The postpartum period isn't about "getting your body back", or "getting back to your regular schedule". It's about connection, rest, healing, and bonding. I know, you've just spent 9+ months being pregnant, not being able to do things you usually would do, but Mama, I'm here to tell you.... this time is soooo sweet! 40 days is usually the most essential time to rest and rejuvenate, but depending on the person, the postpartum period can be the first year after birth.
5 ways to get the most out of your postpartum time:
1. Stay in bed aka Lying In
My philosophy is in line with "The Firsy Forty Days : The Essential Art of Nourishing A New Mother" by Amely Greeven, Heng Ou, and Marisa Belger
No, you don't have to stay in bed 24/7! That would become very uncomfortable, very quickly. BUT! The more you are in bed resting, the better. Hey, your baby can lay there with you, and you get to eat in bed! Take this time to learn your babe's cues, look at them, snuggle them, snuggle with your partner, invite your other children into bed with you, read one of your favorite books.
2. Stay hydrated
I can't emphasize this enough! Your body just went through enormous change, and is now trying to find homeostasis. Staying hydrated is important for healing, rejuvenation of cells, and keeping ALL of the body systems functioning properly. Some things you can drink: Water (warm is best), obviously. If you don't like water, try adding fresh lemon, mint, or cucumber to spice things up. Herbal tea. Check with your local herbalist to see what kinds of herbs assist the healing process. You can sip on broth, homemade is best, but I will give you some of my favorite store bought broths below.
* Bonafide & Kettle and Fire *
3. Food is Medicine
I can't stress this enough! One of the biggest things I like to do as a postpartum doula is to cook for new families. A lot of women report being hungry throughout the day and not just during "meal times", so eat when you are hungry! During the postpartum time, we try and warm the body back up. Since your digestive system is working a little slower than usual, you want to think soft and easily digestible. Some examples include: soups/stews, oatmeal, sauteed veggies, broths. Getting healthy fats in your diet is super important because it will help boost your metabolism. Think oily fish, grass fed butter, ghee, and eggs. Anyone else obsessed with avocado? The book that I referenced earlier has a TON of recipes to choose from. These are also the recipes I tend to make for my clients unless they have other ideas.
*Since you will be resting and not doing much of anything, this is the perfect time to observe your baby after a meal. They might be sensitive to some things (notice sensitivity in their poo or crying).
4. Ask for Help & Accept Help, but know boundaries.
Everyone wants to come see the new baby after birth and much of the attention is often on the little one. It's important to set clear boundaries for friends and family! Maybe you have one visitor a week, or maybe you let your parents come over for an hour or two the day you return home. Know your limits, and know the ways in which you need assistance around the house. A food train is a great option for getting nourishment and allowing friends and family to help you! You are allowed to pick the recipes, and you are allowed to say, "Leave on the porch please". Another way to accept help is to send friends to the grocery store for you. Another way to get help is to hire a postpartum doula! (Hint hint) Make sure you hire someone who is in line with your beliefs, can give you what you need, and can hold space.
What do I provide in the postpartum period? Click here.
5. Honor yourself and Reflect
You just went through one of the most transformational experiences of your life Mama! Take the time to reflect on your birth, journal, look at pictures, talk with your birth partner. This is a great time to get body work, take baths (if you've had a Cesarean, soaking your feet is a great option), find your sensuality, and connect deeply with your partner. Asking for a massage or sweet snuggles is not selfish!