The memory of having a newborn is still fresh in my mind. The hours of cluster feeding, rocking, the diaper changes. The milk stains of it all! It was hard during that time to care for myself. I ate foods that let me have a hand free. I drank from a gallon of water next to the couch. I did very little to feel good about myself mostly because I felt busy and that work felt holy. I wish someone had grabbed me by the shoulders and said, “Rae, go outside for a couple of minutes. Take in the day. The baby is safe with me.” (by the way, this can be the role of a Postpartum Doula! We come and rescue you, capes not needed).
Here is a list of seven guilt-free things you can do for yourself in five minutes, in the difficult and fulfilling Postpartum days (or you know, whenevs).
Face mask- You can get these a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e. Target, Kroger, etc. An Amazon delivery is in order! I’d suggest one that has lavender in it, for relaxation.
Hot shower- An actual massage by someone licensed to work on Postpartum bodies is the ideal way to fix an aching middle or lower back (from holding baby). When that 60-90 minutes isn’t an option, a hot shower is the next best thing.
Meditate- There are lots of free apps you can download, but the concept is this—slow your busy mind. For beginners, slowly count every breath coming in and out for thirty seconds. Focus on that breath. As nagging thoughts enter your head, bat them away. You will probably feel refreshed after just half a minute.
Put the phone down and go outside- I know it’s easy to live on a phone when you’re in the first few days of having a newborn. You’re sending friends pictures, Googling every little thing that happens to baby, messaging your spouse to bring the diapers up from downstairs. A change of scenery does wonders for recharging.
Put your favorite fragrance or essential oil in your palms and take a few deep, calming breaths- This self care item actually takes only a few seconds.
Stretch- Been sitting with your legs crossed on the couch for two hours while watching back to back episodes of Stranger Things? Standup, stretch those legs, your neck, and arms as far as you can comfortably.
Write down three things you accomplished today- Be kind to yourself. There are probably a lot of things you wanted to do but could not. Making breakfast to feed yourself is an accomplishment. Swaddling the baby is an accomplishment (I mean, those muslin blankets are HARD to make the perfect swaddle with—just sayin’). Etc.
The Modern Doula of Cincinnati is here to give you permission to take care of yourself. In fact, it's important. You are important. The better you feel, the better parent you can be.
Stay tuned for the rest of August, where I will be posting a blog for every day of the month!
Know anyone who’s having a baby in Cincinnati? Let them know about this blog. It’s a wonderful resource AND LOCAL!