Thank you to Earth Mama Organics for sponsoring this post. All opinions remain my own.
It’s been just over six weeks since we came home with Warren James!
Being a mama is an incredible feeling and I’m doing my best to soak up all of the newborn snuggles, smells, changes, and firsts. I know they do not last long and I’m savoring all the time home with him I can have until our new normal comes in a few weeks and I go back to work full time.
There’s a reason this post in particular is coming at you after six weeks.
Six weeks is generally known to be a mama’s first (and only!) wellness check up after baby. It’s likely the week you’ll be cleared to work out again and have sex again (even if you’re not in the mood for either.)
Postpartum care extends much longer than six weeks and your only doctor visit and you should not put any pressure on yourself to be back to “normal” after just six weeks. Keep in mind that it took 40 weeks to grow your baby, and you need to extend the same grace and pace to your body with all of the changes that come afterward. Take it from a mama who struggled with her body after baby the first time around and is doing her best to love it after her second baby.
Being a second time mama, I was much more prepared for the “things no one tells you about” after birth and the healing process for my body. This postpartum time is often not addressed, but should really be considered a fourth trimeseter. I’ve put together a list of 10 ways to care for yourself and your body after birth, along with some of the “things no one tells you about” to prepare for from the shivers immediately after birth, to the night sweats coming in the weeks after, and oh my gosh, the body odor!
1. Stay Hydrated.
Newborns need to eat a lot! Work water into your feeding routine and have a glass every time you nurse or bottle feed your baby. Not only do you need it for milk production if you are nursing, your body is basically a house plant with lots of extra feelings (especially right now.) For cracked and sore nipples, use Earth Mama organic nipple butter. It is silky soft, moisturizing, doesn’t have a strong smell, and because it is organic and non-GMO verified, you don’t even need to wash it off before feeding baby. You can even use it on your lips, fingers, etc!
2. Get as Much Sleep as You Can.
This may sound obvious, but mamas need this reminder. If you’re staying home on maternity leave or are a stay at home mom with older kids as well, it can be easy to fall into the trap of constantly cleaning, tidying, hosting, etc. rather than prioritizing sleep. Frequent visitors may make you feel like you need to clean the house or keep up with the laundry or have activities planned for the older kids. (You’ll easily double your laundry with the addition of a tiny human!) The best version of yourself is one in which you are as rested as you can be. These first few months are a blur, but you will make it through mama! My favorite mantra? Nap when the baby naps, fold laundry when the baby folds laundry.
3. Massage Your Body
You just gave birth, mama. Isn’t your body amazing!? I’m constantly in awe of what our bodies are capable of, but they need attention now too. Gentle stretches until you are cleared for working out can work wonders. You’re likely sore and knotted up, and breastfeeding can do a number to your neck and back too. Consider visiting a chiropractor after birth to adjust your body back into place. My hips and tailbone kept cracking when I’d stand up until I visited the chiropractor. Invest in a postpartum massage. Not only can you lay on your stomach again, it can work wonders for your joints, muscles, circulation, and relaxation. By the way-standing up straight after birth? Took me 4 days.
4. Eat Healthy.
If you’re like me, the pregnancy cravings didn’t go away after birth. If anything, I am hungrier now than when I was pregnant! Rightly so-breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day. Stay nourished so that you can keep up with your baby’s feedings. Avocado, peanut butter, turkey breast, and yogurt are some of my favorite snacks. My postpartum pregnancy craving? Cinnamon Raisin toast. Along with eating healthy, tea has become a favorite. Earth Mama’s milkmaid tea is excellent for winding down the night. Not only does a hot tea soothe your body and relieve tension, it tastes delicious and stimulates milk production. You’ll still probably wake up sweating buckets and leaking at night, but knowing you’re making enough milk for your baby is a wonderful feeling!
5. Prioritize a Nightly Relaxing Routine for Mama.
Quiet time, a face mask, a warm soak, and a hot tea can do wonders for your wellbeing and your body, even if its not for a very long time. You’ve likely heard of padsicles and Earth Mama’s Sitz baths help take care down there and relieve tension. Start by steeping the pad similar to a tea bag, draining the liquid, and then applying down there. Or try cooling it in the fridge or freezer for a bit for an extreme cooling sensation!
6. Be Patient in the Bathroom
I had no idea just how painful going to the bathroom after birth could be. In those first few days, standing up and sitting down is enough work without throwing in the bathroom surprises that can happen. Take your time and stock your bathroom with pads, ice diapers, and the peri bottle from the hospital. With both of my natural vaginal deliveries, I had an intense burning sensation for a week afterward every time I would go to the bathroom. Earth Mama perineal spray and perineal balm has magical healing powers to help cool you down there and feel fresh. Store it in the fridge for an even cooler, more refreshing effect. Oh, and that bleeding/lochia after birth? Try your best to be patient with that too. Mine lasted five weeks for both babies.
7. Get Outside
Once you’re feeling up to it, a walk around the block can really do wonders for your body and for baby. Even if its just for a few minutes, getting up and out can be very refreshing and relaxing.
8. Know Your Limits
Learning to say no and knowing your limits can be tough, but so worth it! You don’t need to allow all visitors to come in one day, or to make it to an event right after birth, or give in to pressure to meet up with girlfriends just yet. Taking your time and knowing how much you can handle is a gift to your body, your family, and your mind. A mama spread too thin isn’t wonder woman but a mama who prioritizes herself and her needs is. Now is also a good time to limit social media-3 am feedings can often feel lonely and vulnerable, no need to throw in instagram scrolls or Amazon hauls. Focus on your feeding and getting back to a restful sleep once you’re able and limit the screen time.
9. Carve Out Time for Yourself Away From Baby
Even if its just for an hour, you deserve it mama! Go get your hair done (those baby hairs will be here soon!), relax with a manicure or pedicure, grab a coffee, or pick up a good book. Meet up with a girlfriend for happy hour, write in your journal, or look for inspiration for your next vacation. Invest in yourself and the things that make you, you. You won’t regret it!
10. Most of all, Be Kind to Yourself.
You’re your own worst critic, mama. I know I am! Be kind to yourself with your thoughts of your body and choose to remain in awe of what it has just done and the amazing changes it goes through. There is no such thing as bouncing back, nor should there be. The best things in life take time, and that includes you! There’s no need to step on the scale or to try to fit into the jeans that were tight even before pregnancy. I struggled with my body image after my first baby and felt so frustrated for months. I didn’t treat it right or fuel it well, and it showed. My hair was falling out, my skin was dull and ashy, and the bags under my eyes could’ve flown free on Southwest. This time around, I’ve been taking my time and treating myself well. I am in such a good place mentally and emotionally, and I know the physical part will come back in time as it is meant to.
It’s been six weeks and so much has changed! I am so thankful for this body and what it has done!
Do you have any tips on caring for your body after birth? I’d love for you to share in the comments of this blog post to help other mamas!