Changing baby registries to family registries

So I have this idea…what if we started changing the conversation around baby registries? What if we started making them family registries – meaning what does the family need beyond just baby gear and supplies? To be clear, I’m not saying that gifting baby clothes, toys, gear, etc. isn’t useful, but I feel like there is a HUGE opportunity to provide even more helpful support to families beyond baby gear alone.

What about including a 4th trimester support fund? This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, mostly because I’m often part of this particular phase of support and recovery. Many of my patients share with me regularly that they are surprised at how unprepared they felt as soon as their postpartum journey started. They were surprised to realize how much help they didn’t know they would need, and how much they didn’t know what to expect during those early weeks and months as their families transitioned into new roles, routines, and responsibilities.

There is so much prenatal prep, and then hardly any for postpartum, making the latter feel like an afterthought. And due to this type of messaging, many mamas and their healing are treated like an afterthought. Thus, delays in their care become commonplace because many don’t know what to expect, or what their options truly are, and/or don’t feel they have the financial resources to seek out the care they need.

Here are some ideas of postpartum needs:

  • Pelvic floor physical therapist
  • Lactation consultant
  • Postpartum doula
  • Psychologist
  • Night nurse
  • Meal delivery
  • House cleaning/laundry services

So what if preparations for such support started during the prenatal period? What if family and friends had the option to help fund these types of services for families as part of one’s baby registry?

I feel like this shift from baby to family registry would also help normalize the importance of  family-centered care instead of just baby-centered care. The latter is very much how the US is structured, and in my opinion often ignores the needs of mother and co-parent. Parents deserve more acknowledgement and support through the prenatal and postpartum periods, and I would argue baby-centered care would naturally fall into place if family-centered care became the primary focus.

To all the mamas out there, would you have appreciated a 4th trimester fund? And if so, what services would you have chosen?