If you’re pregnant, planning a baby or already have children, you’ve probably heard everyone's unsolicited top tips on baby do’s and don’ts. But something you might never hear about and seems almost counter-intuitive is helpful tips to care for mama. Yes, mother’s need some TLC too! If you think of the whirlwind of changes your body has been through over the last nine months - physically, mentally, hormonally, and more, you’ll begin to understand why a little care can go a long way.
Mother’s day reminds us that one of the most crucial time for both mummy and baby comes straight after birth. It’s important to understand is that self-care is part of caring for your bundle of joy. Far from being selfish, only when your own physical and psychological needs are met can you do your best for your baby.
Here are some things every new mama should remember:
Pay attention - If you’ve stopped breastfeeding, your hormone levels have returned to normal, and your baby pooch isn’t showing any signs of going away, talk to your doctor. You might have Diastasis Recti - a condition where your abdominal muscles separate, and your belly protrudes. Physical therapy or in some cases surgery may be necessary.
Learn to breastfeed - Contrary to popular belief, not all women get it right without any help. Over 90% of new mums have trouble breastfeeding in the first few days after birth. If you are one of them, consult a lactation specialist, read, or ask other mothers if needed. Don't suffer in silence.
Sleep and exercise - Sleep deprivation is typical with a newborn in the house, but doing everything in your power to align your sleep schedules and catching up on sleep when relatives/friends are over is essential. And just as getting sufficient sleep is necessary, getting your heart pumping can do more than make you fit. The release of endorphins from exercise is a mood booster that can even help with PPD and get you thinking more clearly.
Give yourself a break, and a treat - You’ve earned it! Being a new mother is perhaps the most demanding and relentless job in the world. Mothering skills are learned and developed over time. So, if you’re struggling with something that isn’t working try, taking a step back. Whether it’s a bit of chocolate, a walk in the park or a mani-pedi, find ways to treat yourself regularly.
Photo by Bino Le on Unsplash
Ask for help - Nearly one in seven new mums experience Postpartum Depression (PPD), yet many are too embarrassed to get help. If you’re feeling anxious, irritable, weepy, and suffering mood swings, remember you aren’t losing your mind. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to friends, family or even your doctor if needed.
See a specialist - Whether you’re on baby number one, two or three, pregnancy and childbirth strain the pelvic muscles. If you’re dealing with a leaky bladder when you laugh, sneeze or cough, schedule a check-up to make sure your pelvic muscles are healing correctly. Urinary incontinence (UI) is more common than you think but strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with some simple exercise can help.
Eat healthy and stay clean - Paying extra attention to eating a balanced nutritious diet post birth is just as important as strictly following good hygiene.
If you’ve heard the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a baby’, you’ll have grasped the idea that helping hands are not only welcome but sometimes necessary. New mums should learn to pay attention to and trust themselves. When all else seems lost, reach out - even supermoms can always use a little help sometimes!