How to take care of YOU postpartum - Your Mindful Mama

How to take care of YOU postpartum

The Chinese cultural tradition of “sitting for the month” involves women staying indoors for a month after giving birth with no visitors or outings allowed. While this may seem unusual to those of us accustomed to Western practices, it is a postpartum rest practice that tens of millions of Chinese women follow each year. In contrast, many of us in Western cultures greatly overlook the importance of rest during the postpartum period. We're so caught up in the mentality of being able to do it all and end up pushing ourselves physically and mentally, despite our innate understanding that rest is absolutely necessary.

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Why is postpartum rest important?

Just a century ago, 10% of women would not survive childbirth, and the weeks after giving birth were a perilous time as well due to poor hygiene and healthcare practices.  Nowadays, even after just a few days of delivering a baby, especially with subsequent children, many women tend to resume their hectic routines of driving, moving around, and carrying their infants (and toddlers) all day long. Nonetheless, our bodies continue to undergo significant changes during the postpartum phase despite no longer being pregnant.

Did you know that the placenta, which is an organ we grow for 9 months during pregnancy, has an average diameter of 22cm? The easiest thing to compare it to is a large dinner plate. However, once we deliver the placenta, we are left with an open wound inside our uterus where it was attached. If this wound were on the outside of our body, we would be told to rest and be helped by everyone around us.

Even though the placenta is an organ we just expelled from our body, we often don't realise the significance of the wound it leaves behind. If we lost say a kidney, we would be expected to rest for much longer than the typical postpartum recovery period. The wound from the placenta is one of the main reasons for postpartum bleeding, and we lose about 1/10 of our blood supply from this open wound. It doesn't matter whether we had a c-section or vaginal birth, as everyone has this bleeding wound.

On average, it takes six weeks for the wound to heal, but this varies depending on the amount of rest, nourishment, and support we receive. Mothers who receive less rest and support may take longer to heal, while those who prepare themselves and rest up may recover more quickly. 

During the postpartum recovery period, our body is working hard to heal this wound while we are also learning to feed and care for our newborn. It's a lot to handle, and we are often hormonal, exhausted, and emotionally vulnerable. It's crucial to prioritise rest and ask for help during this time. If you are a partner, friend, or family member, it's essential to understand the significance of this healing process and provide the necessary support.

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How do I take care of myself during this time?

We've compiled a few of our top tips on how you can take time for yourself and give your body the best environment to recover.

1. Rest, rest and more rest

Rest is crucial for postpartum recovery. Carrying a child for nine months is a challenging feat, and giving birth is even more exhausting. You may have had little sleep in the hospital or birthing unit, and the first few nights with your baby may have been sleepless as well. It is important to prioritise rest and do as little as possible. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps, and take naps throughout the day if possible. Avoid doing unnecessary tasks like laundry, cooking, or cleaning. This period of rest will help your body properly recover, and for your placental wound to heal. 

2. Simplicity is key

Simplicity is key when it comes to caring for your baby. Your baby does not need a bath every day, so use a wet washer to clean their face, hands, and genital area daily. Don't feel guilty if you and baby stay in your pj's all day, take the day as it comes. 

3. Limit lifting

It is best to avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first few weeks, especially if you've had an abdominal delivery. This is because your abdominal muscles will need time to heal. It is also important to limit activities that require you to open your legs widthway, such as getting in and out of the car. Lifting older siblings should be avoided if possible too.

4. Ask for help

Don't be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, or a postpartum doula. You don't have to do everything on your own, and it's okay to accept help when it's offered. Organising a meal train before having your baby is a wonderful idea. Having pre-prepared meals in your fridge or freezer are easy to grab in the first few weeks postpartum so you don't need to cook. Getting a nanny to help with older siblings can be a huge help during the first few weeks back home. The same goes for hiring a cleaner or getting family or friends to help out around the house. 

5. Limit visitors

While your friends and family may be eager to meet your new arrival, it is important to limit visitors in the first few weeks. This can help reduce the pressure to be social and allow you to focus on adjusting to your new life with your baby and healing from delivery. Don't worry about having a tidy house or perfect hair; true friends will understand and help you with household chores if needed like mentioned above. 

6. Nourish yourself

Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can help with milk production, healing, and overall health. Same goes for eating nourishing food. Your body needs healthy and nourishing foods to heal and recover after childbirth. Focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Healthy fats are also vital for the healing process. 

7. Be gentle with yourself

Finally, be kind and gentle with yourself during this time. Remember that it takes time to recover from childbirth, and it's okay to take things slow and take care of yourself and your baby. Your mental health is important too, so remember to spend some time alone, journal, reflect on your birth with your postpartum doula and always ask for help. We've got so many more tips in the Pregnancy & Birth Planner. 


In conclusion, the postpartum period is a critical time for a new mother's health and well-being, yet it is often overlooked and undervalued. It is crucial that new mothers take the time to rest and recover, as their bodies have undergone immense change during pregnancy and childbirth.

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