Postpartum

Once a mother has a baby in America, she is often times expected to immediately jump into life full on without time for rest or adjustment. Other cultures on the other hand have a specific time of rest set aside for the new mom and with very good reason. Many professionals believe that the lack of rest and recovery for new moms in our country is a major factor in the high rates of postpartum depression. It also contributes to breastfeeding struggles and improper physical healing.

Having a time of rest and recovery is crucial for a new mom physically, mentally and emotionally. This allows an opportunity for the mother to regain strength, rebuild nutrients and adjust to the new life before her. When a mother is allowed to rest, she will spend more time with her new baby which is crucial for bonding.

Do not succumb to the pressure that you have to “have it all together” as soon as baby arrives. The wise and healthy thing to do is take time for rest and recovery. Take time to be with your sweet baby. They will never be that tiny again and proper recovery will not only help in setting yourself up for a great start but your entire family will benefit.
What can I do to ensure a great start once baby arrives?
  • Give yourself permission to rest.
  • Ignore American culture that praises mothers that push themselves to be “normal” as soon as baby arrives.
  • Remember the way you cared for your body physically, mentally and nutritionally while pregnant. Your body deserves the same level of care now as it did while pregnant.
  • Surround yourself with a few family and friends that can truly commit to caring for you for at least one month. If you don’t have family and friends that can help, strongly consider hiring a postpartum doula.
  • Take frequent naps during the day. Sleep when baby sleeps.
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Eat quality meals and snack frequently as needed. Don’t stress right now about “getting your body back”. Your body is rebuilding nutrients and extra calories are needed when breastfeeding.
  • Be honest with your partner about the support you need. It takes time for hormones and emotions to even out postpartum so be kind to yourself through this process.
  • Spend lots of quality skin-to-skin time with baby. Remember that you are both getting to know one another and that takes time.
  • Don’t be bound by a schedule. Listen to your body and cues from your baby to determine what you are up for each day.
  • Take a warm sitz bath once or twice a day.
  • Let go of guilt. Your younger children may watch more shows than usual, your house will be messier, you may not be able to attend certain social events but by putting in the time to recover you will be better able to give to those you love in the long run. Follow the airline motto of putting your own air mask on before helping those around you.

Additional Resources:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/08/15/america-s-postpartum-practices.html

http://www.uppitysciencechick.com/how_other_cultures.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12629311

http://www.birthways.com/girlnet_docs/Postpartum_Beliefs.pdf