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Taking care of yourself after having a baby is essential to your overall health. After having my baby, I became so consumed with being a new mom that I unintentionally placed myself on the back burner. Those weeks after birth, instead of implementing the postpartum recovery tips. I wanted to do everything myself out of excitement and not want to miss out on anything.
I quickly got burnt out, the postpartum blues started to creep in and everything felt like it was falling apart. What was supposed to be the most joyous part of having a baby and being a new mom was now compromising my health.
The truth is that I thought I was prepared, but the truth is that it’s easy to get carried away when seeing your baby’s lovely face. Take the tips below and actually apply them. I want to see you a thriving mama.
What is postpartum care vs post natal care?
The terms postpartum and postnatal are frequently used interchangeably, which can cause confusion. These two concepts actually describe different aspects of a woman’s experience during and after childbirth. Postpartum care is focused on ensuring a healthy transition to motherhood. In most cases, postnatal care begins when a woman leaves the hospital and includes prenatal care (before birth) in combination with her infant’s regular pediatrician visits
Why is Postpartum Care important
Proper postpartum care is vital to your health and that of your baby. Studies show that new mothers who get help from family and friends have a lower risk of complications such as depression, infection, high blood pressure, hemorrhaging, and others. The most common problems happen during birth or immediately after it’s over—but you can minimize these risks by following expert advice for taking care of yourself in both short-term and long-term situations.
The Postpartum Recovery Checklist: Top 19 tips
After nine months of pregnancy, you’ve made it! You delivered your baby into the world and are now ready to go home with him or her, where your new life as a parent will begin. While you may be ready to take on this new role, that doesn’t mean you don’t need some help with this next big change in your life, particularly if you have never had children before. Here are 19 ways to get started on the right foot, both during and after pregnancy.
Tip 1: Get your postpartum must haves ready
After you give birth, you’ll need to monitor your physical recovery and make sure you have everything in place to give yourself time for rest and relaxation. To help make things easier for both new mothers and their families, consider preparing a postpartum recovery kit that contains all your post-delivery must-haves. This can be as simple as including these items: washcloths, towels or burp cloths, disposable breast pads, nursing pads, tampons or sanitary napkins, and postpartum underwear. Also, pack extra bottles of water and/or tea with honey—these provide a boost of much-needed energy while aiding in helping to rehydrate; they’re also great options if labor was difficult and you don’t feel like eating right away.
You can jump right into building your postpartum recovery kit.
Extra Tip: create a small kit for each restroom that you use in your home. This is especially true if you live in a multilevel home.
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Tip 2: Don’t overdo it! Start slow and build up
You may feel like you’re in great shape, and want to exercise a lot. But your body is recovering from giving birth, so take it easy. Don’t start running marathons after giving birth or lift heavy weights, as both can hurt your abdominal muscles and organs. Start out slow with low-impact exercises like walking and do some Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. (Kegels should be part of your daily routine anyway.) The best rule of thumb is if you’re tired or sore when doing an activity, stop! It may be tempting to work through it but pushing yourself too hard will just end up hurting you further down the road.
Tip 3: Eat high-protein foods and snacks that are easy to make in large batches
Eating a diet high in lean protein will help you to maintain energy and keep your blood sugar levels steady. By staying full, you won’t find yourself with extra cravings for unhealthy snacks or comfort foods. Try beans, eggs, meat and poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products, tofu, nuts, and seeds to get your fill of proteins. They can be incorporated into a variety of meals that are easy to make in large batches so you don’t have to worry about cooking every night. If time permits and you’re up for meal prep, simply cook double batches of these tasty items at one time so you can freeze them for later use – just thaw them out when needed!
Tip 4: Take lots of photos and videos
You’ll likely be tired, and not feel like posing in front of a camera, but it is important to document your baby’s early days. This might sound silly, but it may be difficult to remember your baby’s exact features when she grows up. It is also nice to watch these videos when your child is older and see how much they changed over time.
Tip 5: Prepare meals ahead of time so you don’t have to rush later
Ideally, you’ll have someone who can prepare healthy meals for you throughout your pregnancy. However, when you do go home with your newborn, it’s a good idea to prep as many meals as possible ahead of time and stores them in the freezer.
That way, if your energy levels are low or if you find yourself unable to leave your bed due to pain or fatigue, there will still be something waiting for you when you open up that freezer.
Tip 6: Use hair products with natural ingredients to prevent excess postpartum shedding
After pregnancy, your hair may become dry and brittle. There’s no need to take chances with your hair falling out after giving birth. Many women start experiencing a rapid rate of shedding soon after delivery due to hormonal changes, but you can prevent that with a few inexpensive products.
Look for shampoos and conditioners with natural ingredients like black cohosh, horsetail, chamomile, or peppermint—all of which have been linked to promoting healthier locks and growing stronger hair.
You may also opt for Tea Rinse using herbs horsetail, green tea, chamomile, saw palmetto.
You can also try a hot oil treatment twice per week to seal in moisture or opt for deep conditioning treatments every few weeks. This can help slow down thinning hair as well. If you want to avoid chemicals, look for all-natural brands at health food stores.
