Taking Care of You: Self-Care After Childbirth
By: Sheila Olson
Your new baby is a welcome and beloved addition to your family that you’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It’s not exactly what you expected, though. Exhaustion, loneliness, and depression have crept up on you. In fact, according to PostpartumDepression.org, nearly 70-80 percent of women will experience some period of “baby blues,” and postpartum depression (PPD) may affect up to 20 percent of women.
If you think or are unsure if you have PPD, contact your doctor right away. However, stress and being overwhelmed are common challenges for new mothers, mostly caused by forgetting your own needs while caring for your baby. Your family needs you to be healthy and regain your strength. It’s time to take better care of yourself. Here are some ways to address these issues.
Stress will have a negative effect on both your mental and physical health. Start by doing some daily practices to reduce stress.
Because your sleep time is limited, make sure you can fall asleep quickly and rest deeply until your baby needs you. To help, declutter your bedroom to create a soothing environment. You might want to get room-darkening curtains or blinds and a white noise machine. Before bed, avoid drinking lots of water, eating spicy and caffeinated foods, and getting blue light exposure from your smartphone or tablet. All these things can keep you up at night.
Moms today have less help than in the past with smaller extended families. To get enough time to rest, you may need to consider hiring help. Find a recommended childcare provider who is experienced with newborns to come in while you get some sleep or go out for a short break.
You should also find a support group. Talking to other new moms can ease your mind and help you deal with any “mommy guilt” you may be feeling. Motherhood can come with some complex emotional struggles. For example, in this article from Mom.me, writer Katy Anderson explains how becoming a stay-at-home parent made her “feel so lonely while I had my children around.” It helps to share your feelings with other moms who have been there. Here are tips from Babycenter.com on how to strengthen your support system.
If you breastfeed, you know that you must give your baby nutrition, but eating healthy is, of course, good for you, too! Choosing the right foods will not only help you lose the baby weight, it can also increase your energy and fight inflammation. Learn which foods benefit you (as well as your baby) from this post at Health.com
Remember that a healthy you is the best gift you can give your baby. If you need more help, read these self-care tips for new moms from Mom365.