Prepare for a positive birth experience with our new book
The Two Week Wait
10 Questions To Ask Your Care Provider
Your Pregnancy Care Options
Common Symptoms in Early Pregnancy
How to Prepare for a Positive Induction (plus five positive induction stories)
Six things you may not know about the hours after a caesarean birth
A Guide to Packing Your Nappy Bag
Everything You Need to Know About “Baby Brain”
Brought to you by Boody
As you venture into postpartum, it’s normal to spend so much time thinking about your baby that you promptly forget about yourself. Often when you’re feeling overwhelmed, angry and generally out of sorts, it’s the very basic things you’ve forgotten to do. Tending to your basic needs as a new mum can be tricky, especially in the fourth trimester, but it’s essential for your physical and mental wellbeing.
When we asked our community what the most challenging part of postpartum was, sleep deprivation was number one. Sleep is essential for regulating the stress hormone, cortisol, so when your sleep is persistently interrupted, you’re more likely to feel stressed, upset, overwhelmed and anxious. Knowing that this phase is temporary helps you keep perspective, but it doesn’t make the present moment any easier.
Regardless of what stage of postpartum you’re in or how much sleep you’re getting, prioritising your basic needs every day is a practical way of taking care of yourself. Consider this a checklist worthy of a place on your fridge. Better yet, pass it onto your partner or support person so they can take care of you, too.
“If you’re feeling angry and overwhelmed, the hierarchy of needs is a structure, a key thing for you to go back to. It gives you steps to follow so you can figure out how to feel better. Ask yourself: am I getting enough sleep, rest, nourishment, movement? The hierarchy of needs is also a great tool to use in conversation with your partner so together you can work out how to facilitate your essential needs in postpartum.” – Yara Healy, Psychologist
Are you breathing deeply or are your breaths shallow and stressed? Have you stepped outside for fresh air and sun on your face? When you’re feeding or cuddling your baby, bring your awareness to your breath and take deeper, longer, more nourishing inhalations followed by relaxing, releasing exhalations.
Have you been drinking water or are you dehydrated? Remember that in postpartum, your water requirements are generally higher than they were in pregnancy, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Aim for 2-3 litres a day (drinking from a water bottle is a good way to keep track of your intake).
Have you eaten? Your brain will function much better if you eat well. In postpartum, it’s a good idea to prioritise warm foods as they aid digestion.
Head to boody.com.au/australianbirthstories – you’ll find everything you need for this time in your life and beyond plus a code to enjoy 15% off everything in the edit.
Rest doesn’t always mean sleep. Can you spend the day in bed, nap in the afternoon, go to bed early (a reverse sleep-in), spend the day off screens, limit visitors? All these things promote rest. Read more on postpartum rest, here.
Rest and lying horizontal is essential for postpartum healing and recovery but a few weeks after birth, you may feel inclined to go for a gentle walk around the neighbourhood. Let your body guide you! If you feel tension in your upper back and neck (very common in early postpartum), practise some gentle yoga movements to release:
If you would like to know more about the hierarchy of needs as well as practical mindset tools to navigate the challenges of postpartum, you’ll love Sophie’s interview with psychologist Yara Heary in episode 382.
We think you might enjoy these articles
If you’re currently pregnant and starting to gather essentials for your baby, chances are you’re thinking about the must-haves for your nappy bag.
The colloquial and derogatory term, baby brain, has been used for decades to explain the forgetfulness and brain fog of new motherhood. But research proves that the brain in new motherhood is primed for learning.
Comfortable basics are absolutely essential for early postpartum when your body is soft and sore. Your physical recovery will be very dependent on your birth experience but, that said, no-one is bouncing back from pregnancy and birth. The whole concept of returning to who you were before your pregnancy is unrealistic; your body has taken almost a year to conceive, grow and birth your baby, it will take you time to recover and heal.
The hierarchy of needs is a great tool to use in conversation with your partner so together you can work out how to facilitate your essential needs in postpartum.
You may not have thought much about your perineum or pelvic floor before you conceived but now that you’re pregnant (or in postpartum) it may be demanding your attention. Here’s five things you should know about your postpartum pelvic floor.
What is the Fourth Trimester?
The 12 weeks after birth is often referred to as the fourth trimester. It’s a term coined by US paediatrician Harvey Karp in 2002, that highlights the fact that even though your baby is outside your body, they’re still very much connected to you. Indeed, newborn babies are still growing and functioning as if they’re in utero; wholly dependent on you as they very slowly and tentatively adjust to life outside the womb.
The postpartum period is the weeks and months that follow birth. If you’re pregnant for the first time, you may not have heard about it and that’s understandable considering it’s not a hot topic of social conversation. Postpartum is often a private experience that occurs behind closed doors, hence many women only learn about it when they’re in the midst of it; cradling their newborn, leaking milk and tears, blindsided by the sheer intensity of this new season.
If you’re new to breastfeeding (or you’re currently pregnant and planning to breastfeed), you’ve come to the right place.
Get the Guide