My postpartum with Willa is my third go at postpartum and maternity leave and it’s definitely the best postpartum experience I’ve had yet. I definitely don’t think it’s completely in our control. Part of the reason this maternity leave has been so enjoyable is that I’m a mom x3 and I know more about what works and doesn’t. Another reason is that Willa is an extremely chill baby compared to Hayes and Nellie. Also, I’m older and, I’d like to think, wiser. But I’ve also been really intentional this time with creating a morning routine for Willa and me to follow and there are a few things that are a part of that routine that I think have made a huge difference for our happiness.
All of these activities for my postpartum morning routine started AFTER the blissful and incredibly exhausting first 2-4 weeks. Those first weeks are meant for my body to heal, for Willa and I to get to know each other, and for all the milk-drunk snuggles possible. I cherish those first several weeks of slow and I really allow myself to stay there until I feel the itch to get moving. Don’t rush that part, you never get it back and there is nothing quite like the weight of a newborn on your chest while you binge-watch Ted Lasso.
When I was ready to get into a routine, here’s what made the biggest difference for me
First, I have a few things that I always do before getting her out of the crib to start the day (yes, you’ll likely get the baby out of the crib several times before that in the middle of the night, but this is for the time you wake up for the day, for us it was around 7am). All of these things are self-care related. I take care of me first before getting to the baby. I’m no good to her if I’m not taken care of. And these are simple things — I brush my teeth, wash my face, and drink a cup of water while I brew some coffee.
These things wake me up and make me feel more human. It’s a nice physical reminder that the day has started.
Second, once the big girls are off to school, I get out my baby carrier, get Willa situated, and go for a walk with our dog Miles. I worked my way up to 2 miles a day, in the beginning it was a half mile to a mile. The point is to get your body moving and to get fresh air. Both things do wonders for mental and physical health, especially when you’re trying to reconnect with yourself and get to know the new you postpartum.
What’s nice about doing this right away is that it gives you energy for the rest of the day and it’s harder to miss. It’s also good timing because baby’s awake window is so short in early postpartum that they are likely ready for a nap again by the time you go for your walk so they just fall asleep.
Good Day notepad
Check-in with yourself. Is there anything specific you want to do today? Is there anything you need to do today? I use my Good Day notepad to guide me through this process with simple prompts and reflections.
Third, I take a shower. I know it’s often a badge of postpartum honor to say you haven’t showered in days, but showering is magical for your body and your mind and it doesn’t take long. Sometimes, when Willa was crying, I only took a 2-minute shower, but I felt fresh and I put on clean clothes. In my experience, there is something to be said about your mindset when you’re showered and in clean clothes — it’s just better.
Make it your own
I hope these simple habits help you think about how to tackle postpartum with joy. Be sure to make it your own! This simple routine was perfect for me, but it might not be for you. Is there anything you would add or change? Let me know in the comments!