The experience of giving birth is different for every woman, but all new Mums have one thing in common –they need to take care of themselves after having their baby. This page provides tips and links to important areas of self-care after giving birth, including healthy eating and breastfeeding, getting enough sleep – you and baby, pelvic floor exercises, what to do if you get mastitis, and postnatal depression (PND).

Healthy eating and breastfeeding

After childbirth, eating nutritious and healthy food can help you lose any extra weight that you gained while you were pregnant. And if you’re breastfeeding, it’s important to eat nutritious food to keep up your energy and milk supply for your baby.

Useful articles:

Check out the Grown Ups: Food and Nutrition section for information on everything to do with food – from healthy lunches through to delicious desserts.

Getting enough sleep – you and baby

With a new baby in the house, getting enough sleep can be a challenge, to say the least! By setting up a sleep routine for your baby, you’ll also get more sleep and have more energy. You can also try sleeping when your baby sleeps, to get the rest that you need.

Useful articles:

Read the Babies: Sleep time section for more advice on getting your baby to sleep and help with the equipment you’ll need.

Caring for yourself after giving birth

Pelvic floor exercises

Your pelvic floor is important as it supports your abdominal and pelvic organs. After childbirth, you may experience a weakened pelvic floor. To regain the strength in your pelvic floor, it’s a good idea to do exercises from the first week after giving birth.

Useful articles:

Check out Physiotherapy New Zealand’s Pelvic floor exercise guide (PDF, 892KB) to learn how to build a strong pelvic floor to prevent problems after pregnancy.

What to do if you get mastitis

Mastitis occurs when the breast tissue – most commonly the milk glands and milk ducts – become inflamed. It’s very painful and can happen when you’re breastfeeding, so it’s useful to know what causes it and how to treat it.

Useful articles:

You can visit the Ministry of Health or Huggies websites for more advice on what to do if you have mastitis.

Postnatal depression (PND)

It’s quite common to have the ‘baby blues’ and feel low, anxious, or tearful for a few days or weeks after the birth. PND is worse than that; it’s a lasting depression that is associated with childbirth.

PND is a medical condition and can be treated. By learning about what PND is, you’ll know what to do if you experience symptoms like ongoing sadness, loss of enjoyment, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, anger, negative thinking, or an inability to make decisions. If so, tell someone straight away – don’t keep it to yourself.


Learn more about managing PND on the Mothers Helpers, Post & Ante-natal Distress Support Group Wellington or Mothers matter websites.

Caring for yourself after giving birth can be really hard – especially as you are also looking after another little life. However, do remember that you can’t look after your baby properly if you’re not looking after yourself.

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Rosalie Chamberlain is a freelance writer at Rapco, specialising in business, compliance, and family. She helps businesses create clear, easy to read website content, and improve their communications. She is passionate about families and enjoys providing useful information for Kiwi parents. Read more articles that Rosalie has written for Kiwi Families.

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