We know Moms take care of everyone, but are Mom’s remembering to take care of themselves too?
As a new mother, many feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of carrying for their new baby. Our world is occupied by cuddles, diaper changes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, feeding, home care and so many other things. Mothers tend wait until everyone is taken care of before they start to take care of themselves. They wait… until their children are in day care or school, they wait until they’ve completed their family, they wait until they go back to work, they wait.
Time moves on and before you know it, it has been several months to years after the birth of their first child. A long delay can allow those small issues to turn into much larger ones. Making them harder to ignore.
Mom’s changing body
The external physical changes that a mother goes through during pregnancy are clear. We see the abdomen growing as the uterus expands to make space for baby. There are changes in breast tissue as a mother gets ready to feed her new baby. Changes in hair and physical appearance that everyone can see.
What isn’t visible are the pressures that the uterus and growing baby place on the mother’s pelvis, the ribs, spine, hips and legs. These pressures are placed on the internal organs that are displaced as baby grows. An expectant mother will also experience postural changes in the upper body in her shoulders, chest, upper back and neck. This is in response to the shift in her lower body and her changing breast tissue.
The baby’s day - Labour and Delivery
Labour can put a lot of strain on a woman’s body. For many labouring women this experience can be a marathon. She may find herself walking for hours at a time or in prolonged positions and unable to rest. She may have interventions such as induction, epidural, forceps or a caesarean birth. These can lead to a mother being emotionally and/or physically fatigued she can therefore be in pain for week or months post birth.
Feeding a new baby by breast or bottle can feel like a never-ending experience. The posture that parents take when holding a new baby can put a strain on the back, shoulders and neck, and often the elbows and wrists.
We all love looking down and falling in love with our new baby, it helps balance hormones, promotes imprinting, and bonding with our little one. We can never hold our babies too much! However, this repetitive posture can become a strain on our adult bodies.
Where to start?
Did you know that new mothers can start receiving gentle massage or osteopathic treatments as soon as they are feeling mobile, or until their Midwife or OB gives them the OK?
Through treatment we can release some of the tension from feeding and also help find ways to hold and carry your baby to reduce further strain. For breastfeeding moms who are having supply issues, releasing the muscles in the neck and chest as well as restrictions in the breast tissues can improve the flow of milk easing some breastfeeding difficulties
If issues are treated as early as possible they can help restore the hormone imbalance that the body is trying to adjust. Treatment can help with a more pain free post-partum period, allowing a new mother to enjoy and focus on her baby not her pain. Early care can also assist in avoiding long term issues that may take months or years to repair.
There is time for Mom too!
Mother’s will put aside the discomforts caused by pregnancy and birth because she is caring for her newborn. Life with a newborn baby is busy. Baby has appointments, there are sometimes issues with feeding, there are outings with other families or mommy/play groups, all of this added to the general care of a newborn and let’s not forget the laundry! Please, reach out to your loved ones and ask for help and time you need. Carve out that bit of time to focus on taking care of you. Taking care of moms translates into taking care of the family.
So, if you are a new parent or a parent who has let things go for too long what are you waiting for? Start taking care of yourself so you can take care of those you love.