Caring For Yourself After Giving Birth
The weeks after your new little one comes into the world are both magical and stressful. Newborns require a lot of their parents, and this makes taking on your new role as a mama exhausting. From waking every few hours to feed your sweet bundle of joy, to trying to squeeze in a shower, you will likely find yourself feeling run down pretty quickly after the birth of your child.
For this reason, it is very important that new mothers carve out time in their incredibly busy days for self-care. Nobody can work at a job 24/7 without any kind of break, and caring for a newborn absolutely is a job. Even though you may feel guilty putting your little one down or handing them over to another caregiver, caring for yourself is just as important as caring for the baby. After all, you can’t take care of your child properly if your own needs aren’t met first.
Below are several ways to care for yourself—both physically and emotionally—during the postpartum period so you can be sure to give your new baby the best mama possible.
Though you will want to avoid intense exercise while your body is still in the process of healing, it is important to get up and moving after healing from birth. Usually this varies from 2-6 weeks based on whether you had a vaginal birth or c-section. Exercise will help you feel more alert, energetic, and emotionally stable.
If the weather is nice, try walking outside in order to take in some vitamin D from the sun. If the weather is extremely cold or wet on a particular day, yoga or walking around indoors works as well. If you have abdominal separation called diastasis recti, these exercises can be implemented as well.
Just as eating well is highly important during pregnancy, it is equally important during the postpartum weeks. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of healthy fats, fruits, veggies, and protein will help you stay healthy, and help ensure your breast milk is of the highest quality. Getting plenty of the right nutrients will also help keep your energy levels up.
Dieting in order to lose any excess pregnancy weight is not recommended during the postpartum period or at all while breastfeeding. Instead, eat healthy foods, exercise every day, and be patient with your body as it heals and slowly sheds pounds at its own pace.
In addition to the balanced diet mentioned above, breastfeeding mothers should continue taking their prenatal vitamins throughout their breastfeeding journey in order to ensure both baby and mama are receiving plenty of vitamins.
That said, even if you are not nursing your baby, taking a daily multivitamin can help you stay healthy which is an important part of being the best mom you can be. Vitamin D3, Vitamin B and Omega 3 supplementation is important as well for preventing postpartum depression.
A bath is a great way to relax after a long day. If possible, hand baby over to daddy or another adult you trust so you can relax for a while. If no other adult is available to help, try bringing a swing or bouncy seat into the bathroom to lay baby in while you relax. Feeding your little one before handing them over or setting them down will help extend your time in the tub.
Besides helping you relax, a warm soak in the tub can help with hemorrhoids, constipation, and a sore perineal area. *If you are less than 6 weeks postpartum, be sure to only take a bath with caregiver approval and the use of epsom salt or an antibacterial herbal mix to prevent infection.
Due to raging hormones and the enormous life changes that come with having a baby, most new mothers experience a wide range of emotions. Some of these emotions may be negative.
In order to express your emotions in a productive way and let negative emotions go, you may find it helpful to keep a journal of all your thoughts and feelings during the weeks after your child's birth. In fact, journaling is a terrific habit to maintain throughout your life, and a great way to record memories as your child grows.
Another great way to deal with postpartum emotions and mood swings is to meditate. By taking a small amount of time each day to sit down, clear your mind, and focus on your breathing, you will likely find yourself feeling much more stable and able to cope with the many stresses of being a mama. I like the meditation app Headspace.
Getting a good stretch of sleep with a newborn often feels impossible. Instead of hoping your baby will adapt to your sleeping schedule, try adapting to theirs for the first few months after birth. For many women this will mean sleeping for short, half-hour stretches throughout the day, but when you are sleeping for 3–5 hours total each night, even a couple of 30-minute naps during the day can drastically improve your mood and energy levels.
For many Oklahoma City mamas, a main key to postpartum wellness—and a host of other postpartum issues—is placenta encapsulation. While many women might be less than thrilled by the idea of swallowing their own placenta, most are perfectly happy to do so when they learn about the many positive effects these little “happy pills” can have. You can book this service by e-mailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org