Caring for yourself in the postpartum period can pose a challenge, especially with the new stress and excitement of a newborn baby. Proper postpartum care can not only make you a more attentive and effective mother, but can also help to ward of stress, illness and feeling overwhelmed in the hectic postpartum stages.
Getting enough sleep, proper diet and taking the time to maintain proper hygiene, cleaning schedules and daily chores can be stressful. It is important for take good care of yourself in order enjoy this precious and short time with your newborn. Here are some useful tips about postpartum care for new parents:
1) Take time to relax and breathe!
2) Rest when you can. Take breaks when baby is sleeping, or when visitors are over who can monitor baby!
3) Delegate tasks as much as possible! Dog walking, picking up the dry cleaning, even dropping other children off at extracurricular activites may best be handled by a neighbor, friend or parent for the time being.
4) Prepare healthy meals and snacks ahead of time so it is easy to grab nutritious food which will give you energy!
5) If you have energy for exercise-great! If you don’t, no big deal!
6) Same goes for cleaning! Don’t stress yourself and your baby out over constant cleaning. Basic chores can be done during naps, before bed or in the early morning hours. Major chores can wait a few days. Again, ask family and friends for help with this one!
7) Mental health check-ins: Mom’s, pay attention to your mood and anxiety levels, if they aren’t recouping within a few weeks after the birth, speak with a counsellor or share your experience with other mother’s. Some mood changes can be expected due to all the chemical and bodily differences, but if you feel like you can’t get a handle on your emotions after a few weeks it’s essential to get the right support early on. Don’t feel embarrassed about reaching out, a lot of mother’s have experienced similar feelings.
It is crucial to be aware of the effects of postpartum depression and to understand when you may be at risk. There are many resources available to educate yourself both during and after pregnancy about the risk of postpartum depression, as well as ways to prevent and monitor it. For more information about the symptoms of postpartum depression the Mayo Clinic provides a great outline of symptoms.
Article Written By: Stacie Courtney-Mustaphi, Ba.Soc.Sci, MA Candidate
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