If you read this blog, you know that I LOVE talking about pregnancy and labor and delivery. Bumpdates, birth stories, and babies are totally my thing! But today I want to talk less about the pretty side of having a baby and more about the nitty gritty goodness that is postpartum. Before having my babies, I wanted to be as educated as possible about what was going to happen to my body and what I needed to do to take care of myself. After loads of research and being through it twice, here are my top tips and products for making it through the beginning stages of postpartum!
1. Educate yourself – read up on the physical things that happen to your body after having a baby, and mentally prepare for it! Look up the medical terms you don’t know, ask questions at your hospital tour, and talk to your doctor about your concerns. If you’re like me and prefer leaving the hospital ASAP after having a baby to recover at home, you need to make sure you know what you’re in for when there aren’t tons of nurses available to provide care.
2. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best – if you go into things thinking you’ll have no tears and an easy-peasy recovery with light bleeding and no cramping you will be in for quite the shock! I suggest preparing yourself for stitches, not being able to walk or use the bathroom, and some pain–you did just push a human being out of your body! I had to be catheterized after my first baby because I couldn’t get myself to pee and my bladder was distended. Having a catheter inserted just hours after giving birth was 100% the most pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. I wish I had known that getting catheterized was a possibility beforehand, so I wasn’t so shocked when I had to have it done.
3. Don’t be a hero – ask for and accept all the help that people offer you, even if you don’t think you need it. We are so eager to get up and back to our normal routines and ignore the crazy feat our bodies just accomplished. Take time to rest, and just chill out and let other people do the work for you.
4. Stock up on all of the products listed below! Each one is something I really feel like you NEED for postpartum recovery, so don’t skimp out on anything!
1. Padsicles – I followed this tutorial for making your own padsicles. I made about 10 but only used a few because my hospital had these awesome ice pack pads that I came home with, but I liked that the ones I made had lavender essential oils in them. Make these with the biggest pads you can find at the store, more is better in this case!
2. Witch hazel/Tucks pads – You can buy these at a pharmacy but I made them and got way more bang for my buck. The tutorial I followed can be found here. These are amazing at pain relief and soothing tender areas, I like lining these on a padsicle for double the relief!
3. Dermoplast – the hospital will probably send you home with this, but you can also find it at any pharmacy or Wal-Mart. I like to spray this on top of the witch hazel pads but don’t spray it directly on skin, it can make things burn even more!
4. Depends – I had a lot more postpartum bleeding with my first baby and I went through a couple packs of Depends. After my second baby, I just used really big underwear that I bought from Target and those worked just fine. If you’re at all worried about ruining your clothes, just get the Depends and rock those until the bleeding lightens up!
5. Chucks – these are the waterproof liners that you can put on your bed. I actually had one of these on our bed starting when I was 37 weeks pregnant just in case my water broke in the middle of the night and ruined our mattress. These are great for keeping your sheets and mattress safe and protected from postpartum bleeding, I’ve heard the potty training pet liners work really well too!
6. Bellefit Corset – I attribute my body’s quick physical recovery this time around to wearing a Bellefit corset immediately after giving birth. You can read my full review here, but this thing is a game changer when it comes to keeping everything together and helping your muscles and organs get back to their original shape and location. You can also use code CASEY20 for $20 off any of the corsets.
Misc Things that Make Life Easier
1. A huge water bottle – for chugging water to make enough breastmilk
2. Frozen meals – because you won’t have the energy to cook for a while and eventually people stop bringing you food.
3. Lots of easy to eat snacks – because breastfeeding makes you SO hungry!
4. A body pillow – trying to transition back to sleeping without a huge baby bump overnight is not easy.
5. A whiteboard or notebook – for recording when you took pain meds, last time to fed the baby, all the other things you’ll be too tired to remember on your own.
6. Both Tylenol and Ibuprofen – you can alternate taking these throughout the day so you have more pain relief than if you were just taking one. Talk to your doctor about how to do this correctly!
7. A robe or nursing friendly PJs – because you won’t want to wear anything else!
I think I’ll do a post about everything you need to know about postpartum recovery, but this is a good place to start if you’re pregnant with your first baby and wondering what you need, or if you just need a refresher because it’s been a while. I hope you find it helpful, look out for more postpartum posts in the future!