My passion is photographing pregnant women and new babies. I love to capture the sweetness of the time while your baby is tiny. Behind the beauty of your maternity and newborn photography can be a lot of mystery and often exhaustion. I consider it an honor to be present for my clients in both the good and the challenging parts of the first few weeks that they have their baby.
Below you’ll find my list of what I consider essential resources that make the postpartum experience easier. Keep reading!
During my first pregnancy I wanted to learn everything I possibly could about childbirth. I read books, so many books. I took classes. I talked to women who I respected. I have a very supportive family who I could be open and honest with all of my feelings, concerns and questions. I took all of this information and averaged it along with my own opinions and made the best choices I could for the birth of my baby and the first few weeks with her outside of the womb. I like to make boxes and check them off! I did all of that and then took that experience and made my second birth even better, and then my third and then my fourth.
All of this experience has led me to this conclusion. Each birth is different. Each woman is unique. Each baby comes in it’s own way. There isn’t a perfect formula or the perfect birth plan. Be as prepared as you can be and then try to enjoy the ride! The journey is full of struggles but even more joy!
Looking back to my first few births I wish I had known more about my postpartum recovery. With all of the reading and learning there was still this big window of time that I didn’t spend much time considering. The fourth trimester. The time when your baby is figuring out how to survive outside of the womb and your body is trying to recover from 40(ish) weeks of seriously hard work. All the while you care for your new baby and there’s no guaranteed sleep schedule. It can be a lot. I really wish I had spent some more time mentally preparing for this time. I wish I had allowed myself a little more rest, a little more food, a little more time to slowly re-enter the normal world. I was so very lucky to have my mom, my sister, my husband and my older children to support me and share in many of the necessary tasks. I wish I had allowed myself to relax and not try to “get back to normal” as quickly as possible. Looking back, I wish I would have known there were resources that I now consider essential to the fourth trimester. I have made a list of some of these items. I want to share this list with you.
Before I share my list, I want you to know that if you are reading this post, you are someone that I care about. You are welcome to reach out to me directly. I love to talk to women in all stages of their lives about these milestones and how you can make them as beautiful, peaceful and enriching as possible. You are not alone. I might not be able to help you, but I can listen, support and share what knowledge and kindness I have.
Below you’ll find a short list of key elements that make the postpartum experience easier. This is the list I wish I had before I had my baby. It is the help I would have liked to have allowed myself to have. I hope they help you!
In no particular order:
Postpartum Doula: I can’t tell you how amazing this kind of service is. The women who are Postpartum Doula’s are the women, the heroes we need to come alongside us right after we have a baby. They are the guru to the fourth trimester. They are the mother to the women who has just given birth so she can mother her baby. They offer a variety of services. They’ll hold the baby while you get some sleep. They will make you some food while you feed your baby. They might finish the dishes in your sink. She will offer breastfeeding support if you are looking for it. She will listen while you tell your story and ask your questions. She will disappear into the background and solve problems silently, if that is what you need. They will teach you their soothing and swaddling techniques. The list goes on…
Rivkah Leah is the very best in the Los Angeles area. She is a mother to three children and very skilled Postpartum Doula. I highly recommend visiting her blog, even if you don’t think you’ll use her services. She has written amazing articles that all pregnant women and those who have just given birth should read. Rivkah is a very talented birth, family and newborn photographer and also a birth doula.
Sleep literacy and support: I had NO IDEA how hard this was going to be. I was clueless. I read a popular book and thought that I would follow their simple steps and have a baby that slept through the night. This was a lot like childbirth. Sleep just didn’t happen according to my checklist. Calling in a sleep professional was one of the best investments that I made. I wish I hadn’t suffered for as long as I did. There is help out there! These are two of my favorite resources for helping your baby sleep better through the night. Both have a gentle approach.
The Baby Steps to Sleep – This is my dear friend Amanda. She is the sleep wizard. She has helped many people that I know with their tricky sleepers. Amanda is located in the South Bay if you’re looking for in-home help, but is available to help anyone nationwide.
Taking Care of Babies – this is a web based program that you can go through on your own no matter where you live.
Postpartum Physical Therapy: This was much more essential than I ever would have anticipated. The recovery from pregnancy was a more involved than I expected. I actually felt angry that no one had prepared me for this. No book that I had read had prepared me. No woman that I spoke to even mentioned this. Not even my OBGYN helped me address my concerns. The long term effects on my body didn’t take a toll right away, but within a few years of giving birth I was wishing I had addressed my pelvic floor just six weeks after I had given birth.
My favorite pelvic floor PT in the South Bay is Julie Gillespie. She can help you prepare your body before you have a baby, during pregnancy, or anytime after you give birth. My last pregnancy was four year ago and I still have a regular check-in with Julie. I can’t say enough good things about her. Don’t skip this one. Pelvic Floor PT should be standard care for all females.
Lactation consultant: I had read a book on breastfeeding. I took two classes on nursing. I had my mom and my sister to help me. I still needed to call in a professional! My boys were great at breastfeeding. My girls, not so much. I had a lactations consultant for my first and then again for my fourth baby. If you have trouble for more than a day or so with breastfeeding, don’t wait any longer to call for help. Better yet, talk to a consultant before your baby arrives and make a plan to get help within the first few days of your baby’s arrival. The nurses at the hospital are the bomb, but they won’t be coming home with you. A lactation consultant will come right to you and help you where you need it most.
Call or message Bond and Bloom, Janae Grimshaw. She’s the very best in the South Bay.
Nutritional support: Why did it take me until my 4th pregnancy to get this??? I always took good supplements and ate good food, but I never worked with a specialist to make sure I was getting everything my body was needing instead of a general copy and paste prenatal vitamin.
Michael Tebo is one of my heroes. He helped me dial in my specific nutritional needs during my hardest pregnancy and hardest recovery. My morning sickness got better. My postpartum depression became more manageable. He helped me know exactly which supplements and nutrients I needed more or less of. He is a really great Chiropractor too, but you can see him for just nutrition support if you aren’t in need of chiropractic care.
Meal prep: Let me tell you. The last thing you want to be thinking about when you are caring for a new baby and your own body is what you are going to eat. When you are hungry it’s almost too late to make a good choice about what you’re going to feed yourself. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have friends who will be bringing you food. Maybe you’re like me and your mom will come spend a few weeks with you while you recover. Even if this is the case, I recommend having meals pre-made and frozen in your freezer. You can do this yourself or you can consult some really good resources that will prepare meals for you. Some popular ones in the South Bay are:
Model Meals – they accommodate all of your dietary needs and have the best ingredients. I love everything that I’ve ever had from them.
Swoops by Stella – She’s local and she’s amazing. People rave about her meals.
Freshly – another VERY popular option. I haven’t tried them personally, but I’ve heard only the best things.
Still have questions? Do you have something you could add to my list? Contact me directly. I would love to hear from you.