Your postpartum time with your new baby can be a magical time of bonding, snuggles, sweet baby sounds, breastfeeding, healing, and rest. It can also be exhausting, frustrating, physically uncomfortable, and challenging. Focusing on your own care means you will more easily be able to care for your newborn. For many of us, it is hard to put our own needs first - as women we often focus on what is best for the whole group, and put our individual needs behind others. However, when you have just given birth and are caring for a newborn, your needs and the baby’s needs work together in a special way. When you are taken care of, it is easier for you to take care of your baby. Now is the time to focus on what is best for you and your newborn.
There are many herbal allies after you have your baby. Our Postpartum Herb Bath is a wonderful way you and the baby can heal, relax, and bond. Fussy babies relax and nurse more easily in the bath. The herbs can help your perineum to heal, and also encourage your baby's umbilical cord to dry and fall off sooner. We also have wonderful herbal cord care powder that can help to heal your baby’s umbilical cord stump. Our Soothing Herb Bath melts away stress and promotes relaxation is perfect for the new mama who wants a moment alone to herself.
If you are experiencing postpartum cramps when you nurse, or are suffering from postpartum blues, our Nurtured Mother tincture for postpartum pain relief can help to ease the pain and smooth the hormonal shifts. Herbal Nipple Salve for breastfeeding moms can soothe sore nipples, and our Let there be Milk! line of herbal breastfeeding supplements can rapidly increase your milk supply. Nursing Nectar breastfeeding tea can play a supportive role if you are working to increase your milk supply, or can be a nourishing addition if you have an established supply.
Nourishment and Hydration
Your own nourishment is so important when you are recovering from birth and nursing a newborn. Let your friends and family sign up for a meal train if they offer. You can also prepare and freeze some of your favorite dishes before you have your baby. The first several postpartum months are not the time to try to lose weight. You need dense nutrition and adequate calories to heal and produce milk.
Adequate hydration will help your body to heal and is vital when you are working at establishing a milk supply. Of course, water is your first go-to. You can also make delicious and nourishing teas safe for breastfeeding with our tea blends mixed with honey or juice.
Look for clothes that are comfortable, easy to nurse in, resistant to stains (or a dark fabric that won’t show stains as well), and are easy to wash. There are beautiful lounging clothes that are made specifically for nursing. You can improvise with your favorite yoga pants, nursing tanks, and sweaters. Having several sets of full coverage underwear in darker colors is also a good idea, because you will most likely bleed fairly heavily for a couple of days.
Nursing pillows and bolsters help you to position your baby properly while nursing, and can save you from hunching over - keeping your back from getting sore. These pillows work by bringing the baby up to the level of your breasts, which can help immensely with getting a good latch. While you can improvise with regular pillows, having a nursing pillow can definitely make things easier.
Baby carriers are life savers! When your baby is brand new, you will want a carrier that holds her in an upright position, so that her head is right underneath your chin. Wrap style carriers can be easily modified to hold your baby in many different ways. These kinds of wrap carriers can also be used as your baby gets bigger and can more easily support herself. A structured carrier is very easy to use and put on, but you will need an insert of some kind to keep your newborn upright until she can support herself. Look for a carrier that you can use for years to come, and that properly supports your babies hips and legs as she grows.
This is perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself after you are settled in with your new baby. Most likely you will have many people who will want to come and visit and hold the baby. They may even say, “Let me know how I can help!” When they do, please give them specific tasks. Ask them to clean the kitchen, changing the dishes over or folding and putting away a load of laundry. Ask them to take your other children to the park or the movies. Ask them to change your sheets and sweep the floor. Ask someone to help you prepare an herbal bath for you and the baby, and stay to help you get in and out safely and snuggled back into bed. This is the kind of help you need after you have a baby. Social visits are wonderful also, but they can sap your strength, so keep purely social visits short.
Self care may seem like a contradiction when you have just had a baby. Newborns do require a lot of attention and time. However, remember that you and your partner are the source of your baby’s comfort, safety, and nourishment and that you need to be taken care of as well. Finding those ways that you can replenish yourself will make your postpartum time more enjoyable and healthier for all of you.