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Postnatal Self-Care for Mental Support

Postnatal Self-Care for Mental Support

This blog is a collaboration of real Mommy’s Bliss moms and dads based on our real experiences as parents who’ve been there.

Putting the “you” back into the postnatal equation.

While taking care of yourself after your baby arrives may fall very low on your to-do list, we’re here to talk about moving it closer to the top. Postnatal self-care is essential for your mental health and honestly, for your overall happiness. While navigating so many new needs and challenges from breastfeeding to sleep deprivation to physical changes to…did we say sleep deprivation?? -self-care may actually sound exhausting. You likely feel weak and physically run down while healing, so be gentle and patient with yourself and whatever you do…don’t forget about “you”! You matter more than ever. And note…that sentence starts with “you.”

Making Time for Postnatal Self-Care

Let’s talk about carving out time in the midst of newborn demands, not to mention the overall lack of energy that usually comes hand in hand with that early postnatal chapter. Seems no matter how well-planned out your birth and postnatal plans, it’s never as easy in real life as it looked on paper. And it’s tough to anticipate the challenges you’ll face that may take a mental toll. Aside from the aforementioned breastfeeding and sleep deprivation, you may find yourself feeling like the day slips away without a moment to brush teeth, let alone approach a mirror, or eat a real meal.

Moms often say, “there’s so much I wish I’d known then, in retrospect.” Let’s tackle this head on and put retrospection in the rear-view mirror. Read on for helpful pointers and helpful input from our Mommy’s Bliss moms who’ve been there. These are real, personal stories from moms who know (now) the value of self-care, managing the mother load and more importantly, self-love.

Postnatal Self-Care Pointers

  • Buy yourself something small to celebrate and look forward to when you return from the hospital. It can be as small as a scented candle, creamy new lip balm, your favorite ice cream or cozy new loungewear that makes you feel cared for.
  • Don’t be shy when it comes to accepting help. If someone offers to drop off dinner or watch your older children, there’s only one answer…” yes!” And “thank you.” Let your partner help around the house so you can rest or take a bath.
  • Make sleep a priority. Take naps whenever possible.
  • Listen to a new podcast or audiobook as you feed baby. Or watch your favorite tv show while you fold laundry or do dishes. Even if it’s just a few minutes…it’s yours alone.
  • Once it’s safe to do so - get some exercise! It’s not just about losing weight but about taking care of and strengthening your body and mind.
  • Get outside! Fresh air is truly a mood lifter, whether you’re exercising or just breathing in and out. It might be as simple as a stroll to the mailbox or around your yard or simply sitting in the grass outside with your baby...or without.
  • Enjoy a relaxing shower or bath (if you have time). Brush your teeth, try a facial mask, and comb your hair. This can provide a surprising mood and energy boost.
  • Savor any peaceful moments with your baby whether nursing or sleeping in your arms. Enjoy their tiny features and mannerisms and bask in the moment. Staring at a sleeping baby never gets old.
  • Breathe. It sounds simple but we sometimes completely forget to do it. Meditate or simply breathe in a moment of self-care.

Mommy’s Bliss Mom's Advice for Self-Care

During my first month postpartum, it felt very natural for me to take care of my baby. I wish I could say breastfeeding felt natural, but it was the complete opposite. We had latching and supply issues during the first week that negatively impacted my mental health. Some of the things I did to care for my mental health was prioritizing showering every day and putting on clean, comfortable clothes that made me feel good. Additionally, getting outside and going for walks helped my mood immensely.”

Sara T

It felt natural just being with my baby 24/7 which is unnatural for me because I’ve always loved my alone time. But being with my baby was all I wanted to do. The part that felt unnatural for me was being home all day. I think before becoming a mom, I hadn’t spent a full day inside the house in YEARS so going on walks and even visiting my family was important to help keep me sane.
One piece of advice that I would give to a new parent is that you will figure it out. It’s difficult to find a routine that works for everyone involved, but you will get there. Be your best self and treat that self with grace, patience, and love.

Karen S.

In the first month postpartum, it felt natural to let my baby sleep on me. It also felt natural to stay in comfy clothes all day and have zero commitments (aside from Dr. and lactation consultation appointments). Self-care in those early days and weeks meant taking a shower or bath every day (night sweats are real) and watching tv while my baby slept on me. These were delicious snuggles and together we watched every season of E.R. Win. Win.

