Following the birth of your baby, adjusting to life can be challenging. You and your baby need as much care as possible. The postpartum time period is the first six weeks following childbirth. It’s a time to bond with your baby and heal.
Planning for what happens after the baby is just as important as the time you take to prepare for pregnancy and birth. Here are 10 tips for postpartum moms to take care of themselves.
Rest is one of the most important things you can do after you have a baby. Both physical and mental rest are essential for your body to heal and recover post-birth. While your baby is sleeping, sleep! It’s the best time to rest because your newborn is sound asleep and will likely stay asleep for a few hours at a time.
Allow family members and friends to do things for you, like cook, clean and run errands. When given a choice between sleep and something else, choose rest.
2. Eat Healthy Foods and Stay Hydrated
Although it can be tempting to indulge in any food you want, it’s not the best for your overall health and recovery. You need to eat foods that are going to fuel your body and help with the recovery process.
Have smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day to stay fueled. Take your vitamins and stay hydrated as well, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Proper nutrition is key to a faster recovery.
3. Make Sure You Move
Of course, rest is of utmost importance, but moving is helpful, too. Your body needs to move and get some exercise postpartum. Try going on short walks or doing simple stretches with your arms and legs.
Over the course of your recovery, increase your activity level. However, don’t disregard what your body is telling you — if you need to take a break, take a break!
4. Gather a Support Team
Your friends, family and healthcare providers are there for you. Get all of the help and support you need after having a baby. You’ll be experiencing a range of emotions and sometimes need someone to just sit and listen and support you.
A great way to source outside advice is to become a member of a social media group where other moms are going through the same things as you. It can be helpful and reassuring to hear that you’re not alone.
5. Show Your Emotions
Again, you are going to be experiencing all kinds of emotions postpartum. Let them show. You’ve been through a lot, and it’s understandable for you to be feeling happy, sad, tired and frustrated all at once.
If you develop severe depression or anxiety, seek professional help. Postpartum depression is real, and you’re not alone if you’re experiencing it. Reach out to your healthcare provider for information on therapists.
6. Be Patient With Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding takes time to get the hang of, especially for first-time moms. Every baby is different in how long it takes them to latch on — be patient. Read books and ask your birthing doctor or nurse for tips on how to get your baby to feed.
If formula feeding is easier for you and your baby, then use formula. Many moms choose formula out of convenience, and it might help their babies eat more than from a breast. As long as your baby is eating, either option works!
7. Care for Your Tears
If you had a vaginal delivery, tearing might occur. Up to 90% of first-time births result in tearing. Usually, this is mild, and the more births you have, the more likely you are to experience little to no tearing. For moms who have had c-sections, keep the incision clean and take care of the scar.
Make sure you care for your tears if you have them. It’s a common occurrence, but depending on the severity of the tear, healing times will vary. Check for infection, and use tools like ice packs, pain relievers and cushions to ease the pain.
8. Limit Visitors
It’s okay to say no to visitors. Your time with your newborn is limited, and people will understand if you want that alone time with your immediate family. If you have visitors, it’s also okay to ask them to leave.
Another way to have more privacy with your newborn is to turn off your phone. Let family and friends know that you want that precious time without having to worry about entertaining guests. If you personally find it hard to say no to visitors, designate your partner or a close friend or family member to decline visitors.
9. Know That Hemorrhoids Are Normal
Many women experience hemorrhoids after giving birth and even during pregnancy. They’re veins that become swollen or engorged with blood. A rush of hormones, constipation and internal pressure are often the causes for hemorrhoids. They can be extremely painful or irritating, but they’re usually treatable at home.
You’ll know you have hemorrhoids if you feel itchy in the rectal area or notice swollen veins outside the anal opening. Home treatments include hemorrhoid creams, ice packs, keeping the area clean and trying a sitz bath.
10. Treat Yourself
Finally, you deserve to treat yourself. You’re doing great as a mom already, and it’s okay to take a day for yourself. Indulge in your favorite ice cream, go for a massage or spend a few hours shopping.
Being a mom involves constant and demanding work. Do what you need to do to feel your best, even if it means taking an hour every day to spend time with yourself!
You Got This, Mom
All moms experience different things postpartum. Do what’s best for you and your baby to keep you healthy. Remember — get some rest!