Postpartum Depression, the Baby Blues, hormones, no sleep, healing body. Yes, there is so much going on after birthing, and what used to be a 5-7 day stay in the hospital for birthing aftercare, has become 1-2 days. Some women like short stays, but some of us need more. I was one of them.
And because I am not in the minority, by any means, I thought I would share what I learned to help me feel better during my postpartum period. Actually, most of what I learned about caring for myself, by new baby and the rest of my family I learned as a therapist and from doing my own research online and in books. With 80% of women in the United States experiencing some form of postpartum blues, I think we all need to share our knowledge on this topic.
I should also recommend that if you are a mom reading this who is experiencing postpartum depression, seek professional help. Your family doctor or OBGYN will have the skill to determine how best to help you. There is no shame here. Get help. It will help you, your baby and your whole family.
Ideas shared here helped me. I did not have postpartum depression or the blues, but I sure was tired, new to breastfeeding, at times unsure, at other times emotional and hungry! The ideas I’ll share helped and if you are feeling similar, they might just help you too.
Comforting Postpartum for Mom
Experiencing such an awesome delivery, I wanted a postpartum time that was equally as blissful. Pittsburgh had little to offer me so I turned to social media. I got my answers and turned extreme fatigue into balanced energy.
Also while digging through my basement on afternoon, I found a Yoga Journal Magazine from several years back. The magazine contained an article about Ayurvedic postpartum care for women who had just gone through birth. I really liked the different activities that the magazine author discussed so I began to research more information on the topic of Ayurveda and postpartum care. I was confident, having used Ayurveda practices in the past, both in my professional and family life, that I was on the right track.
Here is a list of 5 super easy and comforting postpartum activities you might try to feel your best after birthing.
#1. Warm and Soft blankets: Using uber soft blankets to sleep in instead of sheets made me feel cozy. These blankets I got special, and although they cost a little, the days following birthing were deeply restful as a result.
#2.Warm milk an hour before bed with cinnamon, cardamon, and maple syrup: I risk sounding like a kid, but the warm milk before bed is not jus for kids. It’s for mom’s too. Total comfort. I used rice milk, and substituting different types of milk is ok if allergic to cow’s milk.
#3. Whole body warm oil message daily: I started with coconut oil, and then eventually got a bottle of balancing jujoba oil. Many sources recommended cured sesame oil.
#4.Wrapping my belly: It isn’t certain if and why belly wrapping is beneficial for everyone, and it wasn’t necessarily an Ayurvedic suggestions, but I decided to try it anyway. I realize I’ll need to do some core body work to obtain a more conditioned abdominal muscles going forward, but the belly wrapping itself was very comforting. It just felt like a big hug for a job well done. It was supporting to my abdominal tissues and organs, as well as lower back. I felt great in my clothes, and messaged my tired abdominal muscles during the morning and afternoon when I wore it. I tried using a muslin cloth and ace bandages, as well as the combination, but had no luck, as the material kept shifting. I eventually went to Target and bought a tight elastic abdominal wrap in my size. Apparently called “shape wear”, some women wear them all the time, even when they did not recently give birth. Think modern comfortable girdle.
# 5. Deep sleep: After reading “Birthing from Within” with Pam England,
http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/ as well as several Ayurvedic sources, I felt good about my choices before giving birth. Knowing that sleep was the fuel of my daily life, I took special note when England suggesting not being averse to bottle feeding or supplemental formula for a better postpartum, especially related to mood. Additionally, Ayurveda sources noted how deep sleep is necessary to allow deep healing after the huge task of giving birth.
After my husband went back to work, I needed deep sleep to feel better so we began at week 5, 1 formula feeding at bedtime. I pumped and stored away the milk for the future, an added bonus. We continued to breastfeed the rest of the time. The formula, as well as keeping baby up a bit more during the day helped get me the rest I needed.
#6 One to Grow On: One to grow is “to bed before 10pm”. I’m still working on this one, but the closer to 10 or earlier to bed, the better I feel. As I move through week 5 and 6 of postpartum, I hope I can give myself this added gift.
So all the best for your postpartum, for your baby and your entire family. Remember, because it feels great, you can be your own postpartum Swami Mommi too!