Daily Postpartum Checklist
Repeat out loud- ‘I am strong and capable, no one can mother my baby better than me, I might listen to advice but above all I will listen to my intuition.
Throughout the postpartum period, you have so many changes physically, mentally and emotionally. You will have challenging days and you will have days where you have everything under control. It’s important to remind yourself every day that you are doing the best that you can, and it is completely normal to have great days and challenging days- it is motherhood after all.
It is common in the postpartum period to think you haven’t achieved much in a day. The truth is you are achieving so much in loving, feeding and caring for your baby, but don’t forget to look after yourself too. Even if you need to get your partner or friend to look after bub so you can do something you enjoy, have a shower, enjoy a meal or get some rest. Let your village rally around you, hold you up and support you, especially on those challenging days. Let them do things for you like housework so you can focus on your baby and yourself. Please reach out and ask for help if you are struggling, from someone close or a health professional.
This postpartum checklist is a great reminder for you in those first weeks and months after having your baby. Put no expectations on yourself to do anything more than what is listed here.
Never underestimate how a lovely warm shower can make you feel. Whether you have time to shower in the morning or in the afternoon, it will make you feel refreshed (even if you are extremely tired). A shower is also important for hygiene, especially if you have a perineal tear, to keep it clean and help prevent infection.
Find some time during the day to allow yourself to rest and recover from birth. Your body has grown your baby, birthed your baby and is now feeding your baby, don’t overdo it. It can be 30 minutes or 2 hours, but a little rest is better than none at all. You might be able to get some sleep, or just lay down and listen to some music, anything to allow your body and mind to relax.
It is so important to remember you are a person and although you will be caring for bub and wanting to give them everything you have got, you also need time for yourself. Do what you enjoy. Some ideas include; read a book, watch a movie, listen to your favourite music or podcast, meditation and deep breathing (a guided meditation can be helpful), have a bath or meet a friend for a coffee. Any way that you can to fill up your self-care cup and feel like you.
- Fresh air
As part of your self-care, getting fresh air can also help clear your mind and get some vitamin D on your skin. A simple way to get some fresh air is sitting outside, doing some stretches or going for a light walk when you feel up to it. Put bub in a baby carrier or pram if you need. Moving your body releases feel good endorphins and is great for your mental health, but don’t start exercising before your body is ready and clearance from your healthcare provider.
Your body changes so much through pregnancy growing your beautiful baby, and it will change again after you give birth. Your tummy might be wobbly, you may have stretch marks and a C-section scar, or your boobs may be full. Remember your body grew and nourished your baby, and has been through the most incredible process and you should acknowledge that. Write down positive words or affirmations and have them near your mirror or bathroom, and say them out loud every day. Examples- I am rocking my mum body, my body grew new life, I am beautifully and wonderfully made, I choose to be kind to myself, my body will continue to heal.
A healthy diet isn’t only about what you are eating, it includes taking vitamin supplements and staying hydrated, especially if you are breastfeeding. After birth, your body needs good nutrition to recover and produce breastmilk to feed your baby. Ensuring you are eating enough plays a huge role in how you are feeling postpartum, so have main meals and regular snacks to fuel your body. Snack on our beautiful nourishing cookies to help suport your supply and your postpartum body.
Calling someone every day to chat about how you are feeling, debrief or ask for advice is great for your mental health postpartum. Allow your village to surround you with love and support. Call a friend while you are getting some fresh air, or organize regular coffee catch ups with a fellow mama or mothers group, just make sure you talk to the people around you. If you have minimal support, there are many hotlines you can call for advice or support (Beyond Blue, Australian Breastfeeding Association, Lifeline, PANDA).
As well as practicing self-care, bonding and precious time with your baby is equally important. Those first 12 weeks will fly by and before you know it your baby will be rolling, crawling and growing up. Spend lots of time feeding and snuggling, you can never give your baby too much love. Skin to skin is amazing for bonding and can be done at any time by you or your partner. A warm shower or bath with bub is also a lovely experience and can help calm and relax them.
- Body recovery
Through the postpartum period, you will be reminded by your midwife to listen to your body and ensure it is recovering normally. This includes; examining your breasts for any lumps and signs of mastitis (redness, pain, swelling, fever) and monitoring your vaginal blood loss and seeking medical advice if heavy bleeding or large blood clots are present. Changing your pads regularly every 3-4 hours is also important to minimize risk of infection inside your uterus. Looking after your perineal wound or C-section wound and watching for any signs of infection, as well as having it reviewed at 6 weeks postpartum is highly recommended.
General advice only and does not replace the need for medical advice.