When you’re pregnant you go through boat loads of articles and books to help you prepare for a healthy pregnancy, labor, and baby. However, so many soon-to-be mommies forget to prepare for postpartum. The postpartum period is rough, and you’re going to have a little person depending on you. It’s hard with the hormone fluctuations, your body hurts in so many different ways, you’re exhausted from lack of sleep. A little self-care during this time means you’ll be better equipped to handle your new little bundle in a healthy and positive way.
These 9 things will help you prepare for postpartum so you can actually enjoy your new baby!
A good prenatal vitamin
Nourish you and your baby
Your body just went through 9 months of nourishing an entire other human being, so keep taking your prenatal vitamins. Have a stock of them handy. I recommend these. I’ve taken them for 2 1/2 years straight. (I’ve had 2 babies in that time) I like them because they’re made from whole food sources so your body digests them better and contain useful herbs like red raspberry leaf (great for the uterus) and ginger (great for nausea). You need all the nourishment you can get to heal your body, and if you’re breastfeeding, to nourish your baby.
Prevent Postpartum Depression
You also need a good Omega 3 vitamin. Other than being an essential nutrient for good health, it can help greatly reduce the chance of postpartum depression and anxiety. You need an Omega 3 supplement that contains both EPA and DHA. You can read more about the science of all of it here. I like Nordic Naturals, these ones are specifically designed for the postpartum period and the doses are high enough to help stabilize postpartum moods. (good for babies brain too!)
Personal Care Products
Stock up on pads, and make sure they are good ones! You’re going to be bleeding for 2-6 weeks (crazy.) Anyway, you’re going to need enough pads to last you at least a month. You’re not going to want to run out to grab more two weeks after having a baby.
Prevent Terrible Adult Diaper Rash
Also, something that no one warned me about was that wearing a pad for 3-4 weeks nonstop can give you a terrible adult sized diaper rash. If you’ve never had the pleasure of this, it is terrible! I cannot emphasize this enough! On top of having stitches, my skin got excoriated from the constant moisture. The pain was so bad I literally cried. (I have a pretty high pain tolerance, & very rarely cry.)
The only comfortable pads were the ones I snagged from the hospital, they were super soft, fluffy cotton ones. Nothing resembling the ones in the grocery store. Grab as many as you can in the hospital. I searched the internet everywhere on where to get these things, no success.
I bought these organic cotton ones, but they weren’t very absorbent. (Better than the ones I had though, perfect for the last week or so.) If I had to do it over again, I’d try these. They look similar to the ones the hospital had and they are well reviewed. An even better option is to use prefold cloths. Get bamboo or cotton, and you shouldn’t this problem. Just be prepared to wash laundry often. Whatever pads you do get, stay away from anything scented. It can make a bad situation worse, very quickly.
Stop Postpartum bleeding sooner with Red raspberry leaf tea
I feel like I talk about red raspberry leaf all-the-time, but it’s such a good pregnancy and postpartum herb! It was one of my top herbal teas to drink during my pregnancy. I seriously attribute my second super fast labor to this stuff. It’s great postpartum too, as it helps your uterus heal up quicker and helps slow your bleeding faster too. I buy mine through bulk herb store. I’m a huge loose-leaf fan, but if tea bags are more your thing then I recommend this brand. Other than Numi, it’s one of the only tea bag brands I trust.
*Please note, this is not raspberry flavored tea. This is made from the leaves of the raspberry bush. It tastes similar to black tea.
Postpartum herbal healing bath & Sitz Bath
I have no idea why these aren’t wildly popular. This was single-handedly my favorite way to help heal postpartum. Prepare yourself an herbal bath mix and you will thank yourself profusely afterward. The herbs in this mix all serve different purposes to help heal your exhausted body. It helps relax tense and sore muscles from labor and helps heal your body. You can read more about all the amazing benefits here and how to make your own super healing bath. (It may seem like a hassle, but oh my gosh it’s amazing!) These baths helped me feel better physically and emotionally. It was my “me time” each day, and water is therapeutic and I think it really helped heal my postpartum body so much!
If making your own doesn’t interest you, you can find a great pre-made mix on Amazon here. This mix is similar to the DIY version, with out the DIY!
Comfrey helps aid in wound healing. You can make comfrey poultices (an herb-filled bandage) with comfrey and gauze to stick in the freezer before birth. Then take one out and apply it to your wounded area a couple times a day to speed up healing. You can get comfrey from bulk herb store (my preferred place for my herbs) or on amazon.
Simply grind the herbs a bit with just a tiny bit of water. Fold them into a gauze pad, and pop them in the freezer.
Witch hazel pads
Witch hazel has been a go-to for many postpartum mothers. It helps soothe swollen tissues. This will help big time for decreasing swelling on your under-bits and any hemroids you may have gotten during pushing. I like this one as it has organic aloe gel in it, is unscented and alcohol-free. Which ever witch hazel you choose to get, make sure it’s both alcohol-free and unscented. One high in alcohol will burn. Take a pack of cotton pads and place them in a container and put enough witch hazel that they soak them up, then place them in your fridge. Put one or two on your pad after you go to the bathroom. The cold will help decrease the swelling. This is like a DIY version of Tucks pads.
Have coconut oil handy
Or any oil you prefer really, almond oil and olive oil make great alternatives. I just really love me some coconut oil. You can apply the oil to your damaged under bits after your amazing herbal bath. This will keep the area hydrated and you’ll be less likely to pop a stitch. If you get hemorrhoids this will make the area so much easier to keep clean after you use the bathroom (as in wiping.)
I actually used coconut oil for every diaper change on my baby for the same reason. If you keep that bum oily you’ll never have any problem wiping the poop off. Makes diaper changes that much faster.
My baby belly was huge. My abdominal muscles were very weak after birth. I had no core strength. This abdominal binder helped me get in and out of bed a lot easier and quicker. It is suppose to help your core muscles heal fast and better. I had less back pain when I wore it too. I used this binder. It is inexpensive, and after 2 months straight of wearing it, it did start to unravel a bit at the seams. But I wore it every day, all day, all night. I only removed it to shower.
Prepare a breastfeeding kit
If you are going to prepare for postpartum, you need to prepare for breastfeeding too. Make yourself a nice area where you can keep all your breastfeeding essentials handy. I’ve seen where some women keep everything in a nice basket that they can carry with them to other rooms. I kept all my stuff in a little drawer, whatever works for you. Make sure to keep little snacks in there too. I loved the Larabars as a quick snack (Made with only natural ingredients, and excellent for a quick energy boost!) They’re healthy and nutritious and keep your blood sugar up (because 5 minutes into a feed, you’ll suddenly feel like you are starving.) Bananas are good snack too.
P.S. Get these Handy Breastfeeding Printables for Free!