Postpartum Self Care

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In the days and weeks following the birth of a child, it can be easy to become so wrapped up in your newborn that you forget about yourself. When all of your time is spent focusing on your baby, you quickly lose sight of the need to care for self. The end result is feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally drained which keeps you from being your best self.  In today’s blog, we will be discussing some tips on postpartum self-care.

Rest and Relax

Healing your body should be one of your top priorities when it comes to postpartum self-care. The labor and delivery or cesarean section processes take a large toll on your body and require rest to heal. When you are released from the hospital, your doctor will provide you with discharge instructions that may include pain management medications. Whether it’s keeping stitches clean and dry or limiting activity, make sure you are following your doctor’s advice. It is also advisable to periodically hand the baby off to your spouse or family member to give yourself a break.  Take a shower, enjoy a meal, have a nap, do whatever allows you to relax and relieve stress while others care for baby. Remember, it’s okay if you aren’t able to do it all right away.  Take the time you need to recover and get back on your feet again.

Make Use of Help

There is no need for you to be superwoman after baby arrives so don’t over do it. An important part of postpartum self-care is accepting help from others. This help can come in many forms but make sure that the person that is aiding you will not do more harm than good. For instance, if you have a helpful friend who can’t follow instructions, you may cause yourself anxiety that hinders your recovery. Instead, opt for friends and family that put your mind at ease or hire a postpartum doula from SF Newborn Care. If you are having trouble with breastfeeding or you find it to be painful, seek out help from a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). The International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) has a directory here to help you find an IBCLC in your area.

Practical Tips

There are a host of other actions you can take to aid in postpartum self-care. Exercise your right to say, “no.” There are a lot of requests made of you after birth, but that doesn’t mean that you have to say, “yes” to everything. One area where this applies is with entertaining visitors that want to see the new baby. It is recommended that you limit visitors especially within the first few weeks postpartum. This allows you to create time and space to focus on your recovery and being a family rather than playing hostess. Another practical way to care for yourself postpartum is to make sure you are eating well. Try to avoid comfort foods with little or no nutritional value and make use of pre-prepared meals from friends and family.  Choose healthy snacks whenever possible and if you are looking for ideas, check out our blog on postpartum snacks.