Postpartum Self-Care Tips from Real Moms

As a new mom, I wish I had focused more on postpartum self-care tips (I was a mess). I don’t think they were on my radar until a visit to my OB a few months in who recommended them: stay connected with friends, join a mom group, exercise, have quality time to yourself, sleep, eat well, be outside. These are big buckets, though, so I recently asked our audience to share their own tips, all listed below.

xoxo, alex

“I wish I had done more for myself too. I had PPD for the first 1.5 years and I beat myself up so much about it that I didn’t feel like I deserved to do anything for myself. If I could go back I would be more honest with my friends and family about how I was feeling instead of always pretending like everything was great. I’m happy to put that in the past now and always be a safe space for my friends in parenthood.” -heathergallagher.photography

“Go outside your house every.single.day. Even if for just five minutes, holding the baby. The fresh air, the change of scenery, the natural light are all good for you and the babe. But the real benefit for me was that it pulled me from the tunnel vision that new moms get. You know, feed the baby, change the baby, feed the baby, please stop crying, change the baby, please go to sleep, feed the baby, when did I last pee? Stepping out reminded me that there is still life out there, you are not alone, and this is but just one short season of life!” -love.my.tribe.bracelets

“I would say don’t compare yourself to other mommas. And have at least one person you can talk to that helps you through the tough times!” [email protected]

“Get new PJs, take a shower, put your bare feet in the grass, light a candle, listen to holiday music.” [email protected]

“The simple act of getting out of the house can change so much! Always have your “go” bag ready so getting out isn’t that much of a struggle. Time it as well as you can with feedings and be prepared (and comfortable with) feedings on the go. While the act of that may be intimidating it will truly change your mood and overall new mom experience getting out of the house for a meal, fresh air or seeing a friend. And once you get out a couple times it WILL start to get easier, I promise!” [email protected]

“For me it was/is not only asking for help but also accepting it wholeheartedly. And realizing that I can restart my day at any time, shift my attitude at any moment. Gratitude lists have been clutch for me, especially when I’m feeling down or sorry for myself. Also remembering a problem shared is a problem halved and that hurt can’t heal when it’s hiding! Connect. Breathe, mama, breathe.” [email protected]

“With my second child I started showering at night instead of the morning. With my first I would skip a shower if she was cranky or she would start crying the second I had shampoo in my hair or I would hear phantom cries because I was so worried while I was showering. It was exhausting never getting to shower in peace. Now after the kids are in bed I can take a leisurely shower and take my time indulging in fancy skincare products after. Knowing that I always have those 30 minutes and that I’m not “on call” is super refreshing and resets me for the next day. I’m able to think more clearly and reflect on the day more positively.” [email protected]

“Give yourself a break. As a new mom it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, uncomfortable, and emotional. Remind yourself “I’VE GOT THIS.” It’s my daily mantra with 2 kiddos and one on the way. I love being a Mom but my anxious, OCD self can get caught up in other things (laundry, cleaning, working, etc) that I forget to take time to nap, have a hot shower, or just some alone time. So mamas – GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! My second word of advice: reconnect with your partner. Date night, dinner and a movie, reconnect on a non parenting level, and remind yourselves why you fell in love with the first place!” -ash_hollister

“Yes to the new pjs! I tell every new mom that: buy some PJs that you love and wouldn’t mind company seeing you in. Get a cute robe too! And if you can afford it: hire a maid if you like a clean house. That’s one big task to take off your list with a new baby. Even just once a month can really do wonders!” [email protected]

“Basic stuff that really helped me: Accept when people offer to hold the baby to let you do other things/sleep! It feels sort of amazing and free to get to use both hands to eat/pee/etc or take a nap when you are in the thick of it. Hot showers when you can let someone else listen for the baby (or at night). Get outside every day! Make at least one mom friend who shares your parenting values so you have someone to talk to when the road is bumpy or confusing. Splurges that are well worth it: housekeepers, take out, meal kit delivery, or have a masseuse come to the house! Deep tissue massages have saved my back/shoulders post baby.” [email protected]

