A Guide to Postpartum Care
A lot of people think that labor & delivery is the hardest part, but in fact, the postpartum phase is the hardest part. It can be even harder when you don't take the time and energy to rest and recover from the past 9 months and the labor and delivery.
I didn't get to have the exact recovery that I wanted but I did everything that I could to make the best out of it.
I gave birth vaginally and without any drugs. I stayed in the hospital for one night and chose to go home early because I was fine and baby was fine. I preferred to recover at home rather than in a hospital.
Here's what helped me:
The first 4 days I was on bed rest when coming home. I did not leave my room for anything except to use the bathroom. I napped when baby napped, and I focused on resting and breastfeeding. That's it! Unfortunately, I had to go back into my daily routine a lot sooner than I wanted, but I made the transition slowly and gradually. I didn't cook, clean, or do any physical labor for the first few weeks. If you have someone who can cook and do your laundry for you, let them! It helps so much. I still continued to nap when baby napped.
When I came home I still looked about 4 months pregnant. Leggings and T-shirts were still my go to. Honestly, I wore a robe majority of the time for easy access to breastfeed.
I did tear during delivery and had to get stitches. What I highly recommend are these ice pads. You take a huge maxi pad, layer with ice packs, and witch hazel pads and wear them. I wore them for the first four days and they felt so good. So every time I went to the bathroom, I would spritz warm water in the area to clean, spray with Dermoplast, then put on the pad.
After the cold therapy, I switched to warm therapy for healing. I took 2 to 3 sitz baths a day or as needed. The key is to make the water as hot as you can stand it. It felt amazing. I did that for about a week and then as needed. I continued to use my mom washer by Fridababy and spray as needed as well. You won't have to continually wear a maxi pad the whole time. You'll be able to wear regular pads then eventually liners. The hospital I delivered at provided all of my postpartum care products but I found all of it on Amazon as well.
Motrin was recommended but I only used it for the first week because of the cramping while breastfeeding, which went away. You can also use a stool softener in those early recovery days but I didn't need to. Continue to take your prenatal vitamins and drink lots and lots of room temperature water. I mean a lot of water!
During the postpartum phase, it is not the time to start dieting. Eat at least 3 meals a day and at least 2 snacks. Of course, lean for the healthier options rather than fast food and takeout, but make sure you are eating! We premade a lot of food so that I didn't have to worry about cooking when I was home alone with the baby.
I did gradually add in daily walks because I didn't like to sit in the house. One thing I noticed is that when I started to do too much, my postpartum bleeding would pick back up and get brighter in color. This is a sign that you are in fact doing too much and you need to rest, so I did. Listen to your body! That's the best advice I can give during this stage is just to really listen to your body and rest as much as possible in the first 6 weeks.
I hope this information was helpful. Be sure to check out the links for the exact products I used. If you have any questions be sure to reach out!
I will have a blog post about the best books to read during pregnancy and postpartum coming in the next few weeks so stay on the lookout!
Love & Light,