Throughout my pregnancy, I was complimented on my glowing skin, thick hair and tiny bump. Strangers opened doors for me, asked to carry my bags and indulged me in polite conversation about my due date and other baby related small talk. Occasionally, you can use it to your advantage by getting the last seat on the bus and blackmailing your other half into running to the shops five minutes before closing to grab the last tub of Ben & Jerry’s to satisfy your cravings. That all seems to abruptly come to an end after going into labour. You now have this beautiful little human to look after that you adore and every last ounce of your energy, patience, love and attention goes into making them happy. You are now sleep deprived, still sore in places that will never be the same again, your luscious locks are starting to fall out, you look as haggard as you feel, none of your clothes fit you and you can’t remember the last time you finished a cup of tea. Welcome to motherhood…
You may not have your bump anymore but your body and mind don’t fully recover the second you leave the hospital. We are expected to ‘bounce back’ almost immediately regardless of the trauma we’ve just been through. There were so many classes, appointments, books and even beauty products all concerned with your pregnancy but new mums need just as much (actually probably even more) support, love and patience as they did when they were pregnant. That’s why The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums by Beccy Hands and Alexis Stickland is so special. Honestly, just having it near is reassuring, especially when you don’t have any ‘mum friends’ to talk to.
The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums brings together decades of experience from a midwife and doula and contains beautiful illustrations by Kay Barker. Most of you may know that this isn’t my first baby, however, I still found this book incredibly helpful! I wish I had it handy the first time. There’s lots of practical advice including pelvic floor exercises, how to make cooling pads and peri bottles to help relieve sensitivity after vaginal tears, how to reduce water retention, breast combing (who knew this was a thing?), massage techniques, smoothie recipes, mindfulness and postnatal yoga exercises. It’s cram packed of all the information and reassurance I wish I had the first time around. This may all sound a little overwhelming but it’s written in such a comforting and funny way that it’s like your sitting with a cuppa chatting with your best mate than being lectured too.
I honestly can’t recommend this book highly enough and I can’t wait to order one for my best friend who’s expecting her first baby in February. Everything about it is lovely and comforting. This isn’t a manual full of dos and donts. There’s no pushy advice (believe me you’ll get your fill of that), there’s no patronising speeches or graphic images. The Little Book of Self-Care for New Mums is full of gentle reminders that you’re not alone, that it’s okay to feel anxious and to take all the time in the world you need to process, heal and cuddle your lovely newborn.