Wondering what you can do to make those first few days of motherhood a little easier? We’ve got you, mama.
In a previous blog, Mental Health In Pregnancy, we discussed the importance of self-care in helping you deal with this incredible chapter of your life. Today, we’ll be talking about the equally important issue of showing yourself love and kindness in the days after giving birth.
Here are your top five tips for postpartum self-care:
1. Sleep At EVERY Opportunity
In the days following childbirth, you’ll be told to “sleep when the baby sleeps”. I’d take this a step further and encourage you to sleep every chance you get! Daytime naps are the way forward, take them wherever you can get them.
Not only is sleep an important part of the healing process but being well-rested will help you face those endless night feeds and early morning wake-up calls. One day, you’ll sleep like a regular person again, but for now, take what you can get.
2. Rest And Recuperate
Not only should you get plenty of sleep, but even when you’re awake you should try to rest as much as possible. Listen to your body, if it’s telling you it wants to stay in bed with your baby, stay in bed with your baby.
We LOVE the “5-5-5 Rule”, which is encouraged by many doulas and midwives. Plan to spend 5 days in bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days around the bed. This not only gives you the opportunity to recover, but it also allows you that precious time to bond with your baby.
The “5-5-5 Rule” gives you the opportunity to recover and bond with your baby.
3. Stay Hydrated
No, tea doesn’t count. Ok, it does, but make sure you’re getting plenty of the pure stuff too. As with all of our body processes, recovering from labour will be sped along if your body has the nutrients, minerals and water it needs. Up to 60% of our body is water, so make sure you’re topping up regularly. This will also help with postpartum toilet stuff, making your first few days after labour a lot less stressful.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need to pay particularly good attention to your water intake too, otherwise, you risk getting dehydrated. Water is crucial for the production of breastmilk, so make sure you always have a bottle on hand and get into the habit of sipping it while you’re nursing.
4. Eat For YOU
Dear lord woman, you’ve just created a whole new human being, now is NOT the time to deny yourself the finer pleasures of life in an effort to “bounce back”. Not only does your body need plenty of nutrients to recover from the marathon of labour, but it also needs calories to heal, recuperate and to create breastmilk.
Give your body what it needs, without worrying about getting back into your pre-baby shape. Acknowledge how amazing you are, exactly as you are, and eat the damn cake.
5. Embrace Mother Nature
At the risk of sounding too hippy-dippy, there’s a lot to be said for the natural world, particularly when it comes to postpartum self-care.
If you experienced tearing or an episiotomy during labour, soaking in a herbal sitz bath can be a great way to ease the discomfort and bring a little luxury into an otherwise rough experience. Sure, it may just be the warm water working its magic, but the scent of lavender and chamomile alone is enough to make this a must.
Top Tip: Add a few drops of tea tree oil onto your maternity pads before you wear them. This encourages healing and helps to keep infections away.
Shop Neil's Yard Essential Remedies Tea Tree Oil Organic Essential oil 10ml here
If you’re planning your postpartum self-care, you may also be interested in reading Breastfeeding, Expressing and Other Ways To Feed A Newborn.
Originally from New Zealand, Sarah is a mother to two boys and has lived in the UK for the past 10 years. She is a home educator, freelance writer, Netflix-binger and has a penchant for strong black coffee.