You’ve spent about nine months preparing for your baby’s birth. You’ve probably read all the books and taken notes on your doctor’s advice so you can take the very best care of your newborn when they arrive. In all the stress and excitement, however, it can be easy to forget that you need to take care of yourself, too. That’s why you should focus a lot of your postpartum care on your own well-being.

It’s no secret that pregnancy takes a toll on your physical health. On top of that, caring for a new baby can impact your mental health. If you are struggling with your physical and mental health, it can be hard to give your best self to your newborn. Here are some ways to care for yourself postpartum.

Why Women Neglect Themselves Postpartum

It’s understandable to focus on your new infant, especially if you tried forever to get pregnant. However, babies take an enormous mental, emotional, and physical toll. Unfortunately, many mothers feel both internal and external pressure to bounce back right away. You undergo several physical changes during pregnancy that make it difficult to go back to your normal self immediately. It can take 6 months to a year for your body to recover after birth. On top of that, hormonal changes may impact your mental health.

While you will always put your baby first, focusing on your well-being is actually the most selfless — not selfish — thing you can do. Mothers who take care of themselves restore their psychological wherewithal to nurture their littles, and that’s what it’s all about.

The Dangers of Neglecting Yourself Postpartum

Neglecting yourself postpartum can be dangerous. Postpartum depression and psychosis are real, and you can’t “push through” them. Mild depression affects half of new mothers, so remember that you are not alone.

6 Ways to Focus Postpartum Care on Your Well-Being

What are some specific ways to focus your postpartum care on your well-being? Lining up the following before you give birth helps, but it’s never too late to implement these self-help strategies.

1. Enlist Help

Nature knows no other endurance like that of the single mother, but even she has her limits. Regardless of your situation, ensure that you have help lined up. It may include:

  • A care schedule with your spouse and other close family members to give you a break
  • A supportive therapist or mental health app where you can discuss uncomfortable feelings and get advice
  • Postpartum Doulas are experienced, trained, professional caregivers specializing in providing support and care to infants and new parents. They provide hands-on support for feeding, bathing, forming healthy sleep habits, and working toward developmental milestones. Having a postpartum doula to assist with washing baby clothes and bottles that accumulate quickly, creates time for the parents to rest and bond with their new baby. Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny offers award-winning Boston newborn care with trained professionals.
  • Trustworthy sitters — you can never have too many.

2. Embrace Pain Management

Your body has just been through the equivalent of major surgery. You shouldn’t push yourself to do all the normal chores and physical activities you did before pregnancy. Instead, focus on pain management and practice postpartum care by resting to ensure your body recovers.

Your doctor won’t issue pain relief as anything you ingest passes through your breast milk. You should also avoid certain over-the-counter medicines, so look to holistic remedies instead. A touch of turmeric and ginger in your morning coffee or tea eases inflammation and mild gastric upset. Restorative yoga nurtures joints, helping you adapt to your new physical configurations.

Sitting in a warm bath can also ease the discomfort associated with childbirth. However, you should wait at least six weeks postpartum before taking a full bath to give yourself time to heal. Instead, you can take shallow sitz baths, which many new moms swear by for perineum care and pain relief.

Getting adequate sleep is also key in relieving pain, as difficult as it might be. Find time during the day to nap, like when you put your baby down for a nap. You can also hire an overnight Boston newborn care expert so that you can sleep while a certified professional cares for your infant.

3. Find Gentle Movement

It may not seem like it if you ache all over, but gentle exercise is among the best pain relievers around. It stimulates endorphins, which act like natural opioids to relieve pain. Look into low-key practices like cozy cardio to gradually build back to your typical routine. Remember, your body’s configurations are undergoing a sea change — move mindfully to nurture it through the shift. Be sure to follow your doctor or midwife’s recommendations as to when you can begin exercising again after birth.

4. Cherish the Quiet Times

Even the most colicky baby can’t cry 24/7. Find those quiet moments of peace and enjoy them fully with a cup of tea, a sunny window and a few long, slow, deep breaths. Go for a walk outside to enjoy fresh air and vitamin D, which can do wonders for both physical and mental health. Take advantage of loving visitors wanting to snuggle your new baby. Let them hold your newborn while you step out to have a moment to yourself.

5. Eat a Balanced Diet

A healthy diet is essential for postpartum care, as it will accelerate your recovery and keep your baby healthy while you’re breastfeeding. While you might be concerned about losing your pregnancy weight, try to avoid restrictive diets.

Instead, experts recommend a balanced diet of fresh vegetables and fruits, proteins and carbohydrates. You should also make sure to stay hydrated. Try keeping a pitcher of water and a stash of healthy snacks in your nursery or wherever you breastfeed.

You’re likely to be too busy and tired to cook three balanced meals every day, so try to enlist help. If friends or family ask if you need anything, ask them to deliver meals to you. A postpartum doula can also assist with cooking and making sure you have healthy snacks nearby while you are stuck on the couch with a sleeping or breastfeeding baby.

6. Take Advantage of Parental Leave

You may love your career, but no job rivals the importance of parenthood. Americans get the short end of the stick in terms of parental leave, but if you are among the lucky few who have it, please take it. Set an example — every new parent deserves time to bond with their baby, no matter what the politicians say.

Postpartum Care and Mom’s Well-Being

It’s natural to shower attention on your new baby. However, your postpartum care should focus on your well-being as a new mom, too. Doing so allows you to recover from birth and get in the right psychological state to be the best parent you can be.

For more information on Boston Newborn Care and Certified Postpartum Doulas, give Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny a call at 781-444-4063 or email at info@bostonbabynurse.com.

About The Author

Cora Gold is a mother and writer who aims to connect with other moms through her experiences with navigating motherhood. Cora is the Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist magazine and writes for sites including For Every Mom, MommyBites and Playground Professionals. When she’s not writing about style and beauty for her magazine, Revivalist, she loves to share her experience with family life. Follow Cora on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.