You gave birth to a child, most likely with the expertise and support of a midwife or medical doctor.
You are breastfeeding your child, very likely with the expertise and support of either a trained breastfeeding educator or a successfully breastfeeding friend or two.
Your postpartum days, with guidance from the experts and the experienced, have supported you through the first month of your baby’s life. You have learned about bathing and skin care and pee and poop; how much is too little? Now you know. Regular visits to the pediatrician confirm that your baby is gaining weight and you are able to see patterns in your baby’s sleep-wake cycles.
Now with the increased intervals of time between feedings and your reviving energy levels, take stock of all that has been done for you and what you are capable of doing for yourself.
After the first week postpartum - here’s what you did for yourself:
1. Shower, shampoo, perineal care.
2. Breastfed your baby as often as she was hungry.
3. Important business that couldn’t wait (phone calls, emails and texts).
Didn’t this seem like sooo much to handle back then?
After 1 month postpartum - here’s what you can or have already taken back:
1. You have taken back local grocery shopping for fresh fruits and veggies (that can’t be delivered) and walking anywhere that a stroller can go.
2. You have taken back the laundry in an effort to keep up, and light house cleaning. Ask for help changing the bed linens and vacuuming under the furniture can wait.
3. You have taken back your own breakfast, as well as the breakfasts of others in your family. Easy to prepare healthy proteins and fruits are a great way to start the day. Smoothies, hard boiled eggs, granola with nuts or last night’s leftovers - served on a decorative plate, at the table - will make a meal of it instead of a quick gobbled dash eaten over the sink.
Here’s what is being done for you that you will soon take back:
1. Menu planning, meal prep and cooking
Soon all the frozen food that you had prepared (before the baby) will be eaten. The delivery of casseroles from friends has slowed waaay down. Your appetite has returned, your taste buds are crying out for variety and you have begun thinking about family meals again. There will likely be several hours in the early evening when you can sit down, without holding your baby, and enjoy a meal using both hands. Read your saved recipes. Order or pick up the necessary ingredients and cook something. Or bake something. Start small and take it back.
2. Heavy lifting
This is going to be dictated by your health care provider and your abdomen, back and arms. The weight of your baby has been increasing by ounces every week, you have been getting stronger by simply carrying her around the house and if you have been wearing your baby that's even better for increasing your core muscle strength! Stretching exercises and gentle yoga can be a part of your daily routine. Take back your muscles, tendons and ligaments using baby steps.
Is the car seat too heavy for you to lift? Try taking a trip around the neighborhood on your own when there is someone to watch your baby. Many moms feel insecure about resuming this activity and short rides will enable you to take it back. The longer you feel insecure about getting out, whether it’s driving or taking public transportation, the harder it will be to get back your independence. Why not take it back today?
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