This is a guest post was written by Stormy from Pregnant Mama Baby Life!
Postpartum recovery isn’t always easy. In some cases, it’s not easy at all!
I personally struggled big time after my first baby. Really it all boiled down to a lack of preparation. It’s not that I’m bad at prepping. On the contrary, I’m a prepping fiend.
The problem: I was so focused on preparing for my baby, I just sorta forgot about myself.
Don’t worry, I got through it. And when I was pregnant with my second baby, you can bet that I spent a whole lot of time preparing for postpartum! (Spoiler: I rocked it that time!)
Here are some postpartum recovery tips to help you rock your recovery!
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Postpartum recovery tips
1. Get the right postpartum essentials
This one is huge. You need things that will help you heal and function after birthing your baby. There are so many things that can happen to new moms during the labor process.
Here are my suggested must-haves to ease the most common discomforts:
A postpartum girdle can help you get up and moving quickly after birth. I had a huge baby belly, and my abdominal muscles were very weak after birth. I could barely sit up on my own.
Once I slapped on an abdominal binder I felt so much better. I was able to get up, move around and had less back pain.
One thing to keep in mind though, a postpartum girdle is great after birth for support, but it’s not meant to be used to shape your body or help you lose weight.
It can help you feel better and keep your body supported. (This is especially handy if you’re sitting up and figuring out breastfeeding.)
Unfortunately, sometimes wounds can happen during the birthing process. They are usually not a big deal but do need tending to. The most common issues are vaginal tears, episiotomies, hemorrhoids, and c-section incisions.
The most useful supplies for these issues:
- Peri bottle (A must have, but often provided by hospitals)
- Maternity pads
- Tucks pads (for hemorrhoids)
- Herbal pads
- DIY padsicles
The right supplements
It’s recommended to continue your prenatal vitamins right through your postpartum period. I also suggest adding a DHA supplement into your routine if you aren’t already taking one.
Ideally, you want a DHA with EPA supplement. It’s an Omega 3 fatty acid that is great for brain health. It can even play a factor in preventing postpartum depression!
You can read about the science of all of that here.
If you’re breastfeeding, the DHA is great for baby’s brain development as well! Just make sure to grab a high-quality one like Nordic Naturals.
Having the right postpartum supplies will make all the difference. You can check out Liesel’s list of 40+ Postpartum Items that will make your life so much easier!
2. Give yourself permission
One thing that you will experience plenty of now that you’re a new mom is mom guilt!
Most of the time this mom guilt is unnecessary. Instead of trying to do it all yourself, give yourself permission to spend your postpartum doing only two things.
Healing & Bonding.
That’s it. Take tons of time to rest and make it a point that this time is meant for you to take care of only yourself and your baby.
Don’t worry about the house cleaning, dishes, work stuff or any other responsibilities. It’s crucial to start your mommyhood off right and and do nothing more than relax with your baby. (Unless you really want to of course!)
3. Eat well
Eating well can be a lot of work, but it’s more important now more than ever. Your body needs the right nutrients to heal well.
After all, you did just spend 9 months nourishing a human other than yourself, and you totally need to replenish your body.
If you can afford it, have meals catered to you for a month.
If you need something more budget friendly (like we did!) you can prepare ahead of time by batch cooking freezer meals. It’s nice to walk to the freezer and pop a tray into your oven for instant dinner!
4. Be extra gentle with your relationship
Mostly I mean with your partner.
Having a baby can put even the best relationships to the test. The sleep deprivation, the lack of “me” time. It will be super easy to start snapping at your partner.
But please, remember one thing:
You are on the same team!
Seriously, repeat this often to each other. Take care of each other. You both are going through a lot. As much as you are going through, so are they.
And avoid the “who does more game” at all costs. Try to talk gently to each other knowing that it’s a rough transition for couples.
Just as an example: Me and my husband have the BEST relationship. He has been my best friend and #1 teammate for the last 10 years. After 7 years together we had our first baby, and within a month we were threatening divorce!
We laugh about this now because it was such an irrational time period for us both. We know this now. But at the time it was not so funny. Just know that it’s totally normal.
5. Ask for help
One of the best things you can do for yourself is asking for help! Being a new mom is hard. But you do not have to do it alone.
You know that phrase “it takes a village.” It really does. At least to do anything in a mentally healthy and enjoyable way.
If family offers help, don’t play into the thoughts that taking it deems you less capable.
People who have had kids know the struggle. Let them help you. You’ll heal better and you’ll enjoy your postpartum and your baby more.
6. Find 3 things
I know this sounds really silly, but find 3 things every single day to focus on.
Your postpartum period will go by so fast. Your newborn will not be a newborn for long. So find three things that you want to remember and try to really commit them to memory.
Some of the best things to focus on:
- The way your baby smells (The most intoxicating smell on earth, do this daily! It fades fast.)
- The way their hands move when nursing
- The facial expression on your partners face when holding your baby
- The stillness in their sleep
- How tiny their body feels
- Those toes. That nose!
Seriously. Just writing this makes me get weepy as my babies have grown.
Not only will this help you remember things you won’t want to forget, but it will help keep your brain in a healthy place.
Focusing on what your grateful for actually wires your brain to be happier and more content.
With all the crazy hormone shifts postpartum, mental health is a big deal and any new mom needs all the help she can get!
7. Start rehabing
Some moms “spring back” quicker than others. As an older mom myself, I am still waiting for my “spring back.”
Your body changes a lot after birth. Sometimes your core muscles and pelvic muscles need help to get back into their pre-baby form.
Doing the right workouts is crucial though. Since you aren’t just working out to build muscle, you are working out to repair muscle, you have to make sure you aren’t doing more damage.
This program focuses on healing your body after baby and getting your strength back, while losing any baby weight you still may be holding. The best part, it’s all done without killing your milk supply.
A big deal for breastfeeding mamas!
The Postpartum period is a messy, beautiful, whirlwind experience. I firmly believe that if you prepare well for it, you can totally rock it.