Healing our body & mind postpartum can be a better experience if we are well informed about what to expect and how to deal with it. Most of the time, we focus on the pregnancy period, taking vitamins, eating right, moisturizing, preparing for the baby… We conveniently forget that the first 6 weeks after giving birth can be one of the most trying times for a woman. Maybe we don’t want to scare women away from childbearing, but having a good pregnancy doesn’t end once our bundle of joy has arrived.
A happy mummy, makes a happy baby!
What is postpartum?
The postpartum period starts right after giving birth and lasts approximately 6 weeks, this is a “recovery” time for your body, which may be difficult whether you had a natural birth or a C-section.
It can be different for each woman and for each pregnancy, what helps most is to take the time to slow down and to be accepting and loving with your body. You just went through something incredible. The transformation your body went through to give life took months, and it will be just the same to heal and feel like it’s “back to normal” again.
Feeling good after giving birth
With the rush of hormones, outside expectations and our own ideals about motherhood, we often feel guilty about taking some time for ourselves during these first few weeks, but we deserve some self-love too.
A happy mummy, makes a happy baby. If you’re feeling unwell and anxious, your baby will pick up on it. Get rid of these guilty feelings, because taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your baby, too.
Tips for post-natal self-love
Here are 5 things you can do to help your body and mind feel good and heal better during your postpartum period:
1. Ask for support and help
Just because you’re officially a mother doesn’t mean you need to do it all by yourself. The old saying “it takes a village to raise a child” takes into account that mums also need “me time.”
Delegate as much practical work as possible, so you may focus on your baby and yourself. Your partner, family or friends can take care of the house, prepare meals, run errands and help with the other kids, accordingly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to be specific about what you need.
2. Make time for resting
In some asian cultures, new mums have 3 weeks of confinement to heal and be taken care of by their relatives. During that time, they exert as little effort as possible and sleep as much as they can. Without having to go to that extreme, it’s a good example of allowing yourself and your body to press the pause button after delivery.
Of course, don’t expect to have full nights’ rest with a newborn around. The tip “sleep when your baby sleeps” is right. For the first few weeks, you will need to feed and change your baby every few hours and finding a rhythm to rest around that will be the easiest. If you can’t sleep at the same time as your baby, use this time to relax and unwind, whether alone with your partner or your other children.
3. Eating right is good, eating things that make you happy is best!
We want to get our body back quickly, but we first and foremost need to fuel it with healthy, wholesome nutrition whether we are breastfeeding or not.
Through nutrition we are giving our body what it needs to heal from within. Favor meals that are varied with all colors of veggies, fruits, proteins and healthy fats, and eat enough.
Keep in mind that eating things that make you feel good and please your palate is also good for your mental wellbeing. So, if that mac’n’cheese makes your mouth water, have it and enjoy every single bite!
4. Give some extra love to your delivery zone
No matter how you delivered your baby there will be some soreness and pain afterwards. We might be tempted to disconnect from this part of our body, or even scared that it might be damaged. Give it some time and love.
After a vaginal delivery, it’s normal to feel some pain for about a week and if you had tearing or an episiotomy it can take 4 to 6 weeks to heal. There’s a number of gentle and natural methods to ease the discomfort, such as sprinkling pads with witch hazel and aloe vera gel and cooling them in the fridge before applying to the area.
For a C-section, once the incision has healed, apply a natural oil to help the skin’s repairing process and lessen the scar. Use a plant-based oil with jojoba and sesame seed oils. Jojoba oil is especially good for scar prevention and wound healing, while sesame seed oil is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
5. Take care of your skin
It’s not just for the benefit of keeping your skin moisturized and supple. It’s also about taking the 5 minutes to feel your body and connect with yourself.
After your shower, massage a natural body oil all over your body. From your neck to your toes, gently rub the oil and at the same time admire your body. Your body did something incredible and has been so strong. Find love for all the changes it has gone through and that are to come.
Your breasts and nipples are most likely feeling sore and tender from breast engorgement and feeding. Choose a natural balm with healing properties and apply generously on this sensitive tissue. When your breasts feel extra sensitive, use two chilled green tea teabags as compresses after breastfeeding.
Till next time!