The holiday season is notorious for inducing comical amounts of busy work, with or without a newborn baby. When the postpartum period occurs during a holiday season, mothers have to manage a hectic holiday schedule while usually juggling some sort of postpartum symptoms. Symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety and insomnia are common during the first six-week period, the umbrella reason usually due to lack of sleep. In regular circumstances one of those things would be more than enough to manage, which often leads a lot of postpartum mamas to ask:
How can I combat postpartum holiday fatigue?
It’s not as hard it seems as long as you take into consideration your plans, your schedule and be inventive with ways to get proper rest and down time. Preventative care is always ideal, in addition to some basic tips and tricks that will help ease the feeling of overwh
Healthy Mama First
Take extra care for yourself first, similar in the fashion that airlines have adults put the oxygen mask on their faces first before tending to children. If you are run down, the symptoms can snowball faster than you could possibly imagine, leaving you too tired to care properly for your baby.
Rest When You Can
Everyone drills this one lesson in to every pregnant mama, but it is truly the wisest and most sage advice. Resting while the baby naps, or is being cared for by someone else, is the BEST way to keep yourself on track, as everything gets amplified when you’re feeling tired. Don’t quickly try to visit with guests, clean the toilet or bang out Christmas cards — it can all wait. While youre having interrupted night sleep, naps and rest are even more important.
Again, one of those pieces of advice that seem so practical and pretty obvious, yet it is usually the first thing to be tossed to the wayside. Dehydration can trigger exhaustion, so please drink more water! Stay hydrated by consuming tons of water and possibly juice and/or coconut water if you enjoy them. I love to give my postpartum mama clients a tasty combination of apple, orange and cranberry juice on ice.
Sometimes separating from everyone and soothing your body in warmth is just what you need to detox and rejuvenate. Adding in some candles for atmosphere, ambient music and some aromatherapy oils can do wonders in alleviating stress. Enjoy the warmth, take deep, focused breaths and let everything release. Or, if you’re short on time, take a refreshing shower with a cool blast at the end to stimulate. If you have a bit more time, scrub your body with a salt or sugar scrub, as just that small action can pick you up hours later.
Eat to Sustain Energy
Best bets: complex carbs and protein, preferably eaten in combination. Consider allowing snacks to be prepackaged by friends or family in bags to grab and go. The object here is to eat small meals constantly throughout the day, especially if you are nursing, in order to keep your energy levels and blood sugar regulated. Keep healthy snacks and bottles of water everywhere you might be with the baby — including in your diaper bag and car!
Basics for Visitors
The holidays and a new baby both mean an onslaught of visitors, which of course means more germs, and more people in your space. Allowing those who love and care about you visit and help out is really the smartest way to go.
I think I heard this when I had my children years ago, and it remains the truest postpartum gem of advice: If you have people over, ask them to bring something or do something while they’re over. I think this advice is amazing in action, and all it requires is for you to know your guests and what type of help they can offer. Does your neighbor love to cook? Ask if she’d mind bringing a meal for you to eat later. Is your mother-in-law wonderful at ironing while she watches her soap operas? Make sure a load is left for her while you spend time together. Trust me when I say everyone wants to help AND see the baby, so just let them.
15 Minutes Out
If you have family or friends visiting, and you’re really comfortable with them, let them watch the baby for 30 minutes or so while you get out alone or with your partner. Sometimes just running to the store by yourself, or treating yourself to a walk into town to get a coffee is exactly what you need to start to feel human again.
When in doubt, mamas — hack and shortcut your way through the postpartum fatigue!
These days you can have everything under the sun delivered. Get online and see if the stores you shop at regularly offer free shipping or delivery options. You would be surprised at what can be delivered, and sometimes in the same day!
Have it Cleaned
There are so many house cleaning options available nowadays, some at not too steep of a price. Sometimes the very best thing you can do is pay someone to come clean your house weekly during the first six weeks postpartum. This is just one more thing you don’t need to worry or stress about, and the physicality of bending and moving can wait a few more weeks. If you happen to enjoy cleaning your house, enlist a friend or family member to take the baby out for a long nap/stroll to allow you the proper time to clean your house in peace.
Have them Cook
If you have an excess of revolving visitors, arrange for some to come during mealtime to help you put some meals together. You can have the recipes and ingredients on hand and request that they piece the meals together for you, cook it for you or simply tend to the baby while you bust out your apron and cook. It’s all about what is going to help you and make you feel good. If spending an hour cooking in silence is relaxing to you (it is to me), then arrange for some help to do that! Ideally, though, you will take the time to rest and relax as well.
The very damaging, frightening part of postpartum is the lack of perspective and the lack of priority and understanding what is really important. ~Brooke Shields
That is to say, the postpartum experience is profound, and the holidays can be joyful. When the two collide it can be overwhelming, but as long as you take care of you and your baby first, while making some simple requests for help, you can keep postpartum fatigue in check.
Looking for More?
The video above is a wonderful five-minute meditation that I find really lovely to do when I’m crunched for time.
Stress has been proven to be linked to a weakened immune system in studies.
Spa waters are a beautiful and tasty way to hydrate yourself.
Brush up on what to eat during the postpartum period, and which food combinations specifically combat fatigue.
Try one of these additions to your bath to take them up a notch.
The soothing benefits of tea postpartum.