It's no secret that recovering from giving birth and adjusting to life with a new baby can be tough on a woman's body. From the physical strain of labor to the hormonal fluctuations of postpartum, it can take some time to feel like yourself again. If you're a new mom struggling to recover, don't worry - help is on the way! In this blog article, we'll discuss five key tips for new moms to help you recover quickly and healthily in the postnatal period. Whether it's making sure you're drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, or bonding with your brand new bundle of joy, we've got your top 5 priority list covered so it's one less thing for you to worry about while you navigate the postpartum recovery period.
Read on to see if you identify with any of these postpartum recovery challenges and learn our best recommendations on how you can overcome them and ease into your new role as "Mama".
How long is postpartum recovery & what can I expect?
The first six weeks after giving birth (whether it's a natural birth or a cesarean birth) is considered your postpartum recovery period. Of course, all mamas recover at different rates depending on the individual and their own postpartum journey, but during this time, you can expect to experience some physical and emotional changes. Physically, you might notice changes as your body slowly adjusts to no longer being pregnant, you may experience pain in your perineum if you're going through the natural birth recovery journey or slight pain in your episiotomy stitches if you had a cesarean birth. Along with this, common postpartum discomforts include backache, hemorrhoids, and the dreaded swelling (yes, it doesn't go away instantly - sorry mama!). Postpartum recovery belly, swelling in your legs, and ankle swelling can take a little while to disappear completely.
Your postpartum symptoms can start going away within a few days (compression socks for swelling are essential to have in your postpartum recovery kit) and your belly will take... hold up! We're not going to put a timeline on this one. Pressure on moms to get their pre-birth bellies back ASAP is one of the many things you're going to have to simply zone out of your mind. Focus on taking care of yourself and your baby, and try not to place unrealistic expectations on yourself - you'll get there mom, we promise! It will probably take a few weeks for the aches and pains to disappear. The truth is that the postpartum recovery timeline is different for everyone. C-section recovery and natural birth recovery will be different, and there are a number of factors that will affect your healing process, but it's important to remember that even though you might be in discomfort now, there are ways to make postpartum recovery a positive experience.
Tip 1: Can you try to frame postpartum recovery as a positive experience?
Can you do it, mama? After carrying another human inside you for 40 weeks, we think you can do pretty much anything! So, before we get any further into our list of top 5 postpartum recovery tips, we're going to challenge you to re-frame the postpartum recovery process as one that you can work and grow through instead of struggling through. Why? Because when mamas reframe their mindset to take on the postpartum recovery period with confidence, they are more likely to take care of themselves, reach out for help when needed, and use the time to bond with their new baby, albeit in a different body to the one you once knew - a more powerful, more capable one! That's not to say this is an easy road by any means, but we hope we can help you feel inspired to go into this time with a positive outlook.
Tip 2: Let's start getting some nutrients into that beautiful body.
Postpartum nutrition is an extremely important part of your postpartum recovery journey. You are supporting two people now and need to ensure that you're getting enough nutrition so your body can recover, you can heal healthily, and your baby can get all the goodness they need. If you're wondering what to eat after giving birth and breastfeeding, the CDC recommends about 400 to 500 extra calories per day for breastfeeding mothers but whether you're breastfeeding or not, optimal nutrition for postpartum recovery is absolutely vital to keep your energy levels up, to heal your body and mind, and to simply keep you going through the long nights. Your postpartum diet should include avoiding seafood high in mercury, limiting alcohol, and reducing caffeine. A postpartum nutritionist might recommend you stick to what the USDA recommends, which is lots of healthy fats from fish, nuts, and veggie oils, cutting out the products with added sugar, and limiting solid fats like lard and butter.
If you hear one thing today mommy, let it be this: whatever your diet after birth looks like, it needs to be focused around keeping your body healthy and supporting recovery, not losing weight as quickly as possible.
Tip 3: Ask for help, accept it with grace, and let go of the guilt.
If you're a new mom, you've undoubtedly heard of the "baby-blues". And while it's completely normal to feel overwhelmed and emotional after giving birth, it's also empowering to know why you might be feeling this way. 80% of parents experience the ‘blues’ two to three days after birth and this can last a couple of weeks. Simply put, your hormones are changing rapidly, your estrogen and progesterone levels have dropped suddenly after giving birth, and your sleeping and eating patterns have changed. It's no wonder you're feeling overwhelmed! The best way to help beat the baby-blues is by asking for and accepting help. Accepting help can be hard, especially if you're used to being an independent woman, but it's important to remember that there are people who love you and want to support you - they just need you to let them know. Postpartum depression, however, is different to the postpartum anxiety symptoms you may feel with the baby-blues. Postpartum depression signs are more severe and longer-lasting, and can include feelings of hopelessness, isolating from loved ones, losing interest in the things that used to bring you joy, thoughts of self-harm, and consuming thoughts of guilt and sadness. If you're noticing signs of postpartum depression, it's time to talk to your doctor, mama. Postpartum recovery means allowing yourself to rest and heal, but also understanding that you don't have to do this alone.
