How to Prepare for Those Early Postpartum Days
Those postpartum days are hard! As both a mom who’s been there and a practicing doula, I wanted to share some tricks to better prepare you for life after labour. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and unable to think about life beyond childbirth. I was mentally fixated on labour alone and how I was going to get through it. But labour is a one-day event; the trials your body and mind go through last a little longer (and the baby is forever!). I wish I had been better prepared for how challenging it was to be a new mom with a newborn. But you can get yourself ready for postpartum problems with this easy to-do list! With these tips, you’ll have more time, and hopefully, a little more energy to face the challenges and reap the joyous rewards of new motherhood!
Stock your freezer
We all know that stocking up that deep freezer is a nesting must. And there’s good reason for it! It’s the best feeling to know that even when you’re totally exhausted and have no interest in making a meal, there’s soup, stews, a veggie lasagna, and bite-sized muffins all waiting for you in their little frozen containers. The work you do before the baby comes will be much appreciated in those post-partum days.
Have fresh “convenience food” ready
Yogurt and granola with frozen blueberries were my morning go-to (still are!). Simple, easy-to-prepare combos like good quality bread or rice cakes with almond butter, avocado, or egg; fresh fruit with slices of cheese and olives; and crackers and hummus with veggies are all great standbys to keep your body satiated and nourished. The key is to keep it simple, varied, and easy to grab. See the recipe below for a healthy treat!
Try a fish oil supplement
Research shows that higher rates of DHA in mother’s milk correlates with lower rates of depression. A deficiency in omega-3 has been identified as a contributing factor in mood disorders, including postpartum depression. Consider including a teaspoon of DHA-rich fish oil every day, as well as omega-rich foods like hemp hearts, walnuts, flax seed oil, sardines, salmon, mackerel, and anchovies.
Stock up on herbal teas
Herbal remedies are classic postpartum elixirs and nothing is more relaxing than a cup of tea. Chamomile calms the nervous system and promotes a restful sleep. Fennel is great for digestion and supports milk production. Nettle is rich in minerals and can help reduce some of that postpartum swelling. Aim for one cup of any of the aforementioned daily. Feel free to add lemon or honey to the tea.
Research shows the importance of outdoor time for improving moods and self-esteem. Sit on your front porch or in the backyard, go for a walk around the block, and get some fresh air every day.
Consider a postpartum doula
This is a wonderful service during those first few weeks. A doula can help you integrate your new bundle of joy into the family, provide support whether you are nursing or bottle feeding, hold the baby while you get some much-needed rest, and even help with a few household tasks and meal preparation. That’s the best part!
Rally the troops
I know this seems cliché, but it really does take a community to raise children. In our fast-paced, individualistic world we often shy away from help. I encourage you to practice the art of saying, “Yes!” This takes getting used to, as our first reaction is to politely decline when someone offers assistance. Instead, try saying, “A meal would be really helpful right now. Thank you.” You’ll be amazed at how relieved you’ll feel when that casserole shows up!
There is no better feeling than having your healthy bundle of joy home with you. I encourage you to get a few things in place for those postpartum days and talk to family and friends who might be able to offer some support. I used to say to myself during those exhausting middle-of-the-night feeds, “The days are long but the years are short.” It helped me appreciate all the work I was doing while I cuddled and enjoyed all the sweet things a newborn brings.
Prepare these healthy energy balls ahead of time for a quick pick-me-up when you need it!
No-Bake Energy Bites
- 1 c oatmeal
- ½ c peanut, almond or other nut/seed butter
- ⅓ c honey or maple syrup
- 1 c unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ c ground flaxseed
- ¼ c mini chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly incorporated. Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy! Yields 18-20 bites.