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Let’s talk about those first few months, moms, after the baby is born. And let’s be real about that daunting postpartum phase for just a moment.
Because bringing another human into the world is HARD. It’s hard on your body in so many ways, and it’s hard on your emotions.
There’s so much excitement when you’re finally done being pregnant, and the overwhelming joy that comes from seeing your baby for the first time.
And then wanting to do nothing but sit and stare at that little face all day and night. Not that there’s energy left for much else, right?
But seriously, why is it impossible to stop staring??
How to Feel Like a Human Again: 6 Postpartum Tips
My postpartum experience with each of my four children was a little different.
But I did find that the recovery period became an easier process with each subsequent child; I learned how to adjust a little better, and a little more quickly, with each new baby.
Below are the best postpartum tips which helped me to “bounce back”, so to speak, and feel more like myself after having my babies.
#1. Take it slow.
Taking it slow sounds like the opposite of bouncing back – but really it’s the crucial first step!
Ideally, the first two weeks or so should be spent bonding with your baby, healing, and doing the minimal of everything else.
Because let’s face it, you’ve just done one of the most incredible things imaginable — bringing a new life into the world! And that’s no simple feat.
When I talk about “bouncing back”, I don’t mean this to say that it’s going to happen immediately or completely.
Let me explain: everyone is different and has different needs.
Particularly if you’re suffering from postpartum depression, I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations for how you should feel or how soon you will feel like yourself again.
And I DO encourage you to seek professional intervention if you are having symptoms of PPD.
In any case, I think it’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too much in those early days (or weeks) postpartum.
#2. Let go of perfection.
I think that maybe Pinterest and social media has set us up for failure these days as new moms!
It is totally ok not to “do all the things” such as monthly milestone pictures, professional photo shoots or whatever else you think you have to do or you’ll regret it forever.
Moms with multiple kids will admit (*raises hand here*) that the baby books just don’t get filled out, and the monthly pictures just don’t always happen – at least not on time – when you have more than one kid to manage.
My advice is: snuggle more. Snuggle your baby, memorize their smell, enjoy every moment.
Smart phone photos will be just as precious someday as any professional session (and a lot less stressful!).
#3. Let people help.
Hands down, this is the HARDEST thing for me to do. Call me a control-freak, type-A, micromanaging mama. Those would all be accurate.
But remember you’re letting go of perfection for the time being, and this includes housework, your schedule, even the food you eat.
I had to be ok with my husband cooking breakfast for dinner three nights a week.
I didn’t even worry about my grandma putting the dishes away in the wrong spot all over the kitchen (we found stuff eventually!).
When my mom, God bless her, brought me a huge bag of salad fixings for lunch one day I was so glad that I hadn’t run her off by wanting to “do it all” myself. She knew what would make me feel better and I swear that was the best salad I ever had!
And when she came the next month with a load of frozen convenience foods from Sam’s Club (that I normally wouldn’t eat), I was equally thankful. 😉
Sometimes you just need an Easy Button, and having a new baby definitely qualifies as one of those times.
#4. Create a new routine.
After that first week or so, I always felt a little restless with a new, non-sleeping baby and not having a predictable schedule.
It’s not easy to find your new post-baby groove, especially because once you think you’ve found a pattern, your baby is bound to change it up on you!
We all know that new babies don’t adhere to a regular routine – at least right away – but you can slowly start to create a new routine where you do the same tasks at approximately the same time each day.
For instance, doing one load of laundry right after breakfast. That may be the only load you get done that day, but if you do it at the same time each day, at least it GETS done, right?
I tried to add back small tasks like this while I still had some help – before my husband returned to work – so that it was less overwhelming when it was “all me” at home with the kids.
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#5. Channel your inner camel.
Hey, breastfeeding mamas, I’m looking at you!
However much water you *think* you need, double that. Because you’re going to look and feel like a dried-out piece of shoe leather if you don’t guzzle the water down, especially these first few months.
It simply takes more water keep up your milk supply and stay hydrated. I could literally think about nursing my baby and start to feel thirsty!
Start your day by filling up that gigantic hospital cup with ice water. Or if it’s easier, buy a case of water and put a stash in different places around the house so that you don’t have to keep track of the same cup all day.
(I actually prefer insulated bottles that stay cold all day though.)
Even if you’re not breastfeeding, you need to stay hydrated as you recover. Drinking water also is proven to make you feel less tired!
Side note: If you’re struggling with breastfeeding OR are reading this before your new baby arrives, I highly recommend this online course!
#6. Put on shoes in the morning.
This will sound a little nuts. But for whatever reason, in those early weeks after having a baby, I felt 1000% better if I put on shoes after getting up in the morning. Not slippers, not just socks, but shoes.
It just made me feel more like a human.
I’m not going to pretend like I got a shower every morning, that would be a lie! But it was an ADDED boost to put on fresh clothes, no matter how tired I was, and to slip on some shoes before starting my day.
And this is another thing I did not start doing like on day 3 postpartum.
But when I was ready to start getting back into the swing of things and complete a few household tasks, wearing shoes made me feel so much more productive and able to get stuff done that simply needed to be done.
In fact, I still wear shoes around the house when I need motivation, and it makes a difference! Weird but true.
Make Peace with your New Normal
Truthfully, your life takes on a “new normal” after kids, and it’s the best! But it doesn’t happen overnight.
And the transition – either as a new mom or a mom to suddenly two, three or however many kids you have now, can be rough.
It’s important to remember that new-mom hormones play a big factor in how you’re going to feel and what you’re going to feel like doing, and WHEN.
There will be days you will feel like you’ll never leave the house again on time (or at all). You will wonder if you will ever get back into those pre-pregnancy jeans.
There will be days you will definitely feel like you’ll never have a predictable schedule/ routine /life again: it’s inevitable.
What I can promise you is this: it’s all totally worth it.
With my youngest on the brink of age two now, I look back and realize that those typical postpartum struggles really were temporary.
And those days, as everyone predicts, really do pass too quickly.
I hope that you can relish these first days with your new baby as you form the lifelong bond that changes you completely, and in the best ways imaginable.
If you suffer from diastasis recti, weak core and/or pelvic floor after pregnancy- check out the Mutu System. I have personally been going through this exercise program for several months now and it’s been a tremendous help for me. (P.S., I started it after my baby was almost 2 years old! No pressure when you’re newly postpartum of course. I’m leaving this link for moms who are past that newborn stage and wanting to address the very real problem of diastasis recti that many of us face.)