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Having a baby is an amazing experience. It can open your heart and mind to an incredible depth of love that you didn’t know was possible.
However, it’s also very demanding on every level — physically, mentally, and emotionally.
While it’s natural to be very focused on your baby in the early weeks (and, let’s be real, probably for the rest of their lives), it’s also important to take care of yourself in the early weeks following your baby’s arrival.
It’s easy to become totally focused on the impending arrival of the baby and forget that your body will be recovering from the marathon of pregnancy and labor.
The postpartum weeks can be so different for each person. Some women feel reluctant to share their experiences, fearing that something is “wrong” with them if they don’t just love every minute of new motherhood.
Others will gladly share that they “bounced back” with no problem — everything was great!
This can make it difficult to know what’s “normal” following the birth of your baby, not to mention how to cope if you find that things are much harder than you expected.
There’s a huge gamut of “normal” experiences for brand-new moms.
It’s very common to feel extra emotional (both positive and negative). You might feel anxious, excited, fearful, happy, sad, and even resentful of the huge new demands placed on your time and body.
Between wildly fluctuating hormones, sleep deprivation, and the physical discomfort of recovery, it’s easy to feel like motherhood isn’t the sweet, dreamy experience you imagined (or heard others describe).
The term “baby blues” is around for a reason — many moms feel sad and anxious at times during the early weeks of their baby’s life, and this is totally normal (thanks again, hormones). If you think your symptoms are severe, or are keeping you from sleeping, eating, or functioning, it’s a good idea to give your OB-GYN a call.
Postpartum depression and anxiety are also common, and may not go away as quickly as the baby blues. Fortunately, you won’t be the first new mama speaking to your doctor or therapist about these experiences. Remember, you don’t need to suffer in silence.
While it’s easy to feel like there isn’t time to take care of yourself while taking care of a newborn (how do you pick between a snack and a 5-minute shower once you finally get your baby to sleep?!), it’s so important for both of you.
This may mean asking for help from your significant other, a friend, or a family member — and they’re likely to love the baby cuddles!
A little bit of time to be your own person again can do wonders for renewing your energy as you care for and bond with your little one.
For this list, we’ve relied on personal experience and rave reviews to round up a list of products and services designed to help you as you recover mentally, physically, and emotionally during your adjustment to parenthood.
A postpartum doula
While it may sound strange (and is obviously a person, not a product), a postpartum doula is our number one recommendation for postpartum self-care, particularly if this is your first baby.
You may have heard of doulas described as birthing coaches (or you may never have heard of them at all), but there are actually doulas who specialize in postpartum care.
This mom-and-baby expert can come to your home and provide holistic support — help with breastfeeding, newborn care, sleep routines, baby wearing, physical recovery, and emotional support for the whole family.
It’s amazing the peace of mind that can come from just talking to a safe person about your feelings, as well as the stress relief of someone to help in your areas of uncertainty.
To find a doula in your area, start by asking friends and family for recommendations. You can also search through association websites like:
- DONA International
- International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
- Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA)
Coddle Postpartum Self-Care Recovery Box
This fantastic postpartum recovery box from Coddle includes a nipple balm, perineal balm, massage oil, mother’s milk tea, and a sitz bath soak.
Coddle’s products are very highly rated by moms and can help ease many of the physical discomforts of recovering from childbirth.
When you’re in less pain, you’re able to keep a clearer head about all that you’re experiencing. Psst — this little wonder-kit also makes a great gift for fellow new mamas!
LUNA Weighted Blanket
It’s not uncommon to experience anxiety and sleeplessness in the weeks following delivery.
This method of promoting sleep won’t send you into too deep of a sleep so that you can’t hear your baby (like a medication might), but may help you feel more relaxed and enable quicker sleep. Be sure to consult the weight chart to find the right size blanket for your body.
Snailax Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager
Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, the many hours of holding your baby can give you a real workout, resulting in sore arms, back, and neck. This Shiatsu massager fits nicely in any chair and can make your nursing or pumping sessions a little more relaxing.
Additionally, massage has been shown to have positive effects such as reducing stress and promoting sleep (two high priorities for the new mama!).
Lunya Pure Silk Sleep Mask
This luxurious sleep mask can help you snooze during the day (have you been told yet to “sleep when the baby sleeps”?) by blocking light, as well as at night by providing soothing pressure over the eyes.
Bonus points: It’s washable, so if you don’t have time to wash off the day’s makeup (ha! as if you’re even wearing any), or cry a few natural tears, this mask will clean right up in the washing machine.
Good Days Start with Gratitude Journal
While your emotions might be all over the place right now, taking a few moments a day to write in a gratitude journal can be helpful.
Practicing gratitude can help remind you of the positive things in your life, which in turn can make the harder parts seem less overwhelming.
Natori Luxe Shangri-La Robe
This luxurious, super-soft robe is a wonderful way to keep yourself feeling fresh and comfortable during all the hours of nursing, rocking, and trying to catch a few hours of sleep.
Made of a super cozy modal blend, it’s easy to throw on over your PJs or nursing garb, and is machine washable (so don’t sweat the inevitable spit up). One hot tip from fans of this robe: it runs small, so size up.
Whole house cleaning with Care.com
For many people, there’s something inherently stress-relieving about knowing the whole home is clean. Lots of new moms struggle with the balance of taking care of their baby, themselves, and keeping their environment from becoming chaotic.
Hiring a pro to clean your house can ease some of the pressure to be productive, allowing you to focus on your baby and yourself.
The weeks and months following your baby’s birth can be a sweet, wonderful time. They can also be emotional and anxious.
While we know you will be busy with your new baby, there are some simple ways you can take care of yourself as a mom during this exciting time of transition.