A woman in my pregnancy group asked,
Is it true I won’t be able to take a shower after the baby arrives?
And, oddly enough, we had just talked about this that very day in my new moms group!
It seems simply to say, “Of course you’ll be able to shower…” especially if you add, “….if you don’t mind holding an infant or turning on fans while baby sits in the bouncer outside as you race to clean yourself in anticipation of a possible meltdown.” Truth is, it can be hard to make space to shower in those early days…weeks…of new motherhood. You realize that your baby may need you at any given moment and your attention is given to baby’s needs ~ not your own. Many women spend most of their days in pjs or sweat pants as they navigate the new world of motherhood. Often times moms forget to even EAT, never mind shower! But there are a few ways to ensure your needs are being met too!
#1 Hire a postpartum doula
This is exactly why having a doula rocks! We doulas come into your home and take care of you! We give you the chance to eat (we’ll even make the food for you!), shower, nap, get out of the house…and leave you feeling refreshed, organized, and more confident! (Doulas of Rhode Island offers Meet-the-Doulas-Nights locally where you can meet & greet a plethora of birth & postpartum doulas in RI).
#2 Get your partner on board
Sometimes it is helpful for Partners to come home and give Moms a little break. Maybe you start showering at night…or before your partner goes to work. Maybe on Saturday mornings your partner could take baby out for a walk or to buy some coffee while you snooze a bit longer and shower…ALONE.
#3 Be brave
Babies change very quickly. One day they might not let you put them down at all, but if you keep trying, they may be ok sleeping on their own for a bit. They may enjoy their swing or bouncer too! Little ones also enjoy white noise. So, why not bring that bouncer in the bathroom and let them hear the water falling while you clean up! What is the worst thing that can happen? Baby might cry. If that happens, you can finish up quickly, and tend to your baby ~ who will be listening to your voice of calm comfort all the while. No harm done. You may find just taking a shower helps you feel like your “old self.” And, it’s always an option to take a shower or bath WITH your baby too. Typically they love warm water. I used to nurse in my shower too…sitting on a little bench, letting the steam and warm water relax us both. Some women find it’s easier to have a little hand towel to make babies less slippery against the skin…this may take some practice. But, if it works, why not?!?
More than anything, don’t forget your needs! If taking a shower makes you feel more like yourself, take it! The better you feel, the easier these early weeks will be.