Six Helpful Tips for Postpartum

Posted by  cheryl  Sep 17, 2017

You had your baby!  Congratulations!  Now what? You'll spend the first couple of weeks learning all about your baby.  You'll figure out how she likes to be held and how often she nurses. You'll explore her every single detail.  Each toe, dimple, and eyelash. Your heart will burst with a love you never new existed.  You'll learn how little sleep you can actually survive on!  There's so much learning those first weeks.  Here's a short list of things to do during those first weeks to help the transition go as smoothly as possible. 

1. Rest: Everyone always says "sleep when the baby sleeps." DO IT!  I'm not kidding.  It's tempting to finish that last episode of *insert your current fave show* or post pictures of your new baby on Facebook, but these are things you can do while baby is awake.  So for real, sleep when the baby sleeps.  Even if it's only a short nap, it will go a long way for your mental health and help you be the best mom for your baby.


2. Eat:  This seems so simple yet often forgotten between frequent nursing sessions, diaper changes, and sleeping when the baby sleeps.  Nursing mothers need about 500 extra calories to have a good milk supply.  You have to eat to make milk.  Eating a whole foods diet is going to give you the best nutrition to aid in your healing, help mood swings, and avoid those awful sugar highs and crashes.  Don't skip meals and have some easy, one handed snacks available.  Cheese sticks, granola bars, fruit, veggies and hummus, crackers and peanut butter are all easy options.  


3. Write your birth story: So this one isn't one that will make the postpartum period go smoother, but this may be the only time you are encouraged to hang out in your pajamas and your responsibilities are to take care of yourself and your baby.  I always encourage my students to write their birth story. It's amazing how quickly the tiny details fade.  If writing isn't your thing, then make a video of yourself telling the story, or do a voice recording.  Just tell the story in some form.  It's important to process your birth. 


4. Delegate: You are resting, eating, feeding your baby, writing your birth story, and healing.  Let other people do the dishes (I recommend stocking up on paper plates!), handle the laundry, clean the house, and make meals.  It doesn't mean you are incapable of these things, it means you have more important things to do!  You will be back up doing all the chores before you know it, so let it go for now.  You mom, husband, sister, and friend are all very capable of handling these things for a short amount of time.  Taking the time to heal NOW will ensure you are at your best ASAP.  Although I really wonder why we are always so anxious to get back to the dishes..... 


5. Ask for help:  You've delegated all the dishes and laundry, but you still feel overwhelmed.  Ask for help.  Let someone take the baby while you shower and paint your toenails.  Take a drive around the block sans baby.  Put baby in the crib (or other safe place) and walk out of the room.  Whatever you need to do if you need a break.  You are so in love with this baby, but it's still HARD.  Seek out the help you need.  It doesn't mean you are a bad mom or a weak woman, it means you are a person who can only do so much.  It's ok to ask for help.  It's even encouraged.


6. Enjoy your baby: Those first weeks can be so hard.  You are tired, sore, there is some kind of fluid coming out of every part of your body, and there's this tiny human you are totally responsible for.  It's super dreamy and super hard at the same time.  It's short and it's worth it.  It may feel like it lasts a lifetime, but suddenly it's over and you're like "oh the days when I could lay in bed and stare at my sweet baby!"  Make the most of it.  Stare at her, count the hairs on her head, laugh at the funny sounds and faces only a newborn baby can make.  It goes by so fast.  Soak it up.  You will never have it with this baby again.  

Keep up the good work, mamas!  It's hard work but so rewarding!