You may read books, chapters, and lists on what to expect when you are expecting, but if you are like me, you might have stopped somewhere along the way and forgot to check out what to expect post-baby! Because there are so many new experiences and feelings happening at one time, it is super important for moms to take specific steps to take care of themselves. Here are some suggestions to get you new moms out there started!
- Take Showers. It can become easy to stay in the same spit-up covered, over-sized comfy clothes (and underwear) for a very extended period of time after you have a baby. What’s the point in changing? Days blend into nights, no one expects you to be actually dressed, and you have not yet quite figured out how it is possible to leave a newborn to clean yourself without a nurse’s help. But, you can do it- and you should do it! The water is refreshing, it is a minute or two of time to yourself, and the whole process helps to make you feel just a tad bit more like yourself each time you get in.
- Put Some Music On. Maybe you enjoy some relaxation music when you are trying to sleep, maybe you like today’s hits when you’re in the car, or perhaps you tune in to your favorite country station when you go out for a little walk with the baby… it doesn’t matter what type of music you prefer, but listening to something at some point during the day really can boost your mood – and if your baby is with you, chances are he or she will like it, too!
- Connect With the People You Need. It can be very difficult to even start to know exactly what it is you need post-baby, which can lead to some difficulties when managing expectations and realities in the whirlwind of motherhood you’ve entered. But, it is really important to be able to request a visit from your best friend who you can tell anything to when you need it. People may come in and out of your home to see the baby non-stop and you can still somehow feel like you are suddenly super lonely. Reach out to the people who want to be there for you, not just see your baby. It may seem next to impossible to pick up the phone and set up this visit, but do it. A special visit may warm your soul and that is absolutely good for your baby.
- Move Somehow…Anyhow…Move. While you may not be able to lift weights or run a marathon right away, there are exercises you can do once your doc gives you the okay to work out again. Walking is a great way for you (and your baby) to get some fresh air and to clear your head. A visit to the gym, even if it is to just do some very modified moves at first, can really boost endorphins. A yoga class can help you to clear your head and release tension where your body needs it most. Go for a swim or even just walk down to the beach to the see the ocean water. Dance in your living room or follow a postnatal DVD. Listen to your body, do what feels good, and try to move a little bit every day once it’s safe.
- Drink Water and Eat Whole Foods. It can be very easy to forget to eat breakfast… and then lunch… and then all of a sudden it’s 6pm and you realize, “Oh, hmm. I suppose I should have eaten something today!” As a new mom, you are surely making certain that your baby is fed when he needs to be, but you might forget that you need to eat as well. In fact, you might even notice a dip in your appetite in general. If this is happening, try eating smaller meals throughout the day – go for some eggs, nuts, fresh fruit, kombucha, and some greens. If you can’t get out to the store, write up a specific list and ask someone to go for you or order from an online delivery source. Experiment with a crockpot or make meals in batches so that you don’t have to order-in from restaurants very often; home-cooked meals are always a better source of nutrition. Be sure to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated and to help your body regulate itself.
Take care of yourself and surround yourself with people who will help to take care of you in whatever ways you need so that you can take care of your baby.
Comment any additions to the list below!