The postpartum phase is perhaps the most uncomfortable phase for any new mom. You come home and its common that all of us just want sleep. But naturally throughout this whole phase your mother instinct will kick in and you go on survival mode – meaning putting baby first and neglecting your own personal needs. Simple story short, almost every new mom (no matter how put together she seems), is pretty much a wreck at the beginning.

It’s no surprise how the postpartum period finds a lot of moms overwhelmed. It’s hard to find any time for yourself when your constantly attending to baby and focusing on your recovery. But did you know that your recovery also includes laughing? Being kinder to yourself? Moving your body and taking a shower? Yes it does, mamas. Looking after yourself is crucial in being able to love and care for your little bub as it cultivates a healthier bond for both mom and child.

To feel human again, I’ve listed down some things that new moms can do for themselves that doesn’t require taking much time away from their baby. I understand and know first-handedly that the first few weeks can be hard for new moms to find time for yourself. Hence why some of those listed below are simply reminders to help you through the baby fog.

1. Eat Well And OFTEN

This area is a little tricky for some. In light of confinement issues, a mother’s diet is one of them. Every race has its own confinement believes and tradition. It’s entirely up to you how rigid you want to go about your confinement period. Some diets for new moms lack the necessary nutrition needed for them to heal and provide for their baby therefore, to know if you’re slacking in this department, take note of these signs:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Breastmilk output isn’t enough to feed baby
  • Headaches
  • Constipation

Although these signs relate closely to sleep deprivation, poor diet is another contributing factor. More often than none, mothers tend to skip their meals when attending to their baby. An easy way to fix this is to eat when baby eats. That’s what I did and I’m sure your baby will forgive you for letting that crumb fall one or two on him.

If you can, get your food brought to you and apart from eating nutrient-dense food, keeping snacks near you is vital! It is recommended that mothers should snack often as this helps to boost your energy levels preventing them from depleting. Tired? Get your munch on!

2. Stay Hydrated

Keeping your body well-nourished not only helps you keep the headaches at bay, but also encourages a quicker recovery easier after a feeding session. This is due to the hormonal reaction our body goes through while breastfeeding as it causes us to be thirsty. Having a water bottle by your side helps tons because getting dehydrated is something a lot of breastfeeding moms face when they don’t drink enough. If drinking water gets boring, spruce it up by adding some fruit! Not only are you getting a boost of flavor, it’s all natural too!

3. Rest As Much As Possible

I know a lot of mothers are eye-rolling this but hear me out. Rest doesn’t have to mean a whole two hours. Nor does it have to rake up an hour of your day. Rest does mean, taking some time off your day to simply unwind and listen to your body. It means giving yourself a break. So depending on however much time you can steal or make time for yourself, get in some z’s as this will help you mother on smoothly. I know when say, “sleep when baby sleeps”, a million and one things pop in to your mind. Try to train yourself to put one least important task aside everyday and schedule in a nap instead.

Discuss this with your partner and see how they can help. We stan a supportive partner.

4. Get Up And Go Out!

Trust me when I say this, being one with nature does wonders to your mind, body and soul. I wish I did more of this when I was a new mom, but if there’s one thing that the pandemic taught me was to appreciate nature. Being cooped up at home for too long is never good for your overall health. While you are out getting some fresh air, get in a jog! The endorphins you get from sweating out and just being one with nature will lift your mood and even if it’s just within the compound of your home, walk around with your baby and let them enjoy fresh air.

5. Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Trust me when I say this, being one with nature does wonders to your mind, body and soul. I wish I did more of this when I was a new mom, but if there’s one thing that the pandemic taught me was to appreciate nature. Being cooped up at home for too long is never good for your overall health. While you are out getting some fresh air, get in a jog! The endorphins you get from sweating out and just being one with nature will lift your mood and even if it’s just within the compound of your home, walk around with your baby and let them enjoy fresh air.

6. Let's Get Physical!

Moving your body allows you to stay alert. No one is expecting you to do a full-blown HIIT workout, but getting a little Zumba dance in or immersing yourself in a good yoga session will make you feel great at the end of the day. Depending on your recovery process, always consult with a your doctor/gynae for best advice.

Here’s an easy tip: Put on some music and have a little dance party with your baby!

7. Take That Shower, Momma!

Although taking a shower may sound like an extreme sport when you have lack of support or ten other things to attend to, but don’t underestimate the power it holds. There’s absolutely nothing more refreshing than changing into a fresh pair of clothes after a nice shower, be it warm or cold. And if you do have help at hand, anytime you feel icky or want to destress, take that shower, momma. It’s an immediate mood booster.

