Take away some of the unknown after giving birth by learning about simple ways to improve your postpartum care and recovery! Check out these postpartum care and recovery tips for new moms!
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. It seems like many women shy away from talking about specifics with postpartum care and recovery.
Never fear, though! We have everything you need to know and expect for that upcoming experience after your 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 10+ postpartum recovery tips for c-sections and vaginal deliveries (and some things to keep in mind as well)!
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!
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Start a Fitness Journey after Motherhood
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.
Something that really helped me keep up with eating well was keeping a breastfeeding basket close to me! Trust me, it’s a lifesaver!
Be sure to eat balanced meals as well. 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!
RELATED ARTICLE: 13 Make-Ahead Healthy Freezer Meals For New Moms
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!
RELATED ARTICLE: How Eating Fat Makes You Thin
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.
RELATED ARTICLE: 9 Essential Tips to Help You Survive Postpartum Sleep Deprivation
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. I definitely noticed when I forgot to take ibuprofen, especially during that first week of postpartum recovery.
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.
I didn’t personally experience having a c-section, but one of my dear friends did and gives some great advice. She was a mom that went into her delivery not expecting to have a c-section, so she has some amazing tips to help with the mental and physical recovery. Check our her c-section recovery tips here!
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. And even lifting baby usually isn’t an option, so make sure you accept help from others.
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.
It should be noted that it is preferred for women to shower after giving birth. Baths are comforting and nice but are more of a breeding ground for infection. So keep in mind that showering is probably the better choice in the first few weeks after giving birth.
Things to Be Aware of Postpartum
Postpartum Yeast Infection Symptoms
Postpartum yeast infections are very common and not something to be embarrassed about! I actually had one after I had my first child and it was torturous and I suffered for way too long before seeing my doctor! That’s why I want to make sure other women are educated and informed about them so they don’t have to go through what I did.
So what causes yeast infections? They are caused by an imbalance of acid and yeast in your vagina. It isn’t surprising that postpartum yeast infections are common because of everything going on down there during and after delivery.
Postpartum Yeast Infection Symptoms
Yeast infection symptoms to look for are:
- thick vaginal discharge that is white and looks curdled and has a breadlike smell to it
- rash on labia
If you’re wondering how to treat a postpartum yeast infection, definitely check out this website for more information.
Postpartum depression is very real and becoming less stigmatized, but it’s still important to understand what it is and what you could possibly experience as a new mother. There are definitely some strong emotional ups and downs after having a baby that are called the baby blues. This is not postpartum depression, but if the feelings of the baby blues continue and get worse, then you may be suffering from postpartum depression. Please don’t put off looking for or getting help! Moms need to be cared for too!
If you have feelings of emptiness, less or no emotion, and deep sadness all the time and it lasts for a period of time that is longer than 2 weeks, please seek help! Another symptom of postpartum depression may be feelings of not wanting to care for your baby and not feeling emotionally connected to them.
There are wonderful treatments for depression. Therapy or medicine can work wonders and keep you and your baby healthy.
Overall, make sure you have support postpartum and be willing to accept help from others! I hope these postpartum recovery care tips help you in your postpartum journey (because it isn’t always the easiest recovery, especially if we feel blindsided).
LOOKING FOR MORE POSTPARTUM TIPS?
- 10 Things I Wish I Had Known About Postpartum Recovery
- 15 Must-Have Items To Put In Your Postpartum Survival Kit
- First Time Moms Tips I Wish I Knew Sooner
- 9 Essential Tips to Help You Survive Postpartum Sleep Deprivation
What Postpartum recovery tip was most helpful to you? Tell us in the comments!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!