There is nothing more important after having a baby than giving your body the time and care in needs to recover. However, for many of us, this is easier said than done- especially when you add multiple kids into the equation.
My postpartum experience with my first daughter, Madison, was anything but restorative. To be honest, I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t sleep when she slept, I barely ate, and my anxiety/stress levels were through the roof. I rarely took help when it was offered (unless of course my Mom came over and made me take it), because I felt like I had to do it and manage it all by myself.
4 months later when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a painful autoimmune disease, as a result of the ample amounts of stress and undernourishment I had inflicted on my body-I knew something had to change.
When I became pregnant for the second time, with an 18-month old who demanded more of time time and attention than ever, I knew how important it was to prioritize my recovery and to ensure I had every support system in place to make the first 8 weeks as restorative as possible.
Here are my top three tips to help recover from birth when you have no time for recovery!
Reduce Your Stress
Easier said than done, believe me, but when you have two little ones at home, your stress levels are going to be through the roof (especially when sleep deprivation takes hold of you and you no longer have the ability to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’). To ensure that your stress levels are managed as much as possible, my best recommendation is to call in as many support systems as you can to help with everything under the sun from child care, to meal prep, to laundry… the list goes on.
The biggest obstacle that blocks most of us from taking advantage of the help provided by friends and loved ones is our ego. We feel like we need to be able to do it all on our own and we have this idea that we’re burdening everyone around us if we can’t. The TRUTH is that your friends and loved ones are more than happy to offer support when you need it – so don’t hold yourself back from receiving it because of your ego. The truth is that you’re going to need help and there’s no shame in admitting it and for accepting it for as long as you do need it. Eventually, like with all things, you will find your rhythm and won’t need as much support. But until that day comes, do yourself and your cortisol levels a favour and take all the help you can get! Don’t kid yourself, you need it.
I don’t have to tell you how important nutrition is to not only your health, but also to your postpartum recovery. However, for many, this can be the hardest thing to manage after having a baby. That being said, the are three simple best practices that I recommend for every new mom as a way of keeping yourself nourished so that your body has the fuel and nutrients it needs to recover.
The first is to make sure that you get in three meals a day. Your body undergoes a lot of physical stress after having a baby and one of the ways to reduce the stress is by keeping your blood sugar levels under control by eating three consistent meals each day. This will also help to support your digestive system and boost your metabolism.
The second is to ensure that each of those meals is balanced with whole foods and includes a protein, a healthy source of carbohydrates and fats, as well as an ample amount of vegetables. This will help to support your hormones and give your body the nutrients and fuel it needs to recover.
The first few days after having a baby can be extremely hard on your system, specifically your digestion. To give it the care and support it needs, I consume only smoothies and soups for the first few days until my body has established a new norm digestively and can handle eating whole meals again. Soups and smoothies also offer you the ability to cram in an ample supply of super foods and nutrients into one meal with minimal effort. My go-to smoothie recipe for optimal postpartum recovery is:
- 1 tsp of Organika Spirulina, one of the worlds best super foods. It provides incredible antioxidants and is a great source of protein and calcium.
- 1 tsp of Dutchman’s Gold Bee Pollen. It helps to provide anti-inflammatory support, improved immunity, and wound healing.
- 1 tbsp of Great Lakes Beef Gelatin aids in the healing process helps to support your liver, joints, and gut health.
- 1 tsp of Organika Maca Powder helps to provide energy, hormone balancing, and sexual functioning.
- 1 tbsp of Prana Chia Seeds are essential for gut health and improved digestion.
- 1 cup of frozen cauliflower (to add thickness to your shake without the added sugars and carbs from more fruit).
- 1 scoop of Progressive Harmonized Vegan Protein to help provide your body with ample protein to support its recovery and maintain lean muscle mass.
- 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries help to provide your body with antioxidants and are also know to help provide support with ‘baby blues’.
- Stevia or a natural sweetener to taste
For all of these ingredients and more amazing supplements to support your postpartum recovery visit Healthy Planet Canada and use the code LindseyHealth to receive 10% off orders of $150 or more.
Belly wrapping has been used for centuries in many cultures around the world, especially in Asia. I first heard about belly wrapping through Bellies Inc. during my first pregnancy. As someone who has regularly worked out for over a decade and who is married to a Personal Trainer, I know all too well the importance of supporting your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor to recover postpartum.
I used their Ab System after having my first daughter Madison and experienced a full, faster recovery as a result and am now using it for the second time during this postpartum recovery. I can already feel the difference that it’s making. They also offer an incredible, simple, and easy ab workout program that you can begin immediately after birth to help restore your abs and pelvic floor. The system works to heal the diastasis recti and encourages re-alignment of the rectus muscles (the 6 pack muscles) by:
- Keeping the new mother warm (mother roasting)
- Encouraging rest
- Supporting the pelvis and the tissues in the abdominal wall
- Guiding the postpartum woman into restorative posture and alignment
- Supporting the uterus in its return to its normal size (involution)
- Improving circulation
- Providing comfort and support – especially after cesarean births
As a final note, this system is not meant to ‘flatten your abs’ or be used as a waist trainer. It’s purpose is to support your pelvic and lower abdominals and to provide support in rehab movement under the guidance of a physiotherapist. For more information or to order yours, click here.
If you have any more questions about postpartum recovery, as always, feel free to email me and I’d be happy to answer them. Above all else, remember, everything takes time. The more you invest in supporting your body to heal during the earliest stages of your postpartum journey, the faster you can expect to get back to feeling like your old self (or as close to that as you possibly can as a new mom).
With love and nut butter,