Postpartum Self Care Plan: 12 of the Best Tips for Self Care After Birth
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So many moms are thinking about how to care for their new baby after birth. What you also need to be thinking is…How can I take care of myself after giving birth?
Your baby needs a healthy mom which is why self care after birth needs to be considered.
This post is all about how to come up with a postpartum self care plan and lots of preparing for postpartum tips.
After you have a baby there will be lots of new mom postpartum challenges, let this post help you out with those and make life easier!
#1 Take Care of Your Body After Birth
Your body will take care of your mind and vice versa, so it would be unwise not to focus on how to take care of your body after giving birth.
Having done it three times now, I’ve got a nice postpartum kit that I like to put together so that I’m fully prepared for the postpartum experience.
No matter how many times you go through it, postpartum recovery isn’t fun, but these items below definitely help the process along.
- Adult Diapers – It is about as glamorous as you can get, but adult diapers are comfortable and you will have to worry a whole lot less about leaking. What I liked to do was put a pad in the diaper and then just change out the pad unless the diaper also got soiled.
- Pads – After the first 3-5 days of heavy bleeding, a maternity pad will likely suffice, however, I like to stock up on 1 pack of maternity pads, 2 packs of regular pads, and 1 pack of liners so that I’m covered for everything.
- Witch Hazel – This stuff is amazing for healing and it is incredibly soothing! I put it in a bottle with a spray lid and then just spray it directly on the pad.
- Peri Bottle – You most likely won’t want to be touching anything “down there” for the first few days, especially if you had tearing of any kind. A peri bottle will allow you to stay clean with the least amount of discomfort.
- Flushable Wipes – Once you’re not so tender, having some flushable wipes to use while you’re still healing is really helpful.
- Heat Pad – Postpartum comes with lots of discomforts. I found using a heating pad for the afterpains and general aches an absolute lifesaver!
- HydroGel Discs – For any mom that ever even attempts to breastfeed…these are a must. They are so amazing for when you have cracked or hurting nipples that are trying to heal.
- Nursing Pads – Whether you breastfeed or not, you’ll likely still end up engorged and leaking so it is important to have nursing pads on hand.
- Nursing Bras – Again, these are going to be helpful no matter if you’re breastfeeding or not because your breasts will change and be uncomfortable for some time. If you’re nursing these ones are great, if you’re attempting to dry up your milk, I really liked these ones.
Society puts unrealistic expectations on moms. You don’t need to get straight back into things. What you DO need is rest and LOTS of it.
I know that sounds impossible when you have a newborn (and maybe other children) to care for, but you need to schedule time in for yourself to rest.
Go to bed early and nap whenever you get the chance.
Get Out of the House & Exercise
Don’t go running a marathon or even taking an extensive walk. Exercise may mean a trip to the store to pick up some groceries.
Give yourself grace, but get some fresh air when you can. It will do your body and mind a lot of good.
#2 Buy New Clothes
There’s nothing worse than wearing the same clothes you’ve been wearing for the past nine months, except now they’re baggy and frumpy.
You don’t have to go out and spend a fortune, but I would suggest picking a few new items for yourself.
Make sure they’re comfy and don’t set yourself unrealistic expectations. You JUST had a baby, your body is going to need time to recover.
And realize this…while you may lose the baby weight, your body has changed. It isn’t a bad thing, but you may need to learn how to accept it and find out how to dress in a way that makes you feel like you again.
#3 Get Your Hair Done
I actually like to do this just before I have my babies, but once I got caught out because she came 3 weeks early!
If you don’t get a chance to get your hair done before your baby arrives, why not make an appointment and do it afterwards?
With all the raging hormones it isn’t uncommon to feel “blegh”.
It will take time to feel back to normal, but in the mean time a new hair do can certainly help.
#4 Get Ready for the Day
It seems strange, but when I’m in the first few months postpartum I make a point to get dressed and put on a little makeup every day.
For whatever reason, it helps lift my spirits and just give me a head start on the day.
I always suggest it to any mom that is feel gross and unproductive. Just getting yourself ready for the day can make all the difference.
Related: The True Meaning of Self Care
#5 Ask for Help
You do not have to be super woman. Seriously.
It takes a village to raise a child and if you have the support available to you…USE IT.
I was terrible at this when I became a mom for the first time, but now I see the value in it.
If people offer to bring you food, accept it. If someone offers to wash your dishes, let them. And if a kind person will hold your baby so you can take a nap…DO IT.
You are not letting anyone down. You are not being weak. You are making GOOD, HEALTHY choices for yourself and for your family.
