The postpartum period is a time of profound transformation. As you embrace the joys and challenges of new parenthood, it's essential to prioritize self-care for both moms/birthers and partners. In this blog post, we'll explore practical self-care tips and holistic approaches to support postpartum recovery and emotional well-being. Together, let's create a nurturing space for your family's well-being during this special time.
1. Embrace Rest and Sleep: One of the most precious gifts you can give yourself is ample rest. "Sleep when the baby sleeps" is an often-used (and over-used) sentiment. Laundry, chores, and personal hygiene still need to be tended to, and when the baby is sleeping is an ideal time to do all of those things. But pay attention to where your energy level is. If it's especially low, forget about all the chores, spray on some dry shampoo, and take a rest!
2. Prioritize Nutrition: Nutrient-rich foods provide the energy you need for both healing and nourishing your baby. Focus on a balanced diet, including whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Hydration is equally important. Generally speaking, half your body weight in ounces is the ideal amount of water to drink per day. But if you're feeding a baby from your body, you'll want to increase that pretty significantly to ensure you stay properly hydrated.
3. Gentle Movement and Exercise: While it's crucial to rest, gentle movement can promote circulation and alleviate discomfort. Consider postpartum yoga or stretching exercises tailored to your needs. But please please PLEASE don't do any physical exercise/activity until your 6 weeks postpartum (or whenever your provider clears you for movement/sex). It's absolutely critical that you allow your body the time it needs to recover from the epic work of childbirth.
4. Seek Emotional Support: Connect with other new parents through support groups (if you took a regular prenatal yoga class, that is a GREAT resource and community for you) or online communities. Share your experiences, concerns, and triumphs. If you're struggling with your emotions, don't hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.
5. Pamper Yourself: Small acts of self-care can make a significant difference. Treat yourself to a warm bath, a soothing cup of herbal tea, or moments of quiet reflection. Self-care isn't just manicures and massages; it's also talk therapy, appropriate medication, and sleep.
1. Share Responsibilities: Partners play a crucial role in postpartum care. Share responsibilities such as diaper changes, soothing, and feeding to allow mom to rest and recover.
2. Offer Emotional Support: Be a compassionate listener. Encourage open communication about feelings and challenges. A supportive presence can be profoundly reassuring. Remember that often times, your partner doesn't want a solution; they want a listening ear. When they come to you with an issue or problem or concern, a great response is "Do you need me to just listen? Or do you want help coming up with a solution?"
3. Encourage Self-Care: Gently encourage self-care for the new mom. Offer to watch the baby while she takes a nap, enjoys a hot shower, or practices relaxation techniques. You're a parent, too, which means you're also a provider. You're not babysitting when it's your baby.
4. Be Patient and Understanding: Adjusting to parenthood can be overwhelming. Remember that both of you are learning and growing. Be patient and understanding with each other. Be gentle with words and actions.
Holistic Approaches for Both:
1. Mindful Breathing and Meditation: Practice mindful breathing and meditation together. These techniques can reduce stress and promote emotional well-being. If you need help finding the right meditations for you, let me know! I can offer some resources.
2. Find an Acceptable Division of Labor: Before baby arrives, make a list of all the tasks that typically need to be accomplished around your home. Discuss who will be in charge of what and when. Know that in the first several weeks, mom/birther will need to carry far less responsibility around the home as they recover and feed your new baby.
2. Nature Connection: Spend time in nature as a family. Nature walks and picnics can provide a sense of renewal and connection with the world around you. Spending time outside can be incredibly grounding. Whenever possible, walk barefoot in the grass for even just five minutes. Take deep breaths and soak in the fresh air.
3. Create a Calm Environment: Design a calming environment at home with soothing colors, soft lighting, and tranquil music. Your surroundings can significantly impact your emotional state.
4. Seek Professional Support if Needed: If postpartum challenges persist, consider seeking professional help. Therapists and counselors can provide guidance and support for both moms and partners. Either or both of you may experience postpartum anxiety/depression. It's totally normal, but be sure to find the help you both need.
Nurturing the Bonds of Parenthood
Postpartum self-care is not a luxury; it's a necessity for the well-being of both moms/birthers and partners. By prioritizing rest, nutrition, emotional support, and holistic practices, you're creating a foundation of health and harmony during this transformative time. Remember, the journey of parenthood is a shared one, and caring for each other is a beautiful way to nurture the bonds of your growing family.
Together, you can embrace the joys, navigate the challenges, and celebrate the love that defines this remarkable chapter in your lives.
Contact me for additional support or resources on your postpartum journey.
Micah Bower is a birth doula, birth photographer, and yoga instructor based in Saginaw, TX.