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Postpartum self-care? What’s that?
Okay, so you’ve just had a baby and you can’t remember the last time you had a shower….dirty dishes litter the house, the garbage needs to go out and the diaper pail is overflowing.
In addition, your baby is not happy unless he is physically attached to you!
Every time you try to lay him down, he wakes or cries. How can you possibly have time for taking care of yourself, right?
Well, let’s speak some truth to ourselves here…
Truth #1 Yes, the 4th trimester is hard!
Truth #2 Yes, postpartum self-care is possible!
Truth #3 Postpartum self-care is essential to healing!
The Postpartum Trimester is Hard!
Not only do you have this newborn to care for, but your body has just gone through a major physical event that requires rest and healing. (This is especially true if you have delivered via cesarean section.)
In addition, all the hormone changes during those early days and weeks, can also mess with your mood and confidence, leaving you feeling tired, insecure and vulnerable.
To make matters worse, you still look like you are six months pregnant! (When I was 2 weeks postpartum, a well-meaning gentleman asked me when my baby was due…. ouch!) See my post here about my own personal postpartum challenges.
Another very common challenge of the postpartum time is that new parents are full of anxieties and questions. often worrying about very normal things.
“Is it normal for my baby to nurse so much? Am I bleeding too much? Is my baby getting enough to eat?” All very good and valid concerns!
Finally, there are all those well-meaning family and friends, who love to freely share advice and often misinformation with new parents! Don’t believe these newborn myths. This can lead to confusion and mothers second-guessing ourselves.
How can we trust our “mommy gut” when we have so many other voices telling us what to do?!
With all these challenges, it’s hard to get time for postpartum self-care, but… it can be done!
Postpartum Self-Care is Possible
When it comes to self-care, we mothers often tend to think that everything else is more important than taking care of ourselves.
Our default, as mothers, is usually to neglect ourselves while we care for those around us. But I have come to realize that this approach not only hurts us, but ultimately hurts those we love.
When we neglect ourselves, we are not able to properly love those we are meant to care for. Instead, we become exhausted, resentful and can literally make ourselves sick!
But, it is possible to care for ourselves if we are intentional. It takes discipline and determination, and it really helps to have a plan!
Postpartum Self-Care is Essential to Healing!
If we don’t make self-care a priority during postpartum, we will most likely have physical or emotional set backs during postpartum.
Our bodies are recovering from the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and birth and this is no small task.
In addition, if you are breastfeeding, your body is using lots of energy to produce milk for your baby.
If you are still pregnant, then it’s not too late for you to plan an awesome postpartum recovery and baby moon!
This FREE Planning for Postpartum Email Mini Course will guide you through the necessary planning.
Free Printable – 5 Self-Care Tips for New Moms
5 Postpartum Self-Care Tips for New Moms
1. Be intentional about getting enough sleep.
Perhaps the most important postpartum self-care tip is to prioritize sleep!
Sleep when the baby sleeps!
If you simply cannot take naps during the day, then schedule your (early) bedtime and stick to it!
Since you will be waking during the night to feed your baby, make sure that you keep going back to sleep until you’ve reached your sleep requirements!!
Ask friends and family to help with household chores so you can focus on rest and bonding with your baby. See my post on sleep hacks for new parents. You can read it here.
2. Eat a healthy diet.
A healthy real food diet is essential for healing and breastfeeding. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, pasture-raised meats and drink plenty of water! Wild-caught (Alaskan) salmon is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Also choose free-range eggs, if available.
Soaked oatmeal is another really great food for milk supply. (easy recipe here)
Hopefully, you will have friends and family who can help keep you well-nourished with healthy meals.
You should also continue taking your prenatal vitamins for a while yet.
If you are pregnant, take some time now to prepare ahead and freeze some healthy postpartum meals. You will be glad you did!
3. Let people serve you
Ask for help with household chores and learn to let go of the things that don’t get done. This is really hard to do, but resist the urge to do these things yourself.
Your job now is to rest, recover, care for your newborn and pamper yourself!
For more about how to properly rest during postpartum, check out this post!
4. Pamper Yourself
After you have had enough sleep, take some time every day to freshen up. Take a shower or bathe. Put on make-up and fix your hair. You will feel so much better having washed up and dressed for the day.
If you are still within the early postpartum time, put on a fresh pair of pajamas or lounging clothes, so you are not tempted to start working around the house!
