It’s common for most expectant mothers, especially first-timers, to focus so much on their pregnancy and the planning for a baby that they don’t think much about how they’ll bounce back physically after labor.
If you’ve recently had a baby, now is the time not only to pour your attention into your little one but also to consider ways to help yourself feel better. To assist you in this self-care period, here are tips to follow along the way.
Keep Your Medical Appointments
Continue to check in with your doctor once you’re home from the hospital to ensure healing is progressing as it should be. Have a medical practitioner check and remove stitches if you had to have a cesarean, and let your doctor know if you’re having any kinds of bodily changes or unforeseen symptoms that are worrying you or those around you.
For example, speak up about unexpected pain or tenderness around incisions or stitches, fever, chills, dizziness, vomiting, headaches, heavy bleeding, vision issues, or anything else you may be experiencing. Your doctor can check in with you to see how you’re going emotionally and mentally, too. Try to open up to them about any overwhelming feelings you have as you try to adjust to being a new parent, especially if you’re struggling with postpartum depression symptoms.
Rest When You Can
As a new mom, it’s vital to get rest whenever you can. Pregnancy and labor take a lot out of you physically, emotionally, and mentally, as does the lack of sleep when caring for a newborn. As such, make your sleep a priority wherever possible, rather than focusing on cleaning up or responding to well wishes or gifts, etc. In the first few weeks after giving birth, you must take care of yourself and your needs, as well as your baby’s. Getting rest is a big part of that.
Eat Well and Stay Hydrated
Another way to help yourself recover postpartum is eating well. Your body and mind cannot get back to a healthy, balanced place if you don’t give yourself the nutrients required. Eat a combination of complex carbs, protein, fiber, and good fats throughout the day to replenish energy and help your hormones become more balanced.
Healthy meals will also assist you in becoming more “regular” after labor. In particular, the fiber found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will fight constipation and prevent hemorrhoids. It pays to eat five smaller meals throughout the day rather than three larger ones at this point. If you struggle to find the time and inclination to eat solid foods sometimes, it’s wise to buy quality dairy free protein powder containing all the vitamins and minerals you need. Use this powder in smoothies, juices, or even just plain water or coconut water.
Furthermore, drink plenty of water daily to stay hydrated. Aim for at least eight glasses. It’s harder to recover and think straight if you’re dehydrated. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible, too, as these drinks not only won’t aid hydration but can also affect moods negatively and make it harder to sleep.
Get Some Light Movement into Your Day
As a no-doubt exhausted new mother, you likely won’t have too much excess energy to be active. However, it’s a good idea to get at least some light movement into your days to help your mind and body find a healthy equilibrium. Strenuous exercise is likely not possible for the first few weeks after giving birth, especially if you had a C-section, but do chat with your health practitioner about when you can start taking walks. They will assist recovery because the movement can boost your mood, improve circulation, and help with gas and constipation.
On the other hand, though, avoid heavy lifting or doing anything too strenuous after labor that could pop stitches or otherwise cause problems. You’ll have your baby to lift and move, which is enough. Listen to your body and use common sense about what does and doesn’t feel too much for you.
Be Gentle on Yourself
Lastly, be gentle with yourself as you recover, and don’t expect to be able to be a superwoman who does everything for everyone or has it “all together.” Accept help from others, such as babysitting, laundry services, food preparation, cleaning, etc. Don’t feel pressured to have many visitors around in the first few weeks as you try to adjust to life with a newborn.
Plus, don’t feel you must suffer through pain or discomfort. Take advantage of helpful things such as ice packs, heating pads, massage, creams, cushions, essential oils, pain relievers, supportive underwear, and so on. Utilize tools to make yourself more comfortable during this time.
Every little step you take to support yourself during your postpartum recovery can make this more of a time to remember fondly. Care for yourself, so you can better appreciate the beautiful newborn in your life.