“The motto of ‘it takes a village’ rings true. A new mom is overwhelmed. I was terrified as my child was coming home from the NICU and had only recently learned to bottle feed. I wasn’t going to have machines to alert me if my daughter was choking. My husband was at work so I was alone most of the day. I couldn’t sleep because I started Zoloft once my daughter came home and the anxiety was taking over. I couldn’t function and I couldn’t eat. The ONLY thing I wanted-and needed-was another human. Another person to let me pump, hold my child, give her a bottle, let me sleep, keep me company.” [email protected]

“I’m only a month into it but yes, get out! I was suffering from postpartum bad week 1. It’s amazing how much it changed once I started going out. Walks, trips to Walgreens, coffee, anything. Also if you can afford it, hire a nanny and let any family members stay with you to help w nighttime feedings/changes.” [email protected]

“Ask for help! Help isn’t always offered and I wish I had been more vocal about needing help with my family. Just as others have said, get out of the house. It’s terrifying at first, but it gets easier and is good for the soul. Joining a new mom group, if available, is so helpful! Take showers every day, eat well and be honest with others- it’s really hard to hear things like “Motherhood looks good on you” or “Aren’t you just loving it?” when you aren’t really quite yet.” [email protected]

“Oddly enough, I didn’t hire a postpartum doula (even though I own a doula business and preach the value of our service!). When I had my first, I blindly assumed that because I was a maternity nurse, I had it in the bag. I figured, “No problem! I do this for a living, I’m going to breeze right through it!” Boy was I wrong. I was without any family support, struggling with postpartum depression, and my type A personality was severely challenged with the realities of early parenting. I needed help. In the most practical ways. A trustworthy, nonjudgmental human who would give me permission to lay in bed, rest, and bond with my baby. Someone I trusted to give me answers to all my new mom questions (because even though I was a birth professional, when it comes to your own child you second guess everything!). Most of all, someone to hug me, tell me I was doing a great job, and affirm that it was ok to struggle a bit, and that didn’t make me a bad mom.” [email protected]

“Ask for and accept help. Also Dr. Google can get you in a deep dark hole so I recommend staying away 😬.” [email protected]

“Listen to your body and set boundaries. Keep easy, healthy snacks available so you can eat when you are hungry. Keep water close by so you stay hydrated (it does a world of good for energy and sanity). Be ok with letting the smaller fires simmer while you put out the bigger ones. Don’t be afraid to reach out if something doesn’t feel right.” [email protected]

“Remember: every single day your body will make a huge leap in repairing and healing, so be patient with yourself and kind to your body.” [email protected]

“Don’t give up on doing the things you love, and building the life you deeply desire. It seems impossible in the beginning when you’re exhausted and recovering and STARVING! But this little baby thrives off of how you nurture and enjoy your own life just as much as how you nurture and enjoy theirs. LIFE HAS NOT STOPPED! It’s just getting started :).” [email protected]

“Don’t put pressure on yourself to do anything else besides taking care of you and the baby. Before having the baby, I thought maternity leave would mean I would have time to cook and clean…HA! Boy was I wrong. I used to beat myself up because I wasn’t getting anything done around the house. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself ‘You’re keeping yourself and the baby alive…that’s enough! Go easy on yourself!'” [email protected]

 

Alex founded Hello My Tribe not because she was an expert on motherhood, but because she was a mom who desperately needed support and community. During those tough first months of motherhood, Alex spent day after day reading and learning about motherhood. She learned: 1. She wasn’t alone in her feelings about motherhood. 2. Everything we could have ever dreamt of existed for the baby, but there was a lack of resources for the woman/mother 3. There are many maternal health issues in our country that need attention and need to be addressed. Hello My Tribe was built upon these needs. Previous to launching Hello My Tribe in 2016, Alex was a professional and volunteer fundraiser, raising millions of dollars for non-profit organizations. Alex lives in Austin, TX.