The following is a guest post by Donielle of Natural Living Moms.

I felt as if I’d been hit by a truck, or at the very least, a small car.

Labor was tough and my body somehow pulled muscles I never knew I had. So I spent my first few postpartum days resting and allowing my husband to change the majority of the diapers. But on day four I woke up and felt almost fantastic, I actually got up and mopped the floor, started writing thank you cards, did some laundry. And soon as in too much pain to move again. Throughout the next eight weeks, I went through this cycle; felt good, over-did it, and was back on the couch in pain.

We seem to be focused so much on “doing it all” that even after we women give birth, we seem to think we should be able to bounce right back up and begin about a normal day. To be the “super mom.” Or to get back into our pre-pregnancy pants as soon as possible! I wanted so badly to “have it all together” and be the woman everyone else wanted to be, but for me this thinking led to a longer recovery and undue emotional stress.

In the few weeks after a woman gives birth, there are a few things she can do to hep her body heal both physically and emotionally.

Stay Home

As exciting as it is to welcome a new little baby into your family, traveling all over town to show him/her off sets yourself up for failure. Establishing breastfeeding is so important in those first couple weeks, and most new moms and babies take time to figure out how it all works. Staying home allows you to be available to nurse whenever the baby is hungry, and keeps you relaxed so you can more easily feed.

Both you and baby are also more susceptible to illness, especially if you were given antibiotics during or after labor. Being in your own home and not at the mall (yes, I went to the mall when my son was only a few days old!) lowers your risk of coming down with even simple colds.


As much as possible, you should rest on the couch after birthing for at least two weeks. I know it’s hard to do when you’re probably the one in the house that does all the basic household chores and makes all the meals, but doing so will help your physical healing and lesson the length of time you’ll experience bleeding.

This also helps with uterine after pains since contractions don’t stop right after labor, but continue to work on getting your uterus back to its original size. The more active you are, the more painful these contractions can be, so make sure to allow yourself a few weeks before doing any cleaning, grocery shopping, or exercising.

Another great way for women to both rest and heal after birth are soothing herbal baths. Not only do your muscles need a nice hot bath to relax away soreness, if you’ve had a vaginal birth, your nether regions may need a bit of healing as well. Herbal baths can easily be found in health food stores and online through Earth Mama Angel Baby, but you can also make your own post partum bath salt with just a few simple herbs and coarse sea salt. Spending 15 minutes per day in a hot bath with your devotions or other good book is good for both body and soul, leaving you feeling renewed each day.

Take Care of Your Own Nourishment

The focus after a baby born, is of course….on the baby. But mom needs special nourishment after the birth as well, and taking take of those needs helps you to get back on your feet feeling stronger and more able to handle the day with a newborn.

  • Choose low sugar foods. This has to be one of the most important dietary tips for new moms as sugar can damage the immune system, contribute to yeast issues like thrush, yeast infections, eczema, mastitis, and diaper rashes. It can also upset hormone production, and as your body tries to get back into the swing of things and figure out a new hormone balance, too much sugar can lead to major emotional upset. So choose carefully out of the goodies that people bake for you and freeze them for later.
  • Eat nourishing foods. In order to help the body heal, choose non-processed foods as much as possible. Put your husband in charge of dinner duty and give him simple recipes that even he can make, pack smoothies with nutritious ingredients, and choose protein-rich snacks and meals. Use supplements when needed to fill in the gaps in diet.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water helps in both elimination and milk production so making sure you drink enough water after giving birth is pivotal.

It’s not always possible to be waited on hand and foot for days at a time, let alone a couple of weeks. And sometimes our husbands have to go back to work before we’re ready (physically) to take over the house again, but resting when you can and feeding your body the foods it needs will go a long way in sustaining you through the newborn days.

Enjoy your time as the momma of a newborn, just make sure you take care of yourself as well!

Mamas, what have you found helpful in your time of postpartum recovery?
Editor’s note: As I find myself recovering from childbirth with two little ones running around, I’d love to hear how those of you with multiple children have allowed yourself time and space for postpartum recovery amidst a full house.

Donielle is a  momma of two little ones, a “real foodie” who believes that good food heals, and blogger at Natural Living Moms where she blogs to inspire and encourage other moms. If she’s not cuddled up on the couch reading books you can usually find her in the kitchen where she {tries} to make most of the food they eat from scratch.