Bringing a baby into the world is nothing short of a miracle and it doesn’t matter if we have planned for it for years or struggled with fertility throughout our lifetimes. It truly is a sight to behold. While we are in the hospital or birthing center, we may enjoy all of the extra attention given to us by relatives and all of the medical staff.
It kind of gives us a sense of security as we think that all the stories we hear about taking care of a newborn must not be that bad, but the reality is that those two or three days we spend in medical care are only the tip of the iceberg compared to real life.
Having a baby is a great experience but we all know that once we are officially discharged from the birthing facility, that is when the fun really begins. Once we are back in the comfort of our homes we don’t have the aide of the doctors to help us out with caring for the baby every day. At that point it’s all up to us, our partner and whoever we managed to list as our temporary help. Not only that, but our body has to recover from delivery. Here's some advice you might expect to hear from your provider on that note.
20 Those Baby Blues Get Us Right In The Feels
When you go home from the birthing facility, your body is still inundated with a series of emotions and hormones while being overwhelmed by the fact that you are completely responsible for this new little life that you spent the last nine months creating.
If you find yourself feeling a bit weird, sad, angry, anxious, sleep deprived, or you just can’t quite cope with the stresses of newborn life, then you shouldn’t keep it to yourself.
According to Dr. Kira Stein, "postpartum depression, when severe, can be associated with sleep deprivation, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and intrusive, obsessive and disturbing thoughts about the baby…” via Healthtap.
Mothers can develop several mood disorders after having a baby, ranging from shorter-term issues like PPD and PPA, to severe issues like PPP, to long-lasting and sometimes lifelong complications like PMDD. Speak up!
19 Legs Up For Ultimate Healing
Some women spend most of their time either laying down or sitting after they have had their baby. You want to ensure that you are giving yourself the best chance that you possibly can for healing your body and settling into your new state of normal. So, you might walk around only when you have to go to the bathroom or on the rare occasion that you can manage to get a shower.
But research has shown according to Dr. Anthony Komoroff "elevating your legs will help offset the tug of gravity. The tug is keeping water in the blood and the space between the cells from returning to your heart” via AskDrK. It turns out there is something to that "lying in" period after all.
18 Detoxification Is A Trending New-Must Postpartum
As many of us may know, during those first few weeks postpartum, we aren't supposed to take a bath since our bodies are essentially recovering with a big open gaping wound inside of us.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the benefits of a good soaking. Foot soaks are a way to detoxify all of those toxins and draw extra fluids from your body. The foods that eat are said to have alkaline properties and can have a major effect on our health.
According to Christine Adamo Lac, “the human body functions better when ions are balanced at 80% negative and 20% positive” via Pacific College. A postpartum herbal sitz bath can do wonders, too.
17 Cabbage Leaves Can Save You
When you are trying to breastfeed your new baby, you may notice that there are times when your milk won’t come in as smoothly as you expected it to, which leaves those annoying and painful lumps in different areas of your mammaries.
A well-known treatment is to use frozen cabbage leaves as functional cold compresses. These are not only a quick and cost-effective way to give you some much-needed pain relief but they will reduce the swelling and unevenness as well. According to Babara Cohen IBCLC LLLL, “You should take a head of green cabbage, roll it flat, freeze it for up to 48 hours and place inside of your bra…” via The Chalkboard.
Use caution with this method and watch carefully for signs of your supply dropping, though.
16 Combat Dry Skin Quickly
During the first few weeks after having your baby, you are essentially left with a whole new body that contains some stretchier parts you don't remember and it may be some of the driest and itchiest skin that you will ever experience.
All of this comes from the fact that during pregnancy our bodies beautifully expand to accommodate our growing babies, and after we have given birth the elasticity has gone out of the window. Hydrating our skin with creams such as shea butter and pure jojoba oil not only help to soothe the dryness but get back some of the tightness that you enjoyed before, too.
According to Dr. Patricia Wexler, using creams that contain urea help the skin because “adding this ingredient is extremely hydrating because of its water-loving properties and its ability to infuse water into the skin cells” says New Beauty.
15 Get Sleep Sitters For Mom To Get Some Shut-Eye
During those first 30 days—but more importantly those first couple weeks—after birth, you are going to be more exhausted than you have probably ever been in your entire life.