8. Connect With Your Partner And Make It Non-Baby Related

Naturally, your newborn is all you’d want to talk about with your husband. However, neglecting your marriage by letting your child consume your world can be detrimental if you’re negligent with balancing the two. Connecting with your husband over other matters and bonding sans baby, helps to keep the spark alive and also make you feel like you are your own woman again.

9. Doing Something For Yourself Is Not Selfish

Yes, you read right. A little self-love goes a long way. Even if it means stealing time when your baby’s asleep to paint your nails, fix yourself a hot drink, take a few minutes to meditate, pray, blast some music or eat that bag of chips, do whatever floats your boat to make YOU happy.

10. Ground Yourself

This is the hardest part of postpartum. Grounding yourself to remember what truly matters and letting go of the hard stuff. Postpartum days are going to look and feel like shit on most days, but that’s too be expected. What’s not to expect, is how we react or respond to it. No one is going to blame you if you lose your cool, or if you just want to cry it out because coming above all that stress is hard.

And I encourage you to feel all emotion and not suppress it. Getting it out of your system is beneficial as it grounds you to remind yourself that you too, have feelings.

11. Don't Skip Your Prenatal Vitamins

If you tend to skip your meals or feel like you’re not getting enough food in, please don’t stop taking your prenatal vitamins. Many women assume they no longer need to consume these pills once they’ve given birth, but in reality, these prenatal vitamins are significant to breastfeeding mothers as your body needs more minerals in comparison to when you were pregnant.

12. Visits? Maybe Not....

Limiting visits at the beginning may just be the most genius thing you could do for yourself. As much as I love my family and was so used to big family gatherings, after giving birth it was fun for awhile when everyone came over and gushed over the baby. But I didn’t really get that much attention or rest so I just know that the next round, I might take this tip myself and limit visitors from coming too soon after giving birth.

New moms need to remember that while it’s nice to have company over, try staggering the visits at least it won’t overwhelm you and over tire baby. Because once baby is overtired, it’s us moms who need to attend to their fussy cues, not our visitors. And that will only stress and tire us out too. So be mindful of when to allow visitors as postpartum is a challenging period your body is still recovering. Take it slow but allow visits only when you feel is right. Long periods of isolation is also not good as it could lead to postpartum depression.

13. Breastfeeding Takes PATIENCE

If there’s one thing every mom learns after childbirth is that they’re new superpower is patience. All that sucking, sore nipples, uterine cramps can be very testing to a new mother. The whole experience can be challenging if your baby doesn’t get a good latch on right away. Again, that’s normal and lactation nurses exist for a reason. Make use of them. I can’t stress that enough. Read here on how they can help tremendously. 

14. The Power Of Kegels

Depending on the state of your recovery process and the sort of delivery you had, most doctors will suggest for you to go easy on your body. That means before you can resume strenuous workouts, start slow by going for walks or even getting your Kegel on. Kegel exercises are not emphasized enough. Not only do they help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles but these simple exercises of contracting and relaxing your pelvic muscles for a few  seconds can also aid in better sex.

Because childbirth has weaken these muscles, you may find yourself accidentally peeing in your pants. Happened to me and I was so shocked. Until I learned more and realized it was normal. So do these, mamas! At any time of the day, get pelvic muscles back in shape. It’s easier than getting abs.

15. Give Your Vagina Some TLC

Moms, if you had a normal vaginal delivery, high chances are you went back home with some pain and discomfort. This too is normal. The best sort of home remedy treatment I can suggest for your vajayjay is to prepare yourself a sitz bath. All you need is a pail (large enough to sit around) where you fill it with warm water and pour in some empsom salt. Sit over this pail for a few minutes and this will help relieve some discomfort and ease haemorrhoids.

16. Help Is Golden

Honestly, out of everything, I can’t stress this enough. As much as you believe you can do it, never decline help when it’s offered. It’s really a blessing in disguise. We moms always tend to second guess the help offered but what we need to learn is to trust others. You are only your best when you focus on yourself. Which means taking the time out for YOU. Learn to delegate and trust the process. It may be stressful but it’s even more stressful doing it all yourself.

So ask for help and don’t be afraid to ask often. As a new mom, you have a free pass to do whatever you like!

Everything listed above are simple things we moms can do daily. These things can be done in small doses especially if you find getting help to be a little tricky. So try to nit-pick a bunch of things that you can do (to the best of your capability) that will allow you to love ourselves a little more each day. Be kind to your mind, body and soul, babe. Cause you honestly, are BOMB.

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October 07, 2021 — Fatin Ekrami