The recovery for childbirth isn’t exactly easy – it doesn’t matter whether you delivered vaginally or via C-section. In the throes of it, it seems like you’ll be in pain forever. You survived labor and delivery only to be followed by postpartum cramps, sore nipples and torn-up lady bits.
While it may be hard, remind yourself that you’ll probably feel more like you (and be able to pee without the aid of a peri bottle – YAY) within 7-10 days of giving birth.
TMI alert: With both of my deliveries, I tore. Nothing major – first degree tear with WM and second degree tear this time around – but enough to make recovery more painful. Having a toddler that wants to be held and played with made this recovery more tiring and more painful than the first time around.
I’ve learned some postpartum tricks to help ease the discomfort during the first week home. Here are my pearls of wisdom…
Nether Region Pain Management
- Order some perineal ice packs. You’re bottom half will thank you after all the pressure from baby descending.
- Make sure you have a couple bottles of Dermoplast for your most-used toilets. The hospital sent me home with the blue bottle and it was a life saver for my first six days postpartum.
- Have a peri bottle at every toilet you might use. Fridababy makes a compact one for the diaper bag if you leave the house. Trust me – you don’t want to forget one if you use the guest toilet. This is listed under pain management for a reason!
- Invest in all the lanolin you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re breastfeeding for the first time or if you’re on your fifth kid – Your nipples still go through an adjustment period and will be sore. My favorite brand is Medela’s Tender Care. Pro Tip: If you’re nipples are too sore to get wet in the shower, grease ’em up with lanolin before you get in there. This trick works during pregnancy, too!
- If you need more relief than lanolin can provide, give hydrogel pads a try. Medela’s pads saved my boobies from Baby K’s initial chewing. (No, I’m not a brand rep for Medela, I just really like their stuff)!
Clothing and the Like
- Depend Adult Diapers – remember my mention in my last blog? Well they still come in handy thanks to postpartum bleeding. This is especially true when you use the perineal ice packs mentioned above. While they’re a heavenly invention, the ice pads don’t absorb anything, so it can get messy if you have a heavy postpartum flow.
- While you’re at it, keep a supply of pads at every toilet so you’re not stuck stuffing your undies with toilet paper. I love Always Ultra Thin Overnights, because they’re not bulky and can still absorb what they need to. If you’re like me, you’ll spend much of your first month or two in leggings and workout pants. You won’t want bulky pads to be visible.
- Don’t forget granny panties. Stock on up those waist-high beauties so that you can fit the large-coverage pads in there. You’ll learn to love them, but not enough to be sad to see them go if they get destroyed.
- Leggings or stretchy shorts are essential. You won’t fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes for weeks to months after having your baby. You also may not want to wear your maternity leggings anymore. Make sure you have stretchy leggings or shorts on hand that will be comfortable.
- Nursing tops for home lounging and going out. With WM, I only had cotton nursing tank tops that looked like PJs. I didn’t get out much. With Baby K, I went for some nicer tops, since I knew we’d be out and about with WM. I looked into several brands and chose to go with the cheaper one I found: Milk Nursingwear. I purchased 4 summer tops and am mostly very happy. They sell dresses and PJs too, among other things.
- You can never have too many nursing bras. Seriously. Buy yourself 4-5 night/comfy sports bra type bras and 5-6 daytime nursing bras. I highly recommend doing a mix of underwire and wireless as you adjust to your new gigantic melons. My favorite brands are Lamaze and Bravado. If you don’t want to pay full price, Zulily features them regularly.
Mama’s: what else have you found helpful in your recovery?