7 Things to Avoid After You Give Birth: Tips From Real Moms

Real moms will tell you the truth, and these are the things we would avoid in the days following your baby's birth.

Published January 11, 2024
Mother with her newborn baby in the hospital

Your doctor will tell you all the major things you shouldn't do after giving birth, like lifting things heavier than the baby and working out too soon. But real moms will tell you the things not to do after giving birth that you might not think of until you're in the trenches of sleepless nights and postpartum ice packs. Make a plan for avoiding these things once your sweet bundle of joy arrives.

1. Don't Do Anything That Others Can Do for You

One of the most profound pieces of advice I have ever heard from a fellow (and more experienced) mom was the simple advice of avoiding any task others could easily do for you during the postpartum period. Meaning, when you've just had a baby you should only be doing the tasks that only you can do.

Nursing, taking a shower, caring for your stitches, and eating are things only you can do. Though, it would be pretty helpful if someone could shower for you. The cleaning, the cooking, and even some of the baby snuggles and diaper changes can all be taken care of by someone else. 

2. Don't Be Afraid to Voice Your Needs

I spent four days in the hospital when my daughter was born and I struggled to even tell nurses the things I needed. I finally realized that medical personnel, my husband, and my other family members couldn't read my mind.

These people wanted to help me but I needed to communicate the help I required so they could. If I could do it all over I would voice all of my needs as soon as they come up.

Related: Simple Ways to Support & Encourage a New Mom

3. Don't Sweat the Small Things

Which pacifier is best? What if this boppy gets recalled next year? If the baby sleeps for more than two hours will my milk supply disappear entirely? These are some of the many questions that might run through your mind in the days following birth. 

It's so easy to start your motherhood journey with small obsessions about making the right decision. But one decision you will not regret is choosing not to sweat the small stuff. If it isn't going to matter a year from now, you can probably skip all the worry.

4. Don't Over Analyze Your Postpartum Body

Listen to a mama who has been there before: do not, I repeat do not, try on your pre-pregnancy clothes before your baby can even roll over. Your postpartum body will come with all sorts of new things that might take some time to adjust to and those skinny jeans will come with time.

Plus, your body is going to be changing a lot as your hormones adjust and your uterus shrinks back down to size, so there is no need to rush into getting those pants buttoned.

Be kind to that body of yours. It just gave you one of life's greatest gifts and that's pretty amazing.  The soft skin, stretch marks, and rounder hips are all proof of the hard work your body did to bring your little love into the world. 

5. Don't Fall Into the Social Media Trap

When you're snuggling that sweet little babe for seemingly endless hours, you're probably going to spend quite a bit of time scrolling on social media. There's nothing wrong with spending your waking hours laughing at TikTok videos during this season but use caution.

Mother breastfeeding and using phone on the bed

If you follow a lot of mom pages or mom influencers you might be tempted to fall into the comparison trap. Remember, perfectly aesthetic nurseries and moms showing off their six-pack abs just hours after birth aren't reality in most cases. Don't compare yourself, Mama. You're doing great.

Related: Encouraging Mom Influencers Giving Us an Honest Look at Motherhood

6. Don't Let Anyone Diminish Your Needs or Feelings

My first postpartum appointment at four weeks was a mix of good and not-so-good. My care provider was excited to announce that my incision was healed and I was ready for driving and many other things I didn't feel ready to do. 

Sometimes we might look better than we feel as new moms. So when people say you look like you're handling things well but you're internally screaming for help, speak up.

Need to Know

Don't let anyone diminish any struggles you might be having postpartum. Intrusive thoughts, feelings of despair, sleeplessness, pain during breastfeeding, and any other pain or mental struggle should be brought to the attention of your care provider and a family member or friend you trust. 

7. Don't Rush Yourself Back to Normalcy

I remember vividly the night I tried to cook dinner for my family just two weeks post-cesarean. In the words of Julia Roberts, "Big mistake. Huge." I felt mostly okay during the task but I paid for it later. I was so sore and in so much pain from pushing myself way too much. 

Woman mother holding her newborn baby while trying watering plants at home

There is no need to rush back to your normal routine after giving birth. Your body and mind need time to heal and process. Give yourself all the time you need to feel normal again.

Fast Fact

Some new moms follow the 5-5-5 rule. This involves spending five days in bed, five days on the bed, and five days near the bed as you heal.

Related: 15 Things That Happen When You Give Birth No One Talks About 

Do Go Easy on Yourself

You just did an amazing thing, Mama. You spent nine months creating life and worked your butt off to bring that life into the world. Whatever you need to do (or not do) to find healing after birth is okay. Listen to your doctor on the major things and then listen to your instinct on everything else. 

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7 Things to Avoid After You Give Birth: Tips From Real Moms