As you may have seen in the news recently, actress Hayden Panettiere, voluntarily checked herself into a facility to receive help with a Postpartum Mood Disorder (PPMD). I use PPMD because nothing I have read or seen has confirmed exactly what she is being treated for, which is no one’s business but hers. (more…)
There is so much that goes into planning that happens for birth and baby, but often, the postpartum period is forgotten about. I will be doing a 3 part series on how to help prepare for postpartum. Some new families decide to have family and friends provide meals to them after baby has arrived, but there can be a lot going on afterwards, especially if your birth did not go as planned. Having all your meals brought in the first week or several people over at a time can become overwhelming, fast. I always recommend my clients use one of these user friendly meal train sites:
These sites allow you to plan ahead, making notes of your favorite meals, foods you like/dislike, and allergies. You can utilize their built in calendars, selecting which day’s are good for dropping off and how long you want to receive meals. The calendar also allows your friends/family to see what others are brining. Trust me when I say, you will receive pizza, spaghetti, casseroles and lasagnas… it gets old very quickly.\
1) Set It Up
Set up your account prior to your due date and enter all the necessary information.
2) Choose what you want in a meal
This is ok! After all, you and your family will be the ones eating. Is a good balanced meal important to you? Maybe you like to have a meat, starch, and veggie included into your diners. Maybe you’d like a meal from your favorite restaurant some night. Be specific, it’s ok.
Pick the length of time you want to receive meals. I highly suggest spreading this out over the first 6 weeks, with drop offs 2-3 days a week within certain hours.
4) Meal Coordinator
Get the train rolling! You will be focusing on other things, so assign someone to be your ‘meal coordinator’. Once you are ready to announce baby has been born, have this person log onto your meal train and activate it with your predetermined, and adjusted, length of time.
5) The Calendar
Insist people only using the online calendar. It is much easier to coordinate, you don’t have to try and remember who is bringing what when, and it can easily prevent you from receiving the same meals.
So, what foods are great for a postpartum mother?
A well balanced meal, high in protein and good calories, is always ideal. *If you are breastfeeding, you may want to keep acidic and gas producing foods to a minimum.
- Beef Stew with French bread*
- Roasted Chicken with Veggies
- Crowd Pleasing Meatball Tortellini Soup with French bread
- Homemade Chicken Pot Pie
- Taco Bar, Black Beans, and Spanish Rice
- Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and salad
- Super Salad (ALL the fixin’s)
- BBQ Pork Sandwiches*
- Breakfast for dinner
- Orange Glaze Chicken with green beans
- Baked Potatoes with Salad
- Chicken Soft Tacos*
- Red Beans and Rice
- Teriyaki Chicken*
- Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Beef Stroganoff with Salad
- Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo
- Chicken Enchiladas, Black Beans, and Spanish Rice
- Meatball Subs*
- Roast Beef with veggies
- Roast Beef covered in Crushed Italian Tomatoes with Mashed Potatoes & Salad
- Chili & Cornbread*
*Easy Crockpot Meal
Tips for your Family & Friends!
- Use disposable pans! It’s great to receive meals from those that care, but it’s even better to have no dishes afterwards!
- LABEL your meal with the recipe
- Stick to the calendar
- Try to bring more than one meal at separate times
- Avoid too many casseroles, but keep meals simple, 1-3 dish meals.
- Maker sure your meal will easily fit into a freezer
- Have the meals ready to dump into a crockpot or oven. Ziplocks work great for this! Use sandwich sizes and quart sizes to divide up ingredients (if necessary) and then into a large gallon size bag.
- Offer to help with something around the house when you drop off, and new parent’s, ACCEPT that help! New parents are sleep deprived and trying to readjust. Load/Unload the dishwasher, fold a basket of laundry, do a quick cleaning sweep of the bathroom, empty the trash, etc.
- Don’t stay too long. While they are grateful for your kindness, they also need rest.
- Add a personal touch. Include a thoughtful note, a product they enjoy, or package it nicely
- Most importantly, follow through. You made a commitment and the family is expecting your meal. If you don’t deliver, they are now scrambling to come up with something last minute.
This is a scary word for many, because postpartum goes with depression, right? Wrong.
You CAN have a happy and healthy postpartum period with the right preparation and support. We are meant to be doted on and helped after we give birth, however, our society has drifted far away from this. With your partner, create a Postpartum Plan and include ways family and friends can help out. Here are some ways you can achieve that before baby arrives.
Visitors can be a help or a hindrance. A way to get a little use out of them is to give a task when they come over. Anyone that has issue helping out, really should be waiting until a later date when you’ve gotten a bit more of a schedule and baby is a bit older to visit.
