Recovering from childbirth can be challenging in any season, but postpartum recovery in winter offers its own set of challenges. These tips can help!
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Postpartum recovery is tough, no matter what season of the year it is. I’ve had a baby in the dead of winter, one at the beginning of summer, and one at the start of spring. Of all the seasons to have a baby, I think winter is the most difficult. And postpartum recovery in the winter is no joke.
I always assumed having a baby in the summer would be the hardest because of the heat. I am such a wimp about the heat!! But my postpartum recovery during the winter was tough. I really had to mentally prepare myself for it.
In the winter it’s common to struggle with some of those seasonal blues anyway. The days are short, it’s always cold, and everything is dead and brown. And struggling with the postpartum blues is also pretty normal. Combining the two can be downright hard.
When my second little guy was due in January (he was born in December) I was more than a little nervous about my mood. I had definitely struggled with some postpartum blues after my first. I always get a little down around January anyway. What was it going to be like having a baby in the dead of winter?
Ironically, I ended up doing so much research, determined not to let the winter AND the baby blues get me down, my winter postpartum recovery ended up being the best of all of my postpartum recoveries! Imagine that!
The key is education and proper preparation. I spent a lot of time during my pregnancy preparing for the postpartum recovery in winter and it helped tremendously. Here’s what I did to help me have my most successful postpartum recovery in the dead of winter!
Do Plenty of Research About Postpartum Recovery
I feel like this is my first tip in a lot of posts. But I love to do research. I especially love to hear from other women who have gone before me. I think one of the wisest things we can do in life is learn from people who have gone before us.
Learn from the mistakes and watch what makes them successful. This is true in any area of life and postpartum recovery is no exception. Especially postpartum recovery in winter.
Lucky for you, you don’t have to very far because I have a number of posts on my site designed to help women with their postpartum recovery!! Knowledge is power, know what to expect so you can prepare accordingly.
Plan for a Lying In Period
If you don’t know what lying in is it’s essentially the idea of actually resting after you’ve had the baby. In our society we tend to place value on the woman who can have a baby and “bounce back”. The quicker the better.
But in other cultures it’s custom for the new mother to rest. And by rest I mean literally stay in bed for weeks on end. The other women in their tribe (friends, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, neighbors) literally do everything around the new mother’s house – even care for other children. And the new mom stays in bed with the new baby. For weeks.
Doesn’t that sound amazing?!
Sure, it’s a little unrealistic. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t trust my neighbor with my house plant let alone my kids. And my friends are wonderful and supportive but live far away and have their own busy lives to manage. A true lying in period isn’t necessarily realistic.
BUT, you can find a way to prepare for a more modern lying in period that will give you plenty of rest. When I was researching this concept I stumbled upon this book. It was the best investment I could have made to be successful with my postpartum recovery in winter.
It gave me so many great ideas and my husband and I were able to work together to find a way for me to rest after the baby.
I’ll tell you what, one of the best ways to beat those baby blues is to rest. And snuggle that sweet little baby. And one of the best ways to beat the winter blues is to just sleep right through it! For real though, there’s a reason why bears hibernate!
Get Fresh Air and Sunshine When You Can
Even if the only sunshine you can get is to open the curtains and sit in the light, do it! Sunshine helps with those winter AND baby blues. Believe me. I’m sure you could do tons and tons of research about Vitamin D and the positive effect of the sun. But who has that kind of time? You just had a baby!
Trust me on this one, sunshine helps. Fresh air helps. And if it’s too cold to take baby outside, that’s ok! Put baby down for a nap, bundle up, and just stand on your front porch for 5-10 minutes. Take some deep breaths, take a minute to be grateful for your blessings, and get back inside to some hot cocoa!
During my postpartum recovery in winter I found that stepping outside for even 5 minutes made a huge difference in my day. It was a good reminder that there was still more to life – and more in the world – than dirty diapers and sore nipples.
Get Some (Light) Exercise
Ok, it’s the dead of winter, it’s cold out, and you feel like you’ve just been in a car wreck and then handed a tiny human to keep alive. Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. As it should be. But there’s just something about moving a little that gets the blood pumping and helps to elevate your mood.
**note: by exercise I means something light and easy like slow walking, and by slow I mean your grandma should be able to out-walk you; and, of course, make sure you check with your doctor before beginning any sort of exercise routine**
Again, I’m sure there’s research out there to support this idea. But trust me on this, I’ve done this three times! Find a way to exercise. Since it’s winter I recommend a trip to a local mall or department store. Or, I don’t know….. some place called Target? I’ve heard it’s popular.
That way there’s plenty of space for you to meander and move and you don’t have to worry about baby being too cold.
Change Up Your Environment
Ok, when Nugget was born it was the dead of winter, everyone was sick, and I was suuuuuper paranoid about taking him anywhere. So I literally did not leave the house with him for over a month.
Yes, you read that right. I didn’t leave the house for more than a month. I think I went out once for his two week check-up and that was it. (Thank God for a good grocery delivery service….amiright??)
To be fair, this was part of the lying in plan my husband and I had come up with. But after a while I had major cabin fever. The problem was I didn’t want Nugget exposed to every germ known to man. So where could I go?
The trick is to find safe places like the house of a family member or a friend. I ended up spending time with my parents which was great. And it was a nice change of environment.
If you don’t have any friends or family nearby I would suggest leaving baby (full and clean) with dad or someone you can trust while you make a 30 minute coffee run.
Even 30 minutes out of the house can make an improvement in your mood!
Stay Warm during Your Postpartum Recovery in Winter
There are several cultures that believe in keeping a new mother warm. They don’t even let the new mom drink cold water, they believe everything that enters her body should be warm! When you do some reading about it it’s an interesting concept. (this topic is covered in this book, the same one I mentioned above. Really, stop reading and go order it. It will change your postpartum recovery. Then come back and finish reading!)
Albeit one that isn’t totally practical in our society.
But staying warm during a winter postpartum recovery is huge! After Nugget was born I slept downstairs in a recliner (I was healing from a c-section and that was easier for me) and every night before bed my husband would build me a huge fire (in the fireplace of course).
It kept me warm and toasty all night long, to the point that sometimes I would wake up sweating! I don’t know if you need to be that warm, but staying warm really helped me. Plus, it gave my body one less thing to worry about. It didn’t have to spend a bunch of energy keeping me warm, making breastmilk, AND healing from birth.
If you don’t have a fireplace consider cranking up the heat and investing in some warm clothes. And drink warm beverages! I’m not saying you can’t have anything cold to drink, but staying warm from the inside out will help tremendously!
Postpartum recovery is hard enough as it is, it doesn’t need to be more difficult because of the season. These postpartum recovery tips saved me after my winter birth! I hope they will help you too!
Do you have any great winter postpartum recovery tips? Leave them in the comments below!