But keep in mind that some natural products aren’t good for certain hair types; always read ingredient labels carefully before purchasing new products.
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Tip 7: Ask friends or family members for help with childcare, errands, cooking, cleaning, etc.
If you’re worried about leaving your baby for a quick trip to do chores or run errands, ask family members or friends if they can help out. You can even hire someone like a postpartum doula if it feels like too much to take on by yourself. Rest assured that your time away from your baby will still be just as special, and when you get back you’ll have more energy and fewer worries with help from a partner. (And don’t worry—it only lasts for a short while!)
Tip 8: Nourish your mind through reading uplifting books/articles, watching inspiring movies/shows, etc.
During delivery and after, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with fatigue and sleep deprivation. To avoid succumbing to these feelings, it’s essential to nourish your mind by reading uplifting books/articles, watching inspiring movies/shows, etc.
Tip 9: Connect with other moms in support groups online or locally
Support groups are a great way to connect with other new mothers and to get advice from people who have been in your shoes. It’s also a safe space for venting feelings and asking questions about what you’re going through, both physically and emotionally. The support from women going through similar experiences can go a long way toward helping you feel better mentally and physically during postpartum recovery.
Tip 10: Do a sitz bath postpartum
Swelling and congestion in your pelvic region are normal after delivery, especially during breastfeeding. A sitz bath after birth can help alleviate your post-delivery pain.
Fill up a tub with six inches of warm water and add one to two cups of Epsom salts or Pink Stork Postpartum Sitz bath.
Sit for about 15 minutes, making sure to cover everything below your waist (including your buttocks) with warm water. When you’re done, pat yourself dry and apply some cocoa butter or aloe vera to keep skin soft and supple.
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Tip 11: Take your postnatal vitamins
If you’re breastfeeding, you will want to take a multivitamin and a calcium supplement. Many women find that, when breastfeeding, they do not get enough nutrients through their diet alone.
To be safe and healthy, start taking these supplements right after your pregnancy or immediately after delivery—even if you don’t plan on breastfeeding. It is never too late to begin; it only takes 2 months of regular supplementation to make sure your body gets what it needs to produce milk effectively.
Be sure to include galactagogues and lactation supplements like flaxseed meal or fenugreek in your diet
Tip 12: Drink lots of water and stay hydrated
After you have given birth, your body goes through a lot of changes. These changes cause you to lose fluids and electrolytes, which can lead to dehydration.
To avoid dehydration during postpartum recovery, be sure to drink plenty of water every day and ask your care provider if he or she recommends any other methods for staying hydrated. A fun way to make sure you are getting enough water is to use a motivational water bottle.
Dehydration can easily sneak up on you in your sleep-deprived state. Stay properly hydrated throughout and after pregnancy to protect your health and that of your baby. Allowing yourself to get dehydrated can make you more susceptible to infection, constipation, headaches, fatigue, vomiting, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
Tip 13: Get some Comfortable Postpartum Clothes and Underwear
It’s a no-brainer that you’ll have to purchase new bras and underwear after having a baby. With all of your extra milk production and previous baby bump, it can be hard to find comfortable options that fit well.
If you’re breastfeeding, look for nursing bras made with soft materials (like cotton or bamboo) that don’t dig into your sides or feel constricting. They also tend to offer lots of support.
When choosing panties, opt for seamless postpartum underwear designed specifically for new moms. Since there is more padding around your crotch, seamless styles are less likely to chafe or cause irritation than regular ones.
Also looking good will definitely elevate your mood. I swear by these two-piece sets from amazon. I got these in several colors and made it easy to look cute and not shy away from taking pictures to capture special moments. You can also wear them to your postnatal appointments for you and baby
Tip 14: Practice good hygiene and perineal care
Once you’ve delivered your baby, it’s important to practice good hygiene. To keep your perineal area—the area between your anus and vagina—healthy, avoid wearing tight underwear or pants as much as possible. Change your pads or disposable diaper underwear frequently, and make sure to gently wash that area with warm water each time you do so. Peri bottles with an angled neck made this such a breeze.
You may also want to make padcicles to soothe your perineum or opt for Tucks hazel pads and Aloe vera gel.
You should shower daily while you are healing. Your perineal care should not take the back seat to the care of your baby.
Tip 15: Set boundaries with friend, family and work when needed
Everyone wants to be there for you when you have a baby, but sometimes it’s hard to say no. Try to set your own boundaries with family and friends, and at work. You need time for rest, relaxation, and self-care in order to heal after giving birth. Also make sure that you have everything that you need for yourself such as clean clothes, nutritious food, etc.
After all, you are going through changes physically and mentally during postpartum so you might want to take care of yourself properly too! Friends and family mean well, but their opinions about how you should be caring for your new baby can be misinformed.
Don’t let them interfere with how you choose to parent your child. Trust yourself and go with what feels right for you and your family. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to postpartum care or motherhood in general, so try not to let anyone bully you into changing or judging your choices.
