By Wendy Colson RN, IBCLC, RLC
We’ve been there mama! After having a million people touch you when giving birth and a new (and so sweet) baby that wants to nurse on repeat, it can feel like your body isn't yours anymore. Today we are going to break down the top 5 ways to feel like yourself again post-birth!
Let me start by saying, there are two major aspects to postpartum that operate alone or in the best (or worst) cases together. The first being physical (hello, body that looks different) and the second being emotional (hello, hormones and adjusting to mom life). I wouldn’t be doing you any favors if I didn’t touch on both, so here it goes!
1. Give yourself permission to feel overwhelmed
This might sound like a weird one, but allow yourself a moment to step away from the thoughts of what you “should” be feeling. Sometimes taking time to accept that you’re struggling (regardless of in which way) and giving yourself a moment to acknowledge that motherhood is hard, and your body might not look like what you expected it to look like anymore can be a relief. We know it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, so give yourself permission to recognize the difficult moments.
2. Quit the comparison
Okay mama, step away from the cell phone! We are often times surrounded by a glamorized version of motherhood and to compare yourself to that would literally send anyone over the edge. Step away from social media, mommy groups, and those who think you need to “snap back” after having baby. Your body just experienced the most beautiful thing on earth and although you don’t see it plastered everywhere, I promise that you aren’t alone in the newly huge boobs, the extra stretchies (stretch marks), and the feeling that you aren’t in your own body anymore.
3. Okay but have you eaten?
Between the non-stop nursing, oodles of laundry, and constant exhaustion, the idea of cooking for you and your family may seem out of the question. But mama… when is the last time you ate?! All jokes aside, I know myself that I am more emotional, overwhelmed, and exhausted if I haven’t been eating nutrient dense foods. As an experienced NICU nurse, I was caught off guard and realized I forgot to eat my entire first day home from the hospital with the birth of my first daughter. Eat nutrient-dense, one handed food because a few Goldfish crackers and the occasional sip of water isn’t going to cut it when your body is healing after delivery and in postpartum.
We know it’s hard mama, but you got this!
When you’re short on time try a BOOBIE* Body protein shake! BOOBIE* Body is packed with 19g of certified organic hormone free protein (who needs more hormones, right?) to keep you full, as well as all of the essential amino acids, superfoods, and pre/probiotics to keep your belly happy. This month only, I am including a free e-book with ten of my personal best superfood meals to enjoy while on the go. This amazing e-book is automatically included with all NEW and renewed BOOBIE* Body subscriptions to inspire you!
If you have a bit more time on your hands, and are lacking inspiration, my amazing friend Jaren Soloff, RD, IBCLC created an amazing cookbook designed for postpartum mamas titled “The Postnatal Cookbook”. Throughout her cookbook she shares nutrient dense recipes designed for your body in the 4th trimester.
4. Do what you love, even if it looks different than before!
Often times, moms get the idea that they simply can’t do the things they did before having a baby, after their baby is born. For the most part, you should be able to do everything you did pre-baby, after your new bundle of joy arrives! Sure it may look different, but if you’re willing to get creative the world can be your oyster!
Did you like to do yoga pre-baby? Find ways to incorporate your baby into your workout! Lots of moms use baby carriers to secure their baby to their chest and find the extra weight helps with strength building.
Runner? Grab your stroller and hit the streets! Your baby will love the fresh air and oftentimes sleep throughout your workout.
Hobbies? Bust out the baby carrier and get baking, sewing, blogging, building, or anything else you enjoy! Chances are your baby will love the time snuggled up with you, and you can enjoy the things you love.
5. Ask for help!
Yep, this one is one that is not easy! When I had my first baby I struggled with the idea of me needing to “do it all”. That being said, you don’t have to do it all alone, mama! Call upon your village be it your family, partner, mom friends, heck- even your older kids, or neighbors, because people want to help new moms. I know it may seem like you need to be the one gal show, but I promise you that is the quickest way to burn out.
Not sure what to delegate? Easy things that can be a relief (and free up a moment of your time) include: grocery shopping, drop off and pick up (if you have older kids), laundry, meal prep/planning, cleaning (yep, I said it!), and even organization help.
All in all it is okay to feel overwhelmed in your new postpartum body both physically and emotionally! If no one is telling you this, you’re doing a dang good job at this mom thing, and although it may be hard at times, you are killing it.
Take some time this week to care for yourself and LOVE your BODY!