New Mum Recovery Care Tips that are easy
Preparing for birth takes up a large part of a woman’s focus when pregnant. As she balances her laptop on a dozen birth skills books whilst she listens to hypnobirthing tracks, swallowing her 6th date and adding oil to her diffuser, she is as prepared as ever for the birth. What we don’t spend enough time on, however is how to recover from birth, and how to support a mum to recover.
Recovery from birth could be defined as restoring and regaining strength and wholeness needed for parenting. And no, we aren’t talking about the 90’s youth music show on the ABC in the 90s. How to recover from birth is different for each woman but some things are universal.
Going through labour and giving birth is the showstopper, the Beyonce of the whole experience. A rite of passage where a woman’s body, mind and heart changes. We know there is pain associated with birth, it can be physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. The period following could perhaps be the more sublime, hopefully gentle period, the Solange of the experience.
Vaginal or belly birth? Is there a difference? Yes and no. Something we will share in a future blogpost. Recovering from a Caesarian has its own specific physical needs to recovering from a vaginal birth.. We also know that many women do not emerge from birth emotionally well and rates of postnatal depression and anxiety are much higher than they should be. As parents, family members and friends supporting a new mum who has just had a baby, we really do need to acknowledge the importance of the time it takes to recover.
What are some postpartum recovery care tips?
A useful way to think about this is there is the physical recovery and the emotional or psychological recovery. At the root of both of these types of recovery is the act of care - both self-care and others caring for the new mum. The aim of recovery is to heal and restore from the big event and the pregnancy leading up to it in order to feel well and build a relationship with your baby, your new self and your new baby.
We have kept it simple for you and obviously, there are a hundred other tips but we believe recovery can be easier if these three are put in place.
Recovery made easy(ier)
REST: I wish I had listened to my wise friends when they said - “sleep when the baby sleeps”. A hard thing to do when you feel you should be cooking, washing, answering emails, managing a business etc. If a mum sleeps or rests she will be better able to heal and give her baby what it needs. What this means for the friend and family support group is: don’t just rock up expecting a cuppa to be made for you! Your job is to: bring her treats, make her a cup of tea, wash dishes, hold the baby while she rests, take the toddler out for a play and anything the family may need. Another way to feel rested that has proven benefits is practising the branch of Yoga, Yoga Nidra. It has umpteen other benefits also that the linked article by Krishna Prakash wonderfully outlines. Yoga Nidra tracks can be found in most places you listen to meditation or music. Rest also means resting your body i.e. lying down, flat, horizontal. Or in a sweet recline. Avoiding heavy lifting and exerting your body in the first few weeks is essential to the restoration and healing of your body. Gentle exercise is amazing, just don’t sign up for UFT or anything you know?
TIME: A key ingredient to recovery is with TIME. Every woman’s body and mind is different. Every birth is different and so is the time it takes to recover. Rushing back into life, bouncing back, returning to normal is the antidote to recovery. Instead, new mums need to resist this urge and the cult of “Busy, “productive: ''doing” and the frenzied pace that our lives sometimes take. Reclaiming rest as a productive force in recovery will allow for physical AND emotional healing. As friends and family we can help take the pressure off by setting our expectations and letting the new mama know there is no need for rush.
SUPPORT: Allowing others to help you and asking for help is a muscle mamas need to flex in those early post-partum days. Gather your support people and ask them to support you. Write a list of your support people and send them a message or have a conversation with them when you’re pregnant. Whaaaat? Yep. You're asking them to be on your VIP list, otherwise known as your early post-partum list. Be specific and say “Would you be able to pick up Sierra from daycare every Wednesday for the first month?, “When you come over I wonder if you can bring a frozen meal/do a load of washing”, “Could you drive me to my 6 week antenatal appointment on DD/MM?”. It’s hard to ask for help sometimes and it requires vulnerability, however it is important to remember that people love feeling useful and purposeful. In the same breath families who have just brought home a baby do not need a queue out the door of well meaning visitors. As friends and family, we need to remember to give the family space and check-in to see when a good time to visit would be.
Are there gifts that help in birth recovery?
There are so many wonderful gift ideas to help in the recovery after a mama has a baby. A popular gift is organising a meal train amongst friends. There is even an App for it.
Postpartum massages have also been popular. It’s important to check in with the mum to work out whether it will work for her, it’s hard to take time away from a newborn and may not be ideal for some mums.For some mums, a subscription to Audible, other mums, some aromatherapy goodies might work. Gifts of any sort that show your care help in a mother’s emotional recovery as she will feel loved and thought of.
Practical products like maternity pads and nipple cream might better be reserved for the bestie or mum tbh unless…. They’re perfectly placed amongst a selection of other gifts as you can find in our Rest and Recovery Hamper!
Without blowing our own trumpet, at New Mama Kit we have managed to perfectly balance what a new mama needs to aid in her physical recovery and delightful, luscious products to soothe her emotional recovery too.
We have been there. We know what we wished we knew to help us recover, we remember what those early days were like. That is how these gift hampers have been put together. Asking our friends, family and our customers what do you wish you had when you were recovering from birth. And as you can imagine, they weren’t all sexy or fancy. Some things you just need because they work.
We adore the Relax and Recover gift hamper, it's one of our absolute favourite hampers with each product a little reminder to the new mama that she deserves to rest and with the right products and support, her recovery will be positive. We are also committed to the emotional and psychological recovery of mums which is why we donate $2 from every hamper to PANDA.
Article written by Sharon Luna Settecasse.