energy, patience, and motivation. Providers that help to support your body and mind offer an invaluable service.
Placenta Encapsulation: Some women choose to consume their placenta after birth. It may help to decrease postpartum mood disorders, increase production of oxytocin, and decrease stress hormones. It can also help to restore iron levels following bleeding after birth and improve milk supply.
Alternative Medicine: Chinese medicine, naturopathic medicine, and functional medicine are some alternatives to western medicine that can offer another perspective of issues or concerns that you may be struggling with in your postpartum state. They can also complement the care you receive from your birth provider or primary care doctor.
Postpartum Doula: These doulas are able to offer soothing techniques, breastfeeding or alternative feeding support, and can explain normal newborn behavior. They may also watch older children, help with the baby overnight, and help with household chores such as dishes, laundry, and food preparation.
Mental Health Therapist: These therapists help you to process your feelings. It may be easier to express your needs, thoughts, and feelings when speaking with someone trained to help.
Family and Friends: Put them to work! One way to get more helping hands around the house is to charge a “hold the baby” tax. Most people want to help when they come to meet you new baby. Keep a list of specific activities or errands that you need help with.
Mama or Parent Groups: These groups offer insight and support for you and your family. They are able to provide advice with similar experiences and share recommendations for what worked for their family. Additionally they can help you to make local connections and mommy friends.
Everything that you went through during pregnancy and birth, your baby did too. Some infants need some help to release tension or stress from birth. Some may need a bit of assistance overcoming challenges like a tongue tie or milestone delay. The providers below are excellent resources for your little one!
Sleep Consultant: Sleep is essential. For mama and baby. If your baby is not sleeping well it can cause troubles with eating, digestion, mood, and development. Sleep consultants help you to establish a routine and to work through sleeping issues so that the whole family can get a night of sleep.
Pediatric Dentist: A dentist that specializes in pediatrics can best assess for and release tongue and lip ties. I always recommended body work, like pediatric chiropractic, for your infant before and after a tie procedure to help ensure that the body can heal with ease and balance.
Pediatric Chiropractor: Little ones have stress too! This can lead to tension in the body and may affect latch, sleep, and more. Tension and misalignments can also result from the birth process. A pediatric chiropractor can help to realign the body, relieve stress, and assist the body in processing emotions and big events. Chiropractic for infants is very gentle and uses the same pressure you would use to test the ripeness of a tomato. There is no popping, cracking, or twisting of infant spines. Additionally, we have the most neurological growth in the first year of life and chiropractic can help to ensure growth and development is on track. Learn more about pediatric chiropractic here!
Craniosacral Therapy: CST works with the fascia and connective tissue in the body. This subtle therapy helps to relieve tension and assist the body to process events. Many infants find this therapy beneficial.
Occupational Therapy: Can assist your little one if they are struggling with fine motor, cognitive, or sensory processing skills. Used in conjunction with body work, like chiropractic, can help the infant to overcome the challenge more quickly.
Pediatric Physical Therapy: Can help your baby to improve or overcome challenges with gross and fine motor skills. Used in conjunction with body work, like chiropractic, can help the infant to master the challenge more quickly.
As you can see, this list is quite extensive! There are a lot of resources, providers, and people out there to assist as you make the transition into motherhood (or re-enter motherhood). It is as important to plan for postpartum as it is to choose your birth plan and prepare to care for your child. During pregnancy, it is helpful to consider who you want, or may need, in your village.
If you would like recommendations for a local provider, please ask us for some suggestions! We have many awesome providers in our community!