Caring For Mamas in the Postpartum Period: Part 1

So You Just Had a Baby?

Your life has certainly changed! The whole focus of your world has been shifted to this tiny person who is entirely dependent on you to survive. You may feel like you’re spending all your time feeding your baby, changing diapers and outfits, and soothing them to sleep. With all these extra tasks, you might be asking yourself, “Where is the time for me? When can I go pee or eat, let alone, shower?

Practicing Self-Care & Asking for Help

Taking care of yourself is a critical part of motherhood as it allows you to adequately tend to your little one. While you recover from childbirth, it’s important that you ask for help so you can remain as well-fed, well-rested, and relaxed as possible. Accepting help will make it easier for you to care for your child.

I realize it can be difficult to ask for help—I’m definitely a do-it-all-myself gal but like all new parents, I needed assistance after having my son. I had complete appreciation for my family who was there to make me food and help out for the first few days. My partner helped by changing diapers and a few people brought meals over in the weeks afterward.

Postpartum Solutions for New Mothers

If you haven’t coordinated some basic postpartum assistance, swallow your pride and ask for help. Trust me, you will be stronger for it. If you attempt to take it all on yourself, you’ll eventually burn out and won’t be able to care for yourself or your precious baby. Consider the following solutions to better manage your postpartum phase: 

  • Coordinate baby duties with your partner (diapering, feeding, bathing, laundry, etc.)
  • Organize a meal train or better yet, delegate this task to someone else
  • Ask friends or relatives for help cleaning your house, running errands, coordinating meals, or holding your baby while you shower
  • Get ideas and organize your own postpartum support team with the help of Earth Mamas Lying-In Post Partum Plan

If you’re getting a good amount of support, but are still struggling, you aren’t alone.  You may be feeling down or suffering from “baby blues”, which affects 80% of new mothers. Social support can help with this tremendously, as connecting with others often has a profound effect on well-being.

You can find the right support by attending a new parent group or breastfeeding support group, meeting with a postpartum doula, or seeking care from a healthcare provider such as a midwife, OB, naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, family physician, counselor, or other holistic healer. Baby Blues Connection is an excellent resource for connecting with local groups and finding meetups where you can receive support from others who are going through similar hardships. Remember: You are not alone in experiencing the challenges of being a new parent.

Holistic Care & Naturopathic Midwifery at Heart Spring Health

We are here to help you through the postpartum period, listen to your story, and use natural medicines to help you feel well again. During this time period, we typically utilize herbs or flower essences, sometimes in combination with craniosacral therapy to help restore the normal variations of a person’s mood. We also encourage all patients to obtain support from their social networks as well as a support group.

About 10 to 15% of mothers develop postpartum depression, which can start as late as 12 months after the baby is born. Although not all women seek help, not doing so may lead to infant emotional and behavioral development problems, difficulty with parent-infant bonding, or parenting issues. You may have postpartum depression if you experience:

  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Short temper
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to sleep
  • Suicidal ideation

This tool will allow you to screen yourself for postpartum depression and determine whether you should seek help from a naturopathic doctor or other healthcare provider:

Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)

Get the Postpartum Help You Need from a Portland Naturopath

If you think you might be suffering from postpartum depression, it’s important to seek help from a support group and healthcare professional. Addressing what’s going on will allow you to have a better parenting experience and an improved overall quality of life.

An extremely small percentage of people (<0.3%) experience postpartum psychosis, which is a life-threatening condition. It is distinguished by aversion to one’s baby, excessive energy, and intrusive thoughts about harming the baby. Immediate medical treatment is required for postpartum psychosis.

Humans have been having babies and adjusting to parenthood for thousands of years, but it can still be challenging life adjustment. Your emotions are up and down, the demands on you are increased, and you’re sleep-deprived, making the experience even tougher. However, it’s important to remember that you have the strength it takes and can get the support you need from family, friends, support groups, and a caring health care provider.

It’s okay to ask for help. You and your family will flourish from it. To find out more about naturopathic postpartum care and holistic midwifery, contact Dr. Emerald at Heart Spring Health today.

 

References:

Liberto TL. Screening for depression and help-seeking in postpartum women during well-baby pediatric visits: an integrated review. J Pediatr Health Care. 2012 Mar;26(2):109-17. doi: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2010.06.012. Epub 2010 Aug 11. PMID: 22360930 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22360930