Taking Care of Yourself Postpartum
I remember getting home for our 5-day stay in the hospital with Ford. I ended up staying in the hospital longer than we expected due to our emergency c-section and had gotten quite comfortable with our hospital set-up. Everyone in the hospital is focused on taking care of YOU (along with my incredible husband who was so hands-on), so all you have to do is worry about nursing or carrying for the baby.
Well that changed when I got home.
Suddenly I released I would have to figure out how to be a new mom and take care of myself while my husband went back to work and the visitors started to dwindle.
How will I find time to workout? I hated cooking before, but how would I do it with a new baby in tow? Would I ever get to put on makeup or do my hair again? Will I ever get to see my friends again? So many questions…
To be honest, the first few weeks were just a blur or doctor check-in’s and making sure Ford was getting the proper latch during nursing sessions. I was exhausted, but in total baby bliss with Ford those first few weeks.
He would sleep, I would binge Netlfix or actually take time to get ready and all was right and quiet in the world. I even would find time to check-in on work those first few weeks! It wasn’t until Ford “woke up” around 2-months and realized that he was in a new, unfamiliar world that probably felt really scary and unknown. That’s when my self-care seemed to go out that window.
I was in pure survival-mode trying to raise my baby and keep my business running. Self-care just wasn’t something on my to-do list and I was the last person on my list.
If I went back in time or had to do this all over again, I would do several things differently. I would have taken more time off from my business. I would have asked for more help. I would have made the time for myself. So, I thought I would share a few things that I think could be helpful if you are a new mom or preparing to embark on the motherhood journey.
Ask for help - even if it’s for 1-hour each week. Ask for help! I would have family members come to our house to help and then they wouldn’t actually help because I wasn’t asking them to do the hard stuff. It’s not about entertaining when you are in the early postpartum stages. If people want to come over, they should be there to HELP. Whether it’s cooking a meal, so you can just relax or feeding the baby a bottle so your boobs can get a break, just ask. I ended up hiring a nanny because I knew it would be too hard for family members to truly help. This was the best investment in myself and my business!
Set a self-care date & go no matter what - Want to get your nails done? Get a massage? Go to your favorite workout class? You should go and you should not feel guilty about it! Pick the thing(s) that are most important to you and make a point to go. Even if baby is fussy that day, just go. Dad or whoever is watching the baby will figure it out and you’ll all be okay.
Give yourself grace - Hard days happen, it’s just inevitable. So, give yourself grace when things are hard and they don’t go as planned. If you need to set the baby in a carrier for a few minutes so you can get a break - that’s okay. If you need to go on a walk to get outside while baby is cranky, just put them in the stroller and go. If the world needs to stop so you can just be a mom, that is okay. These moments will not last forever and while the days are long, they months go by quickly.
Plan ahead (your meals, your workouts, sleep, etc.) The first month at home with Ford I survived on turkey sandwiches and oatmeal cookies. Looking back, I wish I had been better about planning meals out to have ready and also allowing others to help by cooking/prepping meals for us. Once you have a baby, everything in your life has to be strategically planned for yourself and them, which usually revolves around naptime. If you set a realistic goal of what you want to do each day, you can make it happen during those naps! But it’s important to know what the best thing is for YOU. Maybe it’s even taking a nap yourself!
Invest in a postpartum wardrobe - This may sound strange but those first few months you are mostly living at home. There is no point in putting on jeans, but you may not want to wear your pregnancy clothing either. As a c-section mom, I lived in compression leggings and loose nursing tanks the first several weeks. I think having a few soft, comfortable but still stylish athleisure or lounge pieces you love to wear makes everything seem better. These were on heavy rotation for me…