Treat yourself to some of your favorite pampering treats such as a manicure, back rub or favorite coffee treat. Don’t forget your daily sitz baths too!
5. Have some fun
“Baby Blues” is a real thing.
There are a lot of hormone changes going on within your body, not to mention the physical fatigue you feel. All this may drain your emotional tank.
Remind yourself that this is most likely hormonal and temporary!
Try scheduling a fun event at home while nesting with your baby.
Watch a funny movie, make popcorn, play a board game, call or Skype your best friend, or have a “girls night in”, but keep it small.
Take some time to focus on fun while you rest.
Another fun idea? Plan a postpartum movie marathon (with your favorite series) to keep you on the couch!
Pro-Tip: Want an Emotional Self-Care Tip?
Share your birth story!
Sharing your birth story can be one of the greatest ways to process your birth and heal emotionally from a traumatic birth.
Actually, all mothers should process their births and share their birth stories.
Find out why in this post.
Do you have any other postpartum self-care tips? Share your great tips in the comments! Thank you.
30 Easy Sleep Tips for New Parents
Having a newborn is hard! The greatest challenge for most new parents is loss of sleep.
How can you get more sleep with your newborn? It is possible!
As an overnight postpartum doula, I have taught hundreds of new parents strategies for getting better postpartum sleep.
I decided to gather all these tips into an easy step-by-step, hands-on survival guide for new parents where I teach new parents how to maximize their sleep during the postpartum period.
I have compiled all my favorite doula tips into a very practical and useful book on sleep for new parents.
It’s called 30 Sleep Hacks for New Parents: A Sleep Survival Guide for Parents of Newborns. This quick read is a very affordable eBook that will be a game changer for your family!
FREE Printable Postpartum Planning Resources!
Plan ahead and have an easier postpartum recovery! In this FREE packet, I have included my favorite postpartum organizational planning tools: a Postpartum Plan Worksheet as well as a Postpartum Checklist to help you get organized and ready! You won’t forget any important details with these great planning guides! The Postpartum Plan Worksheet will help you and your partner dialog and create a plan for your recovery time. The Postpartum Checklist is a doula-made pregnancy “To Do List” designed to prepare you for life with your newborn!
FREE Planning Resources for Your New Baby!
If you are pregnant, this is the time to begin planning for your new baby’s arrival! What do you include on your baby registry checklist? How do you write a birth plan? How do you hire a doula? Who will be helping you during your recovery time? What should you include in your postpartum plan? How about a newborn care plan? How do you set up a meal train? What are some easy freezer meals to make ahead? What should you pack in your hospital bag? These are just a sampling of the kind of planning you will need to do!
But don’t get overwhelmed! The work of planning isn’t really so bad because I have compiled some great FREE resources for you here. Download these free worksheets and email courses to get you started with all your planning needs!
Download this free printable worksheet for planning the perfect postpartum recovery time. This worksheet is a great springboard for discussion for you and your partner. It provides helpful tips and suggestions for how to organize and plan for your recovery!
Many new parents don’t know about the importance of a newborn care plan. If you are planning a hospital birth, this plan walks you through all the important decisions you will need to make regarding the care of your new baby.
Wow! This is such a great resource for pregnant mamas! Subscribe to Alli’s and Trina’s amazing FREE new mom planning course and get weekly email updates and reminders so you can stay on course and plan for your new baby. Type in your due date and email address and you’re all set! Their weekly emails will both inspire and motivate you as you get ready for the big day!
Although not free, this affordable planner is one that I want to bring to your attention. As a postpartum doula, I am VERY excited to recommend this great planning resource! Why? Because I have witnessed so many new moms who are not prepared for their postpartum recovery and consequently have a much more difficult time recovering and adjusting to motherhood.
The Nesting Planner is a complete planner for pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, breastfeeding and newborn care. It is loaded with printable checklists, worksheets and other planning tools. It will help you get organized and stay on track throughout your entire pregnancy. You will never miss a step with monthly checklists and reminders that easily itemize what must be done before the big day! Check out the Nesting Planner here.
FREE Planning for Postpartum Email Course!
Would you like other great postpartum planning tips? Check out my FREE Planning for Postpartum 5-Day Mini Email Course.
This course covers topics such as how to plan your “baby moon”, how to get your home ready for baby, how to enlist help, how to handle visitors, strategies for getting better postpartum sleep and much more!
Sign up for the free course now!