top of page

Understanding the Postpartum Season: Postpartum Needs for Mom

The moment you hold your newborn for the first time is unlike anything else in the world. It's a mix of overwhelming love, joy, and perhaps a touch of disbelief that this tiny, perfect being is yours to care for. But amid the awe and wonder of new motherhood, there's also a quiet acknowledgment of the challenges that lie ahead. The postpartum period, often romanticized as a time of blissful bonding, is a complex and demanding phase that requires both physical resilience and emotional strength. So let's talk about postpartum needs for mom. Here's what to expect in those first few weeks and how to navigate them with grace and confidence.

**I understand there's a lot to keep track of during this time, so I'm giving you a comprehensive postpartum checklist available for you to download at no cost. This handy resource will help you stay organized and ensure no important detail of your planning process is overlooked.** Click here to download now.

Postpartum Physical Recovery- mother in labor in a hospital room

Postpartum Physical Recovery: Postpartum Needs for Mom

As a new mother, I thought I was prepared for the physical toll of childbirth – the soreness, the exhaustion, the relentless postpartum bleeding. But nothing quite prepared me for the sensation of my body slowly, achingly piecing itself back together in the days and weeks following delivery. Each twinge and contraction felt like a reminder of the incredible feat my body had just accomplished. One of the most surprising challenges was breast engorgement, which occurs when the breasts become swollen and tender as they fill with milk. This can happen within a few days after birth as the body's milk production ramps up to meet the baby's needs.

- Postpartum Bleeding: Expect to experience vaginal bleeding, known as lochia, for several weeks after giving birth. It's normal for the discharge to start as bright red and gradually transition to a lighter color.

- Uterine Contractions: Your uterus will undergo significant changes as it contracts back to its pre-pregnancy size. These afterpains, while uncomfortable, are a natural part of the healing process, especially during breastfeeding.

  • Perineal Discomfort: For those who have had a vaginal delivery, discomfort in the perineal area is common due to stretching and possible tearing during childbirth. Consider using sitz baths, ice packs, and over-the-counter pain relievers for relief.

  • Cesarean Section (C-Section) Healing: Following a cesarean delivery, mothers can expect to experience specific challenges in their recovery. This includes caring for the incision site, managing pain, gradually increasing mobility, and resuming daily activities with caution. It's essential to prioritize self-care and seek support from healthcare providers for any concerns or questions during this recovery process.

  • Colostrum: In the first few days after birth, your breasts will produce colostrum, a thick, yellowish fluid rich in antibodies and nutrients. Colostrum is often referred to as "liquid gold" for its incredible benefits to newborns' immune systems and digestive health.

  • Transition to Mature Breast Milk: Between days 2 and 5 after birth, colostrum transitions into mature breast milk. This milk is thinner in consistency and higher in volume, providing the baby with the necessary nutrients for growth and development.

  • Breast Engorgement: With the transition to mature breast milk, you may experience breast engorgement as your body adjusts to the increased milk production. This can cause swelling, tenderness, and discomfort, but it typically resolves within a week as breastfeeding establishes a regular rhythm. *Note: Breast milk usually comes in around 2 to 5 days after birth, though it can vary for each individual.

Mother holding newborn baby in the postpartum season

Postpartum Emotional Adjustment: Postpartum Needs for Mom

While I expected the majority of physical challenges I experienced post birth, it was the emotional rollercoaster that caught me off guard. The first few weeks after giving birth were a blur of overwhelming love and joy, interspersed with overwhelming moments of doubt, anxiety, and desire to close myself off to the world. It was as if my hormones were playing a cruel game of tug-of-war with my emotions, leaving me feeling raw and vulnerable.

  • Baby Blues: Don't be surprised if you find yourself experiencing mood swings, sadness, and tearfulness in the first week or two after giving birth. The baby blues are a common and temporary response to hormonal fluctuations and sleep deprivation.

  • Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs): While the baby blues are common and usually resolve on their own, it's important to be aware of the signs of more serious mood disorders that can develop during pregnancy or in the postpartum period. PMADs include conditions such as postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and postpartum psychosis. These disorders are diagnosed 2 weeks postpartum and can affect women during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth and may require professional treatment and support.

  • Postpartum Depression (PPD): PPD is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. It can interfere with daily functioning and bonding with the baby. Seeking help from a healthcare provider is crucial for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Postpartum Anxiety: Postpartum anxiety involves excessive worry or fear about the baby's well-being, health, or safety. Symptoms may include racing thoughts, difficulty sleeping, and physical symptoms like dizziness or nausea. Support from a mental health professional can help manage anxiety symptoms.

  • Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Postpartum OCD is characterized by intrusive, repetitive thoughts or images (obsessions) and behaviors or mental acts performed in response to these thoughts (compulsions). These compulsions are often related to the baby's safety and can interfere with daily life.

  • Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Women who have experienced a traumatic birth or complications during pregnancy or childbirth may develop symptoms of postpartum PTSD, including flashbacks, nightmares, and avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event.

  • Postpartum Psychosis: Postpartum psychosis is a rare but serious condition characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and severe mood swings. It requires immediate medical attention and treatment.

Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, it's essential to seek help from a healthcare provider or mental health professional. With proper diagnosis and treatment, recovery is possible, and you can find support and resources to navigate this challenging time.

A postpartum self-care bath with a candle, tea, flowers

Postpartum Self-Care Tips: Postpartum Needs for Mom

In those early days of motherhood, self-care felt like a distant luxury – a concept reserved for women who had the time and energy to spare. But as I soon learned, taking care of myself wasn't just a nicety; it was a necessity. Finding moments of rest, nourishment, and movement became essential pillars of my postpartum recovery.

  • Rest: Prioritize sleep whenever possible, even if it means napping during the day or enlisting the help of loved ones to care for the baby while you catch up on rest.

  • Nutrition: Focus on nourishing your body with a balanced diet rich in nutrients, which is essential for replenishing your energy stores and supporting milk production if breastfeeding.

  • Hydration: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially important for breastfeeding mothers to maintain milk supply and prevent dehydration.

  • Movement: Incorporate gentle movement into your daily routine to alleviate tension, improve mood, and promote healing. This could be as simple as going for a walk around the neighborhood or practicing gentle stretches at home.

  • Emotional & Community Support: The postpartum season is a season of receiving support from your community. I know it may feel hard to ask for help or allow others to mother you while you mother your baby, but this is imperative for your mental health and healing. Seek out emotional support from loved ones, friends, or supportive mama communities. Talking about your feelings and experiences with others who understand can provide comfort and validation during the postpartum period.

  • Professional Help: Don't hesitate to seek professional help if you're struggling with your mental health. This could include therapy/counseling, medication, or alternative holistic means of support like maternal wellness coaching, support groups, acupuncture, body work, energy work and more. Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health, and getting the support you need is essential for overall recovery and well-being.

The postpartum period is a transformative journey that encompasses both profound joy and unexpected challenges. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. By understanding the physical and emotional changes that occur during those first few weeks and implementing self-care practices, new mothers can navigate this transition with resilience and grace. Remember, you're not alone on this journey – lean on your support system, trust your instincts, and give yourself permission to prioritize your own well-being as you care for your precious newborn.

Planning for Emotional and Relational Well-being in the Postpartum Period: Postpartum Needs for Mom

While many resources and checklists focus on the physical preparation for the postpartum period, it's equally crucial to prepare emotionally and relationally. The postpartum season is not only a time of physical recovery but also a profound emotional and relational journey. Properly planning for this aspect can significantly reduce mental health struggles and enhance the joy of your first year with your baby.

Beginning postpartum planning in a journal with some flowers and candle

I've crafted a complimentary Postpartum Prep Checklist designed to empower you as you plan for a fulfilling postpartum journey. This unique checklist goes beyond the typical advice on physical recovery and baby care essentials. Instead, it focuses on nurturing your mental health and strengthening your relationship with your partner during the transformative first year of parenthood.

Ready to begin your journey toward a more empowered and joyful postpartum experience? Download your free Postpartum Prep Checklist today and start building a strong foundation for your mental well-being and relationship health. Don’t miss this opportunity to prepare for one of the most important transitions in your life!

Resources for support in the postpartum season

Resources for Postpartum Support: Postpartum Needs for Mom

  • Healthcare Provider: Your healthcare provider, whether it's your obstetrician, midwife, or primary care physician, is an essential resource for postpartum support. Don't hesitate to reach out to them with any concerns or questions about your physical or emotional well-being.

  • Lactation Consultant: If you're breastfeeding and experiencing challenges or have questions about feeding your baby, a lactation consultant can provide valuable guidance and support. They can help with breastfeeding techniques, troubleshooting issues, and ensuring your baby is getting enough milk. Click HERE to find a local International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) near you.

  • Mental Health Professional: If you're struggling with your mental health during the postpartum period, reaching out to a mental health professional can provide much-needed support and resources. This could include therapists, counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists who specialize in perinatal mental health. If you are in Arizona, reach out to me HERE to explore how I can support you on your journey. If you are not in Arizona, click HERE to see Postpartum Support International's (PSI) directory of certified Perinatal Mental Health Therapists so you can find on near you.

  • Postpartum Support Groups: Joining a postpartum support group, either in-person or online, can connect you with other mothers who are going through similar experiences. Sharing your thoughts and feelings in a supportive environment can provide comfort and validation during this challenging time. Your local hospital may have a list of free support groups to attend. Additionally, PSI has a list of free international support groups HERE.

  • National Helplines: Several national helplines offer support and resources for new mothers experiencing postpartum challenges. Organizations like Postpartum Support International (PSI) provide helplines staffed by trained volunteers who can offer guidance and support over the phone or via email.

    • PSI Non-Emergency Help Line: Call or text "HELP" to 1-800-944-4773

    • Call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Line

    • Call 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262) for the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline

  • Community Resources: Local community organizations, religious groups, or parenting networks may offer resources and support for new mothers. This could include parenting classes, support groups, or volunteer services that provide assistance with childcare or household tasks.

Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You don't have to navigate the postpartum period alone – there are resources and support networks available to help you through this journey.


bottom of page