It’s going to be a whirlwind of bottles, breastfeeding and diapers—and all without adequate sleep. It may feel like a world of chaos and possible confusion, once deprivation sets in.
According to the Nurses at AWHO, one of the first forms of help that you should employ is “have 1 – 2 family helpers to help care for baby while you get rest during those exhausting first couple of days.” Postpartum doulas are another great resource!
14 Bowel Numbing Blunders
Since your body is still recovering from giving birth and sore in all of the wrong places, you know that what once seemed like simple things will become a race to see how careful you can be while wincing in pain at the same time.
When it comes to normal bodily functions such as having bowel movements, there is no leeway.
According to nurses at AWOH, the pain can be quite uncomfortable—especially if you had an episiotomy (or snip in the middle) and they recommend to “use Dermoplast, a benzocaine topical spray before having a bowel movement since it will make the process a whole lot less uncomfortable and less scary.”
13 Know Your Perineum—Seriously
Tearing is normal during birth and is better advise over an episiotomy but sometimes the latter can be necessary and it's often at the provider's discretion in the heat of the birthing moment. If you were blessed enough to have to endure an episiotomy or tear during the course of your labor, then that little sting you felt when they cut you is about to get worse.
According to the nurses at AWOH, “When you get home you should hold up a mirror to your perineal area. That way you will know if you experience any problems, then you will have a baseline to know when something is different.”
12 Nutrition Is Key For A Recovering Mom
Staying up all hours of the day and night tending to a newborn baby is hard work, and that’s an understatement.
Sure, you may have some help floating around every now and again if you are one of the lucky ones, but it's a good idea to maximize that time.
Since the baby typically wakes every two to three hours throughout the whole day and evening for a nursing session, it's a good idea to “have a healthy snack or two each time that you feed the baby if you don’t have an appetite” according to AWOH. Keep an apple and a big bottle of water at your bedside. Lactation bites are an even bigger bonus.
11 Go Right Ahead And Cry It Out
Most women learn through trial and error that once your baby is brought into the world it doesn’t mean that your hormones automatically return to normal. For the past nine months and then some, our hormone levels have been turned upside down and for lack of a better word—put into a hurricane that’s slowly returning back to the ocean.
It’s perfectly normal to feel like you don’t have a grip on everything and to sometimes let yourself experience the emotions that come to you naturally.
According to AWOH, you just have to give yourself a break, even if that means “sitting at the bottom of the stairs and crying it out for a while.”
10 Just Say No, And No Again, And One More Time
Once you arrive home with your precious little cargo, everyone that you know and some that you don’t will basically be knocking your door down with offers to help do everything from cleaning your home to babysitting to running your errands.
While all of this help may seem great at first, it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed by so many people pulling you in different directions with their opinions and ways of doing things. And you may find yourself feeling like you have to repay their generosity by being an entertaining host or making yourself fully available for each person.
However, “if you feel like you are so worn out due to trying to say yes to everyone” then you should definitely harness the power of no and get some well needed time to yourself according to AWOH.
9 Take That H2O To Heart
As we may all know, keeping yourself dehydrated is just as important as it is to ensure that you are eating the proper foods each day. During the course of the year, the average adult is supposed to drink no less than 64 ounces of water per day to get the recommended amount to ensure that they don’t risk becoming dehydrated.
When you are in the first two weeks after you had your baby, you need to ensure that you drink at least that amount or more since you are essentially trying to recoup from all of the nutrients and water that you lost.
According to Dr. Sears, “you should you drink at least 8 ounces of water each time you breastfeed to prevent possible dehydration” via AskDrSears. Some mamas even opt for trendy water bottles that let them note how much they've drank so far each day to keep them on track.
8 Prenatals Don’t Stop Here
Many women seem to think that those huge horse pills that they had to swallow during the entire nine months of their pregnancy are going to be long gone as soon as their baby comes Earthside.
But, research has proven over the years that this certainly is not the case. Once you have your baby, your body still has to undergo a massive recovery effort which includes taking vitamins if you aren't a perfect eater.
According to the APA, “women should continue taking prenatal vitamins after pregnancy for up to a year and have a special type of postnatal vitamin for breastfeeding women”.
As a matter of fact, each of the vitamins that were essential to growing a healthy baby are even more important when it comes to your well-being afterward—especially if you are nursing.