The postpartum journey is different for every mom, and symptoms can manifest hormonally, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Your body has been through some drastic changes in a relatively short amount of time, and your physical health is something that should be at the top of your priority list. Often, we’re told not to overreact or we feel embarrassed about the changes our bodies go through after birth. However, if you notice symptoms of postpartum infection such as mastitis, fever, or increasing redness around a cesarean incision, it’s essential that you speak with your doctor to get the medical support you need. Whether you feel like you're overreacting or not, trust your body to tell you when things aren't quite right. More often than not, there are simple and effective ways to treat what you're experiencing so don't suffer in silence when you can get the help you need.
Tip 4: Light exercise and relaxation is your BFF during postpartum recovery.
One of our top postpartum recovery tips is to include some relaxation techniques and light postpartum exercise into your day. "But my day is FULL of diapers and tears and cleaning mess and...!" It's true, mama - being a new parent can feel exhausting and it can be hard to find any time for yourself. That's why it's important to build exercise and relaxation into your day, even if it means breaking it up into smaller chunks of 10-15 minutes. A light postpartum exercise routine can help you to reduce stress, sleep better, and improve your mood. For moms who have had a natural birth, you can start light exercise routines as soon as your doctor gives the green light. Moms who have had a c-section will need to wait a little longer - around 6 weeks - before starting to exercise after birth. While postpartum exercises might take a little while to come around to, relaxation techniques such as mindful breathing and meditation can be implemented right away to help you to get some much-needed headspace and clarity among the chaos. Postpartum anxiety can revolve around a host of challenges that many new moms experience. You don't have to pay an expert to help you with this part - there are loads of postpartum relaxation meditations and diaphragmatic breathing techniques available online for you to use so you can plug into recovery quickly and easily.
Tip 5: Bond with your baba!
Developing a strong bond with your little one is a top priority on your postpartum recovery checklist. Even though you may be feeling sore, tired, stressed, and anxious, taking the time to connect with your baby can be incredibly rewarding and beneficial for both of you. Babies are born with an instinctive need to be soothed and comforted in their environment, which is why skin-to-skin contact between baby and parent can be incredibly calming. There is opportunity for this whether you're breastfeeding or not. If you're bottle feeding, your baby will still become familiar with your smell and touch so say goodbye to the myth that breastfeeding is the only real way to bond. Making eye contact with your baba, holding and cuddling them, speaking to them in a gentle voice - all of these things can help to build the bond you have with your little one. Taking moments to engage your baby and hold them close is vital to their development and it can also be really beneficial for your own postpartum recovery process.
Some mommies feel an instant connection with their babies and that's an awesome feeling, but some moms need a few days to ease into it and get through the overwhelm to start bonding. Take it at your own pace and don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back for each milestone. If it's been a few weeks since giving birth and you're still feeling detached or like you're not bonding with your baby, don't be too hard on yourself. Speak to your doctor and seek the extra support you might need so you can find ways to build the connection with your baby that you've always envisioned.
It's important to remember that as a new parent, you are allowed to make mistakes. Postpartum recovery can sometimes feel daunting and like a race against the clock. Remember: you have time, mama! You don't need to rush through the process - take it one day at a time, and don't forget to celebrate the little victories. Most importantly, postpartum recovery is about self-care, because your baby is an extension of… you! Take small steps that will lead to big results in your postpartum journey, and consult with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. There are resources all around you to support your recovery – it's just about being open to receiving the help.
If you're one of the many moms who struggled with leg or ankle swelling in pregnancy and you still have swelling that's making your postpartum journey uncomfortable, Pear Compression's Italian-made, hypoallergenic compression socks are the best compression socks for swelling during the postpartum recovery process. Adding a pair of our chic and elegant compression socks into your postpartum recovery essentials pack is a must for any mama who wants to boost their recovery and healing process. We've designed our compression socks to look just as good as they make you feel so you don't have to worry about sacrificing style while you focus on recovering.
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While we do make every effort to produce accurate and up-to-date content, the information in this blog article is provided for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.