Whilst we know your priority is your newborn, it’s important to make sure you look after yourself too! Here are some tips for keeping your energy levels up and taking care of your own well-being, following the birth of your baby. Take a look at the handy Lil-Lets maternity advice guide.
Eat a balanced diet and get a good amount of rest
Make a conscious effort to incorporate foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates and protein into your diet, and avoid using sweets and caffeine as quick energy boosts. 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.
If possible, try to commit to going to bed as soon as your baby has settled for the night, and better yet, try to nap when your baby does throughout the day (alternatively, try and put your feet up and give your eyes a brief rest!). It’s completely normal to feel tired, so don’t feel guilty about resting, you’ve just given birth after all!
Have a good support network and enjoy some ‘me time’
Even the simplest aspects of your daily routine could begin to feel like a chore after pregnancy, and it doesn’t take much to suddenly feel overwhelmed by household jobs as small as cooking or doing housework. More often than not, you’ll have family and friends to fall back on and you’ll ease yourself back into normality much quicker by simply accepting a helping hand every so often!
Many new mums face an abundance of visitors, and this can often come at a time where you just want to relax and unwind. Remember that it’s perfectly fine to tell even your family or the best of friends that you’re just too tired for a visit or an extended stay. While having company can be nice, it is also essential that you put some time aside dedicated to self-care — even something like running a bath and putting a facemask on could make a world of difference!
It’s very easy to become dehydrated without even realising, and without enough fluids you will begin to feel run down and lethargic. Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep yourself hydrated. This is particularly important when breastfeeding, as staying hydrated can help you to make and maintain your milk supply.
Top up your vitamin levels
Ensure that your body is benefitting from plenty of vitamins and minerals by taking a supplement or vitamin of your choice. This can be helpful for your body especially when you are still breastfeeding.
Exercise and wellbeing
Enjoying gentle walks with your baby can be a brilliant way to slowly reintroduce exercise into your routine – plus taking in some fresh air can 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.
While welcoming a baby into the world is a regarded as being a happy and exciting time, it will bring a lot of change into your life and you might begin to feel low or even depressed. If you are feeling overly tired you might feel prevented from being able to look after your baby in the way that you want to, so putting your wellbeing first is essential. Having someone to talk to and confide in can be a big help, and you shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed of any feelings that you may experience after pregnancy.
Your hormone levels will fluctuate after giving birth, and it can be a tiring and emotional experience. 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.
Every pregnancy is different, and some women feel alarmed if they do not sense an immediate bond or love for their baby. This is normal in many cases though. 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.
Post-natal depression is certainly something that new mums should be aware of, and it is characterised by prolonged, intense low feelings. Some women can experience it in the immediate weeks or months after giving birth, while in others it can set in around a year after giving birth. Even if you have initially bonded with your baby, post-natal depression can still occur.
We’d always recommend seeking medical advice if you feel as though you are experiencing any symptoms of post-natal depression, from either your GP, midwife or health visitor.