10 Helpful Steps to Be a Happy, Healthy New Mom

If you’re a new mom or expecting, congratulations! It’s an exciting time. Of course uppermost in your mind is the baby’s welfare. That’s as it should be.

But it’s also important that you to take care of yourself. Childbirth and the days and weeks after can be taxing. If you overextend yourself, the care you can provide to your baby may suffer. Here are some tips to help you get past some of the uncomfortable parts of being a new mom.

10 Suggestions You Should Take to Heart

  1. Reduce perineal discomfort. In delivery, you may have an episiotomy or some perineum tearing. That’s normal. You might find it uncomfortable to sit, walk or use the restroom for a while.

    Try sitting on a doughnut or horseshoe-shaped pillow.

    For temporary relief, consider a sitz bath. Sitz is the German word for “to sit.” A sitz bath is a shallow bath with warm water (not hot). The water should be deep enough to cover your privates. It’s best to skip soaps and bubble bath.

    Soak a few times a day for 10 to 15 minutes. After the bath, dry off by gently patting the area with a soft towel. If you prefer, use a hair dryer on a cool or warm setting.

    After you urinate, you can use a squirt bottle to rinse yourself with warm water.

    Try icing the area. Use a cloth between the ice and you.

    Here’s a household remedy that’s not a scientifically proven, but some users find it helpful. Soak cotton balls in witch hazel and apply to the affected area.

  2. Relieve hemorrhoids. Nope. No glamour in this topic, but finding relief makes life more comfortable. Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels around the rectum. They can result from constipation or pushing during delivery. They’re pretty common.

    A sitz bath can help. Try ice packs, over-the-counter hemorrhoid ointments or wipes, or witch hazel on cotton balls. Another unscientific household remedy is to place a slice of raw potato on the area for 10 minutes several times a day.

  3. Return to normal. After childbirth, your body has a number of adjustments to make. Nursing or pumping will help your uterus return to its normal size more quickly. Nursing boosts production of the hormone Oxytocin. It stimulates your uterus to contract, reducing bleeding. 

  4. Eliminate extra fluids. Surprise! You’ll likely sweat and pee — a lot. And it may smell a bit strong. This typically happens the first week after delivery. Your body is working to get rid of extra fluids you accumulated during pregnancy.

  5. Carry the weight. You’ll need to patiently wait for your body to return to near your pre-pregnancy appearance. You’ll look pregnant for a few weeks or more. Your uterus will take two to three weeks to return to normal size. And you’ll likely have some extra fat along with stretched skin and muscles on your abdomen. You’ll likely need to make an effort to get back where you’d like to be.

    You’ll want to watch your diet. If you’re nursing, your nutrition is especially important since your diet is reflected in your baby’s diet. Visit with a nutritionist or your health care provider for guidance on the right nutrition for your baby. They can also guide you on how to safely lose pregnancy weight.

  6. Cope with baby blues — postpartum depression. Having sadness or mood swings after birth is completely normal. Lots of new moms feel a range of emotions for days or weeks after delivery. If these feelings are severe or long lasting, see your health care professional.

    Sleep is a helpful treatment. Get as much sleep as you can. Nap when the baby naps.

    Remember, getting rest these days is a higher priority than chores like routine housekeeping. Graciously accept offers of help from others. (This includes people who sometimes bug you – sleep while they’re there.) They want to help and you can really use the assistance right now. Other moms know what you’re going through.

  7. Take care of you. This is important: Take time for yourself every day. Read something you enjoy, listen to favorite music or take a walk. Take time to get a massage. This gives dad and others time to bond with baby and gives you a well-deserved break. You can’t be a great mom if you’re burned out. Accepting help from others gives you more time to take care of you.

    Sticking to routines like starting the day by getting dressed, brushing your hair and having breakfast helps get your life back to normal… or at least start your new normal.

  8. Bond with baby. Keep in mind, bonding with baby is a process that’s different for everyone. Adjusting to the baby as a new addition to the family may be a change that takes some time — even weeks. This is normal. When the time is right, you will bond!

  9. Give yourself some slack. Will you be the perfect mom? If you are, you would be the first. Even the best moms make some missteps along the way. Your goal should be to do the best you can. As with anything else, you’ll become a better mom with practice.

  10. Make time to be a couple. Don’t just wait for times when you can connect with your partner. Visit about ways you can work together to make quality time to be together. Eat meals together. Talk about something other than the baby.

    Have a babysitter give you a break. If budget is a consideration, are grandparents available? Maybe trade sitting services with other young parents in the family. Check with your friends or other parents in your neighborhood about trading babysitting. Other young parents will likely welcome some couple time, too.

    Couples who work to nurture their relationships with each other tend to have more marital satisfaction.

As an expectant or new mom, you have access to lots of helpful services. There are professionals to help you with all your health care needs. You may choose to work with your own health care provider. Or you might appreciate the personalized services of a midwife.

Now you have some ideas you can use at home to take better care of yourself. Taking better care of yourself will help you take better care of your new baby!

If you find this information helpful, you’ll find more useful content on the Aurora Health Care Facebook. Take a moment to like us when you visit!

Meet the Author

Kathryn Gallagher, MD is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Aurora Wilkinson Medical Clinic in Summit, WI. 

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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