So here you are, just moseying along, building your baby, when all of the sudden that baby wants to come out, now. You go through the whole labor and delivery process only to now realize that you have to deal with the postpartum phase. If you’re like me, you didn’t have any idea what that really meant no matter how much research you did.
I went into my labor thinking that I was prepared for my postpartum recovery. I really did. I read all kinds of posts and articles, but nothing really prepared me for what it would really feel like to push a watermelon out of a straw (a stretchy straw, but a straw nonetheless).
Even if you have a c-section, you’ll still go through a postpartum phase. All of that extra stuff in there has to go somewhere. No one is safe.
So here are my tips to make it through your postpartum recovery.
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Pads and Breathable Underwear
The postpartum phase will basically look like a crime scene. Just blood everywhere. Think about it, you had a lot more blood and fluids in your body during pregnancy. Now you don’t need it and your body wants it gone. It all has to go somewhere.
You’re essentially going to have a period for the next week or two with some spotting intermittently for a while afterwards. If your hospital is worth anything, then they will probably give you some pads to get you started. You can’t just use regular pads though, you need the heavy duty ones. I stocked up on these bad boys and I’m so glad I did.
Also pick up some breathable underwear and they were a LIFESAVER! I didn’t want too much pressure on anything down there, so having this light underwear really made me more comfortable. They were also a better size for the pads than my regular underwear. I also wasn’t worried about staining if things got messy.
Use a Peri-Bottle
Whether you have stitches or not, you are not going to want to wipe for a while when you go to the bathroom. Use a peri-bottle to keep things clean instead.
The main thing is to fill it with warm (not hot) water each time you go to the bathroom to use instead of toilet paper, then just drip dry. If you have multiple bathrooms that you use, especially if you have multiple floors, then I would suggest putting a bottle in each bathroom so you don’t risk not having it. Trust me, toilet paper will not be your friend while postpartum.
Take a Sitz Bath
You’ve got a lot going on down there. You need to keep things clean and have some relief. A sitz bath is a great way to solve both problems.
Also, don’t worry about wiping anything down there. Just like with the toilet paper, a wash cloth is not going to feel great. If you have any stitches then you don’t want to risk tearing those out either. Just kind of swish around in the bath a bit. Either way, the warm water and the Epsom salt will feel so nice.
Related: How to Take a Postpartum Sitz Bath
I cannot stress enough the importance of taking stool softeners after you give birth. You will want to (and probably will) cry the first time you have to go to the bathroom postpartum. I pretty much didn’t poop for 3 days after I had J because it hurt so bad. Don’t do that to yourself. Just take the softeners.
Personally, I like the powdered one best. I would just mix it in whatever I was drinking and take it that way. You can’t taste it, even in water. It’s also less potent, I think, than the capsules so it was easier on my system. Choose what works for you though. Just make sure you take something. If you have stitches or hemorrhoids, then the extra straining is NOT going to feel very good.
Position is Key
I’m not kidding about the pooping thing, it can hurt. One thing that will definitely help you is to position yourself in a better way. Squatting is a much more effective way to go to the bathroom without causing your body to strain.
If you really feel up to it, then you can try squatting on top of the seat. (I don’t suggest it, but it would be a funny story) The rest of us will just use a stool.
I got a cheap one like THIS and it works great! You can get the official Squatty Potty if you’d like, but at least the stool is good for other things when you don’t need it anymore. I now use my in the kitchen for my kiddos to stand on.
And if you think pooping is bad, don’t even get me started on peeing. The only thing that worked for me was to sit all the way back on the toilet and lean completely forward. You don’t want that stream anywhere near your nether regions. Trust me, it BURNS.
There are a few different things you can do for pain relief options while postpartum. One thing is to definitely take the meds the doctor gives you. They’ve given you those pills for a reason. If you need them then definitely use them.
Another thing is to use a pad-sicle. Sounds weird, but totally amazing. You can make your own by taking one of those big pads I mentioned before, putting a little witch hazel and some aloe vera on it, and sticking it in the freezer. This will feel so much better on your lady bits. I liked to use a pad-sicle after my sitz bath personally, but to each her own.
If you don’t want to bother with making one, then you can buy THESE awesome things. You just crack the stuff on the inside to activate it and you’re all good to go. They’re great because you don’t have to worry about making them or remembering to freeze them. I love them!
I’d also suggest some Dermaplast spray. It really does work. Just make sure you don’t breathe it in, especially through your mouth. It’ll make your tongue go a bit numb haha (I told you it worked).
Continue the Prenatals
I know what you’re thinking, you’ve had your baby now you don’t have to take any more vitamins. Wrong. Your prenatals are still great for your baby while you are breastfeeding, and they are also really important during postpartum to help make sure that you heal correctly.
Your body as a lot of stuff going on. You might as well keep up with the extra vitamins and minerals to make sure that your body has everything it needs to be able to heal effectively. Better to be safe than sorry, right?
You might have these visions of being able to go right back into your pre-pregnancy clothes after birth, sorry honey, that probably won’t work. It took 9 months for your belly to stretch like that, it’ll take a little time for things to go back to normal.
I also say normal, but the reality is that things will be different. You will just have to get used to your new normal.
Right after you have your baby, you also aren’t going to want to have a ton of pressure on anything in your belly or nether regions. Wear loose fitting clothing for a a while. You want to keep up blood flow and having less pressure will keep you more comfortable in the long run.
Depending on the weather, leggings or flowey dresses can be the best options for you. Hell, I wore a lot of pjs for a while. Whatever makes you comfortable. You have enough to worry about.
Drink Your Water
I know, I know, you’ve been guzzling water for 9 months and now you’re just over it. Well, guess what? You aren’t done yet, Sister!
You just went through a MAJOR event. You had a baby. You brought an actual human being into this world. Your body did a huge amount of work and now it’s trying to heal. What does your body need to heal? Water.
So go ahead and drink ALL the water. You also need massive amounts of water for breastfeeding too. So if that’s in your plan then drink even more. I carry my Hydroflask water bottle with me EVERYWHERE.
At least you’re already used to going to the bathroom 30 times a day.
I know that you have this new little baby that you’re busy taking care of, but you also need to remember to take care of yourself too. Make sure you’re leaning on your partner and any family and friends that are around and willing to help.
Don’t worry about trying to be super mom and pleasing everyone else. They are not your concern. Neither is the laundry or the dishes for that matter.
Just take it easy and allow your body to heal. It will take time to settle into your new routine as a mom so just give it time. Until then, ask for help. You deserve it.
Until next time!
- Newborn Hacks for New Moms
- How to Survive Life With a Newborn
- Easy Tips for Postpartum Weight Loss While Breastfeeding
- A Letter to My Body After Pregnancy