A Nourished Postpartum ~ Tips for the New Parent
(the postpartum time, in my opinion, never really ends!)
Here are some tips to bring ease to your postpartum journey:
Especially for Partners:
- Take care of yourself physically: rest throughout the day, eat a range of whole foods, and get out for a walk daily.
- Build your village. Find other new parents to talk to (in in-person groups and online) and see them at least once a week.
- Express and accept your negative feelings. It's normal to feel a range of emotions when you're adjusting to new parenthood.
- Focus on your positive feelings. Voice the ways in which you do feel good and pay attention to those, too.
- Take time off. Take breaks by yourself, with your partner, or with another adult.
- Keep your expectations realistic. Develop reasonable, achievable goals, around expression of feelings, housework, or exercise.
- Laugh daily, whether at yourself, your situation, or something outside of all this.
- Build in some structure. Make tentative plans for the day. Keep the plan flexible and realistic so you can stick to it, and add in some spontaneity.
- Postpone other major life changes: a new job, a new home, or a new partner until you feel more settled in your new mother role.
Especially for Partners:
- Don't be afraid to hold your baby! Ask someone who is around to show you some great holds, whether it be your doula, mom, relative, friend, etc.
- Talk to your partner if you are feeling left out. Chances are it's not on purpose and she is just getting the swing of things, too.
- New moms often have unpredictable emotional ups and downs. Offer an ear; be supportive when possible. Seek help if the situation is heading out of control.
- Support her with breastfeeding. Tell her that you're proud of her. Remind her that any well meaning but negative comments about breastfeeding have nothing to do with you three. Take a breastfeeding class during the prenatal period if possible.
- Help with the other children or household. Remind mom to let the house go and to focus on her recovery and the new baby.
- Everything in your life has changed and it’s important to realize this and get help if you need it as well. New partner can also experience the blues.
- Remember that the only thing you can't do is breastfeed. But you can change diapers, soothe a crying baby, carry the baby in a carrier for long walks or in the home, sing and communicate with the baby, etc.
- If you both need help, just ask for it. Know who to call in your area for help and support whether it be a doctor or midwife, a postpartum doula, lactation consultant, or the local babysitter.
- Get up with the baby when you can. Bring the baby to her in the middle of the night if possible. If you must go back to work check in with her during the day. Perhaps surprise her with some healthy take out food or fresh flowers. Mom is tired, recovering on so many levels.
- Remember that adding a new baby to the mix is always going to stir your life up a bit, even if it's not your first baby. Learning to live with another human being takes time. Give yourself a break when you need it.