We spend so much of our pregnancy caring for our bodies, growing babies, and preparing for labor. And now more than ever, many of us are creating a birth plan to communicate our delivery desires. A birth plan can also be a safe way to express your health history to help avoid dangerous outcomes – essential for Black women who experience higher rates of preterm labor and maternal mortality. In 2020, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births. This statistic represents how vital safety and communication throughout pregnancy are for Black women.
But what happens once that beautiful baby arrives? We spend most of our time in those first months focused on feeding – something that many of us take for granted and assume will come easy. Like all aspects of motherhood, this doesn’t always go exactly as planned and may take more work and preparation than expected.
As you embark on pregnancy and motherhood, two plans will help set you up for success: your birth and feeding plans.
Not sure where to start? We’re here to help.
Your Birth Plan
Your birth plan is an actual document that you can print and bring to your labor and delivery. It clearly states your health history, delivery preferences for everything from music, pain management, who will hold your hand while pushing, and what to do in an emergency.
Having a plan, knowing your options, and documenting your desires is one way to help you work towards the safe, healthy labor and delivery that you deserve and desire.
Congrats, You’re A Mom! Now what?
Feeding the baby will be your most significant focus after birth. Are your changing diapers? Yes. Sleeping? Not so much. Feeding that little human? All day long…
Feeding will determine when you get that precious shut-eye and how often diapers need changing. Feeding also impacts behavior. Nutrition isn’t just core to our health, it also impacts our daily schedules – especially in those first days and weeks when we and our baby are just figuring it all out. So many mamas are unprepared or caught off guard by how challenging feeding can be.
A Feeding Plan Will Help
Whether you are able and choose to nurse, unable or choose not to, formula feeding, or looking for other options, having a plan for how you will approach feeding is a significant way to relieve some of the stress – and stress-absolutely impacts our bodies and thus, milk production.
Will you want lactation support? What is your plan if you aren’t producing enough milk? If you’re producing more than your baby needs, what do you do with it? Understanding what impacts your milk production and supply; knowing that babies are picky about formula; learning to anticipate fluctuations in baby’s weight and how that will affect your feeding plan are all important things to think about.
It can be overwhelming – and that can impact everything too! Having a plan in place, anticipating and considering different scenarios, and assessing who and where you may go for support will go into your feeding plan and make what could be a really tense time much more manageable.
And in light of the tragic implications of the lack of formula that we are facing, we hope that having a feeding plan will help you understand your options, know what resources are available, and let you know you aren’t in this alone.
Speaking of resources…check these out!
We know birth doesn’t always (ok, rarely!) go as planned, but having a birth plan increases confidence and preparedness and may help avoid unnecessary or harmful outcomes.
A feeding plan can do that same. And unlike birth (a one-time – albeit life-changing! – event,) feeding is something that will you will do many times a day, for weeks, months, and years!
The good news – there are excellent services available to support you as you create and follow your birth plan and feeding plan (and many are covered by insurance!)
To create a birth plan and learn more about your labor and delivery options, visit MeetMae.com and read more about the importance of having a birth plan, particularly for Black women here. To learn about feeding and lactation resources available to you and covered by insurance, visit SimpliFed.com.