You’ve just had a baby and you’re probably wondering what is the best way that you can support yourself at this moment in your life.
How do I prioritize both my health and the health of my newborn?
What can I do to feel empowered and more grounded?
Who in my circle can support me during this time when I need them?
Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on these pillars of postpartum care:
Postpartum is a time for rest and recovery. Your body is adjusting and slowly returning to its pre-pregnancy state. It’s important to spend your first 40 days at home, tending to yourself and your baby, so that both your mind and body have time to rest. Take lots of naps! These days are essential to avoid any long term health consequences that might arise from the exhaustion and fatigue of pushing your body beyond its threshold. It’s the time to ask for help and lean on your circle of support, so that you can spend more time resting and caring for your baby.
Postpartum is considered a cool stage, whereas pregnancy is a hot stage. Make sure you stay in a warm environment to conserve heat and build warmth. We call it “Mother Roasting” – making sure you keep warm, both in external temperature and by consuming warming foods and herbs.
Consuming foods that are going to build blood and heal tissue are essential during the postpartum period. If you’re breastfeeding, your body also faces increased nutritional demands. During this time it’s important to consume pre and probiotic foods, nutrient-dense, whole foods that include quality protein and brightly colored fruits and vegetables. You’ll also want to focus on including more iron rich and healthy fats in your diet by eating foods like spinach, lean meats, liver, fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and olive oil. Bone broth has amazing collagen-building properties, amino acids, and nutrients your body needs at this time. You’ll also want to eat in a way that supports blood sugar stability. The best way to do this is, when it’s easy, eat your veggies first, then proteins and fats, and starches last. Add a veggie starter to meals or add healthy fats or protein to carb-heavy foods, like oatmeal, to lessen a blood sugar spike. Remember to stay hydrated and minimize or eliminate sugar and caffeine.
Your body is so amazing and it’s gone through so much at this time. It’s supported you and your baby throughout your pregnancy journey, and now needs to adjust back to its pre-pregnancy state. The uterus has to heal by shedding and closing the placenta spot and your perineum must recover from stretching. All of the organs within your body must make their way back into their new space. During this time it’s best to work with a pelvic floor therapist or practice pelvic floor exercises that can assist with recovery, use a pelvic wrap or belt for additional support, and slowly begin to move your body in nourishing ways that feel good to you. Also, massaging your feet daily can support circulation and strengthen your immune system.
As you begin to embrace these four pillars, make sure to tend to your emotional wellbeing, too. Take time for self-care, practice gratitude, breathe, journal, and find the little moments throughout your day where you can pause and relax. Acupuncture is a great way to support your body postpartum. If you’re looking for more guidance and support I’m always here to help.