Now that you’re home with your precious little one, the first days of the oxytocin high might be slowly easing off. So, what can you do to keep your energy up? How can you make this sensitive time more joyful for you, your baby and the rest of your family? Here are some useful tips on how to create a postpartum haven where you can focus on falling in love with your baby.
Create some ‘me’ time
As hard it is to imagine putting yourself first when you have a new baby, it’s a must-do! Have a hot bath infused with yummy smelling healing herbs followed by applying beautiful organic body products to nurture your skin, body and soul. My favourites are the soothing peri spray and peri balm, and rosehip oil for the tummy and face. Little self-care pamper sessions can make all the different to your mental health. Taking a moment for yourself to breathe and relax will give you the strength you need to get through.
A ‘food tree’ for support
Healthy, nourishing food is key to getting through the postpartum times with enough energy but it’s easy to slip up when you’re juggling a new baby. Remember, your family and friends are happy to help so consider creating a ‘food tree’, where each day someone in your community cooks slightly more food than they normally do for dinner and drops off a portion for you. It can take some organising but don’t be scared to ask a close friend, family member or postpartum doula to take care of it.
There is also an incredible non-profit organisation that provides three meals a day for the whole family, free of charge in many cities around NZ!
Snuggle and rest
Try to avoid getting caught up in keeping the house clean and tidy and entertaining guests. This time is for you and your baby so snuggle up in a warm room together and sleep, cuddle and feed. Let others nourish and nurture you – reach out to family and friends if you have older kids. As hard as it is to ignore dishes and washing when baby sleeps, try and sleep when they do as much as possible. Even if you just close your eyes for 15 minutes, it will calm the nervous system and give you the little energy boost. Keeping the baby close will enhance your magical bond. They’ve been in your tummy for nine months with plenty of skin on skin contact so snuggling is a great way to ease them into the outside world. Holding and massaging your baby while gently humming will soothe you both into a state of bliss.
Each and every baby is different, just like every household and life journey. If you have more than one child, you’ll know how different even they can be! Comparing you and your baby to others will only create stress you don’t need. You are a beautiful, capable, competent mother. If you’re having difficulty at any time, focus on one task at a time, and ask for help when you need it – people understand! Every household has its ups and downs but not everyone ‘shows’ it as it is. Don’t turn to social media for comparisons, just focus on you and your precious one, the perfect little team. Remember, they chose you for a reason!
Be gentle with yourself
Every mama has times when they feel they can’t cope. Times when sleep deprivation reaches a whole new level and a crying baby makes them want to run for the hills. We’ve all been there. Remember, you are doing the best you can in the best possible way. When you’re in the first weeks or months of your baby’s life, it’s hard to imagine a time when things will be different – but they change before you know it. These days are challenging and being on demand 24/7 is hard work and something you’ve never done before. But these days are also beautiful so celebrate the little wins (that are actually huge!) because it’s those magic moments that will get you through. As you fiercely and unconditionally love your baby, keep in mind the saying – ‘We can’t pour from an empty cup’. Be kind to yourself.
Get sunshine and fresh air
Here in New Zealand, we’re blessed with loads of sunshine – even in winter. If you enjoy the outdoors, get outside with your baby or on your own – even if it’s just to your backyard. Turn your face to the sun and soak up all that beautiful vitamin D. Take a deep hearty breath, pause, then exhale all the tension of the day. Daily walks after the first 40 days (or when it’s right for you) can be life saving. Find someone to be your walking buddy. It’s not only a gentle way of introducing exercise to your beautiful postpartum body, it will make you feel good to walk under the sun with a soul sister (who’s no doubt as sleep deprived as you are!).