Larken Lineup: Hayley Oakes, Licensed Midwife and Larken Lineup Member
Hayley Oakes is a licensed midwife and mom of 2, based in Los Angeles, California. As a midwife, her practice consists of doing consultative care for expectant mothers. Hayley has been in the birthing field for 12 years now, where she has done home births, birth center care, hospital care as a DOULA, childbirth classes, and more. No matter the scenario, Hayley has found just how important it is for moms to prioritize self-care throughout pregnancy and postpartum - and what that self-care looks like. We talked with Hayley to learn the ins and outs of pregnancy and postpartum self-care:
Pregnancy self-care is different from postpartum self-care.
During pregnancy, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself in the most basic ways, because at this moment, you and baby are one. They are feeling the hormones that you are putting out. This can look like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, eating balanced meals to make sure you have the energy to support yourself and baby. A lot of self-care can just be maintenance, like stretching every day to recalibrate the body. It’s important to make sure that this act of self-care is something that fills YOUR cup.
Another example of this would be taking a solo walk — even though the baby is with you and you might feel different carrying that extra weight, it’s still time for you to recalibrate and recenter yourself during pregnancy.
Additionally, I always recommend to do something on your due date that has nothing to do with baby. Most likely you will get to your due date - so don’t anticipate it with anything to do with baby, but rather, anticipate it with something for yourself on your due date, whether that is with or without your partner. Anything to lower those cortisol and adrenaline levels and boost those oxytocin levels.
The next layer: Postpartum self-care
During pregnancy, self-care is all about maintaining a healthy pregnancy so you can maintain your most optimal self. In postpartum, you have the self-care that includes finding the time to brush your teeth, take a shower, etc. but there is one extra layer that you need.
In order to feel like you can keep giving, moms need to refill their tank and take time for themselves, which allows us to come back to this new full time role as a mom. These moments could be a daily thing or a weekly thing – it really depends on your schedule and your partner. Maybe you just start with 15 minutes of taking deep breaths before your day starts. Setting an intention first thing in the morning — whether that’s meditation, journaling, taking a walk.
It’s important to have weekly (if not more) check-ins with your partner. Try to make these self-care moments as routine as changing your baby’s diaper or feeding — it’s just part of your every day. And I know, life happens, if your routine shifts it’s okay. Postpartum is an extremely challenging phase, but if you have these moments that you know are coming up, in the back of your mind you can say to yourself — “I know it’s hard right now, but I know I have this self-care moment at the end of my day, or I know I have a support group wednesday night where I can talk about this.”
Self-care items for Mom
Self-care items for new moms are important! There is a great service called Little Honey Money where you can start a registry for funds like meal delivery, massages, doulas, support groups, etc. If you have the means to set this up pre-baby, this can take some of the stress off of the uncertainty that comes with pregnancy and postpartum. Additionally, being comfortable postpartum is of utmost importance. The Larken X Bra is a best selling nursing and pumping bra that provides ultimate comfort without the zippers, clips, and elastics that come with other nursing bras. Check out The Larken X Bra and Larken’s other pregnancy and postpartum essentials here.
Overall, prioritizing self-care during pregnancy and postpartum is extremely important for expectant mothers. Although self-care looks different for everyone, it is important to prioritize those moments that fill your cup, so you can come back to this new role as a parent and be there for both yourself and your baby.
Hear from more experts this month in our Larken Lineup series here.
As always, our content is not medical advice and does not serve as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your doctor and health team for medical advice.