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When I had my first child, I thought that it was supposed to be all about the baby. During the pregnancy, I had to take care of myself to make sure he was okay. After delivery, I focused solely on him. Feeding, changing, bathing, doctor’s appointments, you know; Just everything that a new baby needs. Being that he was my first child, I was figuring it all out by myself too. Yeah, I had support, but what I didn’t have was someone to stress to me how important it is to make sure I was okay too. Now I know that a big part of being a good mother is taking care of yourself; and postpartum care is essential because after delivery, a new mom is susceptible to anxiety, depression, exhaustion, infections and what not. Here are some self care steps to take as a new mom.
- Let your vagina heal. Doctors usually say wait six weeks to have sex or to use tampons. Take those six weeks! You just pushed out a human the size of a melon after growing him or her for 9 months. You have all the time in the world to have sex again after baby. Don’t rush it. Be patient! And take special care of your lady parts at this time. There are products they give you at the hospital like the witch hazel pads, the sitz bath and such; but if you want to go ahead and purchase your own special stuff, check out the brand Frida Baby for a Postpartum Recovery Essentials Kit.
2. Eat nutritious food. Between taking care of the new baby, caring for older kids, making appointments and trying to get house work done, it can be hard to find time to eat (something else I didn’t have to worry about ’cause hubby took over). If you can, prepare freezer meals before you deliver so that you don’t have to cook anything for the first couple of weeks after you come home with baby from the hospital. Freezer meals are just meals prepared in advance, separated into proper portions and frozen. You can take what you need out of the freezer, heat it up and eat it when you need it. Also, make sure you have healthy snack options on hand for you and the older kids, if you have them. Things like granola bars, fruit and yogurt and trail mix. If you want to learn more about freezer meals and get some great recipes, check out this book I found on Amazon:
3. Make time to pamper yourself. By pamper, I don’t mean have a spa day, or even go to a salon and get a pedicure or your hair done. Those things are nice, and yeah, do them if you can. But most new moms don’t have those luxuries. If you do, hey! More power to you. But there are ways to pamper yourself without leaving your house. With me, if I feel particularly stressed out, I’ll put the kids to bed early and just read til the baby wakes up. Or do a facial. Or deep condition my hair. Something I’ve been procrastinating about is giving myself a pedicure. Maybe I should go take my own advice and do that tonight! I will, soon. Whatever you choose to pamper yourself, do it often. At the very least, once a week. Here’s a great option for a pedicure set from Vaadi Herbals:
4. Get some sunshine! I had my third child in July, so this one was easier than when I delivered in the Winter and Spring. I’m naturally an introvert, so I tend to just stay inside most of the time anyway. When I have a new baby, it can get even more extreme. But I’ve learned that getting outside really helps to keep my mood up and alleviate any stress. Just sit outside for a few minutes when baby is sleeping, or even take him outside with you for a few minutes. Or take him for a walk with you. Either in a stroller, or strapped to you in a baby carrier. Getting sunshine will lift your mood because you’re getting vitamin D, which is essential. If the weather is bad, investing in a UV lamp may be a good idea. Just sitting in the light for 20 to 30 minutes can help keep your mood up and even ward off depression. Here’s a good option for a UV lamp from a brand called Carex:
5. Rest as much as you can in the first few weeks. When people tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, they say it for a good reason. Getting proper rest is essential to your recovery. I’ll reiterate the part about having grown a human for nine months and pushing him or her out, the size of a melon. Even if you don’t sleep every time your baby sleeps, get at least one good nap a day for at least the first week or so. And resting isn’t all about sleep. Take down time to just sit and hold the baby. Sit and watch TV, or sit with a hobby of yours; Like reading, knitting or painting. Some of us may have more opportunity than others to get rest. If you are offered support, take it. If you have a supportive husband, thank God for him. Mine took over all of my duties the first week or two and I can’t say enough how thankful I am. If you’re a single mom or your husband isn’t able to help because of work, reach out to a close neighbor, sister or church friend.
Being a mother is precious. It’s a gift from God to be able to care for another human, take care of them and raise them. The recovery process doesn’t last forever, but your role as a mother does! Enjoy the first weeks of your baby being on this earth. Time goes by quickly and you don’t get it back. Before you know it, your baby won’t want to be held and kissed anymore, and will be feeding themselves and talking back. Enjoy every stage and learn from your little one as they learn from you!