Postpartum rest is two words that probably strikes fear into your heart as a Type A woman.
Rest is not some you do well.
You’re a let’s go get sh*t done, kinda gal, right?
And yes that serves us well in life, however, it can also become a huge issue when you have a new baby.
You’ve probably read a million times to slow down, relax, and sleep when your baby sleeps.
But what if that just isn’t you?
This guide is all about helping you to get that much needed postpartum rest and slowing down without feeling like you’re going crazy.
How much rest do you need after birth?
This will vary depending on the type of delivery and experience you’ve had.
You may be lucky and breeze through labor and have the lovely calming birth you always dreamed of.
Unfortunately, you may have a long road of physical or even mental recovery from your delivery.
Around 6 weeks postpartum is the textbook time your body will have recovered from your pregnancy.
But remember that doesn’t mean it will have completely recovered from your birth.
After birth, you’re going to feel pretty rough.
Everything will hurt, you’ll be exhausted and all your baby will want to do is feed every few hours.
That’s why postpartum rest is vital to healing your body physically.
It’s no wonder that so many new moms end up with postpartum depression when they have no time to recover.
You’ve probably heard of your mom your grandma talking about ‘lying in’ when they had a baby.
This is a traditional practice when moms would have postnatal bed rest for around ten days to two months.
It’s something that quickly went out of fashion when women were needed for the workforce.
However, it also means the art of postpartum rest has long been forgotten.
Now I’m not saying you need to stay in bed for 2 months to recover from your birth.
Mainly because it’s a great way to go about getting yourself a DVT.
These tips should help get form postpartum rest after your birth.
Pin for Later
9 Postpartum Rest Tips
1. Prep for Postpartum
You’ve probably already got your birth bag packed, your birth plan written and know your route to the hospital for when your contractions start.
But are your stocked up for your postpartum recovery?
You can read my list of postpartum essentials here.
But in addition to all the creams and sprays that will keep you feeling normal after birth, I’d highly recommend my guide to postpartum bed prep.
Let’s just say you’re gonna want to buy one of these lifesavers now.
2. Try breastfeeding
If you’re still undecided about how you’ll feed your baby, then I’m going to tell you about an amazing benefit of breastfeeding.
Nursing your baby naturally helps you to slow down.
That right. When you start to breastfeed you release a hormone called prolactin which makes you feel super relaxed and sleepy.
Isn’t that amazing that your body already has systems in place to make you slow down.
The prolactin hormone also helps you to get a better quality of sleep during the night.
If you’re unsure where to start check out my guide on breastfeeding prep during pregnancy.
3. Block of your calendar
You’re a type A, I know you do everything by your calendar or diary.
If it helps you feel in control you don’t need to give it up.
What you do need to do is book in times of rest as you would any other appointment or visit.
Make it big and take whole days off.
You don’t need to sleep, however, there is a lot that can be gained from sitting or lying in a peaceful room.
Use this time to read, have skin to skin with baby, write or watch trashy daytime TV.
Have just one or two days where you want to get things done, like that newborn photoshoot you’ve booked.
It’s all about investing your time well now so you can do more soon.
4. The Mess can wait
A home that’s clean and tidy is great, but it’s not good for your postpartum recovery.
Your first go to should always be that this is where your partner should be helping you out.
Family and friends can also lend a hand if they are offering you help. Take it, don’t be proud.
If you can’t quite hand over the control of housework, put limits on yourself.
Set timer to only allow yourself to do 10-15 minutes a day to keep it light.
5. Avoid the Visitor Trap
Make it clear to your visitor that you need to rest, you are not there to be a servant for them.
Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself to go for a nap or just to have some alone time with your baby.
Lots of visitors during postpartum recovery can be overwhelming. Having boundaries in place for those who want to visit will save you a lot of stress from trying to people please.
6. Get quality sleep
Being told to ‘rest when baby rest’ is not the most helpful tip when you’re a new mom.
Knowing how to get a better quality sleep will do you the world of good for your recovery.
If you’re breastfeeding my number one tip would be to buy a side-car crib (Grab the Amazons Choice Crib now). That way you can feed your baby through the night without having to disturb your sleep too much.
They are also great if you have a C-section or a sore back from delivery as you won’t need to bend over to lift your baby.
Lavender oil is known to have amazing effects on your postpartum sleep, bonding with your baby and stabilising your moods.
Using an aromatherapy diffuser in your bedroom at night is a simple and natural way to get these benefits.
7. Don’t ignore the red flags
I know you’re that type of person that just gets on with it. But ignoring red flags of postpartum recovery is dangerous.
- Increasing pain
- Mood changes
If you or your partner have any concerns seek medical help straight away. Don’t put it off. Being reassured everything is ok is better than leaving it until it’s too late.
Your mood changes can be a huge setback and you may experience unexpected emotions like anger and resentment to your huge life change.
Please seek help or talk to a friend if you’re worried about how your feeling.
8. Eat, Drink and be merry
If your breastfeeding you’re going to be hungry and thirsty pretty much all the time.
You can prep for your postpartum rest by making freezer meals in pregnancy.
You can also ask family and friends if they can bring over a dish to help out and stop you from reaching for the takeaway menu.
Hydration wise, always keep a big water bottle beside you (I love this one). This will help reduce fluid retention and keep you well hydrated when nursing your baby.
Dehydration can make your postpartum brain fog and tiredness a thousand times worse.
9. Keep on moving
If you’re a bit of a gym bunny you might want to lay off the heavy lifting for a few weeks.
That doesn’t mean you have to stop altogether.
Gentle exercises such as yoga, Pilates, walking and swimming will help you remain active without putting too much strain on your body.
Talking your new baby on a gentle walk is great to get you both fresh air. There may even be some walking group in your area to meet other new moms.