Your hormone levels and uterus size will take from 6 to 8 weeks after the delivery of your baby to return to a non-pregnant state. And this period is known as postpartum.
Expect your body to experience many changes, both emotionally and physically. And it’s not like you have all the time for yourself to focus on healing, you will also need to learn how to care for your newborn and learning how to function as a changed family unit.
You need to rebuild lots of strength for that amount of work. Rest, provide your body with good nutrition and ask for help from others during the first few weeks!
If you think you can rest at night, you will soon face the sad truth: your baby has different time clocks. A typical newborn needs you every 3 hours for milk, new diapers and comfort. If this is your first birth, both you and your partner will be likely to get overwhelmed by exhaustion. Little can you hope for 8 hours of straight sleep during the first several months. But you need rest, so stick with these ideas to get that much-needed time for yourself.
- Focus on taking care of yourself during the first few weeks. You need to ask for help from someone else to help take care of all responsibilities except for feeding your baby.
- Get some sleep when your baby sleeps. It might be as short as a couple of minutes, but every minute counts!
- Save walking time by putting your baby’s bed right next to you for feedings at night.
- You might appreciate your friends and family’s visit, but don’t force yourself to entertain them. They will understand how much you need a nap when they see you.
- Get out of your room a few minutes a day. Do some light exercises such as walking or other safe exercises advised by your healthcare provider.
With so many changes your body had to go through during pregnancy and birth, you need time and a healthy diet to recover.
The weight you gained during pregnancy comes handy for your breastfeeding and recovery. To be active and able to care for your body, you now will need to start a healthy and balanced diet.
According to most lactation experts, you should eat whenever you feel hungry. However, many mothers lose appetite as they might be too tired or busy to eat. But worry not, My Plate will remind you of when, what and how much to eat! This guideline will introduce to you a variety of best foods for new moms and also help you get the right amount of calories and fat. Follow this guide from the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide your body with the best nutritions:
Below 5 food group categories:
- Grains. Choose foods that are made from wheat, oats, rice, barley, cornmeal, or another cereal grain. Some of the examples are brown rice, whole wheat, and oatmeal.
- Fruits. It can be any fruit or pure fruit juice. Fruits may be fresh, frozen, dried or canned, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed.
- Vegetables. Various types of vegetables for you to choose, from dark green, orange, and red vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), to starchy vegetables.
- Protein. Go for lean protein such as low-fat or lean meats and poultry. Change your protein routine frequently as you have plenty of options such as fish, seeds, peas, nuts, and beans.
- Dairy. Choose fat-free or low-fat diary products and those that are rich in calcium.
Although oils are not a food group, you can add some of them that have important nutrients in your diet. But avoid animal fats as they are solid.
A dietary plan works the best when combined with exercise and everyday physical activity.
Check out the website MyPlate for more information about the dietary guidelines as well as recommendations for your age, sex, and physical activity level.
Don’t try so hard to lose the pregnancy weight as extreme dieting and rapid weight loss can do harm to you and your baby (if you’re breastfeeding). All the weight you gained during months of pregnancy will take months to be got rid of. Reach that goal by cutting out high-fat snacks and consuming more fresh vegetables and fruits, balanced with proteins and carbohydrates. You can also burn calories, tone your muscles and limbs with some safe postpartum exercises.
If you are breastfeeding, drink more fluids such as water, milk and 100% fruit juice. Do you notice that you become very thirsty while feeding your baby? Store some water and healthy snacks next to your bed or breastfeeding chair.
To learn more about nutritions needed after birth, talk with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian. You can also seek advice about nutrition while breastfeeding from certified lactation consultants.
Ask Help from Others
To care for a baby takes so much time and energy that you often cannot fulfil other responsibilities in the home. You and your partner might still manage to do the house chores but it will be less overwhelming if you can get helps from others such as family, friends, or a paid home care provider. Your time should be spent more on your needs and the needs of your baby than on the laundry or dirty dishes. It’d be ideal if your family or home care provider can stay there for several days or even weeks. Home care providers can help with nursing care of the new mother and baby and housekeeping and care of other children.
No matter who you ask help from, make sure that they know all the things you expect them to do. Your emotions are fragile during the very first weeks, so try to avoid any hurt feelings or misunderstandings. Have your helpers do house chores such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, and grocery shopping. This will give you more time to take care of yourself as well as the baby.