This is a huge time of adjustment both physically, mentally and emotionally. Hormones are adjusting so it’s quite normal to feel a roller-coaster of highs and lows. In many cultures there is period of rest for 40 days post-partum. The mother is cared for and supported by others cooking, cleaning, looking after older children helping with the new baby. Take your time to recover, rebuild your strength and don’t put too much pressure on your self to get out and about. In terms of your yoga practice don’t worry about getting back onto your mat just yet, remember asana is just one aspect of yoga. Breath work can really help here and is a great way to help with your pelvic floor recovery. By practising ‘healing breaths’ with a focus on engaging and drawing up the muscles of the pelvic floor as you exhale, you can start to strengthen the connection to that area straight away and you can do this in any position, feeding watching TV and lying down. Other useful practices are Yoga nidra (click here for some free downloads). If you save a couple of nidras to your ipod it’s a great way quieten your mind and relax your body in those early hours after a feed when it can be so difficult to go back to sleep, despite being exhausted. Don’t worry if you do fall asleep, on some level you will be absorbing the words. Nadhi shodhana a balancing breath can also be really helpful when you are feeling wired and anxious from the lack of sleep. Again it can be done any time. If you don’t have your hands free just try without feeling and visualising the breath moving through the nostrils alternately.
FORGET YOUR ASANA FOR NOW AND TRY THESE:
ASK/ACCEPT: Don’t be afraid to ask or accept help from others, asking someone to cook an evening meal for you can make a massive difference to your day.
BREATHE: Ujaii breathing, nadhi shodhana, healing breaths are all helpful during this time.
REST: Try and rest when you can, if you can grab a nap during the day it will make a world of difference to the night shifts.
COMFORT: It’s very common in other cultures to keep the postnatal mother warm, so dig out your fluffy socks get warm and comfortable. Before you sit down to feed, go to the toilet if you need, set yourself up with a big glass of water, cushions, remote control, books and set the scene. Have some treats and snacks for yourself to get through these early days and if for moment you think you aren’t achieving much in your day, remember you are doing the most important job there is, keeping another being alive.
HYDRATE: Pour a big jug of water at the beginning of your day so you can stay well hydrated. This will not only help with your milk supply, but also give you more energy.
FOOD: You must eat well as you are using a lot of calories while you are breastfeeding. If you are feeling tired then you could also think about taking some Floridix as a supplement to help full of iron.
BATHE: Keep all healing wounds clean and dry and if you can bathe twice a day.
LET GO: There may be days when you have made plans to go somewhere and you don’t make it out the door, baby is crying, you aren’t ready, it’s just all too overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to just drop it and let yourself off the hook. You’ll have plenty of time later. Enjoy these early days with your little baby, they are exhausting, but precious and before you know it you’ll be on to the next stage. Days in your PJ’s are just fine.