Navigating postpartum self-care
This past year-and-a-half has been difficult for all of us. Throw in a pregnancy, having a new baby, going from one to two children, multiple moves and losing my mom – it’s been a tough year to say the least! But I am here, and thankful that despite the challenges that a global pandemic has brought upon us, I have worked hard to keep myself a priority. I won’t lie, navigating postpartum self-care has been hard, but I have learned some important things along the way. Postpartum self-care shouldn’t be an afterthought – it should be thoughtfully planned in the same way that we plan and prepare for everything else that comes with pregnancy. Read on for some tips for navigating postpartum self-care.
This is a tough one, and one that I have had to be mindful of over these past nine months. So much of our time is devoted to our new baby. We already feel stretched thin trying to make time for everyone else and all of our other responsibilities. It’s easy to put our self-care on the back burner after pregnancy, but I can’t stress enough the importance of self-care during the fourth trimester. There is so much truth in the saying that we can’t pour from an empty cup.
Self-care might look different for all of us, so the first thing is deciding what you need. Whatever that looks like for you, I found a few strategies that made taking care of myself easier during the fourth trimester.
5 Strategies to Prepare for Postpartum Self-Care
- Set Boundaries Ahead of Time
Setting boundaries isn’t always easy, but I promise you that setting them before baby arrives is easier than setting them afterward. I found it helpful to set boundaries around visitors weeks before baby arrived. This eliminated the stress of dealing with it during those first few weeks home with baby. Think about where and with who you might need to set boundaries before you’re caught up in caring for a brand new baby!
- Plan for Postpartum Support
There are so many supports available to us moms in the fourth trimester – Dietitians (like us here at the Nest) to help monitor baby’s intake and growth, Lactation Consultants to support moms who decide to breastfeed, Doula’s to help care for mom and baby in the home, and other allied health professionals like therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists who specialize in postpartum care. Creating a plan for these supports before baby arrives leaves less on your plate when there’s so much more going on.
- Ask for Help
Aside from professional support, ask the people in your life for the help you need. You know, the ones who say “let me know what I can do to help”…tell them what you actually need. A hot meal, groceries, clean laundry, or someone to occupy your older kids while you and baby sleep. Whatever it is, be okay with asking and receiving help from those who love you.
- Get Rid of the Guilt
It can be easy to feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. Mom guilt is REAL. Forgive yourself, learn, move on and remember that you matter too! I’ve found that this takes a lot of work and regular reminders.
- Nourish Your Body
Whether you do it yourself, with your partner, or enlist the help of family and friends, having food on hand for when baby arrives is key! We stocked our freezer with meals and one-handed snacks, and it honestly made the days so much easier. Check out our blog post Snacks for the Fourth Trimester.
Final Notes from The Nest
Navigating postpartum self-care can be tough, and for so many of us it ends up being an afterthought. My hope is that with a bit of planning, other moms can have a fourth trimester that is less stressful and more fulfilling.
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