Having a baby is one of the best experiences a woman can have but it does place stresses on the body. Once the baby arrives, focus is often all on the new born and the mother can neglect her own health and well being. Here are some tips to achieve better health postpartum….
Rest. Go to bed by 8 pm, most of the time, as you are able.
This is necessary to recover energy spent and fluids lost in labor. It will help prevent or minimize hormonal imbalances, slow-to-recover problems, uterine and bladder prolapse, premature aging, exhaustion, thyroid imbalance, depression, and weight gain. It will also make for more nutritious breast milk for baby. This is Secret number 1 to losing baby weight… Go to Bed!
Peaceful home environment
The initial days and weeks of a human arrival are a precious bubble that only come none to a few times in a lifetime. The parents and family are in a window of openness (of heart, mind, emotion, energy) and immediate connection to the source of life. This kind of opportunity should not be missed, so keep things quiet and simple in the home. Stay present with the newborn and your own emotions as best you can.
Do not go running around or inviting loud or chaotic energies (people or activities) into the home. Do not distract yourself with TV or FB or electronic devices. Stay present with emotions and connected to the heart. I believe that a lot of postpartum depression stems from our culture not understanding this special and sensitive time and mistake deep emotions and sadness for a problem. It is a huge missed opportunity. It is true that neurochemicals and hormones can be depleted or go out of balance, but it is very important to go through all the emotions that come up during this time and to provide space and presence for this process. I feel it allows for a deepening of our own sense of our existence and for deep bonding with the new child. It is an initiation into parenthood to this child. The innocence and purity of the newborn awakens something in us and reignites our connection to the mystery of where we come from in a way that nothing else can.
Aside from being the most nutritious and digestible for baby (as long as you are eating well), breastfeeding is an example of The Tao–it is the most simple, natural, and practical way to keep baby healthy and happy. It is fresh, warm, sterilized, and available (unlike bottles!) There will be plenty of years for you to worry about packing food to bring everywhere you go… take advantage of this time that you don’t have to do that. Plus, it is the easiest way to help get back to normal weight without having to diet. This is Secret number 2 to losing baby weight… although not much of a secret anymore, it is the number 2 way to get back to normal–comes before exercise and diet in the first 9 months after baby is born!
High nutrition, lots of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats. No processed foods, fast food, soda. Cravings for healthy foods should be listened to… we crave specific nutrients and food energetics that we need to balance ourselves and nourish baby. It might be cheese, brussel sprouts, potatoes, fish, oranges, etc. Avoid foods that cause problems for baby– usual suspects are chocolate, coffee, dairy, wheat, eggs, nuts, spicy. Eating well is basic for some people and very difficult for others. If you are one for whom it is difficult, you can take this opportunity to learn how to do it and like it before you have to start feeding your child real food. Food can be a real pain in the ass, but it is a part of life. We can either fight it the rest of our lives, or integrate it, and decide to do it right and like it. I recommend keeping it simple and fresh, and delicious of course. It will save a lot of heartache when it comes to feeding a family, and it will create joy, health, bonding, and rhythm in the home for years and generations to come.
Body Mind Care
Yoga, mindful breathing, acupuncture, moxa, and baths. It is important to get some space from baby, to breathe and move properly, and get the support or treatment you need. It also gives dad and other family members a chance to bond and develop caretaking skills and independence. Massage using essential oils for relaxation and calming can also help. These are healthy and enjoyable things that also create balance and health in the household.
Sitz baths with herbs or full baths.
To help clean out uterus physically and energetically, and to help heal tears and stitches, these baths are very helpful:
- Tibetan Uterine Cleanse
- Himalayan Salt Bath
Love love love your baby, and stay connected with friends and family for fulfilling and supportive community.