Postpartum Self Care: Body, Mind & Soul During Postpartum
Preparation for your postpartum is KEY. In our classes, Connected Childbirth, we talk about positive self care in birth and postpartum within the context of Body, Mind & Soul this becomes easy!!
As a birth professional for the last 9 years we have come to understand that our homes are only as healthy as the mother that resides in them. Ensuring that you are taken care of is paramount!
With the rising tide of anxiety and depression navigating this space within the context of body, mind and soul will help you connect to your self-care. Labor of Love is actively working towards setting women and families up for success during this time.
It takes preparation.
It takes agency.
It takes self-awareness.
By putting a few KEY items in place you can change how this period unfolds, how you process your experience and ultimately how it changes you.
Pregnancy & postpartum are an excellent opportunities to invest in YOU!!
Here are some great ways to start impacting your postpartum time by remembering your BODY, MIND and SOUl!!
Postpartum Self Care for the Body
Rest | Understanding that the more you rest the sooner you will recover is essential. Your body is not only recovering from birth, one of the biggest physical events of your life, but you are also recovering from 9+ months of pregnancy! The best way for your body to recover is rest. Knowing HOW much rest you need can put you in the right mindset. In the postpartum module of our Connected Childbirth course we talk about preparing to spend 5 days in bed (pj's on, nestled under the covers and only leaving your bed to go to the restroom). Then 5 days on bed (clothes on and maybe more moving around but mainly sitting or lying down). lastly, 5 days next to your bed (more mobility but still sitting and rest for the majority of the day). Give yourself at least 15 days to simply rest.
Postpartum Kit | Ensure that you have your basic hygienic care items when you come home from the hospital. There are many things you can add to your postpartum kit. You can go as large or small as you wish. We offer a kit to our birth doula clients that includes the basics must haves: a sitz bath, herbal sitz soak, organic pads, and witch hazel. Using all these items daily will ensure that you are healing well and help you heal quicker! The sooner you physically feel better, the better you will feel emotionally.
Eat Well| Invest and prepare in your nutrition for this timeframe. You should not be standing in the kitchen and cooking. So that either means that you have someone else cook for you, prepare or you will be ordering way too much fast food! Getting quality and nutritious foods in your body will help you heal, recover and mentally feel better. If needed hire a food delivery service or meal prep ahead of time especially if you have a specific dietary need.
Postpartum Self Care for the Mind
Set Boundaries | One of the biggest lessons our children offer us is an excuse to say no. Taking care of a baby is a FULL TIME JOB! Having a newborn is your "get of any obligation free card." Learning to set good boundaries for yourself is an essential energy saver. You have permission to SAY NO without guilt or regret! Remember that the better you take care of yourself, the better mother you will be!
Minimize Outings & Responsibilities | Now is the time to DO LESS! You only need to take care of yourself and your baby! That is it! You can order most anything online from the comfort of your bed. Running extra errands can just exhaust you and send you into overwhelm. You will NEVER get this time back, nest, rest and relax. Allow others to return those items to target or bring you Starbucks. Only allow small outings like necessary visits to the doctor during this time. And, don't worry your busy life will return which is why taking advantage of this time to rest is such a lovely opportunity.
Ask for Help | We have a culture of martyrdom for new moms that are expected to manage it all on their own, look good while doing it and present on Instagram in all its filtered glory! AND, we are also seeing record stats of postpartum anxiety and depression. So ask yourself who is this serving? The pressure to present your life on all levels as beautiful, manageable and prefect!! Guess what my friend, we weren't ever supposed to do this alone. Eons go we would have had a whole village to support us or our mothers (who actually knew HOW to support us) would move in for the first month of our baby's life. We would have had A LOT of help! So, it is your responsibility to ASK for it! If you aren't comfortable asking for help NOW is the time to learn. Be it your spouse, your mother, sister, friends!! Help is the biggest gift you could offer yourself. If needed hire a postpartum doula I know many amazing ones!
Postpartum Self Care for the Soul
Get Fresh Air | Make sure that you get fresh air daily. Open the windows, allow sun light in, smell the fresh air. If possible sit outside, put your feet in the grass, close your eyes and soak in this moment. Give yourself a pause to just sit in the sun and look at nature and your surroundings. Away from artificial light, screens of all kinds and people that may need you for any little thing. Investing in this moment, a little moment to yourself, can go such a long way. Also, remember that while postpartum can be many things; challenging, frustrating, joyous, complicated … it is also temporary. Take it one day, one moment, one breath, at a time.
Be Your Own Best Friend | Love yourself like you would a best friend! What if you actually did this!! Loved YOURSELF like you loved your best friend? How would that change how you treat yourself? How would that change your inner dialog? How would that change how you see yourself? Being your own best friend means that all the amazing advice and encouragement you give your best friend, you must give to yourself. Remind yourself that sitting in the sun fills your soul (and then go sit outside), tell yourself that you are an amazing mother (and then feel it), hold yourself and allow yourself space and grace to grow (nurture your new life).
Snuggle Skin to Skin | Spend absolutely as much time as possible skin to skin with your newborn. This does not mean you sacrifice your sanity to do this. This means that you forget about creating bad habits or worrying that she won't be able to self sooth or that you will spoil him. Skin to skin is one of the many treasures of life with a newborn. Indulge in it! Your baby will only grow and grow. They will never be this small again. Your initial postpartum period (the first 6 weeks or so) is the time to snuggle ALL DAY with them. Soak in their tiny breath, feel their warmth on your skin, the weight of their body on yours. Such times are magic for your soul and baby’s too.
Find Community | Connect, make time to talk to your friends, get coffee, join the mommy group. You are the best investment you can give your child. Invest your well being and find your community!! We all need it more than we know. The more friends you invite into your life the fuller your life will be. It is food for the soul my friend!
I hope that these postpartum self care tips has are useful. If you have any questions or inquires feel free to contact us!