"While maintaining any form of sleeping pattern will most likely feel like a challenge, ensuring that you get plenty of rest each night will help you in the long run."
It is so important to look after yourself, especially during the period after welcoming a new life into the world! Here are some tips for keeping your energy levels up and taking care of your own well-being, following the birth of your baby.
Refresh and rest
While maintaining any form of sleeping pattern will most likely feel like a challenge, ensuring that you get plenty of rest each night will help you in the long run. Try to sleep as soon as your baby is settled, and squeeze in naps during the day when your baby enjoys some well-deserved shut eye, Giving birth can take its toll on your body, and getting plenty of rest is vital in the immediate period following your pregnancy. It’s completely normal to feel tired, so don’t feel guilty about resting, you’ve just given birth after all! As well as rest, sticking to a general self-care routine is a good idea. Something as small as putting on a facemask or having a bath can provide you with some time to refresh yourself and enjoy a well-deserved break.
Strike up a social balance
Your new baby is likely to draw in an influx of visitors, and while this isn’t a bad thing it can be demanding to look after your little one and entertain people at the same time! There should never be any pressure on accommodating visitors, and try to be sensible and allow yourself plenty of downtime — or aim to implement a ‘visitor free’ time slot each day. However, your family and friends can be a helpful port of call for you as you fall into your baby’s care routine. Accepting a helping hand is never a bad idea, as this can allow you to stop for a moment, without the worry of household chores looming over you. Whether you could do with a friend popping to the shops for essentials — such as Lil-Lets maternity pads, or you just want a bit of company, you shouldn’t feel guilty for accepting help from a loved one.
Stay hydrated and eat well
Foods which are high in protein or complex carb rich can make great additions to support your dietary needs. Don't rely on caffeine and sweets for a quick pick-up. Ensure you have a good breakfast every morning and eat little and often throughout the day to keep energy levels up. If you’re breast feeding you may find you need about 500 calories more than someone who is bottle feeding.
It’s also important not to become dehydrated as this can cause you to feel more tired and worn down without realising. Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep yourself hydrated. This is particularly important when breastfeeding. If you chose to take any supplements during your pregnancy, then you could keep taking them to maintain the levels of vitamins and minerals in your body. This is especially important if you choose to breastfeed.
Build up your exercise routine steadily
No one will be expecting you to hit the gym or run for miles after giving birth, and you should only resume your exercise routine when you feel confident to do so. Getting active can give you a mental boost, but it can also help you to sleep better at night. Start out slowly and only go for a short distance at first. As you regain your strength, you can gradually step up your pace and distance.
Keep your wellbeing in check
Despite the common perception that welcoming a new baby into the world should be a consistently joyous time, many new mums battle low feelings and even depression amidst all of the happiness that surrounds them and their child.
The realities of giving birth can be tiring and emotional, and new mums shouldn’t get caught up in the idea that they should be happy all of the time. Some women get the "baby blues" and feel weepy around three to five days after giving birth. Feeling like this can be worse if your labour was difficult, you are very tired, or you have other worries.
Not feeling an immediate sense of love and affection towards your baby is normal though, and becoming a new mum is not a uniform experience — everyone will have a different experience. You may just need to give yourself time to bond with your baby. You can still care for your baby and provide all the warmth and security he or she needs in the meantime. Some women experience prolonged periods of feeling low and depressed, and being aware of post-natal depression is important after giving birth — although its symptoms . Even if you have initially bonded with your baby, post-natal depression can still occur.
Always address any concerns with your midwife, health visitor or GP. Your pregnancy will be a totally unique experience, so embrace it and take care of yourself too!