Whether you went the entire nine months or delivered prematurely—or, God forbid, late—your body is likely feeling beaten up after birth. It doesn’t matter if you had a c-section or a “normal” birth, the transition from pregnancy to baby-in-arms is a tough one. You probably feel like a ragdoll some over-enthusiastic toddler played too hard with. Here are some suggestions for getting past the humps and feeling like your old self again.
Pamper Yourself with a Shower or a Bath
Showers are the lifeblood of new mothers, right after sleep. There’s something magical about standing under than streaming warm water and getting clean again, letting is wash away the baby spit-up, leaked milk, and other accumulated detritus of new motherhood along with your stresses. Stand under the water for a little while and let it work out the kinks in your shoulders and lower back.
Baths are even better for soaking away the troubles of a long day, if you can finagle the time to make it an experience. If your infant isn’t sensitive to smells (some are), use bath salts or oils to make things even more relaxing. If you had to have an episiotomy or c-section, be careful about the sutures, but a sitz bath can help with those and with hemorrhoids. Emerge from the water and smooth on some baby-friendly lotion (Johnson and Johnson’s Lavender Baby Lotion and Bath Oil are especially lovely-smelling and relaxing to you and the baby).
Get a Little Exercise
Depending on your doctor’s instructions regarding stitches or any other issues you may have, getting up and moving around can make you feel better in so many ways. It will get your metabolism going, so you lose the baby weight faster and have more energy; it helps tone and strengthen muscles that perhaps weren’t exercised properly for months; it gives you a general sense of well-being from the release of endorphins. Try taking a stroll outside, and take the baby along in his or her stroller: the sunshine imparts valuable vitamin D to both of you, and being in the fresh air is enervating and rejuvenating. Once you’ve been cleared for more strenuous activity, try yoga, Pilates, and other stretching/strength-building exercises that will give you flexibility, balance, and endurance.
Make Yourself Feel Like a Woman Again
Sure, you’re a mommy—but you’re also a sexy lady! Bring back that part of yourself by primping and pampering a bit. Get your hair or nails done, especially your toes, since you can see them again! Even if you’re still not back into your pre-pregnancy clothes, put on something pretty. Put on a little makeup, or a piece of jewelry or accessory that makes you smile. Now, try to spend some time with your girlfriends, with your husband, or just by yourself! Your baby is wonderful and motherhood is awesome, but giving birth didn’t take the beautiful, special, singular woman out of you: it just added a new dimension.