Invite some friends over for a day of cooking freezer meals! Or, create a meal train online and appoint a friend or family member to activate it once baby has arrived. Ask friends and family to bring a small bag of groceries with your staple items when the come over to visit with you and baby. These are simple and easy ways to make sure you are getting good nutrition without worry or hassle.
IS SO IMPORTANT! Having a baby is an amazing and wonderful time, however, we can sometimes lose ourselves while taking care of a newborn (and siblings). Make sure to carve out time in your day for a shower. Wash your hair, brush your teeth, wear something comfortable yet new and clean (you can sometimes find yourself in the same yoga pants on Wednesday that you put on Monday), maybe even put on some light makeup. Seriously, you’ll feel like a new woman and more importantly, YOU.
Yes, the house can get a little messy, but if this is something that will induce anxiety, come up with a chore list to help keep up. Ask visitors to pick a small task when they come over. Move clothes from your washer to your dryer. Load or unload the dishwasher. Wipe down counters. Again, anyone that has issue, really should be waiting until a later date when you’ve gotten a bit more of a schedule to visit.
“Sleep when baby sleeps!”
Everyone says it, yet sometimes this can be difficult because it may be the only time you have to yourself, but sleep is so important to your physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can contribute to PPMD (Postpartum Mood Disorders). If needed, feed baby and then hand him/her off to a family or friend so you can get a few hours sleep uninterrupted.
You really should spend a minimum of six weeks snuggling with your baby. Even though you may feel recovered by week two or three, really take it easy and relax as much as possible. Relaxing can be lying on the couch, or it can mean taking a light walk with baby in the sunshine. Sitting or napping outdoors is also a wonderful way to relax, all while still getting a good ol’ dose of vitamin D. (make sure to keep both you and baby protected from the sun to avoid sunburns)
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Let your guard down and allow your ‘village’ to come in. People love to help out and you can use it, whether this is your first baby or your fifth. Recruit those that will help you with your needs, but not tell you how you should be doing something. If you ask them for advice, will they be able to give you good information that aligns with your beliefs? Postpartum doulas can also be a great help in this time.
If you create a plan, have great support, and still experience symptoms beyond baby blues (lasting between days 3-10 in approximately 80% of women), do not hesitate to seek professional help. You are not alone with the feelings you may be experiencing and there IS help available.
PPD may last from 3 to 14 months or longer, if left untreated. Though most women recover within a year, the condition may become chronic if it goes untreated. Chronic depression may have significant effects on mother-baby attachment and bonding.
Symptoms of PPD include:
- Frequent crying
- Appetite changes
- Difficulty concentrating/making decisions
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Racing thoughts Agitation and/or persistent anxiety
- Anger, Fear, and/or feelings of guilt Obsessive thoughts of inadequacy as a person/parent
- Lack of interest in usual activities
- Lack of concern about personal appearance
- Feeling a loss of control
- Feeling disconnected from the baby
- Possible suicidal thoughts
Although most symptoms of PPD are similar to those in a Major Depressive Disorder, many symptoms are unique to PPD, including feelings of anger, fear, or extreme feelings of guilt, obsessive thoughts of inadequacy as a parent, extreme exhaustion yet difficulty sleeping, agitation, feelings of disconnection from the baby, and feeling a loss of control over one’s life. Read more about PPMD’s: http://psychotherapy.com/mom.html
PPMD Resource Guide
Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center
24-hour Crisis Counseling and Emotional Support Line
National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Website
Baton Rouge Resources
Cathy Figg Gaston
7920 Wrenwood Blvd, Suite D
Baton Roouge, LA
Trauma and PPMD Counsling and IBCLC
Victoria S. Benton, LPC
10985 N Harrells Ferry Rd #200
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Onnie Perdue (Christian Counselor)
Murphy Toerner & Associates
17170 Perkins Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
Birth Center of Baton Rouge
Healing Birth Circle
3rd Monday of each month at BCBR, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Free, but please RSVP http://birthcenterbr.com/healing-birth-circle
New Moms’ Hope: A Pregnancy & Postpartum Support Group (FREE)
2nd Thursday of each month, 7-8:30 p.m., in the Staff Development Classroom
Lane Regional Medical Center
6300 Main Street
Dana LeTard Vicellio, Ed.S., LPC-S, NCC, NCSC
Baton Rouge General
Behavioral Health Services
8585 Picardy Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Louisiana Postpartum Depression Support Group (must be invited in)
Life Line Crisis Chat http://www.crisischat.org/chat
Ochsner Baton Rouge
17000 Medical Center Drive
Jan Floyd, CNM
Bethanie Genre, CNM
Amanda Lewis, CNM
Melanie Weaver, CNM
Sharon Hedges, MD
Juan Vargas, MD
100 Woman’s Way
Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Ryan Dickerson, MD
Louisiana Woman’s Healthcare
Elizabeth Buchert, MD
Associates in Women’s Health