Pregnancy is a time of preparation.
You are preparing to deliver your baby so you want to be ready for everything that awaits you. You are buying all the things you’ll need for your baby, clothes, pushchair and making their nursery room.
You are especially preparing for giving birth. There are so many childbirth preparation courses available that almost every pregnant woman is having one.
And then after the birth, after you got your sweet baby, you are left home with just a few simple instructions and your postpartum journey is starting.
A lot of women are overwhelmed with what comes next because no one prepared you for what is coming in the postpartum.
Maybe you had a class in breastfeeding so you’ll know the basics, but other things often come as a surprise.
Feelings during postpartum are intense and it’s hard to know how to deal with them. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize yourself.
You are no doubt, in pain. Your breasts are often sore and painful, your abdomen hurts from your uterus contracting and your whole body hurts from the birth. And you have a newborn to care for, to feed every few hours and carry around.
It is hard!! And it is okay to say it aloud. It is okay to for ask help. It is absolutely fine to plan postpartum so these days be made as easy as they can be.
During my fourth pregnancy, with some experience behind me, I decided to prepare myself for postpartum better than before, to make a postpartum plan and to tell everyone involved what is going to happen.
This was a very smart move as my postpartum period after the fourth baby ended up being the hardest period of my life.
But I recovered well and gained enough strength for taking care of my now family of 6.
Here is what helped me to heal and recover again.
Surround yourself only with the people you want to be near
This is maybe the most important part of your postpartum recovery.
Because postpartum is so sensitive part of your life, you don’t want wrong people around the house. You want people who will be your ultimate support and with whom you’ll feel comfortable.
Don’t feel obligated to let certain people be near you and your baby for the first few weeks just because you feel you owe them or they’re family members.
You owe yourself and your baby the best possible start, time that you will start carefree with people you want near and people that understand your needs and wishes.
Don’t feel bad to say to your mother or mother-in-law that you don’t want them there for the first few days. It is your right to choose who you want by your side.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It is important to be surrounded by supportive people but it’s also important to ask for help when you need it.
You will need help the first few weeks so don’t refuse it. Don’t try to be a superhero, you can’t and shouldn’t do anything more than resting and breastfeeding for the first few weeks so help with housework will be beneficial.
Try to plan this before birth, organise friends and family to bring you cooked food daily or to help you with housework.
If your husband can, plan for him to take paternity leave or just annual leave to be with you for the first months.
He will be helpful and he could take care of older kids and take care of housework and cooking while you are resting.
If neither of this is an option, consider paying for help. You will need time to rest and gain your strength and you don’t want to think about housework. Paying someone to help may be the best way to spend money at this time.
Skip the home visits
You need time to get well, to get to know your baby and to establish breastfeeding. Your family needs the time to get into a new routine with a new family member.
You don’t need visitors at this time.
Postpartum is not the time for visitors and for you to be the perfect housewife. It is not your job to make your guests comfortable and to make them cakes and coffee.
So ask your friends and relatives to wait after the first month has passed to visit you and the baby. Until then you will be much better and more capable to answer hundreds of questions from your visitors.
Rest, sleep and repeat
Resting after you have just given birth is something very important.
Today, it seems like women are competing who will be the first back up and running after giving birth, who will first get out for a walk with a baby, go to the grocery shop or back to work.
But instead, they should be competing who will get there latest.
Because after you have given birth you shouldn’t be back doing your normal routine after a week. This is why so many women are struggling with postnatal depression and anxiety, with breastfeeding and have problems with pelvic floor muscles and the weak core.
You need to heal!
The only way to heal after birth is to rest. Resting and breastfeeding your baby is the only thing that should be on your mind after birth.
Keep your baby close to you so you don’t have to get up as often and try to get some sleep whenever your baby is sleeping.
Just laying in bed next to your baby can be beneficial.
You just gave birth to a baby, a little human being. Your body went through a very hard job, your muscles are sore from birth, you lost plenty of blood, your hormones are a mess.
You have wound in your uterus where your placenta was attached, your body is producing milk in large amounts and you may be swollen or even had an episiotomy.
Be nice to yourself and to your body. Give it time to heal and recover.
Eat healthy and plenty
A healthy diet is very important in those early days of postpartum. You are probably feeling extremely hungry and that is absolutely normal.
After birth, you need to eat lots of healthy food because your body will need fuel and energy for producing milk and for recovery.
You can eat food you love but just be sure that you include mostly healthy food like veggies and fruit, meats and fish, eggs and healthy carbs.
Try to avoid too much junk foods.
Remember that you lost a lot of blood and need to recover so eat lots of iron boosting food like red meats, eggs, and leafy greens.
Include plenty of healthy fats like coconut oil, butter, and olive oil.
Don’t skip meals. Postpartum is not the time for dieting or watching how much you eat. It is the time to use food as fuel for your recovery.
USEFUL TO READ: Clean eating – all you need to know
Make sure you are well hydrated
In postpartum hydration is maybe more important than ever.
You are producing milk for your baby and also getting rid of fluids you stored during pregnancy through sweat and urination.
It is important that your body is fully hydrated.
Water is always the best option, but you can also drink unsweetened fruit juice, homemade soups, and teas.
Nettle tea, as well as raspberry leaf tea, are the best choices for postpartum.
Nettle will boost your iron levels and help you expel extra water from your body and raspberry leaf tea will boost your immunity and also help you strengthen your uterine and help in healing it.
Take at least one cup of per day.
USEFUL TO READ: How to stay hydrated?
End of pregnancy doesn’t mean you can stop taking supplements now. Quite the opposite, your body needs them even more.
Continue to take your prenatal vitamins to make sure you are all covered up for breastfeeding and that your body has everything needed.
Take probiotics for your gut health and for their positive effect on your immune system.
Take extra vitamin C to protect you and the baby from colds and viruses and to boost your iron absorption.
Take regular Epsom salt baths
One of the most rewarding and relaxing experiences during my postpartum was Epsom Salt baths. They are perfect for women after birth as they have so many benefits for our bodies.
Magnesium from Epsom salt will relax your sore muscles and body and help with overall soreness. It will also relax you and help you sleep better.
It will make you more relaxed and calm, and sitting in the bath for half an hour is like a spa after having a baby.
Epsom salt baths will also give a detoxification effect helping to get the toxins out of your body.
You will feel relaxed, with a clean body and clean mind.
You can start having baths after a few days of birth if you feel you are ready.
Get back to your routine very slowly
At the end, be sure to take it slowly during your first month. Don’t rush into anything and don’t do anything you don’t really need to.
Rest enough with your legs on the couch. Try to take a nap when your baby is sleeping and just listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
You can start going for light walks after the second week, but be sure that you are ready and walks are no longer than 10 minutes.
Don’t do any housework like vacuuming, mopping the floor or cleaning the bathroom for at least a month after birth.
Just go slow, give your body time to heal and recover.
Postpartum is not a race, it is not important how fast you’ll be yourself again, what matters is that you heal and recover properly.
That will provide you with so many benefits in the long run that will make it all very much worth it.