During pregnancy, new mothers are focused on preparing for their new bundle. They are worried about the nursery, picking out clothes, creating a dream labor and delivery plan, and debating cloth or disposable. Rarely do mothers worry about the aftermath of birth and helping themselves heal.
Postpartum isn’t glamorous. It’s tender and harsh. We need to care for ourselves so we can better care for our littles. Preparing a recovery kit for yourself or for a friend will make the transition a little more bearable. It’s hard to be comfortable between the pain, the bloody puddle, a needy newborn, and lack of sleep. These are some things sure to ease the postpartum period.
Tuck’s Witch Hazel Pads
These were a lifesaver for me. I didn’t get hemorrhoids (thankfully) but they soothed the general pain and stinging. The coolness felt incredible against broken skin. You can also make your own.
HEAVENLY. I was so glad for its existence. I didn’t wipe for a while and merely dabbed toilet paper around. This helped not only relieve me of the sting, but also allowed me to clean off blood. Warm water works the best. The hospital usually provides you with one but they are cheap if you want an extra.
These were such a relief and wonderful to help swelling. Check with your hospital. Some may provide these for you.
Another wonderful relief for the vaginal area. It definitely helped take away the burn, sting, and itch. My sister (who had a baby almost 3 months prior to me) hated it and never used it. It’s a strange cooling sensation so everyone will react differently. Most hospitals provide it for you.
Herbs are powerful tools from the earth. The herbal blends in sitz baths will help reduce swollen tissues, bring relief to tender areas, promote healing, and reduce the chance of infection. It’s a relaxing way to nourish your vagina and yourself. Take the time alone, breathe it all in and let it all go. Even as a new mama, you deserve a second to care for yourself. Here’s a recipe if you want to DIY!
I simply used coconut oil. Thankfully, my nipples grew accustomed quickly and avoided rawness but many mothers I’ve spoken with, have praised nipple creams. You can also make your own with this recipe.
Your breasts will become swollen with fresh milk for your little nursling. A breast pump is your friend. It’s also great so you can start stashing away milk for when you finally decide you can handle being away from your little for more than 5 minutes at a time. I’m not an avid pumper so I simply use the manual Medela Harmony but I’d suggest investing in an electric.
You can either get disposable or reusable. I went through the disposables like crazy. Until your milk regulates, you leak an insane amount. We had breast pads strewn all over the place for the longest time.
I made the mistake of only purchasing one nursing bra. I was doing laundry less in the first few weeks so my bra was drowning in milk stains and milk scent. I highly recommend grabbing more than one. Eventually, I got 4 of these and this sleep one. The sleep one is SO comfortable, I practically lived in it. I don’t recommend anything with a wire. It’s extremely uncomfortable and even worse when engorged.
Warning: do not, I repeat, do NOT wear your cute underwear. You bleed like a waterfall and it’s not worth risking all the underwear you love. Chances are if you have heavy-duty pads, you won’t. But to be on the safe side, grab a few pairs of basic underwear so you won’t feel sad if you need to toss them!
Hydration is extremely important. All your resources are gathering into your breasts for your baby and taking away from you! You need to keep up your hydration so you can take care of yourself and create milk for the nursling. I always carried my blender bottle around with me but any water bottle will do.
Same as above. Your nutrients are being used up fairly quickly and you need to snack more often. Trail mixes, granola bars, fruits, crackers, and other finger foods are perfect for right now. Keep them near wherever you sit to feed your little one (bedside table, coffee table, etc).
Don’t worry about the dishes piling up or the clothes dirtying the floor. This time is crucial and belongs to you and the baby. It will get better no matter how tough it seems in the beginning. You’ll all naturally fall into a routine as baby grows. In the meantime, take whatever time you can to rest and recoup.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, from friends and family. You don’t need to isolate yourself or do everything on your own now that you have a baby. Whether it’s someone bringing you a meal, or coming over to let you nap while they keep their eye on the baby, or someone picking up your house, or whatever it is: you do deserve it mama so don’t hesitate on asking.
Most importantly remember, be kind to yourself and go through the postpartum period gently. Love is at your fingertips and on the broken skin around your hips.
Postpartum Care Checklist
• Witch Hazel Pads
• Peri Bottle
• Ice Packs
• Sitz Bath
• Nipple Cream
• Breast Pump
• Breast Pads
• Nursing Bras
• Comfortable Undies
• Herbal Teas
• Water Bottle
• Easy Snacks