#8 Schedule Your Day
In the early stages of postpartum the days and nights all tend to run into one another.
Having any kind of routine seems impossible, but it can be done and it really helps with productivity and just staying on top of the basics (like laundry!).
Make a short to-do list (3-5 things) and then work out when you are going to do those things during the day.
Make sure to schedule them according to priority and give yourself grace if you’re not able to achieve it all.
You’ll get better with time and practice.
#9 Streamline Your Chores
Having certain chores streamlined and almost automated can make all the difference.
Find out how to do a quick clean of your house in this post.
And check out this amazing course for how to get your chores on autopilot so that you can keep on top of the housework.
#10 Don’t Compare
When you look at all the other moms out there, do yourself a favor and DON’T compare yourself to them.
We are each walking along our own paths of motherhood and none of us is the same as the other.
We are all unique and so are our circumstances.
It would be foolish to expect the same progress and outcomes across the board. Just focus on your baby and your family. That is ALL that matters.
#11 Share Your Feelings
We tend to keep things to ourselves because we don’t want to burden others.
Postpartum is not the time to do that.
If you’re struggling, talk to someone. If you’re happy, share that too.
There’s no need to keep everything to yourself for the sake of others. It is healthy to keep your mind free and light so that you can more easily focus on what is truly important.
#12 Be Mindful
Postpartum experiences are different every time. Our bodies and emotions all respond uniquely.
I’ve never experienced postpartum depression but I’m convinced I would have if I had not implemented these tips.
Being mindful will go a long way towards early intervention when it comes to postpartum depression.
Acknowledge Your Struggle
I don’t appreciate it when people whine and moan about every little thing. I think that’s why it took me so long to admit that I was struggling.
When I examined my heart as to why I was reluctant to face the fact that I was struggling I realised it was because I feared I might be met with an attitude of ‘get over it‘ from other people.
I was worried that I was being weak and that because I chose to have children whatever feelings I was struggling with were of my own doing.
When I finally acknowledged the fact that I was struggling and that it was not okay, half the battle was won.
Mama, you can not fix something that you won’t acknowledge. There is no shame in struggling.
I remember sobbing on the couch thinking that it was going to be that way forever.
It was awful.
I’m so glad that I acknowledged my struggle because it meant that I could move forward to the next important step towards fixing it.
Share Your Struggle
I mentioned in this post about how things seem to lose their power once they’re said out loud.
When you share your struggle with the right person somehow the load just seems lighter. You’re no longer alone and the fight isn’t all yours.
Even once I had accepted that I was struggling it still took me a little while before I was brave enough to share my thoughts with someone else.
One reason was the one I previously mentioned, that of being told to just get on with it. Another was that I would be burdening someone else with my problems.
The truth is though if you continue with your struggle eventually someone will be burdened anyway because you will fall apart.
For the sake of your children and family seek someone out and share what you’re feeling.
You may be wondering if you have postpartum depression, I know I did. Find someone you trust and share. Go to your doctor and have an honest conversation. Just pick someone and go from there.
Identify + Implement
Once I had overcome the huge hurdle of acknowledging and sharing my postpartum struggles I was able to take actionable steps to move past them. This included identifying what could make it better.
For some of you, this may mean a visit to your healthcare provider. You may need medication or outside support of some kind. That’s okay because it is a step in the right direction.
For me, it meant circling in on what was really making me struggle and working to fix those areas.
I felt lost.
I didn’t feel like myself.
It was like I was going through the motions of everyday life with very little motivation.
What I Needed:
- A creative outlet
- To invest in me
That’s when my blogging journey began.
It didn’t make all my struggles go away immediately but it has brought me back to who I am. I feel like myself again and I am fulfilled.
I have renewed motivation and confidence in the role that God has given me as a wife and mother. Blogging has been a way to connect with others, share my thoughts, and (hopefully) bless others.
Blogging was part of how I invested in myself but other things included a new eating plan, a little exercise, a wardrobe update, and a new hairdo.
They may sound shallow but it was exactly what I needed to boost my confidence again.
So, sit down and identify what might help get you back to where you want to be. It might even help if you sit down with someone else who knows you well because they could pull ideas when you get stuck.
And don’t just identify them…implement them too.
I know how easy it is to let things slide because you are just too exhausted, but investing in yourself is the same thing as investing in your family. If you’re thriving they will too.
Don’t get me wrong. Life still has ups and downs but I’m no longer in that dark place that I once was.
If you are there right now then please get help. You will be so grateful that you did! If you don’t have anyone to talk to then reach out to me and I will be more than happy to lend a listening ear.
Your struggle is valid and should not be dismissed. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your family, mama.