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The Postpartum Journey…

Postnatal Care

I want to talk about the postpartum period that can leave you feeling quite fragile, lonely, and unprepared for.  I know when it was time for me to leave the hospital and go home, I cried because I knew I would be on my own without the support of my village. Recovering from a C Section birth, struggling with the challenges of breastfeeding my baby, having the three day blues, and having to learn to adjust to motherhood and the flood of emotions that come with the joy and self-doubt. To put it simply, I was unprepared for the lack of sleep and learning to read my baby’s cues and the loneliness that can come from being a new mum.

So here are a few tips or lessons learned to help you navigate the fourth trimester.

Recovery and REST / Self-Care is a Must: You have just had a baby, so you need to let your body recover and heal and not be too hard on yourself if your postpartum body doesn’t bounce back into your old jeans in 6 weeks! Remember, it’s okay to take care of yourself. Rest, nourish your body, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Sleep When Baby Sleeps: I know there will be a million things you want to get done whilst the baby is sleeping, BUT this classic advice is GOLD. Sleep deprivation is real and can make you feel like a zombie and that you are not coping so take those precious naps which can make a world of difference to your mental health.

Seek Support – create Your Village: Being anew mum can feel lonely especially if your partner has gone back to work. For those that don’t have family and friends that live close by make sure you connect with other new parents, join support groups, mother’s groups or lean on loved ones. You’re not alone in this journey.

Even though your village is important, remember to also look after yourself and limit visitors so that you don’t exhaust yourself and or overstimulate your baby.

Stay Hydrated and Eat Well: Especially if you are breastfeeding make sure you are eating nutritious food and staying well hydrated. Make sure your breastfeeding station has a filled water bottle and lip balm next to it to keep you always hydrated. Have friends cook a meal and drop it off to you. Get Uber eats!

Accept Imperfection: You may be used to having some sort of control in your life or at work, but during this postpartum period it is NORMAL to feel like you have lost control. Your hair might be a mess, you may still be in your pjs, and your home might not be spotless, but that’s okay. This is a time to Focus on bonding with your baby, having as much skin to skin and let the rest can wait.

Talk About Your Feelings: The postpartum period is experiencing highs and lows all at the same time. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. You may have the three day blues, or you may develop postnatal depression during this period, so it is vital you talk about your feelings to your partner, family and friends or healthcare provider or therapist if you’re struggling. There are so many wonderful organisation’s that are there to help you such as COPE, The Gidget Foundation and PANDA.

Babywearing: Consider using a baby carrier. It’s a great way to keep your little one close while having your hands free.

Celebrate Small Wins: Every milestone, no matter how small, is a reason to celebrate. Parenting is hard work, and you’re doing amazing!

Practice Patience/be kind to yourself: Remember that both you and your baby are learning and growing together. Be patient with yourself and your little one. They are crying because they are either hungry or want to be held to feel secure as they have been in your womb for nine months and they too are getting used to the outside world and noises.  No matter what anyone tells you, you cannot spoil a baby by too many cuddles.

Let’s cherish this beautiful, challenging, and transformative Fourth Trimester journey. It’s a time of immense growth and love, and it’s worth every sleepless night and messy moment.

Share your Fourth Trimester tips, stories, and experiences below, and let’s support each other through this incredible adventure they call motherhood!

Photo: Getty Creative

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