Taking care of yourself after birth

Your newborn can be easily become your sole focus after giving birth – but you need nurturing too. Read on for tips on how to take care of yourself as a new mum.

You spend around nine months taking the best care of yourself during pregnancy, as part of your journey to ensuring your baby is nurtured inside your womb. So why is it that after birth mothers so often suddenly neglect themselves?

Before birth you’ve probably prepared your home for their arrival, but did you think about what you need too?

It can be so easy for your baby to become the sole focus of your energy (especially with so many new things to learn like how to breastfeed or mix up formula, how to burp a baby, what different colour poo means and more)!

So we’ve created this easy list of top tips to ensure you remember to look after yourself, too. After all, as the saying goes, happy mum, happy baby.

Pregnant woman in labour in a hospital gown leaning on a hospital bed

Be kind to yourself

So, you’ve not only got a new tiny human to take care of but all these new skills to learn (or remember) such as how to hold them correctly, how to burp a baby, why their poo is green and so much more. Additionally, hormones make you emotional. It’s overwhelming, which is why it’s important to be kind to yourself. Three key steps to do so include:

  • Have plenty of naps, after all, sleep is a great healer.
  • Get some fresh air as this can help to lift your mood.
  • Add gentle exercise into your routine as this can help your muscles get back their strength. 
  • Give yourself, your friends, and your family time to adjust to the inevitable changes in your relationships.
  • Don’t overdo it (especially if you’ve had a caesarean!) – the chores can wait.

Ask for help

From needing to take a shower in peace, to feeling like the baby blues are too intense, there are many reasons you may want to seek help and assistance. There are so many people around who can support you.

Some people you should consider speaking to include:

  • Your partner
  • Local family and friends
  • Your midwives
  • The local health visitors
  • Your GP
  • A post-partum doula
  • Local mum support groups

It is important to always ask for help when you need it, particularly if you think your mood is lower than the ‘normal’ baby blues. They say it takes a village to raise a child, so don’t feel like you have to go it alone.

Eat well and stay hydrated

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is something we are all aware is important for our physical and mental health. However, it is especially key after birth, in particular if you are breastfeeding! Here are some top ways your diet can help you take care of yourself after birth:

  • Iron-rich foods such lean beef, kidney beans, and black beans offer a source of protein, Vitamin B12, zinc and other essentials.
  • Fatty fish such as salmon contain DHA, a type of essential fat, Omega-3 and other vitamins and minerals.
  • Low-fat dairy contains essentials for a healthy diet including calcium and vitamin D.
  • Fruit and veg offer a wide range of vitamins and minerals from vitamin C in oranges to the antioxidant properties of leafy greens.
  • Water helps to keep you hydrated, especially if you are breastfeeding and producing milk.

Top tip: Caffeine is a depressant, and while it may seems like a cup of coffee is an effective way of getting through the day after a sleepless night with your newborn, it is better to avoid it if you can. If you need an energy boost, opt for eggs, bananas, yoghurt or trail mix instead.

Close up of a newborn baby being held by a parents in a gown.

Take good care of yourself

You can’t pour from an empty cup, so ensuring you follow these tips and take good care of yourself with enable you to be the best parent to your newborn baby. Now all that is left is to say congratulations on your new bundle of joy, and it’s time for you to go and put these tips into practice.

Looking for more advice? Why not check out the essential guide to travelling with a newborn or seven tips for managing household chores with a newborn.