Breathe Breastfeed and Bathe – Helping Heal Your Postpartum Body
Aside from sleeping, eating and drinking a ton of water, this is all you should be focused on after your babe is born – breathe into your body to send healing oxygen around, breastfeed and bond with your new baby and relax in warm baths filled with healing herbs to help soothe and restore your perineum – That’s it!! You need to take time to heal your postpartum body.
The importance of postpartum recovery is so often overlooked. Moms are anxious to feel like themselves again, to move in a non-pregnant body, to get back into their pre-pregnancy clothes but too much too soon can spell disaster for the postpartum body. By taking time to heal, to rest and support your body, you will better restore your form and function leaving you less likely to experience the common postpartum complaints of mummy tummy and a weak pelvic floor.
Restoring your body actually starts while you are pregnant. By learning and practicing core breathing throughout your pregnancy you will maintain a strong and functional core and you will be well versed in the best restorative exercise there is! Best part is you won’t have to learn something new on top of learning to breastfeed, dealing with little sleep and transitioning into your new role as a mom.
Core breathing trains the deep core system functionally by embracing the relationship of the diaphragm and the pelvic floor. Core breathing naturally strengthens the abdominals and pelvic floor while also fostering length and ease in this often tense part of our body. As soon as baby is born, begin your core breathing to help the body relearn the proper function, circulate oxygen to the healing tissues and naturally restore tone and strength to the midsection and the pelvic floor. The beauty is that core breathing can be done while breastfeeding either seated or side lying.
Breastfeeding allows us to bond with our baby but it also encourages rest and healing. Each time you breastfeed oxytocin is released which decreases blood pressure and instills calm in the mother. It also stimulates the uterus to contract which aids in its return to its pre-pregnancy size. These uterine contractions also serve to slow down the postpartum bleeding. And the beauty of breastfeeding is that it can be done anywhere – even the bath – which provides a beautiful opportunity for skin to skin contact.
Bathing is a gentle, soothing way to help heal the perineum after birth. Even if there was no tearing, the tissues still need time to heal and restore. Ice in the first 24 hours will help reduce swelling and will feel very soothing. After that, try soaking postpartum pads in healing herbal remedies and then freezing them for use in between baths. Ensure there is a thin layer between your skin and the pads – those tiny little baby cloths are ideal! Use these same herbs and add them to sitz baths or full baths and immerse yourself in restoration. Bathing is time for you, time to heal, time to bond with your baby and embrace motherhood.