[:en]Many expecting parents spend a long time concentrating on birth preparation. They take birthing classes, read books, listen to CDs, some even watch TV shows that show birth in very graphic detail! Often, especially when expecting their first baby, they neglect to think about what happens after the birth. Here’s a few tips for what you can consider and prepare for your postpartum (called ‘Wochenbett’ in German)
Before the birth:
- Batch cook and freeze easy-to-warm-up meals
- Book a postpartum doula or ‘Mütterpflegerin’ to come and help you out for the first few weeks after the birth
- Get a Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Sky subscription, download some new books to your Kindle or treat yourself to some good old-fashioned paper books
- Make a breastfeeding basket so that when you’re breastfeeding your baby, you always have everything you need close by. You could put in:
- Nursing aids (lanolin cream, nipple shells etc)
- Snacks, drinks
- Spit cloth
- Diapers & wipes
- Nursing pads
- Phone charger and phone
- A good book
- TV remote
- Notebook and pen
After the birth:
- Submit an ‘Antrag auf Haushaltshilfe’ (also needs to be filled out by your doctor) to your health insurance company. Many of them will cover the costs
- If people want to come and visit, ask them to bring you food or to do some chores instead of bringing gifts. There are only so many cute outfits a baby can wear!
- Relaxation helps stimulate milk production- Stress can lead very quickly to mastitis
- Don’t be alarmed if you receive a letter from social services (‘Jugendamt’), offering a routine visit from a social worker. These people are here to support you, not to check whether you’re a good parent!
- Your midwife will visit you frequently for the first months of your baby’s life. You can ask her questions and get her to show you the ropes of parenthood.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help!