7 A Little Bit Of Sunshine
Everyone loves to go outside on a bright and sunny day—or depending on where you are located, enjoying enough sunshine each week to last you for an entire year or so. Sunshine actually has a lot of health benefits, such as protection against cancer, strengthening the immune system, reinforcing bone health, and protecting adults from neurological disorders like dementia and brain aging.
According to a study published by the Environmental Health Study, “the levels of serotonin in your body are greatly increased and which promotes feelings of happiness and balances your mood”.
“It also reduces occurrences of Seasonal Affective Disorder,” which is akin to postpartum depression in new mothers, as per Active Times.
6 Chronic Pain Management Is Sometimes Necessary
Most women know that after they give birth there may be some lingering side effects as the body is slowly adjusting and getting itself back to normal. However, a medical condition that many women unwillingly suffer from is pelvic girdle pain.
This is normally not a problem for many women as it typically goes away within the first few days.
However, “there are instances in about 38% of women during the initial postpartum period (for whom) PGP causes pain that affects everyday activities that impacts negatively on everyday health quality of life” according to Jenny Freeman PT via Clinical Trials. Seeing a Webster-trained chiropractor throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period can really help deter this!
5 Energy Foods Will Boost Your Mood Too
Being a new mother can be taxing—both physically and mentally—as we strive to care for ourselves, our infant(s), our partners, and any other children that may be in the picture. So, just as it is important to keep taking our vitamins and eating as healthy as possible, we need to maintain some type of energy or stamina for the rollercoaster of motherhood.
According to the USDA, there are many foods that provide just enough of a kick to get you going and not bog you down with a sugar low later on. Carbs such as raw yogurt, eggs a handful of nuts or water will be just what the nutritionist ordered.
4 Contraception Questions Are Often First On The List
After you have a baby, you are supposed to wait until your postpartum checkup is over and the midwife or doctor gives you the "all clear" to resume normal activities. It has also been widely recommended by providers that you wait until you have reached at least 18 months at a minimum before you expand your family again. However, many women wonder about contraception methods.
According to UPI Health, there are over ten types of birth control methods to assist you in achieving optimal time between healing and expansion. Dr. Ann Borders says, “the period following delivery is a busy, exhausting, and often stressful time and immediate postpartum insertions of long-acting reversible contraception may eliminate some of stressors.”
3 Advice Well-Heeded: Sleep When Baby Sleeps
This one has been heard over and over again as the centuries have changed. But there are two schools of thought to this piece of advice.
There are many women who think it’s darn near impossible to sleep when their infant sleeps because they aren't a robot that can flip some switch and it’s immediately lights out.
On the other hand, there are also physicians, like Katherine Stone, who noted, "lack of sleep in one of the primary reasons that contribute to women who suffer from postpartum depression”.
So, sleeping when the baby sleeps not only ensures that you as a new mother can get some of your much-needed rest, but it also makes sure you don’t sink into sadness at the same time, according to Postpartum Progress.
2 Stool Softeners Can Be Your Best Friend
For those first few weeks after you have had your baby, one of the most uncomfortable things that you will have to perform is to have a bowel movement. So, when it comes to getting your body to do what it was naturally meant to do, you may run into some difficulties.
Not only will that area be sore but your body has to readjust from the pushing and swelling. Thus, your bowels may not function immediately as they did before you gave birth. According to Dr. Sears, “you have several different methods to aid you with postpartum constipation such as stool softeners.”
There are many brands on the market that are safe to consume. Taking quality forms of magnesium like magnesium malate or glycinate, and using topical magnesium chloride oil sprays are also great ideas to keep things moving, and it'll help you get some restful shut-eye, too.
1 Loose Threads Won't Last Forever
Many women know as we progress through being pregnant that we will want to increase the size of our clothing or redesign our entire wardrobe, if for nothing else but for sheer comfort. As our bodies expand to accommodate growing a healthy fetus, we will need to ensure that we are completely comfortable.
According to A Silver Lined, one of the best things about being in the postpartum period is the fact that you can still wear those loose clothes and make all of your friends completely jealous. The physicians at ACOG recommend wearing loose-fitting clothing that will help keep you cool.
References: Healthtap, Ask Dr. K, Pacific College, The Chalkboard, AWHO, Keeper Of The Home, Ask Dr. Sears, APA, Active Times, Clinical Trials, Baby Center, UPI Health, Postpartum Progress, A Silver Lined