How to Take Care of Yourself Post-Baby
High Waisted Midi Leggings, wearing a small | Crop Top, wearing an XS, but it’s small, wish I had gotten a small! also love this top | Renew Teddy Liner, wearing a small | Wool Runners in Sunkissed, only comes in whole sizes, size up if you’re in between | Indio Sunglasses
One of the hardest, most trying moments of my life were the months after Owen was born. If I’m really being honest, that entire year was filled with struggles and ups and downs.
Having a baby is no joke.
It’s both physically and mentally challenging! After being through it once, I’ve learned so much about giving myself grace, letting go of what the people think I should be doing. It’s not always an easy and smooth process—hell, it took me about 2 years to get to a place where I feel good physically and mentally.
I wish I had known these tips myself because it would have made the whole postpartum period a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.
1. Go Easy on Yourself
Some moms bounce back fast, others it takes a while. It’s not a race or a competition. You just did one of the most amazing things ever—you grew and birthed a human child. If your stomach is still squishy a year later, it’s okay, give yourself some grace. It’s easier said than done, but enjoy this time with your baby, it’s so short-lived!
2. Eat to Support your Health
With pressures of getting back into shape after you have a kid, it can be easy to try to immediately start dieting. Don’t though. Your body is in healing mode, long after you feel healed and it needs all the nutrients it can get. I did not do a great job of this right at first and I felt the effects.
Eat a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, responsibly-raised meats and fish, and whole grains. Go easy on the junk. I know it’s the quickest and easiest to grab, but your body and energy levels will thank you for fueling it with the good stuff.
Make sure you’re eating enough! If you’re breastfeeding, your body is using up a lot more calories than you may think. If you’re not getting enough nutrients and calories, you’re going to feel exhausted.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Duh, but easier said than done. Especially if your baby isn’t sleeping for you (check this post for baby sleep tips). But, don’t underestimate the power of sleep! It’s when our bodies heal, rejuvenate and refresh. If we’re not getting enough, you’ll feel it.
To be honest, I still struggle with this! I know I should go to bed earlier, but it’s so hard for me to get in bed when Rob is still up! Working on it, but at least I’m staying asleep longer now thanks to CBD oil (read that post here). I also wrote a whole post on how to get better sleep naturally, which I still practice as best as I can these days!
4. Move your Body
When I’m not working out, I’m more prone to stress, poor diet choices and my energy dips. I don’t sleep as well or feel as confident. You don’t want to rush into high-intensity workouts right when you’re cleared, but make movement a regular part of your routine. That can be long walks, barre, yoga, or strength training.
My Favorite Brand of Leggings
It always results in a boost of energy, and the stronger your body is, the easier it is to do everything. Personally, I love strength training with my trainer, and do this once a week, and then go to Pure Barre or yoga 2x a week. I go on walks with Oliver just about everyday, so always getting in at least a half hour of brisk walking too!
5. Give it Time
I had no idea how long it would really take me to feel like myself again after having Owen. At 18-20 months, I really felt like I started feeling like my old self. I think part of this comes with him getting older and being less reliant on me for every single need, but my doctor also told me that it really takes out bodies 18 months to completely heal from child birth—isn’t that crazy?!
6. Ask for Help or Hire Help
This was such a game-changer for me! We didn’t have a plan for childcare before Owen was born. I think I still had this idealized notion that I would be able to get all my work done and also be able to work full-time. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We ended up hiring a nanny for a few days a week and that was when I realized just how much I needed it. We eventually had her come more regularly and then Owen started daycare at 14 months.
I read some stat that this is the first generation where moms are expected to do everything–raise kids, work, cook, clean, etc.—in past generations, the whole “its takes a village” idea was real. Family pitched in, friends and neighbors helped out. For whatever reason, now we think we’re suppose to do it all.
We weren’t designed to, so if it’s not working for you, do NOT feel guilty. You are normal, you are an amazing mother.
Having help, whether paid or free, allows us moments to be independent and feel more like ourselves which can be so amazing for us.
7. Make Time for Self-Care
It’s so easy to let go of ourselves, our health, or own personal interests when we have a baby. But, making time for self-care is essential in boosting your self-confidence and making you feel more like yourself. A happy mom is a better mom, so take the time to do things that make you feel like the best version of yourself.
I got so frustrated and felt so defeated many times along the way, but now that I’ve been through it once, I know I’ll be so much kinder to myself the next time around. I hope you find this helpful as you navigate your own postpartum journey!