They say: "when a baby is born, so is a mother (and father)." You already know that having a baby is one of the most rewarding events of your life. It is also one of the most challenging. First of all, you're going to feel a bit worn out. And no wonder – you just gave birth! Even under the best circumstances, labour is mentally and physically exhausting. If you lost a lot of blood, became dehydrated during labour, or are anaemic after childbirth, it may take you a few extra days or weeks before you start feeling like yourself again.
This is no time to be heroic: accept offers of help when you need to! That might include a friend who offers to do the laundry, your mother-in-law who brings in a few prepared meals, or your partner who offers to look after your baby while you have a nap. If no one offers to pitch in during the early days, or if you live far from family, consider hiring a doula (a specially trained mother's helper) or a housekeeper. If hiring someone is not an option, simplify and cut down on chores. For example, instead of cooking a meal each night, simply cook extra to have again another night.
Your muscles are likely to be tense from lifting, carrying, feeding, rocking and soothing your baby during all hours of the day (and night!) - now's the time to ask your partner to give you a massage. You probably already know the benefits of massaging your little one, but now more than ever, you need the pampering, soothing effects that massage offers for you. Your partner can help relax your muscles with firm strokes along your shoulders, arms, lower back, thighs and calves. Remember to use a gentle lotion or oil to help make the massage more comfortable. JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil is a good choice for your grown-up skin – it’s hypoallergenic and locks in more than double the moisture than the leading lotion.
Dehydration can really wear you down, without you even realising it. If you're breastfeeding, you run an even greater risk of becoming dehydrated, so remember to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid caffeinated or sugary drinks. Both will only end up making you feel more exhausted, plus caffeine can pass through your breast milk to your baby, making her even more restless! The best thirst quencher is water, so drink lots of it – about six to eight glasses a day. An easy way to remember is to drink a glass of water whenever you sit down to feed your baby. Avoid heavy foods which can weigh you down (burgers or pizza, for example). Instead, eat lighter foods, including moisture-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, with a little pasta.
Don't forget that your skin needs moisture too. To help replenish your skin's moisture - and to take a much needed moment for yourself - take a shower or bath. In addition to helping hydrate your skin, a shower or bath will help to relax your sore muscles. Be sure to use a gentle, moisturising cleanser. JOHNSON'S® Baby SOFTWASH™, enriched with one-third baby lotion, can help your skin feel moisturised while it gently cleans. A warm shower can help you relax. If you've had a caesarean section, talk to your Midwife or Doctor about exact instructions for bathing and showering.
Remember to apply a moisturiser to your damp skin after your shower, to help seal in moisture. A moisturiser such as JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil or Lotion can also help your skin maintain its suppleness, both are hypoallergenic and with a clinically proven mild formula.
Remember, you need sleep too! Resist treating your baby's naptime as your chore time – take a nap when your baby does. Try to wind down when your baby sleeps. Avoid all caffeinated beverages after lunch. Make your bedroom as quiet and comfortable as possible. You will sleep better if your bedroom is cool and dark. Take a bath, listen to music, or ask your partner to give you a massage to relax. Why not try JOHNSON'S® Baby Bedtime routine which can help you as well? Learn more in our Bedtime section. You may not get a full night's sleep anytime soon, but at least you can make the most of any opportunity you do get to sleep, even if it's just a nap.
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