Becoming a new parent can trigger a range of emotions, from the excitement of holding your new bundle of joy to the anxiety of managing the responsibility of a baby. You must have prepared well for your pregnancy, the delivery, and the arrival of your baby, but many new mothers often neglect the care required in the postpartum stage.
The postpartum period is the initial six weeks after delivery. This stage is often intense for new mothers as they require additional care to recover from the process of giving birth. However, they are so busy taking care of the baby that they tend to neglect taking care of themselves.
You need to focus on your postpartum recovery so that your body properly heals from the trauma it has just gone through. Here are a few ways new mothers can enhance their postpartum recovery:
Rest as Much as you Can
New parents quickly learn that caring for newborns is rather challenging. Babies don’t follow the same time clocks as their parents. Your baby wakes up after three hours, demanding to be fed, comforted, and/or changed.
Tackling sleep deprivation, along with hormonal changes, body changes, and breastfeeding, cooking, cleaning, and other responsibilities, can be highly exhausting. As a result, you will automatically push self-care to the back seat.
Listen up mothers; your priority right now should be you and your baby. You need to get as much rest as you possibly can. Sleep when your baby sleeps. The messy room, dirty dishes in the sink and other chores can and should be managed by others.
Ask your spouse or other family members to help out and look after the baby so you can sleep and let your body heal.
Provide Extra Care to your Breasts
Taking care of your breasts is crucial at this stage. If your breasts are aching, gently massage them. Use ice packs or warm compress to soothe them. Make sure that you wear a comfortable nursing bra at home.
After breastfeeding, allow your breasts to air out and apply moisturizer to heal or prevent cracked nipples.
Opt for Helpers
As mentioned before, ask your spouse, family members, and friends to help out around the house. Consider hiring help to manage all the cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and cooking. Make sure you properly communicate the things you expect the helpers to do to prevent misunderstandings.
Your complete attention should be on the needs of your baby and your own care. Having helpers can around make the postpartum stage easier for you.
Don’t Miss the Doctor’s Appointment
Keep up with all the doctor’s appointments to ensure that your body can heal properly. If you had a C-section, then make sure you get the stitches out on time; otherwise, the scars might worsen.
Make sure to ask any questions or share any symptoms you might be experiencing with your doctor. No matter how small it might seem, if you notice anything unusual, let your doctor know.
You need good nutrition to not only help your body heal but also to ensure your baby gets the right foods. Even if you are not feeling hungry, snack on fruit or sliced vegetables. Opt for foods that have high amounts of potassium to enhance your energy levels.
Go Out in the Sun
It is normal to experience the baby blues after delivery, which can drastically impact your mood. Head out for a walk or sit in your garden to soak in the sunlight and get some fresh air. It will help improve your mood. Try going out for at least 15 minutes a day.
Don’t Forget to Pamper Yourself
Take a bubble bath, get a haircut, read for a few minutes, or just light up some scented candles and rest your eyes.
Consider Psychotherapy and Holistic Approaches
Many new mothers experience postpartum depression, which is often mistaken for the usual baby blues. If nothing helps, then consult with your doctor who might suggest different approaches to help you battle with depression.
Psychotherapy is often recommended for postpartum depression. Your therapist will help you talk through your emotions and concerns while implementing effective strategies to manage your depression.
Holistic approaches, like breathing exercises, acupuncture, massages and more, are also great means for tackling postpartum depression and escalating the recovery process. Having a mind, body and soul connection is crucial to improve your mental health.
Find the Right Support System
Entering motherhood is a completely new experience and everyone manages it differently. Being around other mothers can be helpful. Talking to other new mothers or experienced mothers will assure you that you are not in this alone. Moreover, you can also get helpful advice and tips from them for your recovery.
Becoming a mother is indeed a life-changing yet beautiful experience. It has its ups and downs, but as you gradually settle into this new role, you will start figuring things out your own way. Make sure you take good care of yourself to promote the healing and recovery of your body after birth.
Give yourself time to adjust and grow, forgive yourself for making mistakes, and don’t stress about what others might think. Every mother goes through the same journey. Most importantly, never hesitate to consult your doctor regarding any concerns as this is crucial for your recovery process. Always trust your instincts.
Emily Scott is a trained counselor at Mind Wellness Counseling providing evidence-based holistic approaches and guidance for people. She identifies the main issues and creates actionable steps to help individuals make a positive change in their lives.