I saw this on social media yesterday and I love it, shared it and nicked it – I have received a few messages about it and there was an interesting thread on the original post which was a combination of agreement and a bit of criticism.
I speak to a lot of new mums and the overwhelming conversation is: “I wish I had rested more at the beginning”. Mumming is relentless because we are always on duty so to rest in the beginning is vital – when we are recovering from birth, resting, feeding and bonding with our baby.
Of course this isn’t prescriptive and it won’t be right for everyone but something that provokes conversation and encourages women to rest and for partners and families to support that rest can only be a good thing.
Rest afterwards can be about bedding in for a few days – being looked after and cared for so you can rest and sleep and cuddle your baby. And for the next few days it can be about pottering about – but rest, bonding and taking it easy still being the priority.
The main barrier to this is that women can feel useless and lazy if they are lazing around while other people cook and clean and take care of other siblings. As I say, it won’t be right for everyone but maybe it should be right for more of us, maybe it should be expected that women rest after giving birth and let other people do more.
You have just made another human and that is an incredible super-power and you might feel ok – even pretty brilliant and invincible – but if you have also laboured for days, you also need to rest and recover.
Making rest a priority could also mean more skin-to-skin cuddles with your baby, which could be beneficial to both of you, as well as giving breastfeeding a boost, if that is what you are doing.
It can be helpful to set the pace and rest when you need to, there is nothing wrong with that. This is not about being weak, or not managing, it is about taking control of your recovery. And it’s not about total bedrest – it’s just about making the bed your focus rather than getting back to normal with housework and shopping.
- rest & sleep – your partner can do baby cuddling while you catch up
- drink plenty of water
- eat well and eat often
- potter but don’t over do it
- let other people look after you – if you are making tea for guests, stop
Prepare for rest…
To be able to rest properly afterwards, preparation in pregnancy can be vital…
Cook and shop so your freezer and cupboards are ready to provide drinks, meals and snacks.
If possible, enlist the help of family and friends, especially if you have other children.
Janine | Birth, Baby & Family
A specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting