A few articles have come out lately bringing attention to the many needs of the postpartum parent. Some of these voices have pointed out the disproportionate attention we seem to give to expectant parents before baby arrives, unintentionally neglecting the high needs of what happens once baby is actually here.
Case in point, the traditional baby shower, where parents are showered with basket loads of material gifts and enough onesies for a baby army!
Giving the birth itself our full attention is super important of course. But what about the support we need after baby is here?
New parents need way more support than most people imagine. But when moms, (and dads, and mamas, and mommas, and papas) are handled with care, babies are handled with care.
So we wanted to take the suggestion to trade baby showers for “postpartum parties” a step further and provide you with a sample letter for friends and family to let them know what you’ll really need to welcome your little one. Hint: it’s not another swaddle blanket. Edit as desired or share this post with your loved ones.
If you (or someone who loves you) still wants the baby shower, go for it, but consider sharing this “registry” with your loved ones instead...
Dear friends and family,
We are so excited to be welcoming this little one to our family so soon! In preparation, we have come to realize the amount of support we will need once baby arrives. With great appreciation for all your love and care we wanted to direct you to a different kind of gift registry. In lieu of material gifts, please consider supporting any of the following services that will help us during the postpartum period. We’ll get the swaddles and onesies, but we hope you’ll help us get the support we need to make the full time job of caring for our baby the only thing we need to think about once baby is here...
Postpartum doula support.(Postpartum doulas help teach new parents to feel more confident caring for their babies while also lightening the load by helping with the laundry, holding baby while we shower or sleep, cooking, providing light cleaning, etc.) Some even work overnight to help us get some sleep between feedings!
Volunteer to organize a meal train (https://www.mealtrain.com)
or hire a postpartum chef to prepare meals for us for the first few weeks. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget to eat while caring for a newborn while simultaneously being more hungry than ever from nursing! This one also helps avoid having 10 well meaning lasagnas in the freezer.
In home postpartum massage, private postpartum yoga or pilates classes and/or pelvic floor physical therapy. The physical recovery postpartum can be a lot. These services are standard care in other countries and we’d love to have a jumpstart on the healing process.
Havening sessions. The emotional processing of birth, of becoming a parent can also be a lot. The gift of emotional support is priceless and the healing power of havening touch is one of a kind for mental health. Visit www.havenedbirther.com for more info.
Lactation support. Nursing can have an intense learning curve. We’d love to work with a lactation consultant to give us a strong head start on a happy and healthy breastfeeding relationship.
A ticket to a new parents group. Nothing is more supportive than hanging out with people who’re going through the same thing. We know how much this kind of support will help us feel connected to our community and avoid feeling isolated especially during those first few months.
A laundry and/or cleaning service. The reasons here are obvious. Because every minute our hands aren’t washing something, we’ll be holding and loving our baby!
Volunteer to organize visitors who want to come over and help out. Spontaneous visits or even organizing plans can feel like a bit much during the postpartum period. This gift gives us a way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by providing you with the times that work for US. Think visiting hours, to be filled with loved ones who want to come over and lend a hand. (This one can have the same guest list as the baby shower. Basically anyone who loves and supports us unconditionally is invited.)
Guests sometimes assume that new parents want a break from holding or feeding their babies but that is very often not the case. If we want your help to hold or feed the baby we will absolutely ask for it. Otherwise, the support we truly want is the kind that helps us out so ALL we need to do is hold and feed our baby.
(Optional section: If you insist on a physical gift, these are at the top of our list of needs to make postpartum a dream: Insert top material gifts here. Suggestions might be a favorite baby carrier, or other essential that’s out of your budget.)
For any of these, please ask us before the baby if we have a preferred service provider, or if your intended gift is already covered. Offering money earmarked for any of these gifts may be the best way to avoid doubling up on any one service. We promise not to think of your cash gift as impersonal in any way.
We are so excited and grateful for your love and support in this way, to make our fourth trimester be the best it can be! We can’t think of any better ways to shower our baby with your love than this. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts!