Take away some of the unknown after giving birth by learning about simple ways to improve your postpartum care and recovery!
Postpartum Care and Recovery Tips for New Moms
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Postpartum recovery can be a bit scary. Almost as scary as running out of ice cream on an emotional day (but not quite). Much of the fear comes from the unknown, but you don’t have to feel like I did when I was hit with postpartum recovery. I had NO IDEA what was coming! I wish I would have had a little more advice given to me in this department.
Never fear, though! We have everything you need to know and expect for that upcoming experience after baby arrives.
There can be a lot of pain, stitches, soreness, stinging, and of course, the blood keeps on giving. I don’t mean to scare you, though. There are ways to make it less awful and much more enjoyable. Plus, most of these tips are low-cost and have you resting on the couch as much as possible. A win-win!
Here are 11 postpartum recovery tips for c-sections and vaginal deliveries!
General Postpartum Recovery Tips
Walking is the perfect, mild exercise for helping you recover much faster. Walking increases blood flow and circulation, and thereby decreases the likelihood that you will get blood clots. It helps your body heal more quickly, while also preventing constipation and helping with PostPartum Depression. Um…can we just acknowledge how much of a wonder-drug walking is? Amazing.
It is important to listen to your body when walking! If you feel like you can safely walk for 30 minutes a day, that is great! If you feel like you can only walk 10-15 minutes a day, just do that. And don’t try and talk yourself out of it. You don’t even have to leave the house to go walking. Just take a stroll around your house while comforting baby or getting up to get a snack or water.
Don’t try to push your body too far, a little bit of walking goes a long way!
One of the best ways to have a healthy recovery is to eat healthy meals and snacks, and to drink plenty of water (64 oz a day, 96 oz a day if nursing). If you don’t have the energy to make meals or snacks (because who does?) there are a lot of healthy snacks you can buy and have on hand: nuts, hummus, dried fruit (dried mango is divine), beef jerky, Lara bars (YUM!), ONE bars, cottage cheese, yogurt, protein drinks, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
One of the best things I did was plan ahead and make healthy freezer meals before the baby was born so dinner was ready to go! Get some ideas for some easy meals to freeze right HERE!
Try to eat something every 2-3 hours to maintain energy and to help boost your metabolism. It is especially helpful to eat if you are a nursing momma!
A c-section is a surgery. In normal life, when people have surgeries, they take a week off of work to rest and sleep. Unfortunately, new mothers don’t have that luxury. So sad, I know! But, you still need to make rest a priority. Sleep while the baby is sleeping, and have your husband watch the kids for a couple of hours each day for you to get some much-needed rest.
Also- When you push a baby’s head through your vagina, I think that qualifies you for quite a bit of rest! Don’t worry about cleaning, dishes, or hosting. If your baby is sleeping, you need to be resting and sleeping yourself. Sleep is a key element to recovery, the more of it you get, the faster your body will heal.
Don’t feel guilty for resting, you will heal so much faster if you are able to rest often. Your body can put all its energy into healing while you are resting.
Ibuprofen Can Be Your Best Friend
Regardless of how you do it, giving birth is incredibly painful. Unfortunately, if you are planning on breastfeeding your child, taking medications other than ibuprofen might not be the best idea. Talk to your doctor about the side effects of each medication before taking them.
Ibuprofen is perfectly safe for mom and baby, and can help you handle the pain.
C-Section Postpartum Recovery Tips
Monitor & Care for the Incision
Your incision is going to take a couple of weeks to fully heal. It is important to ensure that there is no redness, swelling, leaking fluids, or warmth around the incision. This could be a sign of infection, and you should consult with your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.
Gently wash the incision with warm water in the shower. Avoid baths the first few days after your c-section, until your doctor tells you that it is ok.
During a c-section, you may be given antibiotics or medications that can alter the number of healthy bacteria in your gut. We need lots of healthy bacteria in our tummies to help with digestion and improve our overall health. Talk with your doctor about which probiotic is best for you to replenish your healthy bacteria!
Bonus: this will also help with bowel movements. Yes!
Take it Easy (No heavy lifting, crunches, running, etc)
For some of you, this isn’t going to be easy to hear, but you are going to have to seriously take it easy. For others, this might just be a dream come true! In order for your incision to heal, you have to be really careful about lifting anything other than your baby. Avoid crunches, for obvious reasons (hello ripped open incision!), and don’t do heavy exercises (or have sex) until your doctor gives you the green light.
Ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. You have to take care of yourself so that you can be healthy for your baby!
Vaginal Birth Postpartum Recovery Tips
Use Medicated Wipes or a Peri-Bottle
I think that medicated wipes and peri-bottles are some of the greatest blessings a new mom can have. Peri-bottles make wiping so much easier and much less painful. You seriously need this. You cannot survive without it. I promise!
Medicated wipes can also help alleviate some of the pain and stinging if you’ve had an episiotomy or tearing. Use them to wipe, or put them on top of a pad inside of your underwear for added comfort throughout the day.
After pushing one baby through the birth canal, I doubt that anyone wants to push a second baby out! Sometimes, when you are constipated, it literally feels like you are giving birth all over again. And if you have stitches down there, forget about it! Do yourself a favor and invest in some high-quality colace. This stool softener is perfectly safe for nursing mommas, and will help reduce your anxiety greatly.
Change Your Pad Regularly
There is going to be a substantial amount of bleeding after you’ve given birth to your baby. You will want to buy Maxi-Pads and change them frequently. The bleeding will subside after about 4-6 weeks but plan on at least some spotting until then. And if you’re lucky, maybe it might even last longer!
If you have a clean pad, it helps to fight off infection and it also prevents leaking through your underwear and pants. You’ve already got enough laundry to do, trust me!
Another soothing and healing practice is to take a sitz bath. Here is the deal with a sitz bath- it is basically just a bath for your bum and vagina. Fill up the tub with 3-4 inches of water and let your bottom soak in warm water. Gently pat (do not rub!) your lady area with a towel to dry.
If you don’t want to sit in an actual bath, you can buy a sitz bath kit. The kit sits on the toilet seat and allows you to soak your bottom. This is especially useful if you have hemorrhoids or had an episiotomy or tearing.
Check out our post on how to get your postpartum survival kit together HERE!
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