Having a newborn is one of life’s most rewarding experiences; however the challenges of postnatal confinement, recuperation and infant care may dampen (it) very quickly. Here are some tips to help you sail into postpartum bliss.
- Relax Ensure that you have enough rest and do not worry unnecessarily. If you are so stressed that insomnia sets in, it’s time to talk to your husband about it. For a start, use essential oils and hot baths to soothe your tired body after a long day and the hot bath will help to relief tension too. Set aside some down-time before you sleep and ask your husband to take over caring for baby.
- Ask for help Too many new mothers think that taking care of babies is a natural instinct and feel very bad when they feel at a loss or when in doubt. No one is born a mother! Ask for help whenever you feel that you need an extra pair of hands. There’s no shame in that! It is also possible to arrange for your confinement nanny to come in for a day or two when you feel that you need the extra help again. You may want to check out Confinement Angels that will be able to advise you accordingly. Some new mothers swear by engaging part-time cleaning help and thus have one less thing to worry about. Also, the housework can wait as long as it’s not dirty dishes that will attract household pests that would pose as a hygiene hazard.
- Be realistic Don’t be in a rush to lose your baby weight and choose sensible postpartum wear that helps to support and shape the body which will make you look and feel great! Being overly ambitious in trying to ‘squeeze’ into body shapers that are way too small at this stage will only make you feel worse. Regular exercises will help you to lose the weight and tone your body. Remember to eat well and do not go on extreme diet as your body is still trying to recuperate. A lack of nutrients and energy can cause your mood to swing drastically and any drop in energy from the lack of food is definitely the last thing you need. And also, the desire to lose weight can cause an onset of postnatal depression and not parenting stress per se.
- Don’t pressurise yourself With a new parenting role, many new mums are inadvertently stressed out. This is more so if you are returning to work and experience sudden decrease in milk production, it is normal due to change in routine, especially after extended maternity leave. Learn to recognise stressors; stress, lack of sleep, poor appetite and excessive exercising and once you do, try to reduce the stress consciously. Even if you still face a low milk supply after cutting out stressors, don’t beat yourself up. Supplement your baby’s diet with formula milk if necessary and you should never deprive your child of the food he needs, especially when you don’t lactate enough. You can also join the Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group or seek assistance from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
- Indulge in massages Postnatal massages after the confinement period can continue to help you alleviate postnatal symptoms such as water retention and postpartum stress. A good place to go to is Beauty.Mums & Babies as they offer a series of postnatal services. If you are unable to spare time for regular massage sessions, you can invest in good quality massage tools such as a back roller which you can get your husband to help you knead out tight ‘knots’. This creates a good opportunity for both of you to talk and bond while he helps you ease away tension. Return the favour as giving him a massage treat and this can make you feel happy that you are not neglecting your other half as well.
- Opt for hydrotheraphy or magnesium float Once your confinement is over, you may want to try a few sessions of hydrotherapy. This can help you alleviate joint stiffness and enhance muscular tone and strength. A magnesium float entails floating in futuristic capsule that is filled with water saturated with epsom salt in (near) zero-gravity conditions with soothing light and music. This helps to ease aches and is known to relax the body completely. Plus, some people actually feel so relaxed that that they doze off while floating and this is available at Palm Avenue Float Club.
This article is an extension of an article found in the print edition of Singapore’s Child April Issue 174 with the headline ‘Plan for Postpartum Bliss’.
Do you have some postnatal stress-relieving tips? Share them below!