If you’ve recently had a baby, you’ll know all about the crazy time that we call postpartum. Postpartum is a time when you are physically and emotionally recovering from pregnancy and birth, learning to take care of a tiny human, and also adjusting to an enormous lifestyle change that has just taken place. And often you’re doing this while being sleep deprived and waking multiple times a night to feed baby. As a mum of two, I have been there and remember it well.
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably looking for ways that you can support your own wellbeing after having your baby. I know that this can be so difficult when you’re also taking care of a new baby. That’s why I’ve put together a few quick ideas of things you can do to support your own wellbeing and recovery as a new mum.
1) Support yourself nutritionally:
While this seems like it should be easy, it can actually be very challenging! However, it is also incredibly important, especially if you are breastfeeding. You might be exhausted, but it’s very important for you to eat enough nutritious food each day. Check out my whole post on postpartum nutrition here. When you have just had your baby, make sure you surround yourself with as much support as you can so that you don’t need to be cooking while you’re still in the early postpartum recovery.
When you or your partner are feeling up to cooking, there are a few ways that you can make this easier for yourself and your partner, even if you are exhausted:
If you haven’t had your baby yet, spend a few hours doing a big cook up and fill your freezer with meals that you can pull out of the freezer and heat up later
Use meal delivery services. There are many meal delivery and food delivery services available now. These can help as you will always have fresh ingredients to cook a nutritious meal every single day
Ask guests to bring food with them. If you’ve ever read any of my blogs (like this one) about supporting new mums after they have their baby, you will know I always tell people to bring a home cooked meal with them
Buy convenient and nutritious snack foods. Go to the supermarket, and fill your trolley with snacks, especially those from the health food isle. Or you can buy some of our delicious lactation biscuits.
Cook in bulk. If you or your partner are making a meal, make a double or triple batch and put the rest in your freezer for another day. That way you will always have something to pull out of the freezer
Use a slow cooker. Slow cookers are great because you can throw a whole lot of ingredients in and walk away for hours. This way you or your partner can prepare dinner while you feel good or when your baby is calm, then you can come back to a delicious meal later. You can also use a slow cooker to prepare meals in bulk and have enough food for days.
2) Prepare yourself with all the products you need for your postpartum recovery.
Check out my blog here on preparing a postpartum recovery kit
Prepare yourself by buying everything you need, such as maternity pads, nursing pads (I like the reusable ones), plenty of nursing balm, a breast pump milk saver, breast milk storage bags, and anything else you might need. Don’t forget to include some other items to help you feel special and more like yourself again. I totally love essential oil rollers, belly oils, or moisturising creams so that you can have just a tiny bit of luxury while also taking care of yourself in postpartum.
3) Surround yourself with supportive people
I know this isn’t possible for everyone. If you are lucky enough to have friends and family around you, use them to help you through the difficult days. Ask them to help out with picking up things from the shops, helping with chores, or holding the baby for you while you shower or spend some time by yourself. Chat to those around you and make sure you prioritise seeing the people you love.
4) Do something you love each day and include your baby in it
If you love coffee, take your baby for a walk or drive down to the coffee shop. Take the baby for a walk each day in the pram or the baby carrier. Don’t worry if you don’t feel up to doing your hair and make up, no one is going to judge you, and it is important for you to get out of the house for your own mental health. Watch your favourite comfort show while feeding the baby, or read a good book while the baby sleeps or feeds. It is important for you to things for yourself each day as well.
5) Prioritise your own needs as well as baby
This means making sure you have a shower each day, drink a hot coffee or tea each day, and get as much sleep as you can. If you have a baby that needs to be held a lot, ask your partner to take the baby for you, or take a bath with the baby. If you aren’t getting enough sleep overnight, go to bed early, take a nap with baby, or have your partner or another trusted person take care of the baby while you sleep. Find ways to get your own needs met, even if you have an unhappy and clingy baby.
6) Go easy on yourself
Parenting is hard. Being a first-time mum to a newborn baby is really hard as well. Recovering from birth and pregnancy and caring for a newborn is so very difficult. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to bounce back. You don’t have to “enjoy every second”. You don’t have to have a spotless house and a schedule filled with activities every day. Go easy on yourself, and speak to yourself the way you would speak to a dear friend you care about in your situation.
If you had a C section, you need to take it even more easy and spend more time on your physical recovery. Check out my blog here on recovery tips for C section mummas.