My good blogging friend Rebekah from Surviving Toddlerhood wrote an amazing book focused on newly postpartum mamas, The First Six Weeks: Thriving Naturally on Your Postpartum Journey, and I asked her to write a guest post for my readers to help celebrate its release. If you are newly postpartum, pregnant, praying about becoming pregnant or care for someone who is, check this book out. It’s full of tips and tricks Rebekah has picked up through four of her own postpartums and countless others helping women as a doula and friend.
Congratulations on your new little one, momma!! While you are in the first six weeks postpartum you and your baby will change in ways that you never imagined. Your body is healing from pregnancy and delivery while also expanding to bring nutrient-rich breastmilk for your baby. Your baby is learning to latch and nurse. You are leaking through your clothes, your eyes are probably blurry from lack of sleep, and you really want to brush your teeth, but it takes so much time to feed and burp the baby, feed yourself, and change her diaper, that you really can’t imagine finding time for self-care.
But self-care is critical in the first weeks postpartum, just as it will be for the rest of your life.
Self-care has taken on a somewhat negative light lately because some think that it means hours away from your family, alone time, or lots of money spent in the pursuit of self-care through pedicures, spa days, and more. But self-care can be simple and take place at home too. Today I want to share with you 10 simple ways to practice self-care in the first six weeks postpartum that won’t take a ton of planning and can be fit into your day with just a little forethought.
1. Take an Herbal Bath
An herbal bath can be soothing to any tears that may be healing and some of the properties in the herbs can also calm your mind and relax the rest of your body. When someone comes over, nurse the baby, give them to your friend or family member, and go take a soak. There are lots of recipes online if you want to make your own, or you can order them premade.
2. Go for a Walk
A walk in the fresh air can do so much good for you and your baby, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A gentle walk around the block can give you a lift emotionally while also helping you and your baby benefit from the healing effects of Vitamin D. Tip from Sarah: This is a great time to pull out your favorite baby wrap or carrier. I personally prefer meh dei style but our trusty Ergo gets lots of use as well.
3. Drink a Cup of Tea
Cutting caffeine in the first six weeks postpartum may be a wise choice for you if you have adrenal or thyroid issues already, or if you have a history of babies who don’t like caffeine. A cup of tea can replace much of the taste and ritual of that morning cup of coffee but be easier on you and your baby. Check out these five herbal teas that are helpful for postpartum mommas.
Taking a few minutes at the end of the day to write down your thoughts and emotions, as well any milestones for baby, can leave you feeling relaxed and calm as you go to sleep. Studies have shown that journaling is beneficial for those who suffer from anxiety and depression, so this may be a way for some of you who struggle with anxiety and depression to have less frequent attacks.
5. Stretch Your Body
Gentle stretching and yoga can help your muscles to return to their proper position as you seek to heal from diastasis and other effects of pregnancy. As a new momma who may be sleeping in a different position than normal, carrying baby all the time, and breastfeeding, your muscles will probably get tight very quickly. Stretching also helps to alleviate those discomforts.
6. Nourish Your Body
Making sure to nourish your body may seem like something that anyone would do, and silly to put on a list of simple self-care options for postpartum women, but often times it is one of the first things that goes. As we are trying to just get through our days as new mommas, we tend to go for things that are easy to grab, and don’t need prep time equally more processed foods than normal. If we take a small amount of time at the beginning of the week to prep food and snack options, it will be easier through our busy days to make healthy choices and give our body the nutrition it needs. Check out this nutritional guide for breastfeeding moms!
7. Meditate on Scripture
Meditating on scriptures that can follow you throughout your tiring days as a new momma is an essential part of self-care in the first six weeks. Some of my favorite passages to meditate on after the birth of a baby are:
- Any passages that may have to do with my baby’s name.
- Psalm 127:3-4
- Psalm 139:13-18
- Isaiah 41:10
- Matthew 11:28-30
8. Hold Your Baby Skin to Skin
Cuddling with your baby’s chest to yours, elevates your oxytocin levels leading to greater bonding plus it is great for baby. Skin to skin cuddling helps baby’s immune system, heart rate, blood sugar, and body temperature regulate. When you and baby cuddle skin to skin both of you are getting benefits! Tip from Sarah: Another plug for baby wearing. If you are having to make meals or another at-home task where you are upright for a while, try taking off your top and wearing baby snuggled skin to skin hands-free, just watch out for hot pans 🙂
9. Connect with Your Spouse
This is something that can seem hard, but try to connect with your spouse for just a few minutes of alone time each night. There doesn’t need to be anything sexual about this time, take it to talk over the day, share your fears about baby or yourself, go for a walk, hold hands, cuddle, get or give a back massage, etc. The point is to simply be together. Many times, Dads feel left out of the equation in this season of parenthood because they can’t do much to help baby. They can also feel that baby and baby care is taking over their wife and they are getting pushed to into the background, with a few minutes a night you can help them through this transition and help them to understand ways they can help support you. Here are six ways that you can nurture your marriage in the first year postpartum.
10. Get a Massage
This one might be the hardest self-care idea on this list. But it feels really good. If you get a chance to book a postpartum massage, do it! You can also ask for massage certificates at a baby shower, if you want to make sure that you will have that available. Tip from Sarah: I bought Husband this foot massager as a nursing school gift on Prime Day and we all really like it. I wish I had bought it when Baby A was here because it is so relaxing to have it on when I’m rocking and nursing him. Also, call around your local massage places that offer prenatal massages. Oftentimes they have students who will do a massage at a discounted rate.
How do you spend time caring for yourself in that tender postpartum period? Chime in below!