When I had my first daughter in November 2017, like many first time mothers, I had no idea what to expect. I read a few different books and did lots of Pinterest research on being a first time mother, but nothing will really prepare you for what’s to come. Motherhood is something you have to experience in order to truly comprehend it. My postpartum experience with my first daughter wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I had a fairly easy birth experience and didn’t require any stitches which enabled me to have a swift recovery. However, I wasn’t ready for the major mental and physical toll that the postpartum period would have on me. It was very rare for me to take care of myself during this time. I barely showered, I didn’t pay attention to my nutrition, and I would often be sleep deprived to the point of dizziness and confusion. I had no idea it would be that difficult. However, now that I am due with my second daughter, I know what to expect. For this reason I have planned out several different ways to hopefully make postpartum a better experience this time around. I hope you will find something different and useful among these tips!
By the way, the few links you will see in this post link to my Amazon associates account! If you purchase through my links I will receive a small commission!
Postpartum health at the hospital
First shower- The first shower after giving birth is one of the best showers of your life. You might as well make it even better by bringing all of your good shower and skincare supplies. With my first I didn’t even consider this and I was stuck using the supplies provided by the hospital.
Down time- During your stay at the hospital your baby will likely be sleeping most of the time. This is totally different than being home and having your baby sleep most of the time. At home you have other responsibilities or maybe other children to care for. While at the hospital, on the other hand, you basically just lay in bed and relax. Take advantage of this time! Bring a book, watch your shows, have some final you time!
Healthy snacks- One of the major things that I lacked after my first pregnancy was proper nutrition. I really didn’t care about what I was consuming, and I didn’t think it was a big deal. After a couple of years of learning about how much nutrition plays a role in my overall health, I will be taking my postpartum nutrition seriously this time. I will be packing some protein shakes, Kind bars, and apples. Unfortunately I can’t really pack anything that requires refrigeration. I will also make sure to make healthier options when ordering from the hospital menu.
Now that I am finally finishing this blog post, I am actually 1 week postpartum. The following items are what I ordered from the hospital menu:
-Toast with peanut butter and banana
-Yogurt with granola
-Apple with peanut butter
-Tomato soup with grilled cheese
One of the major areas I am focusing on during my postpartum experience is nutrition. I have learned from my own experience that the food I consume plays a HUGE role in my energy, mood, and overall sense of wellbeing. I also took this into consideration during my pregnancy which I believe helped me maintain good energy levels at the end.
My personal postpartum nutrition guidelines are as follows:
Very little added sugar– No I am not going keto or restricting myself from sweets. I am, however, drastically reducing my added sugar consumption. This prevents those sugar “crashes” that we hear about. Not to mention, added sugar is the devil. I need to write a blog post just about that.
More protein- Protein contains many amino acids that our bodies don’t make naturally. These amino acids play a huge role in our overall body function including the recovery process! Super important during postpartum!
Tons of water- My goal is to drink 1 gallon per day. This is a lot, and it takes work! However, proper hydration is essential! Water helps flush our bodies of toxins, keeps our minds sharp, helps us stay awake throughout the day, and just keeps our bodies running smoothly! Get yourself a big water bottle to keep with you at all times!
Nutrient rich foods- Another goal I have is to eat and drink mostly nutrient rich foods and drinks. The vitamins and minerals in healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables play a large role in our physical and mental wellbeing.
Postnatal vitamin- On top of the regular vitamins and minerals that we need everyday, if you are breastfeeding, it is recommended to take a vitamin like you did throughout your pregnancy. There are special vitamins made for breastfeeding moms in particular. I personally love Mary Ruth’s organic vitamins and supplements! Follow my affiliate link HERE to see what she has to offer! I will earn a commission if you purchase through this link!
In order to have healthy postpartum meal options, you should definitely do some meal prep before giving birth! I personally made portioned out frozen smoothie bags, froze some soups, and froze any leftovers from meals. There are also some awesome apps and websites out there that can help you create freezer meal plans to your unique preferences!
Postpartum Mental Health
Nutrition- Proper nutrition can make the world of a difference when it comes to energy levels and balanced moods. I definitely recommend prioritizing your nutrition during and after pregnancy!
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Prep your home- If you’re induced like I was, you are able to prepare in a way that others are not. However, if you have your due date you can use that as a deadline. I made sure to do all of my laundry, maintain the house, and have everything nice and clean before we left for the hospital.
Sanctuary Space- Similar to prepping your home, it’s a good idea to set up a sanctuary space! For me, this is my bedroom. It’s the place that I can escape to and feel completely at peace. I have my oil diffuser set up, plants, good lighting, and a comfy ass bed! Set up an area in your home that you can go to take a little mental break!
Sleep- Sleep is one of the most important things ever! During sleep our bodies heal which is obviously important for postpartum. Being well rested is also essential for being able to function the following day as I am sure we all know! Nap when you can! Get to bed early! Trust me, it’s worth it!
Extras- Some other good ideas for optimizing your postpartum mental health experience is by journaling, reading books, or listening to podcasts. You can purchase audio books if you have difficulties finding time to read!
Self-Care- Super important! Remember to always take care of yourself! I personally try to do one thing for myself everyday! Sometimes this just means doing my skincare routine before bed. Other times it means painting my nails, taking a bath, or asking my fiance to take our older daughter so I can take a nap with the baby!
Girdle- One of the first things you can do is wear a postpartum girdle. THIS is the one I have! You can do this right after giving birth. I personally waited 24 hours because I think my body deserved a break from all of the random stuff they had hooked up to me! A postpartum girdle will help your body bounce back and help shrink your uterus to its normal size.
Walks- After a couple of weeks I plan to start going for walks with my daughters. This will be very light exercise but just enough to get my body used to more movement and exercise.
Hydration- I just can’t stress proper hydration enough! Drink more water, lose more weight!
Nutrition- Once again, nutrition is key. We all know that nutrition plays a major role in weight loss and body composition.
Exercise- When I am cleared by my doctor to exercise I will begin! I will probably start with basic body weight exercises, barre exercises, and then eventually work my way up to some HIIT, tabata, and cardio kickboxing! Those are my five favorite types of exercise.
I really hope you have found something useful in this huge blog post about postpartum health and wellness! I plan to keep pretty good track of my postpartum. journey and will be sharing it on my Instagram if you’d like to follow along!
IMPORTANT: If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety during postpartum please reach out to somebody immediately!