By Brittany, Contributing Writer
Let’s talk about postpartum healing…
So, you’re home for the first time with a brand new baby.
You’re sore and tired– as you should be! You just ran the marathon of your life. Your body was pushed to the limits and now you’re feeling it. It was so worth it though, right?
The most important thing is to relax. You need to let yourself heal. You should pretend you have the flu for a week or so and lay in bed with your brand new squish. This isn’t the time to let your pride or independence get in the way of your well-being. If someone offers to cook, clean or do a load of laundry, let them. Don’t be afraid to tell people when they’ve overstayed or ask them to keep their visits short. You are learning with this new little person and trying to establish a nursing relationship.
This cushy, perfect baby needs you.
Your breasts are aching from constant nursing; they’re swollen from your milk coming in and your nipples are throbbing from this new baby Hoover. However, you’ll want to make sure you have some ointment to help keep you comfortable. Personally, I loved Earth Mama Nipple Balm (which I LOVE because it’s organic, non-GMO and lanolin free) or just plain ol’ coconut oil.
8 Tips for Healthy Postpartum Healing
Things down south need some attention too of course! Whether you delivered vaginally or by cesarean (I’ve healed from both!) here are a few things that were lifesavers for me:
1. If you tore or had an episiotomy, squat and pee in the shower
It sounds gross but this prevents your urine from hitting those fresh wounds. My midwife told me about this and man does it change going to the bathroom when you’re newly postpartum.
2. Keep your incision clean and dry
This is important to prevent bacteria from building up around the incision. It also allows it to heal more efficiently. Don’t use any soap, just water will do.
3. If you got your placenta encapsulated (which I HIGHLY recommend), take your placenta pills regularly!!!!
This is super important. Not only will they help your milk supply but they’ll also help keep your hormones in check in those early days. My midwife brought me the placenta pills when I was three days postpartum and they helped tremendously–emotionally AND physically.
4. Listen to your doctor about lifting post-Cesarean
Don’t try to be supermom and risk opening your incision. Please don’t lift anything heavier than your baby.
5. Freeze pads with witch hazel
It is unbelievable the difference the cold and witch hazel will make with your healing mama parts.
6. Forget the big granny panties in the early days of bleeding
My midwife recommended buying Depends type undergarments instead of trying to fight with a pad to stay put in your underwear. They are much easier to deal with.
7. Stay hydrated and keep your belly full
Your body is like an engine; you need fuel to keep it running. Getting enough food and water will help your body effectively heal and run efficiently to continue to make milk.
8. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression
This is the most important. PPD is not all “thoughts of hurting your baby.” It’s hopelessness, anger, anxiety, lack of motivation or desire to continue with your daily life and overwhelming sadness. If you start to feel like this, it’s important to reach out to your doctor or midwife. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can read more about postpartum depression.
It’s a huge transition going from woman, girlfriend, fiancé or wife to Mom. Reach out to other Moms. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty glass; you need to take care of yourself, too, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Please don’t feel guilty for needing a minute to yourself. Remember that you’re not alone in this transition, we’ve all got your back!