During pregnancy, women spend so much time thinking about their health and the health of their unborn babies. However, these same women often neglect themselves after the baby is born by not paying enough attention to postpartum care during the first few weeks.
If you’re a new mom or have a friend or family member who has recently had a baby, here are some postpartum care tips that make the natural lifestyle a priority.
Go for Daily Walks
Walking is one of the best and easiest things you can ever do for your physical and mental health. Check with your doctor about when it is safe for you to start doing more substantial exercises again after giving birth, but walking is always a great place to start. These walks can involve pushing your new baby in the stroller to lull him to sleep, getting some exercise with a partner or friend to reconnect and get a baby break, or solo outings to clear your head and get some peace and quiet.
Sleep When Baby Sleeps
Feeling exhausted is inevitable when you have a new baby at home, but that doesn’t mean you have to endure every day as a sleep-deprived zombie. Especially in the early days, your new baby may wake up every few hours for feeding. So, practice your best napping skills and try to adjust your personal schedule so that you can sleep when your baby sleeps during longer stretches of time.
Practice Kegel Exercises
In addition to getting back into walking, strength training, and other workouts, don’t forget about Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure how to flex and release these muscles properly, or consider seeing a physical therapy pelvic floor specialist if you just aren’t getting the technique right. Kegels are effective in resolving urinary incontinence issues after giving birth and also getting back to a healthy sex life with your partner.
Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day
Nutrition is very important as your body heals from childbirth, so this is no time to go back to bad eating habits that you had before becoming pregnant. Rather than having three big daily meals, aim for five to six smaller meals that are packed with fruits and vegetables, fiber, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
Focus on Key Nutrients
There are many different nutrients that support postpartum recovery and that will help you get back to your normal self the natural way. You’ll need extra calories each day if you are nursing, so don’t be too quick to cut calories to get back to your pre-baby weight. Iron is an important nutrient to consume in the postpartum weeks to help restore your body, and you can get it from meat, beans, and tofu. Green vegetables, calcium-rich foods, and DHA-rich foods like fish are also recommended for postpartum moms as part of a breastfeeding diet.
Schedule in Self-Care
Remember that you can’t take good care of a baby if you don’t take good care of yourself first. Self-care can feel selfish and downright impossible when you have a new baby at home. But this is the time to enlist the help of your partner, friends, family members, neighbors, and hired help to take care of things like running errands and preparing meals. When you aren’t caring for your baby, you need to be caring for yourself so that you don’t get run down and sick or fall into post-partum depression without the support you need.