Better At: Postpartum
Buying cute onesies, prepping the nursery and packing your hospital bag. A lot of focus goes into preparing for a baby….but what about afterward?
When your new little one is here, and you have just gone through a huge ordeal to bring them into this world? Today we are talking about the tips, products and things no one tells you about postpartum.
KAIT HOWELL: Buying cute onesies, prepping the nursery, and packing your hospital bag-- there is a lot of focus that goes into preparing for a baby. But what about afterwards, when your new little one is here and you have just gone through a huge ordeal to bring them into this world? Well, today we're talking about the tips, products, and things no one tells you about postpartum.
You just had a baby and now you get to go home. Or maybe you're at home and your care providers are just about to leave. It's a very strange moment when you realize now it's up to you. Not only do you have to figure out how to take care of this new little baby, but these initial three months after birth are crucial for your own recovery.
Cultures around the world have different traditions around the first 40 days postpartum, recognizing it as a time to care for the birthing person and a time of bonding, while in North America it can sometimes feel like the mother's health and recovery is an afterthought. The key is to also prep for your recovery. Some people make a ton of freezer meals, schedule help to come cook and clean, or even do a meal train with family and friends. Focus on whole foods, like fresh fruit and veggies, high-quality protein and healthy fats, adding in some probiotic rich foods.
If you are breastfeeding, you might be surprised just how thirsty you get. So make sure you always have a bottle or jug of water on hand.
Most people probably know that after birth your body has vaginal discharge called lochia. But I was surprised that this can last for a couple of weeks. And it may look different than what you're expecting. As such, you need adult diapers or pads. Avoid dry weaves, since that plastic layer can get caught on stitches.
I personally prefer adult diapers for that time period. But there are some people who complain that you don't get enough airflow with them or they don't absorb as much. So you can always use it as overflow, meaning you use your diaper with a pad. So it's always good to have a couple options on hand. And if you have really nice sheets, some people suggest buying puppy pads to put underneath you while you sleep.
What might surprise you if you've had a vaginal birth is just how swollen that area is. Lots of people swear by padsicles, which consists of freezing pads with witch hazel and aloe. However, if you're going to use padsicles, just make sure you alternate between them and dry pads or even the diapers we talked about. If you have a C-section incision, people suggest using padsicles there as well.
Now, let's dig into that first kind of scary washroom trip after you've had a baby. If you have stitches, or even if you don't, the acidity from urine can sting that area. So a peri bottle where you can spray water while you pee will really help with that feeling. You might be surprised to learn that people who have given birth via C-section also found peri bottles really useful, as sometimes that stinging sensation can come from when they've used a catheter.
And, of course, if you typically are constipated or have harder bowel movements, you may want to take a stool softener for those first couple of days. To take care of that delicate area and aid in recovery or help with your C-section incision, sitz baths are a go-to. You can turn your toilet into a sitz bath. Or for me, less stuff is better. And especially if you have a C-section scar, you can just use your regular old bath.
Your hormones after having a baby are in flux. And there's still a lot happening in your body. For instance, your uterus is still shrinking until about six weeks postpartum. And so with that, you might find that your emotions and your sweat is out of control.
No one talks about this, but you might experience night sweats, similar to what people describe in menopause. So just be prepared. Wearing lighter clothing at night and nursing-friendly pajamas if you are nursing is a great option.
There may be tons of family members and friends wanting to meet your new baby. But remember that your recovery should be top of mind. Advocate for your health. Depending on your care provider, you might not see someone until six weeks after birth.
But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued new recommendations around postpartum care, stating that women should have contact with a care provider within the first three weeks after childbirth. It's a standard that isn't necessarily common right now in North America unless you're with a midwife. And even the World Health Organization recommends that all postpartum women and babies receive three home visits from health providers as part of routine care.
Throughout pregnancy your boobs may have increased in size. But what no one talks about is just how uncomfortable it can be when your milk comes in and how difficult it can be to breastfeed for some people. Even if you plan on breastfeeding, always have some formula around. That way you have a backup just in case you want to try it out. And using a milk capture on one side while you're breastfeeding on the other side is key, because let me tell, you it takes a lot of precious time to pump. So you might as well utilize every last drop of milk.
And lastly, going to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist is certainly on my essentials list, as they can help with incontinence and help build back your strength postbirth This is important not only for vaginal deliveries, but C-section deliveries as well. So what are you waiting for? Get those adult diapers ready, fill up your peri bottle, and get better at postpartum.