The first 40 days post delivery
Giving birth is a physical and emotional experience that's as exhausting as it is exhilarating. Afterward, every new mom needs recovery time, even if she had a relatively easy birth. Factor in a C-section or other complications and the need for care after birth for the mother as well as the baby increases exponentially. For many women around the world postpartum support comes from partners, family, and friends who help out and give the new mom a chance to regain her strength and focus on bonding with her baby.
In Asia and India, many new moms practice the tradition of postpartum confinement usually from 30 to 40 days after the birth of a child. It's quite natural to feel that 40 days is too long. You may want to get out of the house before that. Or you may simply find it too restrictive. Here is how you can make the most of the confinement time to help you recover well.
Rest to recover after birth
Whether you've had a normal delivery or a c-section, you'll find your body going through physical changes like postnatal bleeding, urinary incontinence, constipation and bruising. If you've had a c-section, you may take longer to recover and will need to take care of the cut on your belly. The best way to recover is to rest.
Rest may not be easy to come by with a newborn. Your little one will probably want to be fed every two hours through the day and night, and will probably pass urine as often. Experienced mothers know what you are going through. Let your family and friends lend a hand with chores or you can hire help if need be. This will help you concentrate on resting and looking after your little one.
Due to the exhaustion of labour and the hormonal changes that take place in your body soon after the delivery, you may find your mood swinging from being happy to cranky. This is known as baby blues and it is said that 8 out of 10 new mums have it. Use the confinement period to help you get over this emotional upheaval and bond with your baby, so that you are able to enjoy motherhood fully.
Though it is the best nourishment for your little one and the most natural one, breastfeeding doesn't always happen easily. You may have starting troubles. And it's quite normal to have problems like engorged breasts, breast refusal or sore nipples. In addition, the night-time feeds can take their toll on you. You might find yourself very happy for the first few days of confinement to spend some quality time with your baby perfecting the art of breastfeeding.
Consult your doctor if you seem to persistently have breastfeeding issues. Experienced mothers in the family can also lend some advice on how to cope with the same.
Nutrition after Birth
There are many customs and traditions followed during the first 40 days after delivery, which vary across regions. Your mother may give you a special massage or some traditional food meant for a new mum. A well-meaning elder in the family may introduce you to healing exercises and interesting rituals. Though some of these customs may be difficult to follow, you may find some of them useful.
With the exhaustion of the delivery and the baby blues kicking in, it is best to take things at your pace and give yourself the best chances of a quick recovery. Just keep in mind that the better you feel, the better you will be able to look after your little one.