Taking Care of Yourself After Birth

print page Print

The postpartum period begins after the delivery of your baby and ends when your body has nearly returned to its pre-pregnant state. This period often lasts six to eight weeks. During the postpartum period, you'll need to take good care of yourself to rebuild your strength. You will need plenty of rest, good nutrition and help during these first few weeks.

Woman in bathrobe holds newborn.

Every new parent soon learns that babies have different time clocks than adults. A typical newborn wakes up about every three hours and needs to be fed, changed and comforted. Especially if this is your first baby, you can quickly become overwhelmed by exhaustion. You may not get a solid eight hours of sleep for several months. Here are ideas to help you get more rest:

  • Sleep when the baby sleeps. This may be only a few minutes of rest several times a day, but these minutes can add up.
  • Save steps and time. Have your baby's bed near yours for feedings at night.
  • It’s nice to have visits from friends and family, but don’t feel that you need to entertain guests. Feel free to excuse yourself for a nap or to feed your baby.
  • Get outside for a few minutes each day. You can start walking and doing postpartum exercises, as advised by your healthcare provider.

Your body has undergone many changes during pregnancy and birth. You need time to recover. In addition to rest, you need to eat a healthy diet to help you do that.

Most lactation experts advise you to eat when you are hungry. But many mothers may be so tired or busy that food gets forgotten. So it's important to plan simple, healthy meals that include choices from all of the recommended groups from MyPlate.

Talk with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if you want to learn more about postpartum nutrition. Certified lactation consultants can also help with advice about nutrition while breastfeeding.

Help for new parents
  • Overlake’s in-person Balance After Baby support group gives new parents a chance to talk through the many challenges of life with a newborn in a safe and supportive environment. Second and fourth Thursday of every month (except major holidays), 4:30–6 p.m. Preregistration required. Free.
  • After Baby Comes is a weekly gathering of newly expanded families to share, encourage and gather resources. If you have just come home with your baby, or have just surfaced after the challenging first couple of months of your new family, we are here for you! Preregistration required. Free.
  • Postpartum Support International has a hotline for parents experiencing postpartum depression. Call Postpartum Support International 800.944.4773 for more information.
Email icon
Sign Up for the Healthy Outlook eNewsletter