This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I had very different postpartum experiences with each of my children: with my daughter, I went back to work after six weeks of maternity leave; with my middle child, I had left my job and was staying home with him; and with my youngest, I suddenly had two under two.
Each experience came with different stressors, different joys, and different coping strategies. Looking back, I had a few favorites from each postpartum experience:
With my oldest, because I knew I was going back to work, I feel like I was super-prepared for pumping. I had a strategy, I tested it before I went back to work, and then I stuck with it - she never had any formula, ever. So many people told me that I wasn't going to be able to stick with pumping that I felt like this was a major accomplishment.
With my middle, I relished all of the time that I had with him. I wanted so badly to be home with my baby and every day, I appreciated that my husband made that happen! I also got very involved with Fit4Mom (which was Stroller Strides at the time) and met a huge tribe of amazing women. It was the first time I had lots of friends with babies of similar ages, and it was great!
With my youngest, I knew ahead of time that it would be hard to have two littles so close in age, so I lined up a lot of postpartum help. I filled my deep freeze with meals, my friends arranged a meal train, and I asked my husband's stepmom Gimme to stay for a week. (She has a gorgeous Egyptian name that her siblings couldn't say when they were little, so they called her Gimme and it stuck.) Trust me when I say that everyone needs someone like her in their life - the week she stayed was so restful and calm.
What was the postpartum strategy that worked for you? What do you plan to do differently next time?