Bringing your baby into the world is both an exciting and challenging time. Overcoming physical changes, healing your body, and mental recovery are all obstacles you will face as a new mom. However, you also have a new bundle of joy in your life.
There are some crucial steps you should take to recover your physical and mental health after giving birth, as well as aid in the healing process. And remember, it's important not to get too overwhelmed—you need to allow yourself room to make some mistakes on your new journey of motherhood!
To help you get back to feeling your best, we’ve outlined some activities that both you and your baby can enjoy during the summer season.
7 things to do for your body after you give birth
1. Get lots of rest
After having your baby, it’s important to rest as often as possible to help your body recover. You can expect to sleep when your baby sleeps, which is a very different schedule than your own, as newborn babies sleep for only several hours at a time.
2. Pay close attention to your nutrition
Simplifying your meals so that they are easy to prepare will make new motherhood easier. If you can get by eating your meals without having to chop, mince, and boil, the process will take less time. Doing this allows you to take the time you need to rest and to keep up with the baby.
While it's important to focus on eating healthy, balanced, and wholesome foods, you'll also want to make sure you're eating enough. It can be easy for a new mother to be so busy with the baby or tired that she's not eating adequately.
You'll also want to increase your water intake, especially if you're nursing your baby. You may find yourself more thirsty during this process. Staying hydrated will help you feel awake and aid in the digestion process.
3. Give your body the respite it needs
Taking care of your perineum after giving birth will help your recovery process. Kegels can help strengthen your pelvic muscles and aid in healing. To treat discomfort, regular icing can be used to relieve pain. If sitting has become uncomfortable for you, sitting on a pillow may reduce this.
Your body will likely have many aches and pains after going through labor. Treating yourself to a massage, regularly using heating pads, and taking hot showers can aid in this discomfort.
Be sure to discuss with your provider which medications and pain relievers are safe for you to take, and remember, with time, your body will heal.
4. Ease back into your exercise routine
For the first several weeks after giving birth, you'll likely be prohibited from performing moderate to high-intensity exercise. Getting back into your regular workout routine comfortably and safely often depends on a number of factors such as your health before giving birth, the damage caused during birth, and simply how you're feeling. Talk with your doctor about how to safely return to exercise after having your baby.
A great first step toward returning to activity are doing things like walking, yoga, and light weight training. You can start swimming after the bleeding has ended, which is typically about a week. High-impact exercise and strenuous heavy lifting should be avoided for 3 to 4 months while you're still healing.
5. Join a support group
Whether you're feeling like you need someone to relate to or would simply like to join a community of new moms who are experiencing similar things, support groups can be a great addition to your life.
Joining a support group for new moms can be a great way to easily socialize with people who understand what you're experiencing with both your body and baby. You may also consider joining a new parents support group if your partner would like to be involved.
6. Pay close attention to your mental health
With all the excitement of pregnancy, the fatigue of birth, and the arrival of your baby, there are a lot of emotions during this time. Some women may experience the baby blues or hormonal mood swings that can come with the lack of sleep.
If you think you may be struggling with a mental health condition, it’s essential to talk to your provider. For many women, postpartum depression follows the time after giving birth. It's important to be aware of how you're feeling and the steps you should take to help with your emotions.
7. Keep up with your doctor appointments
Your doctor can help assess your physical healing progress, advise on nutrition, recommend an exercise plan, and answer any questions you might have. By keeping up with your appointments, you’ll know you're on the right path to recovery.
5 easy-going summer activities to do with your baby after giving birth
1. Take a walk
Whether it's around your neighborhood, through the nearest park, or even in the local mall, this is a great non-intensive activity that you can do with a stroller. Not only will this get you and your baby out of the house in the summer weather, it will also get you physically active and can improve mental health.
2. Go to the zoo
The zoo is a great summer activity for you and your baby to do on an outing. Not only will you enjoy it, but your baby will love to take in the sights and sounds of animals that are new to their world.
3. Have a picnic
Taking your lunch elsewhere could be just the summer activity you need. Enjoying your meal and the outdoors with your baby is a great way to relax and get some fresh air. You don't have to go far—even if it’s just to your backyard! All you need is a snack, a blanket, and some nice weather.
4. Go to the beach or a pool
You and your baby may enjoy cooling off from the summer heat with a dip in the local pool or at the beach! You'll have to hold off on guided swimming lessons until your baby is 6 months or older, however, babies love to splash and play in the water in your arms. So grab your swimsuits, proper sun protection like a hat, lather on some sunscreen, and enjoy your new favorite summer activity!
5. Enroll in a class
Mommy and me classes are a great idea for moms who want to get out of the house and do an activity with some structure. Because of the baby's erratic sleep schedule, interactive baby classes don't always go as planned. However, classes like mommy and me yoga or mommy and me pilates are great summer activities for you to feel engaged and productive.
Consult with Metro OBGYN
Giving birth and bringing your baby home can be one of the most exciting and challenging times in your life. Your provider will be a great help during this change, so be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor to talk about this transition and what you can do to better your experience as a new mother.