Postpartum tends to be a disregarded period. There’s lots of emotions and lists of things to do going through your mind at one time. You are ecstatic over your newest addition and bundle of joy. Then the recovery begins. You want to run outside and tell the world about what you’ve accomplished but looking into your little ones keeps you put. Your body has done something amazing and you begin to have a greater appreciation for all the muscles you never thought you had. The icing on the cake is the new body you bring home and all the stuff coming out of it.
You suddenly feel like a new person. New responsibilities and priorities as a mother await you at the doorstep. Everything has changed. Now you get ready for your new unpredictable life. Here is a list of tips and tricks for a positive postpartum period.
1. Take care of your emotional needs
Outside of the physical changes, your hormones and new duties are going to put your emotions through a roller coaster. Use these guidelines and keeping telling yourself that you are a boss.
Remind yourself that everything happening to your body is normal. Yes, it is different but you’re not going crazy. This is supposed to happen. You just pushed a little human being out of your vagina.
Have a designated support team. Start a group chat with your circle so that you know that your loved ones are a fingertip away. Inform your close friends and family of the symptoms of postpartum depression so that they can be informed and check on you. Knowing you are loved and supported will make a difference.
Inform your circle that you will be lowkey for a while. Excessive visitors can bring about stress and trigger more emotions. Lay out your boundaries and don’t be afraid to say no.
Have some entrainment prepared for yourself. You will be at home for a while tending to your little one. When you are not resting or taking care of baby, set up some activities to keep you busy and amused. Whether it be a new craft, listening to albums you never got to or movies you’ve never watched; set aside something enjoyable.
2. Get some gadgets
New things are going on with your body. Day-today life will need to be tweaked to keep yourself comfortable and productive. Here are a few items to keep around and make postpartum life easier.
- Breast Pump – Ask around about the best brands. Some swear by particular models and others may disagree. Everybody is different, but taking your time to decide for yourself is key.
- Pads – Overnight with wings and extra cold packs from your provider will work wonders. (especially if you have an episiotomy)
- Tissue boxes - in easily accessible areas. For runny noses
- Donut – Not the fluffy sweet kind, although those are great too. The inflatable seat cushions to be exact. They are great for comfort during nursing or general seating. Small inner tube floaties work the same.
- Cranberry juice or capsules – These will help prevent urinary tract and yeast infections. Breastfeeding babies may get a little fussy from the juice, but it is well worth it to avoid an issue with the sore part of your body.
- Nursing guide or mentor – Have someone in your corner to encourage you. Breastfeeding has it’s ups and downs. Ask a close friend or family member who has been through the experience to help you through the first few weeks. They can be the toughest.
- Nursing pillow – These make breastfeeding more comfortable. You and baby will learn to love them
3. Make time for yourself
You have a little person to take care of but you can not forget to take care of your general wellbeing first. Take some time for yourself. Your inner circle will be more than willing to help you out with these.
- Rest as much as possible – This may seem like a challenge, but there are ways. Ask your partner or someone from your circle to watch the little one for a few hours and sleep when the baby sleeps.
- Eat well – Nutrition is the best way to keep your energy levels up. Keep pre-cut fruits and veggies around for snacking. Eat the things you like and maintain a balanced diet.
- Exercise – Wait until you get approved by your provider to work out of course, but a walk outside does wonders.
- Shower – Daily. This is a great time for let some of the day wash off and sing in the shower. Put on some cute comfy clothes and continue with a great day.
- HYDRATE – Especially if you’re breastfeeding. Buy yourself a nice bottle or keep the one from the hospital around. Bring it everywhere and drink whenever you get a chance.
Postpartum is a wonderful time for you and the family. Enjoy it and don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Hopefully this makes you feel more comfortable about this new stage of life. There’s nothing like bringing home a new bundle of life. Best wishes.
- Nandi Brown, Doula & Student Midwife