I remember while pregnant, I was reading up and googling every pregnancy milestone. For postpartum, I did NOTHING. Well no, I watched TLC’s ‘What to expect while Expecting’ and listened to old wives’ tales from my mom and my MIL. And of all the practical advice they gave, it was mostly baby related and nothing like this list or anything to do with mom car. We don’t plan for postpartum like we do birth. Postpartum is treated in the distance tucked away until its time. But it shouldn’t be, after birth its the second most important. So, if you’re an expecting mom or a soon to be mom, here’s my version of what you should know.
1. Make sure you have plenty of nourishing foods at home. If you’re breastfeeding your body will demand more sustenance. I always felt like I was starving after breastfeeding. I was literally feeding and eating.
2. Have plenty of pads on hand – the thick ones that look like surf boards. Incontinence pads work as well. You’ll be bleeding for a while.
3. If you’ve had a vaginal birth, use a ‘peri’ bottle to squirt warm water on your perineum instead wiping when you use the bathroom. Sitz bath, if you don’t know about it google it. It works wonders for swelling and its a good soak if you’ve has a c-section.
4. Eat prunes or drink prune juice to soften your first bowel movement. Or you can take a stool softener.
5. If you’ve had a cesarean section, use a heating pad after a few days (not immediately). Me, me this was me...Give your scar time, it works wonders for your incision and scar tissue.
6. Have a long drink…of water and lots of it with every breastfeeding session. Water goes in breast milk comes out.
7. Air or sun dry your breasts, because your nipples will be so tender and sore. Putting fabric against them will be very uncomfortable. Breastfeeding same, massage your breasts or place a hot/warm cloth on them to ease engorgement. Soothe them with nipple cream – there are numerous to choose from. Cold cloths or cabbage leaves does the job as well. Be careful with cabbage leaves they are also used to stop milk production.
8. There’s lot of contradiction about co-sleeping. If you’re too nervous about it, get a co-sleeper that easily fits on or next to the bed. Otherwise let baby sleep beside you in bed. I found it easier for night time breastfeeding.
9. Hire household help if you can afford it. My mom and MIL were lifesavers.
10. Accept offers or assign chores to friends and family. My mom and MIL came in handy here, too. I had them on schedule, they never visited at the same time.
11. Accept help if it’s offered. Don’t believe the hype, independence is not synonymous with new motherhood. You have plenty of time to be an independent later.
12. The first thing everyone says: ‘rest and heal’. I can’t tell you the countless stories I’ve heard of moms going to the mall or just doing too much moving which caused their incision to open. So, YES two words: REST AND HEAL!!!
The first thing everyone says: ‘rest and heal’.
It’s weird to think of postpartum and caring for yourself in the same sentence. Everywhere and everything is all about ‘the baby’. But how can you care for the baby if you’re not thinking about yourself? Postpartum is also about self-nurture.
What surprised you most postpartum? Leave a comment, let me know.