If you’re a natural minded mama, or you just aren’t a fan of the hospital environment, you might find yourself struggling to handle a hospital stay.
The rigid schedule, the need for rest/restrictions, necessary medications, etc. can all make you feel out of control and anything but natural.
Whether you’re there for your pregnancy or labour, your baby needs NICU care, or your child is unwell, a hospital stay can be quite draining.
You’re likely very thankful hospital care exists, but you also find yourself struggling to accept what a hospital stay often means.
As a mother of four babies born at home or in a freestanding birth center, I found my last pregnancy and birth to be quite challenging. It involved bed rest, a hospital birth and a NICU stay totalling eight weeks of hospital life.
I found myself planning our hospital ‘detox’ to help us process the whole experience and begin getting back to our typical lifestyle.
7 Tips For A Hospital Detox
Here are 7 tips for creating your own hospital detox:
#1: Healing Touch And Closeness
Many hospital stays involve separation from loved ones. This can be especially difficult when it’s mother-baby separation as both are wired to be in constant contact.
For mother-baby pairs, lots of skin-to-skin contact, babywearing and infant massage can be extra healing following a hospital stay. These tools are excellent for every mother baby pair, but they’re excellent ways to reconnect after separation.
If you spent a lot of time in the hospital, extra time with your partner can be healing. The healing and bonding benefits of massage aren’t exclusive to infant massage.
#2: Warm And Nourishing Foods
While it varies from hospital to hospital, sadly, few hospitals are known for their cuisine. Many hospitals serve easy to cook and heavily processed foods. Even if you’re not the patient, having a baby or loved one in the hospital often means eating on the go. Fast food, hospital cafeteria food and packaged snacks can take a toll on your physical and even mental health.
As a mother, good nutrition can be vital to postnatal healing and managing the busyness of motherhood. You aren’t likely to be up for lots of cooking following a hospital stay so a helpful partner, a meal train set up by friends and family, and prepared whole foods from local markets can be excellent.
You don’t need to stick with only warm foods, but there is something emotionally healing about good, hearty and warm comfort foods. Once you’re getting back to an on-the-go lifestyle, you might like to check out BellyBelly’s 3 Energy Boosting Smoothies For Tired Parents.
If your baby was in the NICU, they can also benefit from nutrition changes. If breastfeeding didn’t go as planned, consider working with an IBCLC lactation professional if you’re interested in relactation.
Planning to formula feed? Read more about choosing a formula in BellyBelly’s article Choosing Baby Formula – 5 Facts to Help You Decide.
#3: Professional Body Work – Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy And Chiropractic Care
Spending a lot of time in a hospital bed, incubator or crib, or being up and about immediately after birth to visit the NICU can cause strain on your body. It’s also common to deal with side effects from the strain of pregnancy and birth.
Consulting with your midwife, doctor, or baby’s doctor can help you find out which therapies might benefit you and your baby’s healing. Certain exercises, adjustments and massage techniques can be an important part of overall wellness and healing making them excellent tools for a hospital detox.
#4: Warm Baths
Just like warm and hearty foods can bring about a feeling of comfort, warm baths can be very soothing.
Many babies get only sponge baths during a hospital stay, or a very quick soak. Having spent most of their existence in utero, many babies find warm water extremely soothing. Even more soothing (and healing for both mama and baby) is a warm bath while skin-to-skin with their mama.
Whether skin-to-skin or solo, baths can also be healing for a tired mama.
Be sure to check out BellyBelly’s 7 Herbal Bath Soak Recipes For New Mothers.
#5: Natural Remedies And Supplements
Most hospital stays involve medication. In these situations, the benefit of these medications outweighs the potential side effects. While you’re likely thankful you and/or your baby have access to these medications, you might be frustrated by some side effects.
Managing side effects can be challenging because you don’t want to get caught in a cycle of needing another medication to treat the effects of your first medication. Many people find natural remedies and supplements to be helpful in managing or healing from the side effects of needed medications.
Vitamins, probiotics and herbs can play a big role in overall wellness and a hospital detox. However, it is extremely important you don’t consume or give your baby anything without consulting a qualified medical professional. While natural remedies are natural, they can also be powerful and interfere with medications or health condition.
#6: Natural Personal Care Products
It’s not uncommon to have personal care products provided for you during your or baby’s hospital stay. If the ingredients in the shampoos, soaps, etc. make you a bit uncomfortable, you might find getting back to natural personal care products helps you feel more like you.
If you or baby have sensitive skin or overall system you might even find the switch back to natural products helps you heal from eczema or other issues.
#7: Rest, Rest And More Rest
Rest. All new mamas need it, but especially mamas that spent the early days or weeks running back and forth to the hospital. While you missed the early days of rest, it doesn’t negate the benefits of resting now. In fact, it means postnatal rest is even more vital for you.
Find out more about the importance of rest after the birth of your baby in BellyBelly’s article The Undervalued Therapeutic Power of Postpartum Rest.