How to survive and thrive after your baby’s birth

20 Jan

This week at our Meet & Greet session, we talked about all of the things that new mums are NOT told, which would actually be pretty useful for them to know.  This post, written by Kate Codrington, a practitioner specialising in pregnancy, postnatal, Biodynamic and Abdominal-Sacral massage, has given new mums some essential tips towards getting them through the first year and thriving as confident parents!

Ask someone on the street how long it takes to recover from having a baby and you’ll get a variety of responses from 6 weeks to 6 years to never! In general, our culture has unrealistic expectations about recovering after the birth. Having grown a whole new human inside you over 9 months or so, it will take at least that long to recover, if not longer. The process is different for everyone, depending on what kind of birth it was, your health, your baby’s health, age etc. One theory is that we recover in tandem with the child’s development so that it is only as they can function broadly independently (eating, sleeping, wiping their own bottoms) that we are able to ‘recover’ ourselves fully. One thing you should know is that you will be changed forever.

post baby blues

Postnatal women are my favourite client group for working with massage. Even a little massage makes a massive difference. Energetically, the birth has the effect of a radical opening- everything touches you so much more deeply. The purpose of this is so that you can bond with your baby, the connection can be so strong that it hurts when you are apart. The process after the birth is of energetically re-gathering or coming back to yourself, which can take many years.

Before I get to my list of tips, there is one primary piece of advice. “Ignore all advice”. I know it’s perverse, but the most important thing you can do is to trust your own instincts. No one knows you, or your baby in the way you do. Children’s homeopath Theresa Hughes says “If you parent from your heart, you will find the right way.” That said, here’s my list….

Let go

Feeding and holding your baby and gazing into her eyes is enough. Your task in the early days is to create a bond with your baby. That’s it!  It’s really helpful to let go of having a clean, tidy house, clean clothes, being a perfect hostess, looking fantastic etc. etc. That stuff just isn’t as important – park your judgments about how things ‘should’ be.  Which brings me to the next point…

Delegate and ask for help

Get someone else to do the housework, put visitors to work. Ask them for meals for the freezer instead of flowers. You don’t have to do this stuff for a while.

getting help after you've had a baby

Ride the waves

After the birth you will still be affected hormonal swings, you may also be anxious. The blues and the tears will probably come and go (if the clouds do not lift seek support e.g. pandas lists, PND groups); meanwhile, be kind to yourself. This might mean asking for help, suspending your judgments, taking your time, taking a bath… only you know how to support yourself.

Don’t watch the news

You’ll find yourself more than usually affected by world events. Similarly, don’t watch films or read books with children being hurt for a while. It can be too much.

Ignore advice!!

(I did warn you this post was a tad perverse!) You know your own baby best! Parents of older children forget, there’s a lot of competition amongst parents and people often don’t tell the truth, books often paint a pretty picture and sometimes professionals make assumptions. Trust your guts – every mother and every baby is unique, what worked for your sister may not be true for you.

Do not compare

Do not compare yourself or your baby.  Everyone grows and develops at a different rate. New babies cry, they just do, but it doesn’t last for ever (even when it feels like it might).

help my baby won't stop crying

Sort out the practical stuff

  • Sleep when your baby sleeps.
  • Get out of the house and into the fresh air every day
  • Eat a good healthy diet
  • Drink lots of water and fluids
  • REST

Downstairs scary?

If you have a vaginal delivery, your perineal area will be sore; it will have been bashed about a bit during the birth. You can expect blood flow similar to a heavy period for a few weeks, especially when feeding our baby. There are things you can do to speed recovery.

  • Use hypercal diluted in a spray bottle
  • Witch hazel soaked onto pads
  • Ice packs
  • Take a warm bath every day

Having a bowel movement can be blooming scary at this time! But it’s got to come out and soft is better. Taking linseeds morning and evening that have been soaked in water will help, so will drinking lots of water and eating lots of fruit and vegetables.

Say no!

Visitors can get really excited about new babies but you may find it useful to say no, it’s not convenient or I need some time alone with the baby. You may be too tired and new babies often don’t like to be passed about like a parcel. If it feels too much to say no, ask your partner to do it for you.

Enjoy

Above all, enjoy your baby when you can. Your Mum is right; they grow so quickly.

Kate runs Kate Codrington Massage in Watford and uses pregnancy, postnatal, Biodynamic and Abdominal-Sacral massage to support women. You can find her at Kate Condrington Massage on Facebook and on Twitter.

 

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One Response to “How to survive and thrive after your baby’s birth”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Kate Codrington Massagelife after birth - January 22, 2014

    I am delighted to be guest blogging over at Nurturing Mums this week, you can find my ideas for postnatal survival on their site here. There may be life after birth Jim, but not as we know it.

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