While rewarding at times, the postpartum phase is not the same for everyone. Here's how to look after yourself if you're a new parent.
The transition to motherhood can be challenging physically, mentally and emotionally. It is important that we look after ourselves as we embark on a new journey in life.
Self-care is not selfish. You wouldn't deprive your child of care so don't do it to yourself. If you're expecting or just had a baby, follow these simple steps to help be the best person you can be as you start your new venture.
How to look after yourself after having a baby.
Young babies tend to wake up a lot in the early days and of course, they don't know the difference between day and night. Your body has undergone many changes during your pregnancy and now your birth - you need time to recover. Prioritise rest to allow your body to heal, I know, easier said than done but try to sleep when your baby sleeps.
Fuel your body.
Postpartum nutrition is so important. Eating protein-rich foods will not only give you more energy, but it can also help with postpartum recovery. Eat a wide variety of fresh and colourful vegetables, especially leafy greens, iron-rich foods and of course stay hydrated. At a minimum, you should be drinking two litres of water a day.
Be kind to yourself.
You're human. You will have bad days and that's okay. Don't try to be it all and do it all. You are just as important as your baby. Take some time for you, whether it be a long soak in the bath or a trip to the hairdressers - if it makes you feel good, go for it.
Better yet, ask for it. If someone offers to watch over the baby for an hour so you can have some alone time, jump at it. Show close friends or family where the mop is and get them to help you around the house - you won't regret it.
Learn to say no.
We get it, everyone will want a squeeze but don't feel like you have to entertain guests if you're not feeling up to it. Limiting visits in the early days will do you a world of good as you get much-needed rest.
If you're a bit of a fitness fiend, give yourself some time and gradually return to exercise. For now, short walks with baby in a buggy or sling will help keep you fresh and rejuvenated. Take it easy mama and don't overdo it.
Use your calendar.
Sleep deprivation is real. Keep organised and on top of everything by simply logging everything on your phone. Add things like Public Health Nurse visits, postnatal check-ups with your GP, immunisations and even planned visits from friends and family.
Look after your mental health.
Don't suffer needlessly, seek help if you're not feeling yourself. Know the difference between the baby blues and postnatal depression, and most of all know where you can turn to.
Know your resources.
As your due date approaches, make a list of important numbers you may need in the coming weeks. Have the number for your local lactation consultant, GP, midwife, Public Health Nurse and hospital at the ready. You may never need them but it's better to be prepared.