My advice is to find at least one person you fully trust to take care of your baby. And then self-care can start out small- take 5 mins to yourself, sit outside alone for a cup of coffee or tea, take a short walk around the block. Once that feels ok, you can build on it, but self-care doesn't have to mean a whole weekend or even day away if that is overwhelming.

Jocelyn L.

During my first month postpartum - and facing new existence as a mom, sadly, nothing felt natural. It was all strange, new, and overwhelming in a stressful way. The stress came from the shocking realization that I was responsible 24/7 and there is no break.

Sleeping and eating well seemed to help and was critical to my energy levels. Thankfully, there were 2-3 other adults at home during that first month to help watch the baby, let me sleep, and ensure I was well fed. Showering was a daily relief – because it was quiet, and it was just me. My advice would be to have a support system in place before baby arrives and set expectations. You don’t want to be figuring out things after the baby has arrived when you are sleep deprived and recovering.

Sindhu W.

I personally had a very easy pregnancy, so I was unprepared with how quickly things changed from easy to insurmountable after bringing my baby home. A shower was like an urban myth, sleep was elusive, and breastfeeding was extremely difficult. I found it essential to get outdoors as soon as it was possible but often the breastfeeding guilt followed me. But I woke up one day and realized that as long as my baby was getting what he needed, I was doing the right thing even if it didn’t look exactly like the brochure. Then I would force myself to take a shower, put on clean clothes (even if they were pajamas) and settle in to bottle feed my baby. When his big brown eyes looked up at me letting me know it was ok, that was the best version of self-help I could imagine. That…and that shower.

Jen L.

What was difficult for me was sitting and not doing all the things I usually do…clean the house, do laundry, cook, etc. I didn’t allow myself a moment to just sit and recover. I found myself thinking of all the things I needed to accomplish in the 20–30-minute nap window that was coming up. I wish I had given myself more grace. Healing from childbirth, breastfeeding and caring for a newborn are huge tasks and I did not need to put my Wonder Woman cape on and try to have a spotless house and a home cooked meal on the table every day. Healing physically (and mentally) and caring for a newborn isn’t “doing nothing”, I wish I could go back and tell myself that.

That said, I did take a shower every morning and get ready for my day. Those sweaty, sleepless nights and overnight soggy breast pads are the worst and having a few minutes to myself to feel fresh made me feel like I was starting my day off right.

I bought a bunch of 2- piece pajamas (with the top having buttons for easy nursing) and changed into a nice clean set every day. I remember getting a little excited about choosing which PJ’s I was going to wear that day. I also bought myself a new pair of slippers and a bunch of cozy socks (I still use most of them 3 years later).

I started taking daily walks, so I didn’t feel so cooped up to get some sun and fresh air. I also set up an outdoor area for me and baby in our backyard to step outside for a few minutes throughout the day. I remember I would put her in the baby carrier and would water the flowers I’d planted before she was born. I would talk to her and tell her all the colors and sing her little songs. It was something small, but we both looked forward to it.

The thing that helped me the most was joining an online group class with other new moms. We were all dealing with Postpartum issues and hearing their stories and what they were feeling and going through made me feel seen. A lot of what the other moms were going through was exactly what I was feeling so I didn’t feel like I was overreacting. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and accepting the help I needed was a huge step for me and it helped me tremendously.

Self-care doesn’t have to mean a day at the spa. It can be something as small as prioritizing a shower, having a hot cup of tea, a new set of pajamas, taking a walk, going outside to get some sun for a few minutes, putting on some earphones and listening to a podcast or your favorite music, Door Dashing yourself a meal, eating some delicious fruit, taking your vitamins etc. Don’t focus on the things that NEED to be done, focus on the things you HAVE done. Give yourself credit and above all, be kind to yourself. The baby isn’t the only one having to adjust to a new world, you are too mama. You got this."

Melissa T.

Remember this time well and while you may feel grateful when it’s behind you, be grateful that it may teach you the importance of self-care and mental health moving forward. So, take good care of the “you” that everyone seems to need right now. Get outside, buy yourself pretty pj’s, and remember, no one ever said “I wish I hadn’t taken that bath.

This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.

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