Birth is just the beginning! It is so easy (and understandable), especially with a first baby, to get caught up focusing on the pregnancy and the birth; in mainstream obstetric care and in mainstream American culture, very little attention or planning is given to what happens after the baby is born. As a homebirth midwife with over 20 years of experience serving pregnant people and their families, I often start out conversations with prospective clients explaining that I offer a model of care for the entire childbearing year, not (just) a place of birth. While many people were initially drawn to my practice because they desired a planned homebirth, by the end of care, even those doubtful of the truth behind my proclamation about the distinct difference in care for the whole childbearing year, become true believers.
The majority of people who give birth in the hospital go home within 48-72 hours--before the milk has come in and deep in the throes of healing from giving birth. Those first three months postpartum, often referred to as the Fourth Trimester, and continuing through the entire first year after birth, is such an important time for the new family to bond, establish breastfeeding, recover physically and emotionally from the pregnancy and giving birth, to process their birth experience, and to settle into the new normal of life with a new baby, whether a first or seventh child.
Very few providers care for both moms and babies as an interdependent couplet, creating a shortage of holistic support and resources for the breastfeeding pair when it matters most. Despite the umbilical cord having been cut after birth, the mother and the baby are still very much connected in the first year and require care that supports them as such.
The Fourth Trimester Care program was created to seamlessly support the birthing person and baby from immediate postpartum through the entire the first year of life. This care is in addition to that of your OB and pediatrician visits as the focus is on prevention and wellness for both you and baby at every visit.
Each visit includes an assessment of your diet, sleep, energy, emotional status, and any concerns about you or your baby’s health. Babies will be weighed at every visit so we can watch them grow over the first year.
Note: The following is an optimal plan for visits but we welcome folks to enter into care at any point in the pregnancy or postpartum– we can devise a personalized plan for you!
Before Your Birth
- This visit or visits are a vital part of helping you to prepare for your fourth trimester and helping me to be able to best support you in the postpartum period. Meeting at my office in the final months of your pregnancy allows me to get to know you before you’re in the thick of it as a new mom or parent – it’s hard to get the full back story of your life when you are sleepy, healing, and hormonal soon after the birth
- I review your complete medical history to highlight any issues that might influence breastfeeding, healing, or postpartum depression so we can be proactive and have a support plan in place before the baby is born
- We discuss what type of birth you are planning so I can be better prepared on how to support you with healing and processing your birth during the postpartum time
- We will work on setting up your postpartum support plan-- what things to have on hand, how and who to ask for help, and more
- The immediate postpartum time can feel vulnerable for new moms and it’s nice to meet me ahead of time so that a familiar face and presence arrive in your home on the first days after giving birth
The First Week
- 1.5 hour home visit
- breastfeeding support including help with engorgement, getting a proper latch, and establishing an abundant supply of milk
- natural support for healing after vaginal and cesarean births
- processing your birth experience
- getting to know your baby and learning their newborn language
- what to expect in the coming 2-4 weeks as your newborn becomes an infant
- 1-1.5 hour home visit
- breastfeeding support and fine tuning
- finding your new normal and tips for adjusting to life with baby
- how to prevent mastitis and to treat it naturally if it occurs
- natural support for colic, diaper rash and soothing your baby
- babywearing tips and support
Postpartum Weeks 4-6
- 1 hour visit
- assessment of mom’s physical healing after birth- diastasis recti and pelvic floor support
- assessment of mom’s emotional health and well-being and nutrition and supplement recommendations to support emotional health
- how and when to introduce a bottle while breastfeeding
- development support for your growing child
- finding the new “normal” and caring for yourself as a mother
- relationship support for staying connected with your partner through the postpartum period
6 Months Postpartum
- 1 hour office visit
- how to keep your energy up during a time when many parents feel especially depleted
- natural teething support for baby
- food introduction for baby and how to recognize food sensitivities
- natural treatments for common childhood illnesses like diarrhea, vomiting, and colds
9-12 Months Postpartum
- 1 hour office visit
- bringing more of you back into your life as a busy parent
- planning for the next baby
- vaccination discussion before the 12 month pediatrician visit
- toddler nutrition
- expanding your natural medicine cabinet to care for your toddler