The first 6 weeks after having a baby are considered a recovery period. Your body has been stretched and stressed to its maximum, and it needs time to heal. Like babies, every new mum is different and will recover in different ways, and at different stages. Here are some common problems and how to tackle them.
While there is no cure for maternal fatigue, there are some ways of regaining your sanity. Here’s how:
- Enlist support – Either call on friends, family, or hire help if you can. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, while you catch your breath, or get some sleep.
- Share the load – Share parenting and housework with your partner. Discuss early on who is doing what chores, so there’s no confusion or resentment.
- Be flexible – No one is going to judge if the dishes aren’t done, or if the baby clothes aren’t neatly folded away.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps – Forget the hundreds of chores you think you should get done. Even if you just get 10 minutes, you’ll feel better, andyou’ll be able to cope with the crying when it happens again.
Your Mental Health
It’s estimated that 60-80% of mums get the baby blues around 3-5 days after delivery, bringing on unexpected sadness and irritability, bouts of crying, restlessness, and anxiety. These should fade over a few weeks as you adjust, but in the meantime, there are some things you can do to make you feel better:
- Look in the mirror – If you haven’t showered and are still wearing your pyjamas, then get dressed! Spending time making yourself look good will make you feel good too. Pop some special maternity lingerieon to lift your mood, and your partner’s too!
- Move it – An easy all-natural high can be achieved. It can beas easy as taking a10 minute walk around the block, and the effects will last for hours.
- Get out of the house – At least once a day, get a change of scenery. Take your baby out in the pram, visit with friends, go to a Mummy’s group, stroll to the shops, and have a chat to someone else who can actually talk back!
If you are still feeling blue after a few weeks, discuss with your General Practitioner (GP), as you may be suffering from postnatal depression.
Wondering if you’ll ever get back to normal?Part of the reason for your protruding postpartum abdomen is your enlarged uterus, which takes about6 weeks to go back down to its normal size. Another reason for belly bloat is the extra fluids your body holds while you’re pregnant, and this should be flushed out over a few weeks.Mostly, your change in body shape is due to the abdominal muscles being stretched out, and it will take some time and effort to get back into shape.
Your body needs at least 6 weeks to recover from childbirth, so pass on the body-pump routine, especially if you’re breastfeeding.Sticking to a healthy, nutritious diet will see you on the right path to weight reduction. Make sure to eat breakfast. Research shows that eating something, as soon as you wake up,improves alertness and concentration, and it also helps you shed the kilos by preventing you from overeating later in the day (500 grams of weight loss each week is a good goal).
If after 6 weeks you are not losing any of the weight you put on during pregnancy, then it may be time to look at your kilojoule intake.
Try not to sweat the small stuff, and go easy on yourself. Try lowering your expectations for yourself, and for your baby. If you expect too much, you can expect to be let down – this will bring down your mood, and ultimately your health. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, or a perfect baby, so just do the best you can.