breastfeeding mum with newborn baby in postpartum

Beyond the Birth: Jess

Jessica Jenkins is an advanced practice Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, Clinical Pilates Educator, Founder of Move with The Mama Physio and mum to 6-month-old Annabelle. 


Biggest misconception about postpartum? 

As a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist who works in the pre/postpartum space, I feel like I was mostly prepared for the realities of life after baby. I see postpartum women in their most raw and vulnerable state and they open up to me about the positive and not-so-positive aspects of motherhood.

I knew that breastfeeding would be hard and I would need to prepare. I knew that there would be a hormonal drop which would likely be accompanied by lots of tears. I knew the physical recovery would take longer than six weeks and I would have to put effort in to help recover. I knew that there would be a change in my relationship with my husband.

What I find crazy is that no one tells any of this to expectant mothers in fear of scaring them about postpartum! If I didn’t work in this space I wouldn’t have known about these realities of motherhood.


Looking back, what did you feel you needed most during the first few months?

Looking back, during the first few months postpartum, I found that what I needed most was a community, emotional support, and practical help.

My mum-friends and mothers' group provided a sense of connection and shared experience, which was incredibly reassuring. Being able to communicate with others in the same stage of life offered valuable advice and support, making me feel less isolated and more confident in my new role as a parent.

Having a strong emotional support system was crucial. The encouragement and understanding from my partner, family, and friends helped alleviate feelings of isolation, stress, and anxiety. Knowing I had people to talk to and lean on made a significant difference in my emotional well-being during those challenging early months.

Finally, practical help such as assistance with household chores, cooking, and caring for the baby was invaluable. This support allowed me to focus on my recovery and bonding with my baby without feeling overwhelmed by everyday tasks. It also gave me the necessary breaks to rest and recharge, which were essential for my overall health and well-being.

These three elements—community, emotional support, and practical help—were vital in navigating the early postpartum period and made a significant positive impact on my experience as a new parent.


Top 5 postpartum essentials?

  1. Compression garments for yourself!! I always recommend them to my patients in the early postpartum period, and having tried them for myself I cannot recommend more!
  2. A capsule if you are in your car a lot. It is an absolute godsend to be able to transfer your baby in and out of the car without waking them up.
  3. A good nursing chair. There is a reason I have not had a single bit of back/neck pain in my postpartum period and it is definitely my feeding set-up and chair.
  4. An electric baby nail file. Babies' nails must grow at 20 x the speed of adults, so you’ll be using this very regularly.
  5. A baby Bjorn bouncer. This moves around the house with me to keep Belle entertained whilst I shower, do the washing, cooking etc.


    How do you make time for yourself between business and baby? What does 'time for yourself' mean to you?

      Making time for myself between business and baby is all about finding balance and setting priorities. I plan most days, setting aside blocks of time for work, and personal activities. Using a calendar helps me allocate time efficiently and stick to a routine.

      Setting clear boundaries for work and personal time is crucial. When I'm with Belle, I focus on being fully present when she is awake. I only ever do work in her naps (which is lucky for me that she does!!).

      I also prioritize activities that make me feel good, such as catching up with friends, doing Pilates and getting my morning coffee. I would prefer to see my family and friends than do the washing - that can wait. I am also lucky that my husband does a lot around the house and we tend to do housework together.

      To me, 'time for yourself' means engaging in activities that recharge and uplift me, mentally and physically. It’s about taking a break from the demands of work and parenting to focus on my own needs and passions.


      Must read, listen, download or watch for early motherhood? (You can do one for each here or just one overall)

      I’m a podcast gal! I love listening to podcasts whilst doing housework, exercising, and driving. My favourite podcast for early motherhood is hands-down “Beyond The Bump” by Sophie Pearce and and Jayde Couldwell. Each week they discuss the raw and unfiltered truths about motherhood. They are real, funny, informative, non-judgmental, and it feels like I am catching up with my girlfriends each week listening.

      This one may be controversial but I also love the "Wonder Weeks" app. It provides insights into your baby's developmental leaps, helping you anticipate and understand changes in their behaviour. I know it can make some mum’s anxious but I actually found comfort in knowing that Belle’s behaviours were temporary.


      You’re leaving the hospital with your new baby. What would you tell yourself? 

      Everyone tells you that they grow up too fast but it is true. Savour every moment, take lots of photos and slow down.


      You can find Jess on her Instagram and @movewiththemamaphysio

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