• Lydia Ojuka Riley

Postpartum Self Care

Updated: Jul 24, 2019

As I am writing this, my baby is 6 months. I am still in the thick of the postpartum period, but with longer stretches of sleep, and a lot of support, I have a fire in my belly to help other women through this period. Perhaps you are postpartum and doing totally fine, good for you! SERIOUSLY, if you are healing and feeling totally balanced and recharged, then you are winning, keep doing what you are doing. However, perhaps you are like I was, completely blind sighted by the difficulty of finding time to take care of yourself and the many other needs that come with mothering a family. I find that without proper self care, I feel absolutely fragile.

Here are just a few ways to self care during your postpartum

1. Help - I know "help" is vague so I am going to try to be as specific as possible about what type of help. Who else can help you with the baby? Specifically with handing off the baby for any amount of time so that you can eat a meal, take a few deep breaths, shower, SLEEP? You need someone to help with that. This may not be possible every single day. It may be for 30 mins or 3 hours. What you need is to plan on regular intervals where you can count on this. Even if its just once a week. It will do wonders for your outlook, if you know you will get a break, at some point. My husband travels a lot for work and my mom couldn’t stay with us forever ( when she left, oh Lord, did I cry my eyes out. ). So before we figured out our long term help, I crowd sourced several solutions.

We asked a very trusted stay at home mom next door to watch my baby a couple mornings a week. We did pay her in my case, but a creative exchange could also be an option. I caught up on sleep, showered, got groceries, whatever I needed. Then we also found a wonderful "granny nanny" who we incorporated into our care routine so that I could sleep or my husband and I could sneak away for a quick date night.

2. Meals - How are you going to eat? I'm shocked at how little I ate some days because I simply did not have any time to prepare a meal. I was so exhausted that I preferred resting to cooking. There are options besides just starving but you need to plan them out. Freezing some of your favorite foods and always making leftovers for the weeks preceding your babies arrival is always a great place to start. And whether its budgeting for doordash or uber eats or asking friends and family for a meal train as a baby shower gift, you've gotta help yourself out by making sure you have planned for meals.

3. A good baby wrap , carrier or sling - there will be days that your baby just won’t have you putting him down, those little guys need as much skin to skin as possible anyway in those first couple months, so a great carrier is an absolute essential. Its a win-win because you give baby exactly what he wants. snuggles. And you have your hands free. Just plan on wearing that baby and get on with the business of making food, going to the bathroom, resting, and as the weeks progress, you can even do some light exercise focusing on recovering that pelvic floor, as the little chub rests on your chest.

4. Speaking of light exercise - you’ve gotta rehab your pelvic floor! I became a bit evangelical about the ol' downstairs, hoo ha, vajajay recovery and management when I became pregnant and started preparing for a natural birth. I listened to tons of birth stories and drank in the wisdom of wise women who came before me. Listen. YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THAT UNDERCARRIAGE. Your pelvic floor health is important to your confidence and life experience as a woman. Its actually a crying shame that we don't delivery babies in the US and automatically get assigned to a physical therapist for our recovery.

I know it’s different for every body but after my empowering natural birth, I was super surprised at how quickly I could resume my belly breathing and kegals. I found my guru in @vaginacoach on instagram ( I spend a lot of time on instagram throughout my pregnancy and learned that a proper kegal involves a belly breathe. I got m) but follow the hashtag #pelvicfloorrehab or #pelvicfloor and find someone who resonates with you. I honestly was shocked how quickly it all mends. I never had pee -myself- when- I- laugh- or- cough type problems but I did have a diastasis recti with my first and it took years to understand. This time, I was feeling my core engage with that gentle support just a few weeks after delivery.

and Im not saying you'll be ready or have the same experience, I’m simply saying, you’ve gotta check in and start from where you are at. In my experience, doing what you can and being very present and kind and aware and gentle with your body will do wonders. Try some belly breathes each day and if that feels good, then progress from there. Either way. I really encourage seeing a pelvic floor physio right around that 6 weeks mark. And I recommend buying the ab system from bellies inc as well as her pregnancy course "prepare to push" and her kegal mojo programs.

5. Progessence Plus Serum- Our hormones take a nose dive post partum. To help support that, I used Progessence Plus Serum by Young Living Its formulated for women to promote feelings of relaxation, harmony, and balance . I have become dependent on this. I have a supplements for postpartum post that goes into greater detail, but this is in my top supports for self care.

6. Gym membership - Dont worry, I didnt even really use it to work out at first, I just wouldnt be being honest if I didnt mention this as a major way I've gotten through. This one has been a luxury and I know it doesn't work for everyone's life. Not everyone has a gym nearby and also a gym that will take babies from the age of 6 weeks. Many moms wouldn’t even want to drop off their precious bundle that young. But by 6 weeks, I was in dyer need of some self care time daily. For me, I was in the worst of the sleepless, hormonal spiral, and this daily ritual was an absolute godsend for me. Was I actually working out? Not usually, but sometimes- the main point of the gym was to give me some much needed time to nurture myself. If that meant I just sat in the hot tub or sauna, then fine. If I just walked on the treadmill and stretched- cool. As long as I could have a moment to tend to my own needs, I always felt like I could come back to my baby a better person with the little break.

7. Community - being at home with a baby can be very isolating. Make sure to have a few people you can check in with. I love the internet and the communities that can be built with it- for a while, you’ll probably find it easiest to engage with people from the comfort of your own home- however- if you notice you’re feeling isolated - reach out to someone - face to face is really important - we are social creatures and thrive in our tribes and having even just one person who can have a quick coffee with you and baby can make some of the dark days seem lighter. My community of passionate healthy women was worth its weight in gold.

8. A nurturing routine - I can’t determine what this is for you. I know I can turn anything into a self care moment. If I have 20 mins to shower- oh boy, I’m lathering up my favorite non toxic body washes and blasting my favorite music, podcast or audiobook, Im really going IN with the intention to do nothing but feel good. If I have 5 minutes, I may sit on my yoga mat and breath deeply and administer my oils and do some lite stretching. A mindful walk, a moment to read a trashy magazine, a minute in the sunshine, a facial, a massage, it all counts. If your in need of some self care inspo, then put your best email here . Whatever you do, just do it mindfully with the purpose of nurturing yourself the way you so selflessly nurture others.

good luck mama.

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