Over the last few weeks I’ve been cleaning up this here blog. I don’t think the job is ever done, especially when you have almost 400 posts (!). But, my goal is to make this site more user-friendly for people on their wellness journey. Part of this includes making content easier to find and writing more and more about topics that fall under the wellness umbrella. That said, for those of you who haven’t seen the change already, I’ve created a menu in the header for quicker navigation. There is now a wellness tab for posts on fitness, yoga, meditation and more. There is a parenthood tab, where I’m linking to truthful parenting tidbits, past pregnancy rambles and Noe’s month updates. And there is, of course, the recipes tab where you can find all of my recipes.
I think these three areas: wellness, parenthood and recipes feel like the right focus. But, if there are specifics you’d like covered or something you want to know more about that you think I might be able to help you with, please, please, please drop me a line. I am always open to suggestions and love hearing from you. No seriously, sometimes I feel like I’m writing into a vacuum, I welcome the comments 🙂
In the spirit of these topics, today I’m tackling something I have been thinking about a lot as I seem to be attending a plethora of baby showers lately…postpartum tips for new moms.
You get a lot of advice when you announce you’re pregnant. How to calm a colicky baby, how to change a diaper in the dark, when to call the doctor, lots and lots of stories about other people’s kids who: slept through the night, did not sleep through the night, were angels, were terrors, were breastfeeders, were bottle-fed, were tiny, were huge and on and on. The advice is plentiful but 99% of the time the advice is about the baby.
What about the mom?
As I surfed the web looking at what others wrote about the postpartum period, I realized there was very little for the new mom especially in these first few months. Most of the blog posts and articles I found were about the first few postpartum days in the hospital. I don’t want to talk about those days. There is enough going on, everything is a blur and frankly, you’re going to forget any tip I give you for the first few days.
No, these postpartum tips for new moms are for the weeks after the hospital. The weeks following the house full of people and your spouse’s leave. For those first few days when the front door clicks closed at 7:45am and it’s just you and your baby and hours ahead of you, and you’re not sure what just happened and you’re a sleep deprived bag of emotions and hormones just trying to adjust to your new normal. Yes, these tips are for that tender space. The space so many of my friends and acquaintances are in or heading into. These are just a few of my favorite postpartum tips for new moms, use them, ignore them, but either way, know that everything you are feeling is completely normal.
Get outside for 5-10 minutes everyday
One of the best pieces of advise I got was from the nurse who came to our house to do a postpartum check on day 3. She simply said, every day, go outside for 5 minutes and put your face to the sun.
New mamas need fresh air, and sunshine, and a change of scenery. New babies do too but this is all about you today. This can be a walk around the block, sitting in your backyard, a trip to the grocery store, a stroll to get coffee. It honestly doesn’t matter, as long as it entails getting outside and feeling the sun and wind on your face. Do not underestimate the importance of this. As the weeks turn to months and you find yourself feeling stronger and more confident, the time outside may get longer and you will eventually feel up for postpartum exercise, but in the very beginning, start with 5-10 minutes.
Do one part of your personal self-care routine, everyday
What makes you feel the most like you? A little makeup? Blowdrying your hair? Wearing fabulous earrings? Do it! And make sure you do it everyday for the first few months. You don’t have to do the whole routine, heck, you don’t even need to take a shower (though I highly recommend that everyday too). Just do one piece that gives you some semblance of feeling like the old you. In the beginning I made sure I put on mascara every morning, just mascara. That way when those bleary eyes looked back at me in the mirror at least I felt good about them. It might be vain, it might feel like a waste of time but looking good and feeling good go hand-in-hand. As a side bar on this: don’t fall into the misconception that you don’t have time to brush your teeth now that you’re caring for a newborn. I promise that you have time to brush your teeth every morning and every night. It takes a minute. Wear the baby on your chest or let them cry for that single minute but believe me, you will feel so much more like a human being if you start and end your day with a fresh smile.
Say yes to the help
You may feel like you need to be the number one caregiver right now and likely this is true. But let other people do things for you. My best girlfriends came to visit when Noe was 2 months old. They all but pushed me into the shower one afternoon and it felt so decadent to take an extra long shower, shave my legs and regroup. If someone offers to bring you food, hold your baby, let you nap, do it! Don’t be a martyr, it takes a village, just tuck it away in the back of your mind that someday you’ll return the favor and then do.
Give yourself a break
This is not the time to start new projects, to reprimand yourself for not organizing the linen closet. This is not the time to feel guilty for eating frozen dinners or for letting emails and mail pile up. I guarantee that sooner than later you will feel a burst of energy to start organizing, cooking, dealing with life stuff again. It doesn’t need to be today or tomorrow. We lived on frozen pizzas for the first 3 months. No one died, no one gained 20 pounds, but we were blissfully unshackled from needing to cook. Which was worth it’s weight in gold when we were sleep deprived and fussy. So whatever it is you think you need to be doing, tell yourself you’ll get to it (and you will) then give yourself a break. There are more important things to attend to right now than a sink full of dirty dishes.