“So, what are your plans for postpartum?” It’s one of the most important questions I ask my clients in their third trimester of pregnancy, and it’s almost always answered with either a blank stare or, “I hadn’t really thought about that yet.” Often, and this is especially true for first time parents, we get so focused on pregnancy, labor and birth, and making sure we have all the right ‘stuff’ for baby that we completely forget about that tender six weeks after birth called Postpartum.
Unfortunately, I also see many parents suffer from illness and extreme fatigue when they don’t plan for rest during their postpartum. So how can you have a joyful, smooth, restful and easy postpartum? Here are some tips from Ayurveda (an ancient system of health care from India) to help get you started on a great postpartum plan:
1. Plan for one month of recovery. This can seem like a lot to people and for some it feels downright impossible. I often recommend to my clients to spend the first seven days after birth in and around the bed and the next seven days mostly in the bedroom, with only one set of stairs a day. After this, it’s a good idea to plan to mostly be in the house resting. Your body just went through something huge to bring your baby earth-side. Honor that transition by allowing for time to reflect, rest and rejuvenate.
2. Eat warm, hydrating, nourishing and freshly prepared foods. Birth is a time of great movement in the body, introducing a lot of air and cold (also known in Ayurveda as Vata). Avoid dry, cold, raw and leftover food. Try to eat soups and stews, casseroles and lightly cooked vegetables with grains. Have friends and family register to bring you meals by using MealTrain.com. The more you can focus on freshly prepared, cooked foods the more grounded and nourished you will feel.
3. Do things to increase your vitality! Ojas is the word for vitality or life force in Sanskrit, and it is something that you want to nurture during postpartum. A lot of ojas goes into making breastmilk so you want to make sure you have plenty to spare. Some of the best ways to nurture your vitality include putting plenty of ghee in your food, having a cup of warm milk with ghee before bed, and minimizing activities that deplete ojas like watching intense and suspenseful TV/movies or surfing the web.
When you prepare for your postpartum you are setting the foundation for the rest of your life with your baby. You will strengthen your bond with your baby and strengthen your commitment to your lifetime overall health.
Have a great postpartum!
Image Credit: Sky Connelly