Finally. After 40 weeks of hairy legs, awkward sleeping and intense labor -- you're finally ready to take your little one home! But if you find yourself overwhelmed with your postpartum experience, you're not alone.
Many first-time mothers are so occupied with planning for their baby's arrival, that the discussion of after birth recovery is all but forgotten. While every woman's birthing experience is different, here's a list of post pregnancy care essentials to keep in mind. Mamas, take note!
- Ask for help, and don't be afraid to receive it. No one expects you to be Super Mom, and overexerting yourself will delay your recovery. If you have the support, graciously allow your partner, family and friends to bring you meals, run to the grocery store or do a couple loads of laundry. You're not less of a mom by accepting a helping hand!
Don't be afraid to say "no." Naturally, everyone is excited and can't wait to meet your little bundle of goodness. However, it can be exhausting to play hostess. Give yourself space when you need it, and your loved ones will understand.
- Disposable undies are your new BFF. We always advise new Mamas to grab a bunch of disposable underwear from the hospital -- they're great to have on hand during your recovery. Postpartum bleeding can last up to six weeks, so avoid the extra laundry if you can.
- Stock up on ice packs in case of tearing during birth or swelling after.
- Don't forget about hemorrhoid wipes and cream. Yes, they're common after labor...even if you have a C-section! Many Mamas swear by the power of witch hazel to relieve hemorrhoids, and we definitely recommend picking up a postpartum sitz bath that can ease hemorrhoids and help heal tears.
- Buy some super absorbent pads. It's kind of a war zone down there after birth, so be prepared! If your hospital has 'em, ask for extra thick pads to take home (some women prefer using Always overnight pads -- but anything thick, long and absorbent will do the trick). Once the heavy bleeding subsides, thinner pads and panty liners will do.
- Get your breastfeeding essentials ready! If you're planning to nurse, you'll quickly realize there's many accessories that'll follow. Start researching and shopping for all the goodies in your third trimester, so you'll be prepared when baby arrives. This includes breast pumps, a sore nipple treatment, milk pads and nursing bras (You! Lingerie has some of the prettiest nursing bras and tanks out there, btw). To boost your milk, pick up a tea to increase milk supply or look up some delicious recipes for lactation cookies and snacks.
- Take some me-time. This may be the hardest lesson new Mamas have to learn. While you may want to be there for every moment, you will quickly wear yourself down being everywhere at once. A big part of recovery is taking care of your own emotional and mental needs. Don't be afraid to treat yourself to small luxuries, whether it's a soak in the tub, a massage or catching up on "The Real Housewives..."
- Take care of your postpartum bod. Whether you have a C-section or vaginal birth, one thing is true: your body is changing once again! It's critical to begin a healthy after birth diet and proactive postpartum skin care regimen during this period. To prevent stretch marks and fade your C-section scar, we recommend choosing a belly butter treatment with safe ingredients...especially if you're breastfeeding!
What's on YOUR after pregnancy care checklist? Share below!