After you have your baby, there are so many things that will change. Not only are you now a mom, but you’re also going to have to figure out how to heal all while taking care of a newborn. Thankfully there are some great postpartum recovery tips and tricks that I have found to be very beneficial.
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What to Expect During Your Postpartum Recovery
Postpartum is no joke. Your body has just been through a major event. And if you had a c-section, then you’ve also had a major surgery as well. It is so important for women to take some time to help themselves heal postpartum, not only for themselves, but for their babies as well.
Even if you have a c-section, you’re going to still experience some heavy bleeding for the first 7-10 days after delivery, then it should lighten up and be more like spotting. All of that extra tissue, fluid, and blood that your body created to house your baby has to leave now that the baby is out and it has to get out somehow.
It’s going to be like a very heavy period. If you notice any large clots or you are filling a pad once every hour then you need to call your doctor immediately to rule out postpartum hemorrhage.
In addition to the bleeding, you’re also going to feel some cramping in your uterus that will probably slightly more than period cramps. Your uterus did a lot of growing during the nine months it housed your baby. It now has to shrink back to normal size.
Don’t be alarmed if you feel the cramps happen more or become more intense when you’re breastfeeding. Breastfeeding your newborn releases oxytocin which causes your uterus to contract. This is a good thing. It’ll just be a little uncomfortable for a couple of weeks.
You’re going to be sore. Especially if you had a difficult or long labor. Taking some ibuprofen or some Tylenol will help with the stiffness. You can also use a heating pad on any sore spots. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask your partner for a massage. A girl can dream, right?
How Long Does it Take for Your Body to Fully Recover From Pregnancy?
Most women will start to feel better and relatively back to normal by 6-8 weeks postpartum. Full recovery though can take months. I’m 15 months postpartum and I still have some pain in my ribs when I lay on my right side.
To be honest, I should probably get that checked out. Just don’t be surprised if you have some residual weirdness later on. There are so many things that your body has to go through to build your baby. It’s normal for it to be a little different afterwards.
Postpartum Recovery Tips
While there are several postpartum supplies that are essential to your recovery. There are other things as well that you should do to really make sure that you not only heal physically, but also enjoy your postpartum/newborn phase as much as possible.
Sleep When the Baby Sleeps
I’m just kidding, babies don’t sleep.
Though sleeping when the baby sleeps isn’t always feasible, you really should try to at least rest. Forget about the dishes, forget about the laundry, just grab some water and a snack and go lie down. Even if you can’t sleep, you still need to give your body the time it needs to heal. Major event, remember?
Speaking of healing, taking a postpartum sitz bath is an amazing way to help you nether regions start feeling normal again. I strongly, strongly recommend taking a few sitz baths. Even if it’s just so you can get 20 minutes by yourself. Either way, it’ll be beneficial.
Take a shower. Even if you do nothing else productive each day, take a shower and put on some clean clothes. You’ll feel like a whole new person once you’re clean.
Make sure you’re eating. If you’re breastfeeding, then you will really need the extra calories to keep up your milk supply. Your body also needs the calories for its own healing process. Keep easy to grab snacks on hand or have some freezer meals prepped before you give birth.
Eat any time that you can. If you have to choose between taking a shower and being able to sit down and eat some hot food, choose the food.
I’m sure that you are tired of people telling you to drink your water since you have such fond memories of it while you were pregnant, but it’s still important now. Your body needs water to heal. It also needs water to produce breast milk since it is 88% water.
Keep a water bottle with you to help you remember. Your body will thank you.
Breastfeeding isn’t Always Easy
Though breastfeeding may be natural, it isn’t always easy. Especially in the beginning. It’s a bit of a learning curve for you and your baby. Give yourself some grace if it isn’t easy right off the bat.
Use some good nipple butter to help with the soreness and know that there are other options available if it just isn’t working. Formula feeding and exclusive pumping are always alternatives. Don’t beat yourself up if things aren’t exactly what you thought they would be.
Ask People to Leave
I don’t care how you were raised or what you think is and is not polite, it is completely fine for you to ask people to leave. As a new mom, it is your job to take care of yourself and to take care of your baby.
There is nothing that says that you have to take care of other people as well. If you don’t want to deal with the crowd, then don’t. Plain and simple. Ask them to leave, they’ll be fine.
Put Yourself First
Becoming a mom is a big adjustment. It is okay to put yourself first every now and then. If you’re struggling and need a minute to yourself, then take it. Put your baby down in a safe place and walk outside or sit in the shower and cry if you need to.
Give yourself a break. Your baby will be fine and you will feel much better. You were a woman before you were a mom. That woman still needs to be cared for. You still have needs. Cut yourself some slack. Take the time to practice a little self-care. It’ll make a world of difference.
Go For a Walk
Though exercise will have to be cleared by your doctor, a simple walk (around your house and then around the neighborhood) is generally allowed and suggested. Just load your baby up in the stroller and get outside for some fresh air. It’ll be good for the both of you.
Ask For Help
You do not have to be supermom. It is okay to ask for help. To be honest, you really should. Ask your partner to do more chores around the house, ask a friend to come over and hang out with your baby for an hour so you can take a nap, have a family member do a load of laundry or cook you a meal. They say it takes a village to raise a baby and they’re right. Use that village.
Becoming a mom is a big change. You won’t have all of the answers at first, you aren’t supposed to. A lot of it is about seeing what works and what doesn’t and learning from them.
All babies are different. It will take time to get to know your baby. Figuring out his likes and dislikes is all part of the process. So be patient with yourself. Learn as you go and learn to be okay with the idea that you don’t know everything. No one really does. It will get easier though.
Summing Up Postpartum Recovery
The biggest thing to remember is to take care of yourself. Though you will have a lot on your hands with taking care of your new baby, you also need to occasionally put yourself first and ask for help. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down in everything that you “have” to do and give yourself the grace to screw up sometimes.
It’s going to happen, and that’s okay. It’s all about how you deal with it when it happens. And remember, your hormones are ALL out of whack. You’re probably going to feel a bit crazy for a while. You aren’t crazy and there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just a new mom suffering from hormonal changes and sleep deprivation.
If you ever feel off and it doesn’t go away, or if you ever have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, then please go and talk to someone. Postpartum depression is a very real thing that gets easily overlooked. Please don’t let that happen to you.
Are you going through postpartum recovery? What tips have helped you? I’d love to know. Leave me a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!