What to Expect Postpartum
If you are a first-time mama, welcome to the club! This can be a scary time filled with lots of unknowns. I’m by no means an expert, but this is my third go-round so I’ve learned a thing or two in the past four years. Hopefully, some of these postpartum essentials and tips will make this time a little easier on you.
I personally went into my first delivery not knowing much. Sure, I talked to my family and friends and gotten the gist of it all, but Jason and I didn’t take any classes and there were some things that just didn’t sink in until I went through them…specifically postpartum recovery.
Surviving postpartum with my first baby wasn’t easy. On top of the crazy hormones and emotions was the physical healing. That is what I truly wasn’t prepared for. I had a relatively easy delivery with minimal tearing, and I still had a rough recovery, so I feel for those mamas who have it worse than me.
While I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of what to expect in the few weeks after delivering a baby, I do want to share some of my tips and tricks for getting through it. I also want to share some of my favorite postpartum essentials that helped make this time a little bit easier for me.
Tips for Postpartum Recovery
Find Emotional Support
Emotional support is so important during this time. Be sure you have another adult to lean on. The hormones and emotions are high and can sometimes make you feel like you are losing it. Be sure to have someone to talk to whether it be your husband, your mom, or a close friend. It is super helpful to know you aren’t alone and that what you are feeling is completely normal.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor if you are feeling extremely overwhelmed and think you need some help. I suffered from PPD with my second baby and getting on meds for a short time made all the difference in the world.
Give Yourself Time and Take it Easy
You need to remind yourself that your body just went through a LOT! You just birthed a baby, so you need to take it slow and give yourself time to rest and heal. If you are a go-go-go type A person, this might be especially hard, but it’s so important to rest. The last thing you want is to overdo it.
Enlist the Help of Others
The few weeks after giving birth might be one of the few times when you have people banging down your door wanting to help. Let them! I know oftentimes we as women have the mindset that we want to do it all but now is not the time.
Accept those meals that your friends and neighbors want to bring you. Have your hubby do the grocery shopping (or pick up if you’re like me and still want to pick out the food.) Let your mom or MIL help with the laundry. If you can squeeze it into your budget hire someone to help with the cleaning for a bit.
Trust me, before you know it the offers for help will be few and far between and you’ll wish you would have taken advantage of it when you could have.
Rest When Baby Does
Do as I say, not as I do. This is something I did not take advantage of after my first two babies were born. As a first-time mom, I was SO nervous about everything, so when Grayson slept I just couldn’t. I felt like I never took my eyes off of him because I wanted to be sure he was okay.
Then Audrey came along 19 months later. Grayson was still home full time with my mom and MIL, so I kept him with me during my maternity leave. Needless to say, I didn’t get much rest that go-round either. When Audrey slept, I spent time with Grayson. I definitely don’t regret all that extra time we had together, but also fully see why most people have older siblings in daycare.
This go-round I both Grayson and Audrey will be in daycare at least part-time, so I can soak up all the newborn cuddles…and rest when the baby does!
Stay Hydrated and Snack Often
Drinking plenty of water is so important, especially if you are nursing. I keep my 48 oz hydro flask filled with water at all times and try to get through at least two a day. Not only does it help with my supply, but it also does a great job of flushing out my body after being pregnant for so long.
I also like to make sure I have small healthy snacks around the house to help keep my energy up. Things like nuts, yogurt, cheese and crackers, and PB are some of my favorites. I’m also having to be a little extra cautious until I retake my glucose test for gestational diabetes in a few weeks, so I want to make sure I am eating and snacking properly.
It might be tempting to huddle up inside and snuggle your newborn all day, but it will make you feel so much better to get some vitamin D. I make an effort to get outside every single day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time (in this Louisiana heat that’s about all I can take.)
Take your baby on a walk, watch your other kids play on the swing set or just relax on a blanket in the grass. The sunshine will instantly boost your mood.
Do Something for Yourself
When you are surviving postpartum, it is so important to take time for yourself. I know it’s hard to leave your brand-new baby at home, but an hour with dad or grandma will be good for everyone. Even if you are nursing around the clock, you still can find time to treat yourself for a while.
Some of my favorite and quick ways to pamper myself are getting my nails done, grabbing a coffee and going to a book store, or shutting my bedroom door and enjoying a quiet bubble bath alone. You need this time, and it will make you a better mom if you get it.
Follow Up with Your OB
Finally, make sure you follow up with your OB for your postpartum checkup. Before you resume your normal activities, you want to get the all-clear from your doctor. Even if you feel completely healed, there may be things going on internally that you have no clue of. Also, your employer most likely will require your doctor to sign off before heading by to work. Put yourself first for once and schedule those follow-up visits.
Surviving Postpartum Essentials
These items are sure to make the weeks after giving birth a little bit easier. I know they are some of my favorites for surviving postpartum life. Stock up before you have the baby so all the items are ready to go when you get home from the hospital. I like to keep them all in a little basket that I can move from room to room or keep next to my bed for easy access.
“Down There” Essentials:
- Pads– the hospital will provide plenty, but make sure to stock up at home as well since you will continue to bleed for several weeks.
- Ice packs– this is especially helpful for a vaginal delivery. With my first baby I tore a little, and I had ice packs on rotation for days which were a lifesaver.
- Dermoplast Spray (I also like this one– again, the hospital may or may not provide you with this, but I’d be sure to have some on hand just in case.
- Sitz Bath- there is nothing better than getting home from the hospital and taking your first bath. These bath salts are great for soothing and relaxing after giving birth.
- Peri Bottle– this is a must have for cleaning down there after going to the bathroom. The hospital gives you a generic bottle, but this specific one is much easier to use.
- Big Undies aka granny pantie…is it bad that I still wore these long after I was considered postpartum? lol!
- Donut to sit on– again, this is a lifesaver if you have a vaginal delivery. It just makes sitting down a little bit more comfortable.
- Nursing Pads
- Nursing Pillow
- Nursing App
- Water Bottle
- Nursing bras and pumping bra
- Lactation Tea, Cookies, and supplements
- Pump (I also have the Freemie cups which are a game-changer)
***Always consult your doctor before taking any kind of medication or supplement.
Being comfortable is a must in the first few weeks after giving birth. Aside from your nursing/pumping bras and granny panties lol, here are a few items I love.
Tank tops that are nursing-friendly- these are my favorite.
Comfy dresses- my new obsession is the Ellie Nap Dress from Hill House
Pajama/loungewear- Cozy Earth was kind enough to send me a pair of their pajamas, and I am hooked! They are so soft and cooling. For 40% off your order, use the code CE-CHAOSBLOG.
If you’re curious about what baby items I love and recommend, be sure to check out my 0-6 month post and my 6-12 month posts for all my favorites! Also, make sure you are following me on Instagram to get daily updates on the nitty-gritty of postpartum life.
I hope some of these tips and essential items can make surviving postpartum a little easier. As much of a struggle as this time might be (boy we put ourselves through a lot,) when you look down at that sweet baby you know you’d do it all over again a million times. Enjoy the baby cuddles! Thanks for reading!