If you’ve been following along, you know I’m a planner. So it shouldn’t surprise you to read that about three months before my due date I was sorta freaking out about the whole postpartum recovery process.
Because the planner in me had no idea what to expect. And that was enough to make me crazy.
Is it me or does no one talk about postpartum recovery? I talked to literally everyone I know and still didn’t feel like I had a good grasp on what I needed to know and what supplies I needed in order to recover from popping out a baby.
All I can say is bless the interwebs mamas before me, because y’all came to the rescue, big time.
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Here are 13 of the best postpartum recovery tips ever!
As soon as I got pregnant I started hearing about the dreaded first poop as if it were quite possibly worse than childbirth itself. So when the sweet nurse at the hospital asked if I needed to take stool softeners, I didn’t hesitate in telling her yes.
Not only will you need to take the stool softeners at the hospital, but you’ll likely need to continue taking them for at least a few days once you return home.
I was pretty adamant about taking these, and let me tell you, the first poop wasn’t too bad. In fact, it wasn’t even something to be afraid of, thanks to stool softeners.
This little miracle worker was given to me at the hospital and I made sure to put it on my husband’s shopping list as soon as I used it the first time.
If you deliver vaginally you will likely have hemorrhoids (sorry, there’s just no sugar coating here!) and if you do, this numbing spray is going to be your BFF for the days following delivery.
Another great hemorrhoid recovery item! The hospital might let you go home with a sitz bath, and if not you can find one for pretty cheap.
Three times a day you’ll fill this bath with warm water (not too hot) and your choice of witch hazel or epsom salts. If you’re into essential oils, lavender essential oil is great for this purpose, too.
Make sure to sit in the bath about 15 minutes each time. Consider it a much needed break!
There’s no getting around it, breastfeeding is hard! I shed so many tears the first week home from the hospital because baby E just wouldn’t latch. After she and I finally got the hang of it, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty sore.
In my breastfeeding class they told us if your baby was latching correctly you wouldn’t be sore, but even after I visited a lactation consultant and was told the latch was good, I was still sore.
All this to say, be prepared!
I received this cream at my baby shower and really thought it worked well, and liked the fact that it was organic.
On a related note, if you’re having trouble breastfeeding I highly recommend the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class. I attended a breastfeeding class at my local hospital before my daughter was born but felt like as soon as she got here I needed a refresher. I was able to watch the material in an afternoon and felt so confident about breastfeeding after!
I was not prepared at all for how much I would leak in between feedings!
A few days into being back at home my husband ran out and bought me these disposable pads. I didn’t use them too long because I felt like I was constantly using a new pad and my doctor mentioned that disposable pads were fine for a short amount of time, but if I used them all the time I might be prone to getting an infection.
I found these reusable pads on amazon and started using them almost exclusively once they arrived. Plus they came in a really cute little pouch so I could easily keep track of them.
Mom tip: Wash the reusable pads in your lingerie bag so you can keep up with them easier!
Related: 11 breastfeeding tips I learned from my lactation consultant
You will be sore down there. Plan on it. If someone tells you “it’s not that bad,” they’re lying. I’m here to tell you: It is bad, you will be sore, but you will get past it. And making padsicles in advance helps so much!
Sarah and Jessica from Pretty Providence have an awesome recipe for padsicles that I followed, and let me tell you ladies, preparing padsicles before you deliver is a must.
Padsicles work to cool, soothe and heal. I liked this diy padsicle recipe the best because of the ingredients designed to speed recovery: witch hazel, aloe vera and lavender essential oil. Yes, yes and yes.
Oh and a word about the pads: The bigger the better, my friend.
In the days and weeks following your delivery it’s all about comfort. Forget about trying to look glamorous, and focus on healing. This is definitely the time for granny panties and you’ll need them to contain your soothing padsicles!
Whether you deliver normally or via C-section, you’ll want some post-delivery underwear. At the hospital they’ll give you some mesh undies, but you’ll likely want something a little easier to work with when you get home.
My mom ran out while I was in the hospital and returned with these, and let me tell you, these were a godsend.
You’ll be going through these pretty quickly so make sure to stock up!
One of my fellow mama friends suggested tucks pads and I now have first-hand experience with these miracle workers! Your delicate areas will be sore. It will hurt to go to the bathroom and these pads need to be in your recovery arsenal.
The best part about these pads? They have the soothing power of witch hazel in them!
I was introduced to this wonder-worker called a peri bottle at the hospital when my sweet, little nurse helped me use the bathroom for the first time post-delivery. This is an absolute must. If your hospital room isn’t equipped with one, ask.
You’ll need a peri bottle for about 7-10 days after delivery, too. So make sure to have one ready for you when you get home. Fill the bottle with warm water for the best results.
Mom tip: The peri bottle they give you at the hospital is not great. Go ahead and order this one and have it waiting for you when you get home!
Healing herbal bath fizzies
Wellness Mama has an awesome recipe for healing herbal bath fizzies that I made one night about two weeks before E showed up, and I’m so glad I did.
Best thing about these bath fizzes? They’re all natural! And of course the recipe contains postpartum healing superstars like witch hazel and Epsom salts. Use these in a bath or plop them in your site bath!
Sitting on anything that wasn’t super soft post-delivery was tough. For at least two weeks I couldn’t sit anywhere other than the couch unless I used a pillow.
Rather than going out and buying something I knew I would only need for a short amount of time, I just used my boppy and it worked wonders.
DIY electrolyte cubes
I knew how important water was during pregnancy but I didn’t know how much of an impact water had on recovery. Here’s an awesome recipe I followed to make my own super hydrating electrolyte cubes.
Mom tip: My awesome instructor at the nursing class we took in the hospital said a great way to make sure you’re getting enough water is to sip on a glass of water each time you breastfeed. If baby’s drinking, you’re drinking!
Stay off the scale
Don’t even think about getting back on the scale for quite a while. Use this recovery period to rest, take care of your baby and be gentle. This time moves fast and you will eventually start to feel like yourself again. You will still look pregnant when you leave the hospital and for several weeks you’ll be in an in-between state, where you kind of look pregnant, but you kind of don’t.
Mentally preparing yourself ahead of time that you need to give your body grace is the best way to get in the right headspace for the postpartum period.
The pelvic exercises and breathing techniques I outline in my post: 6 essentials to ease you into a postpartum workout routine are what I did after both of my pregnancies and it made a world of difference.
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