January 17, 2022
Written By: Mary Lawless Lee
YOU DID IT. After 9 (long) months of pregnancy, labor, and delivery, you’ve done the hard (and amazing!!!) work to finally meet your baby! Now begins the new journey of the 4th trimester of recovery and healing. It seems there are endless resources to help prepare you and your partner for pregnancy and life with a newborn, however, when it comes to postpartum that’s not always the case.
My second pregnancy and recovery have been very different from the first, including my feelings towards healing and my body. “Bouncing back” is no longer my focus. Health, recovery, and bonding with our new family of FOUR are my priorities. There are many transformations that you’ll experience during postpartum and while it’s hard and frustrating at times be patient and kind to yourself. It’s truly unbelievable what our bodies are capable of.
SO…how to prepare for postpartum. I’ve made a list of my recovery must-haves, including those tips only your trusted mom communities would know. It’s a wild and unique journey, thankfully we have each other!
This is where the journey to Nemah began. We wanted to create this safe space for all mamas to come talk about these topics of motherhood and family life.
"There are many transformations that you’ll experience during postpartum and while it’s hard and frustrating at times be patient and kind to yourself. It’s truly unbelievable what our bodies are capable of."
SOOTHING ‘DOWN THERE’
- Cooling wipes – really great to help ease vaginal pain and discomfort.
- Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads
- Frida Mom Witch Hazel Cooling Wipe/Pad Liners
- Honey Post Soothing Mommy-To-Be Wipes
- Postpartum pads – right after birth, and for the first 2-3 weeks, unfortunately regular pads won’t cut. You’ll need more heavy-duty, overnight pads.
- Frida Mom Ice Maxi Pads – absorbent with a cool pack for relief
- Medline Adhesive Cold Packs
- Honey Pot Postpartum Herbal Pads
- NatraCare Pads
- Postpartum briefs – Postpartum briefs hold everything in place including stitches, ultra-thick postpartum pads, and that unavoidable discharge post pregnancy.
- Frida Mom Briefs– these are THE most comfortable I’ve tried. LOVE THEM.
- Washable Mesh Briefs – a great reusable option!
- Peri bottle – after birth you can’t wipe in the first few weeks while you’re healing, so you’ll need this to keep things clean. The hospital with usually give you one but these favorites make the task a lot easier:
- Nursing bras & tanks – if you’re breastfeeding or pumping you’ll likely be doing it every couple of hours in the beginning, so easy access with all tops and bras is a necessity.
- Nursing pads – as you’re nursing you’ll frequently leak milk. These nursing pads are great options to just slip into your bra.
- Warm breast pads – INSTANT RELIEF for breastfeeding – seriously these are a lifesaver! They warm sore breasts, help speed up milk flow and loosen blockages + clogged ducts, which can be really painful!
- Milk storage freezer bags – if you’re breastfeeding and pumping you’ll want to save as much milk as you can in between feedings. I like these because they can be stored laying flat or standing up. This freezer storage container also helps keep frozen breastmilk organized by date.
- Nipple balm -an absolute must! We haven’t officially announced, but for over a year now I’ve been working on developing MY OWN line of nipple balm, stretch, and scar formulas!! I’ve used them all through my pregnancy with Indie and can testify to the results myself =)) I could talk about it for hours and I can’t wait to share more about it THIS SUMMER. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been using:
- Prenatal/Postnatal vitamins – it’s important to continue taking your prenatal vitamins throughout the fourth trimester; your body will need all the nutrients and boost it can get while breastfeeding and recovering.
- Perelel Health – I’ve taken these throughout my pregnancy. They’re specifically dosed vitamins for each stage from conception to postpartum. I’m currently taking the Mom Multi Support Pack and will continue for as long as I’m breastfeeding!
- Ritual Essential Prenatal – I used Ritual as my prenatal vitamins with Navy and loved it. I also take their daily multivitamins when I’m not pregnant. Great option if you’re dealing with nausea/vomiting since they are lemon enteric coated.
- New Chapter Postnatal MultiVitamin – a 3-in-1 multivitamin that’s another great option.
- Healthy snacks – breastfeeding seriously makes me RAVENOUS..I can’t stop SNACKING. It’s important to eat foods high in fiber and protein while healing and breastfeeding. I also try to include foods that aid in increasing my milk supply. Currently my top 5 snacks are…
- Lactation cookies – these Miracle Milkookies are seriously AMAZING you guys!! They have a Klean cookie which is dairy free, gluten free, soy free and vegan and tastes so, so good! I seriously can’t get enough of these AND I’m noticing a boost in my milk supply. Check, check!
- Brewer’s yeast – not a snack but since using it, I’ve noticed it has helped improve my milk supply! Currently putting this on and in smoothies, muffins, granola…EVERYTHING.
- Oatmeal – oats help boost milk supply and keeps me fuller longer (I also add brewer’s yeast to this!)
- Fresh fruit and cottage cheese
- Raw veggies and hummus
- Stay hydrated – WATER, WATER, WATER…preaching to myself here! This is the key to breastfeeding. Here are some of my fav water bottles that encourage timely water consumption!
- Belly wrap – I started using a belly binder about 1 week after delivery with Navy and Indie to support my abdomen has it heals. I’ve had friends experience Diastasis recti (or abdominal separation) and while this doesn’t directly prevent it from happening it definitely made me feel better supported. I’m currently using Belly Bandit but also heard good things about these as well:
- Stool softeners – having your first bowel movement after birth can feel DAUNTING, especially if you delivered vaginally. Your doctor will likely write a script but you can also just get these over the counter. A few good options:
- Pain relievers – headaches are a common side effect after an epidural or spinal block. I experienced them with both of my pregnancies around day 4 to 2 weeks. Thankfully the pain was relieved by extra strength Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Good idea to have these on hand for headaches as well as afterbirth pains.
TIPS & ADVICE
- Bathroom setup/Postpartum caddy – a friend recommended this to me with my first pregnancy and it’s super handy to do prior to baby! Have a postpartum caddy setup with all your healing essentials in your most frequently used bathrooms. I just stocked this Skip Hop diaper caddy and it worked great! What you’ll need:
- What to keep at your bedside table – my nightstand looks VERY different than it did 2 weeks ago. Between late/early feedings, constant diaper changes, and intense night sweats, I keep anything and everything I may need easily accessible. Here’s what I have bedside:
- Water bottle
- Haakaa breast pump
- Hand held pump
- Books – I keep some of my newborn resource books by the bed to reference:
- Latch – I read this before having Navy and have referenced it many times throughout breastfeeding with Indie.
- Baby 411 – a great quick reference for all things newborn and baby.
- Nurture – a great all encompassing resource for a start to finish prenatal to postpartum journey. Great tips from pregnancy and birthing, to postpartum self care, and caring for a newborn in the first few weeks.
- Moms on Call – Quick easy read for sleep training and more! We followed this with Navy and she was sleeping through the night by 4 weeks. We’ll start this with Indie at 3 weeks.
- SNACKS – I typically keep 2-3 snacks by my bed to eat while I’m up through the night. My go to’s are peanut butter pretzels and a banana
- Pain reliever
- Extra pacifier
- Diaper caddy with diapers and wipes