If you’re reading this, it means that I’ve just given birth to our second baby! Needless to say, things will be a little quiet around here for a bit, but I did want to share what I’ll be doing to help myself rest up and recover during these next few weeks postpartum.
It’s unfortunate that our society has lost touch with the importance of a restful postpartum period to help mama and baby bond, establish healthy breastfeeding habits, and allow mama’s body to rest up and heal after childbirth. In traditional societies, mama and baby usually spend the first 4-6 weeks at home, and friends and relatives help with the cooking, cleaning, and anything else that mama needs during that time.
That’s not to say that we need to restrict ourselves from ever leaving the house during that period, but we do need to recognize the importance of taking it easy, nourishing our bodies, and proactively healing our bodies with proper postpartum care.
Heal Your Body
The soreness and discomfort that you’ll feel after a vaginal delivery (especially if you had a tear or episiotomy) can vary from the very mild to the very extreme. Either way, don’t underestimate the power of a peri bottle, some witch hazel, and a soothing bath.
Your hospital or midwife should send you home with a peri bottle – a squirt bottle that you’ll use to squirt warm water on the perineum during and after urinating. This will help soothe any stinging and clean the area thoroughly. I also highly recommend this New Mama Bottom Spray from Earth Mama Angel Baby, which is so soothing and cooling! Just spray it on after each time you go to the bathroom and it’ll provide some relief and leave you feeling nice and fresh. 🙂
Witch hazel pads are also great for soothing the wound. Place a chilled witch hazel pad between the wound and your sanitary pad. You can even try making your own frozen witch hazel sanitary pads beforehand and keep them in the freezer until you need them – this looks like a super cool project!
Taking soothing baths for the first week or two also helps promote healing and reduce swelling. Try adding some Epsom salts or baking soda and soak for 15-30 mins. You can also pick up a sitz bath from your local drug store and place it right over your toilet – much easier and more efficient than getting in and out of the regular bath tub.
Feed Your Body
A new breastfeeding mama needs to pay extra special attention to her diet, especially in those first few weeks when she’s establishing her milk supply. Also important is keeping your energy levels up, so eating multiple smaller meals throughout the day is best. A good, healthy breastfeeding diet includes lots of proteins, calcium, iron-rich foods, leafy greens, fruits and veggies, and lots of DHA-rich foods (like wild salmon, sardines, and eggs) to promote baby’s healthy brain development.
Drinking mother’s milk tea is also a great way to help nourish your body and boost your milk production. It’s basically a blend of herbs that are known to help promote healthy lactation. You can either buy it in tea bags or make your own at home. Natural Living Mamma has a great recipe for Mamma’s Milk Tea right on her site.
Balance Your Mood
It’s very common for mamas to get the “baby blues” in the first days and weeks after childbirth. The hormones that helped your body grow that little bean for the past 9 months can become really out of whack during the postpartum period as they work themselves back to normal levels.
Keep your hormones balanced and in check can help you avoid the worst of the blues and postpartum depression. Essential oils like bergamot and geranium are known to be uplifting and balancing oils. They can also help regulate and balance the hormonal system and soothe anxiety and depression. Diffuse the oils in the room or add a few drops to a small spray bottle and spray in the air. Red raspberry leaf tea, which you may have already been drinking during pregnancy, is also great for balancing those hormones.
Do you have a regimen to help promote postpartum healing and recovery? What other tips do you have for new moms during their postpartum recovery period?
Photo Credit: Sharon Drummond