Tip 16: Get some Postpartum Chiropractic care
Everyone The most important part of postpartum care is caring for your spine. A woman’s spine goes through a great deal of stress during pregnancy and labor.
Your own chiropractor will be able to perform an exam to determine whether you have any vertebral subluxations (misalignments) in your neck, mid-back, or low back that could be contributing to symptoms like those described above. Chiropractic adjustments can improve these symptoms and reduce discomfort.
Tip 18: Wait until you are cleared to have sex postpartum
While sex is a great form of exercise, it’s best to wait to have it until you’ve been cleared by your OB or midwife.
He or she will likely check for tearing or infection during your postpartum visit and may give you some recommendations about what positions work best after childbirth.
You should also ask if s/he recommends using any lubricant—the vagina produces very little of its own, so many new moms can experience vaginal dryness after giving birth. you should opt for water-based lubricants.
Even after you have been cleared to have sex, the most important thing is to listen to your body and take things slow.
Be gentle with yourself if you are not up for sex yet, one thing that you can do to be intimate with your partner during these early weeks is cuddling, skin-to-skin contact or even taking a shower together.
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Tip 19: Nourish your body while breastfeeding and consider
A galactagogue is food that encourages lactation in breastfeeding women. These foods are recommended for use after childbirth when breast milk flow has slowed down, or in mothers who are not breastfeeding exclusively.
Here’s what a galactagogue-rich diet should include wild berries (like raspberries), fresh coconut water, and herbs like fenugreek, artichoke leaf extract, blessed thistle, and chickweed.
For convenience sake, you can choose to take a herbal supplement form of these herbs in order to encourage nursing. Studies have also shown fenugreek supplementation increases breast milk volume by three times!
Some may have sensitivity to Fenugreek, there are several other Fenugreek free snacks, teas, and tinctures that can support breastfeeding, read more about lactation supplements to increase milk supply.
Build your Postpartum recovery kit with these postpartum must haves
- Peri Bottle: You can go for the more popular Frida mom upside down Peri bottle or a less expensive option Cynpel Peri Bottle which worked great for me,
- Unscented Witch Hazell: This is great for perineal care, you can make a padcicle and combine it with Pure Aloe Vera
- Tucks Pads: These are essentially Witch hazel pads. You may keep them chilled and line your pad with them and place them by the perineal
- Sitz Bath: Doing a Sitz bath is great for healing the perineum and other issues like hemorrhoids and anal fissures, sore vulva, and postpartum cramps. Pink stork postpartum sitz bath is my favorite.
- Sitz Bath bowl: this doubled as a yoni steam bowl for me before pregnancy. I went for the stainless steel bowl option because I don’t have to worry about toxins or chemicals that may leach from plastic when exposed to heat. This is especially important if you are also avoiding hormonal imbalance
- Stool Softener: If you are not regular then you should consider adding a stool softener.
- Donut Pillow: This is a great addition if you have pain when seating down. Especially if you have severe tearing resulting in painful stichings or hemorroids.
- Dermaplast: Many women swear by this but I felt a burning sensation. I preferred the Earth Mama Perineal Spray
- Earth Mama Perineal Spray: This was so helpful in my healing process. It has all-natural ingredients and helps calm any itchiness while healing
- Disposable Diaper: Always Dsicreeet Postpartum underwear was a necessity for me post-delivery, it eliminated the need to wear the bulky DIY underwear from the hospital.
- Comfortable Post Partum Underwear: I love these high waist postpartum care panties from Amazon, It is cotton, so very breathable, and gives just enough hold in the tummy area
- Cute Comfortable Lounge Wear: I love these from Amazon and bought 4 of them in Green, Cream, Gray, and Brown
- Postnatal Vitamins: My favorite are Pinkstork Total Postnatal Gummies and Postnatal mood Gummies. if you are not into teas, then check out the Pinkstork Total Postnatal plus DHA pills. I also grab the postpartum recovery tea, it’s tasty and provides healing properties from herbs like Red Raspberry Leaf, Oatstraw and Dandelion.
- Nipple Cream: I love the Lansisoh Lanolin Nipple Cream for breatfeeding. This is heaven-sent and works in seconds. Its been a positive addition to what has felt like a difficult breastfeeding journey.
- Aloe Vera: Opt for pure Aloe Vera gel, I would put this directly on the disposable diaper and it provided a soothing effect. You can also combine this with hazel to create a padcicle
- A Caddy organizer to hold everything and move from one place to another
- An Inspirational Waterbottle in a half gallon or the free water bottle from the hospital works just fine :). its important that you stay hydrated to promote healing.
- Breastmilk supplement: You can read about 17 supplements to increase milk supply fast. My favorites were these lactation cookies bites and Mother’s Milk tea.
Final thoughts on the Importance of Postpartum Care Checklist
The truth is that what your baby truly needs is love, attention, shelter, and food. Everything else is a blessing. Remember that if you don’t truly take care of yourself then you may not able to fully and truly enjoy the blessing you have created. So take the time out to heal both physically and mentally.
I hope these tips have been useful. What did you find most helpful when you were preparing for postpartum? Share your tips in the comments below.