Guest post by Sarah Blunkosky
Preserving your precious energies for healing from birth and enjoying this time with baby
It is okay to adapt your life around what needs to be done, make plans for other days, and try to engage in contentment in the present moment. In the postpartum period after birthing a baby (or babies), energy shifted with the needs of new people coming into our life, and everything moving along to accommodate that new life. Birth changes us. Birth changes our relationships. Birth changes our priorities. Before birth, energies are often turned outward towards the tribe around us, our work, our partners. After birth, each of these relationships shifts as we make room for the new arrival, altering patterns and routines for how we care for others and care for ourselves.
Here are some ways to make room for the new arrival and our own self-care with a helpful acronym:
P-Prepare the environment
R-Relinquish the non-essentials for as long as needed
E-Establish new and helpful routines
S-Sleep is essential in all it’s forms: naps, lounging, honoring baby’s sleep needs. Make it a priority like food and water.
E-Energizing with nourishing foods around the clock to accommodate your round the clockwork as a 24/7 nurturer. Many postpartum moms return to the three meals a day routine. I’d suggest customizing your fueling needs. If you are up all night feeding a baby with growth spurts every few hours (or nursing every hour or half hour), then it’s a wiser idea to eat 6-8 mini-meals/snacks throughout a 24/7 day and night cycle to keep blood sugar steady and the body nourished. As sleep schedules shift (They will! Weeks, months, maybe a few years LOL:), then accommodate these eating patterns accordingly, returning to a day and early evening eating schedule when you aren’t on the night shift as much. Another helpful practice: stashing food and water in the station areas where you feed baby all day and night. Feed the feeder! A banana, granola bar, and water at 3 am in the upstairs basket next to the chair or bed will not only nourish but help reduce any movements or lights that will interfere with catching a few more wee hours of sleep after baby is done.
R-Restorative practices are key in the postpartum period to help return you to equilibrium, homeostasis. Restful lounging. Walking, gentle yoga, light hiking/forest bathing with baby, stroller meet-ups with friends, these are all ways to help ease the body back into the world with baby, helping recovery after birth. Anatomically, it takes the body at least eighteen months to help most of the abdominals heal after ten moons of prenatal stretching and growing for baby. Propping the body into restful and supported positions can assist the body in draining fluids and lymph post-birth. Moving into different positions and walking can also help assist in preventing blood clots in legs post-birth for mom and helping the pelvis adjust to the intense journey of releasing baby. The key is doing things that nourish, not tucker one out.
V- Viparita Karani- “Legs Up the Wall” pose can be an easy, vital practice after a long day or long night (This is better after postpartum uterine fluids have ceased and as long as you don’t share any conditions where the pose would hurt you rather than help you. Always do yoga asanas/poses to serve your needs, never harm you. Laying with a bolster under your knees and propped up with pillows would be another pose if Legs Up the Wall cannot serve you.) Using a bolster or even a couch or chair, gently send the legs up when needed to help ground energy and reverse gravity a bit. A bolster or folded blanket under the kidneys and adrenal glands can help assist stimulating nurturing and calming for balance. The elevated legs help boost circulation and drain lymph/inflammation-soothing for foggy thinking and the blahs. As baby gets older, you can do this while baby has tummy time or you read baby books. I do this every night while reading to my kids who are now much older!
E-Energy is precious and do what needs to be done, then let the rest, rest. Dust under beds can settle a little longer than the dishes, which will be bothersome and smelly after too long. Prioritize tasks to preserve energy. Do dishes. Pay bills. Feed the animals and the family. Do laundry so you have clean underwear and baby doesn’t smell like spit-up. Leave anything else that can be left. Unless you have allergies, a little dust won’t hurt most folks. Order what you can. Let folks take care of you.
Also, draw awareness to the energy of folks around you. If you find that visitors are more taxing than nourishing, find ways to limit visits or schedule according to your higher energy times. Baby is needing a lot of energy now so find ways to either fill your cup with nurturing people or activities or be conscious of the people or activities that diminish your energies and make different plans. It is okay to minimize, to maximize what you and baby need now.
May you have the very best postpartum time, filled with nurturing and connection.
Sarah Blunkosky, M.A., R-PYT, R-CYT is an integrative education consultant, certified peer-breastfeeding counselor, and registered Accessible yoga instructor specializing in family, children’s, special-needs, and prenatal/postpartum movement/embodiment. She serves clients in Northern Virginia and travels for service appointments, conferences, and workshops with local studios and her company, Learning Heroine LLC. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook sharing her mission: Set learning free. When she isn’t homeschooling her kids or teaching yoga, you can find her writing articles and working on a book to assist people in freeing obstacles in learning during their prenatal/postpartum, parenting, and life journeys.
Owner/Operator Learning Heroine LLC