Here is Blog No. 1 in our Postpartum Corvallis series! We'll bring you a series of twelve posts over the next three months, offering some great information about local resources as well as some in-depth profiles of some of the amazing birth professionals in our area.
So let's start at the beginning. Breakfast. Between feeding the baby, diaper changes, and settling the baby back to sleep, it can be a challenge to eat well during the first few weeks or month of baby's life. Especially if you are breastfeeding, eating well is extremely important. After a night of nursing, most moms feel intensely hungry and thirsty when they wake up. Did you know that nursing requires 600 extra calories beyond your normal dietary needs? This is no time to be dieting, or skimping on the nutrient density of your foods. But we all know that eating good food takes a bit of planning and preparation. And when you are famished and tired, it's so easy to grab a handful of candy because you know it will keep you going, at least for a few more minutes.
Here are five tips for getting the nutrition you need to stay healthy as you recover from birth.
1. One-handed is the way to go.
If you can eat it with one hand, you can eat while holding your baby. You'll be holding your baby a lot, so keeping this tip in mind can make it that much easier to find something good to eat. A handful of almonds, for instance, is a more healthful choice than a handful of M&Ms, and is just as easy to eat. Keep granola, dried fruit, and nuts within easy reach.
2. Let others cook for you.
Don't forget to add a Meal Train sign up to your baby shower activities, and request that people bring a variety of foods for you, not just casseroles. Another great idea is to ask for gift certificates to your favorite take-out restaurant and even gift cards to grocery stores that have nice hot food bars.
3. Two words: Breakfast Burrito.
You can make a huge batch of breakfast burritos before the baby comes and freeze them. Then, just open the freezer, pop one or two into the microwave and in under two minutes you'll have a great meal ready to eat with almost no clean up required.
Stock your freezer with your favorite frozen fruits, keep some greek yogurt in your fridge, and you are on your way to a great one-handed, protein-packed superfood breakfast with just a few minutes of preparation.
5. Stay hydrated.
Hydration is important in the postpartum period for all sorts of reasons. It helps prevent constipation, helps your body heal, and is essential for milk production. Most women feel very thirsty in the weeks after giving birth, especially when breastfeeding. Make sure your support people remember to get you a glass of water every time you sit down to nurse the baby. If you start feeling really tired, or get a headache, drink more water!
Need help with any of these tips? Proud Mama Support Services can help with that. That's what we're here for. We are experts at making delicious food packed with the nutrition that new moms really need. Plus, we don't leave the dirty dishes in the sink!
Check out any pregnancy or parenting magazine and all you'll see are images of Pinterest-worthy homes with beautiful decor and perfectly organized baby clothes. They'll even be folded. The moms will be glowing, freshly bathed, and fit. There won't be any bodily fluids leaking out of them. Their boobs will be of a reasonable size--not completely engorged with milk; no blue veins, no stretch marks.
Does your life look like this? Mine doesn't either.
If you've just had a baby, no one should expect it to, especially you. You genuinely have more important things to do, like keeping a small human alive, and maybe finding a few minutes to take a nap.
Real life with a real baby does not look magazine perfect.
When I go to someone's house who's just had a baby, I do not expect it to be clean. I'll say that again. I do not expect it to be clean. I expect dirty dishes in the sink. I expect crumbs on the carpet. I expect water glasses everywhere. I expect piles of laundry all over the house. I expect things to be imperfect.
Because I've been there, and I realize now I was way too hard on myself. I was too concerned about what other people would think when they came over to visit. I worried that they would feel uncomfortable if the house was messy. I tidied. I put the laundry away. I picked up the piles of crap and put them in a bedroom and shut the door. But I was the one who had just had a baby! I vacuumed just a few days after giving birth and while I was recovering from a fourth degree tear.
Why do we hold ourselves to these ridiculous standards?
Part of my job as a postpartum doula is to give your family a hand with light housework. Don't feel bad about it. It's part of my job. Really. So don't pre-clean for me, or anyone else for that matter.
Looking back now, I don't know why I felt the need to make it look like things at our house were "back to normal." In reality, I was completely exhausted and in a ridiculous amount of pain. I had no business trying to do housework. When you've just had a baby, there is no "getting back to normal." There is only adjusting to the new normal.
So as your postpartum doula, I'm not going to clean to Pinterest standards. I'm going to help you adjust to the new normal and make sure you can see the bottom of your kitchen sink at least once a day.
My advice is to revel in the postpartum period and let go of whatever you are feeling guilty about, or feeling like you are failing at because this is one of the few times in life when you have the perfect excuse to let those things go.
1. When she came over today, I had just gotten up after a long night with the baby. I was still in my pajamas, the dishes from dinner were still in the sink, and there was baby paraphernalia scattered all over the living room. I hadn't brushed my teeth yet, or eaten breakfast. She came in, but didn't judge the state of the house or me. After checking in with me about how the night had gone, she made some suggestions for how I could get more sleep while still meeting all of my baby's needs during the night. I hadn't thought of those things before--they seem so simple and obvious, but my sleep-deprived brain didn't think of them. She suggested things like having water and snacks by the bed so I don't have to go the kitchen when I'm thirsty or hungry in the middle of the night from nursing, and using the dimmest light possible when changing the baby's diaper so my sleep isn't further interrupted by turning the overhead lights on. So glad she's here!