In the days and weeks after your new baby is born, it’s so important to focus on yourself and your postpartum recovery. Find eight ideas for postpartum self care for the natural mama!
You’ve made it through labor and delivery and are snuggling your sweet babe. But, you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck! You’re exhausted, you’re sore in places you didn’t know could be sore, and you find yourself crying and have no idea why.
I’ve been there too. I’m now eight weeks postpartum and want to share with you how this has been my easiest recovery and postpartum period yet! Because it hasn’t always been this way. I remember breaking down in the bathroom at 3:00am after my first baby was born because I was so exhausted and overwhelmed. Thankfully, my recovery has gotten easier each time I’ve had a baby, but after four babies, I’ve also figured out what helps the most, including something I’ve never done before!
8 Postpartum Self Care Practices for the Natural Mama
Drink a lot of Water!
My mom gave me this advice when my first daughter was born: never sit down to nurse without a glass of water. Even better, drink a glass of water before you sit down to nurse, and also bring another glass with you. It’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re recovering from your delivery and establishing your milk supply. Drink lots of water, all day long.
I realize that drinking water is not necessarily a magic bullet that will solve every mom’s low milk supply issues. But, if you are struggling with your milk supply, I want to encourage you to increase the amount of water you’re drinking and see if that helps. At the very least, it will boost your energy levels and also help to keep away at least one dreaded postpartum side-effect, constipation.
Quick tip if this is your first baby: leave your pre-pregnancy jeans at home. You may be surprised by the size of your belly after your babe is born. And if you’ve had a baby before you know how stretched out and weak your ab muscles are after delivery. I think it gets worse with each pregnancy and delivery, at least it has for me!
I had a large diastisis recti with this pregnancy, (which is when your ab muscles separate from each other – read more here) so I knew I would need some extra support after delivery to strengthen those muscles again and help to shrink my belly back down. (In case you’re curious, at eight weeks postpartum I’m still not even close to a pre-baby belly, it’s a long process, and that’s okay! But my diastisis is almost closed!)
I’ve been using a Belly Bandit when I’m at home to support my belly and my back. It’s especially helpful when I’m also wearing Griffin. You should only use a belly wrap for around 6 weeks postpartum though. Any longer and it can cause your ab muscles to become weaker by supporting them instead of allowing them to strengthen themselves.
Bottom Spray and Balm
Ditch the pain relieving spray with less than ideal ingredients they give you at the hospital and soothe your sore bum and girl parts with these natural and organic products from Earth Mama Angel Baby instead: Mama Bottom Spray and Bottom Balm. I applied the bottom spray each time that I used the bathroom and and the balm after my showers. These make such a difference! They soothe sore parts, helping you to feel so much better down there, and also help to speed up healing.
As a new mom, it can be so hard to feel like you can leave your baby for the 10-15 minutes it takes to shower. But those minutes can be magical quiet time and really help to improve your mood.
Whether you hand your baby off to your husband, partner, or friend, or you pull the bouncy seat into the bathroom for your babe, make an effort to shower regularly! And if, like me, your postpartum hormones cause you to sweat and stink more than usual, you’ll probably feel better if you try to get in a shower every day. And showering is usually followed by getting dressed in something other than pajamas. Unless your getting dressed situation is similar to mine.
Pick out clothes the night before
Am I the only new mama who finds herself still in pajamas at lunch time many days? Sometimes that’s perfectly okay. But other times it really does help to get dressed and ready to feel more prepared for the day.
Our baby sleeps in our bedroom, so I miss my chance to get dressed if I don’t do it before he goes down for his morning nap. I don’t want to risk waking him up by sneaking in the room to pick out clothes (especially because that can be a whole thing – see the next idea). So I find myself still in my nursing nightgown at noon!
I’ve started picking out my clothes the night before to help myself get dressed easily and quickly in the mornings before the baby’s nap, or to easily grab my clothes to get dressed in another room. But, the real question is, what do you actually wear after having a baby?
For most of us, getting dressed after having a baby is not as easy as just pulling out our pre-pregnancy clothes and throwing them on! And maternity clothes aren’t any better after a week or two postpartum.
I’ve come up with a uniform that works pretty well for me, and as a bonus I was able to wear some of these pieces when I was pregnant too. My daily outfit usually consists of leggings, a nursing tank and a loose fitting top. And even though I’m totally not trendy, these pieces are really popular right now, so it’s easy to find lots of options at affordable prices.
My favorite nursing tanks are Bravado (a little pricey, but SO worth it), and my favorite leggings are a pair of compression leggings from Fabletics, the fabric is nice and thick and they really do help to hold in my jiggly belly. I also love LuLaRoe leggings. In fact, LuLaRoe clothing is basically perfect for wearing both while pregnant and postpartum! Their leggings are the softest ever (although not as belly-smoothing as the Fabletics ones) and their tops are generously cut to help cover up the postpartum belly. If you’re not familiar with LuLaRoe you can check out my friends’ groups to learn more: Meg and Alicia.
Getting out of maternity clothes and investing in a few items you can easily wear postpartum can help you get back to feeling like yourself after delivery!
But no matter what you end up wearing, if you only do one thing postpartum, it should be this:
Want to know the best way to eliminate that postpartum hit-by-a-truck feeling? This is absolutely my #1 recommendation for an easier postpartum recovery! I will admit though, I had a hard time getting on board with this. I didn’t even know it was a thing with my first two babies, and then with my third, I knew about the benefits of taking placenta pills, but I still couldn’t really handle the idea.
When my sister had twins in February, she had her placentas encapsulated and raved about how the pills helped her c-section recovery and made her transition to life with two babies and a toddler so much better. She called them her superwoman pills and really encouraged me to try it this time around. I knew that having my 4th baby at 35 years old, with three older and demanding kids, I was going to need all the help I could get!
My midwife’s assistant took my placenta the evening that Griffin was born, encapsulated it for me, and brought the pills back 3 days later at my postpartum visit. I started taking them and noticed a difference in my energy levels and emotional well-being right away. I didn’t feel like I needed to take naps every day and didn’t experience the roller coaster of emotions (tears pouring down my face but having no idea why I’m crying), the way I did after my other deliveries.
And so far, I also haven’t struggled with the mild baby blues I experienced with my other three babies. The difference they have made for me is incredible. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to take placenta pills after every delivery!
But since I can’t, I just want to encourage you – whether your having your first baby, your fourth, or your sixth. If you’ve never encapsulated your placenta and taken it for postpartum care and recovery, you really should. You will be amazed at the impact it has on your recovery!
If you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy, or have recently had a baby, incorporating these self care practices into your day can help you feel better and recover more quickly. As moms we often give everything of ourselves to our kids, families, and homes. Your body and emotions have been through so much, it’s okay, even important, to take time to focus on your postpartum recovery!
These are the self-care practices I’ve found to be most helpful to me in my postpartum recovery this time around. Be sure to also read about the natural remedies for the postpartum baby blues I recommend. Again, I’d definitely add placenta pills to that list – they are truly superwoman pills!
When you have a new baby you are sacrificing so much – your body, your sleep, your time – so be intentional about taking care of yourself during the postpartum phase mama! You deserve it!
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What did you find most helpful during your postpartum recovery? Have you taken placenta pills? Would you ever consider it?
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I made my own placenta pills for my 3rd and 4th babies…it was amazing the effect they had! I deal with off-kilter hormones when I’m not pregnant, but with the placenta pills I felt amazing. I almost wanted to cry when I ran out! I made them last as long as I could. If I get pregnant again, though, I will hopefully find someone to make them for me! They’re definitely worth paying for.