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June 29, 2021
In our last blog post we talked about preparing for the baby's arrival and what to pack in your hospital bag. This post is all about postpartum care and how to prep for what’s to come (forewarning, it can get messy). If this is your first baby, I’m sure you’re scared and trying to figure out how you can just keep the baby inside (hint: we tried, you can’t). So, read on for ways to make this healing process more comfortable.
First, we should note, we feel there’s a lack of information helping women properly prepare for their healing bodies once home. So much emphasis goes into labor prep, cute nursery decor, and caring for your newborn, but the postpartum care part is often overlooked. We get it, it’s not as fun and cute as shopping for new baby clothes, but YOUR body is important and it’s crucial to have a healthy body in order to care for your fresh baby. Birth might be the end of your pregnancy, but once the baby comes out, everything does not just magically get tied up with a bow and you’re good to go. There’s healing, lots of healing that needs to happen.
In the US, it’s common to leave the hospital and not see your doctor or midwife for 6 whole weeks. This appointment is usually the checkup to make sure everything has healed and your lady parts are given the A-ok check mark, but in other parts of the world (i.e. Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands) a midwife will pay visits to the new mom and check on the healing process throughout this fourth trimester after the baby is born. We’re missing this key component in the US and are expected to self diagnose any issues. It’s key to not only be prepared, but also advocate for yourself if you feel like things just don’t seem right or you're uncomfortable.
With all that being said, we’re here to help take all that pre-labor jitter energy and utilize it to turn you into a prepared-postpartum ninja. The thing about labor is, especially for a first time mama, you don’t know exactly what’s gonna go down, or how things are going to come out. Long labor, short labor, induction, stitches, tears, cesarean… all of these possibilities play a part in your recovery process. It’s best to over prepare before the baby arrives, so you don’t have to have instacart deliver stool softeners and adult diapers at 2 am.
Now, if money is no object, hire a postpartum doula and you can stop reading right here. Postpartum doulas are amazing and can help with infant care (so you can sleep), help make you feel more comfortable during your healing process, educate you on this tiny being you brought home, and do some work around the house so you can focus on the baby. Dona.org is a good place to start when looking for a trained doula.
Now, for our list of postpartum care list... We’ve broken this down into the major categories that will need your attention LADY PARTS, BOOBS, OTHER BODY PARTS, SLEEP, EAT. Each section has a checklist of items to have on hand.
This is the area that presumably needs the most TLC. It doesn’t matter how smooth your labor and delivery are, if you deliver vaginally, you are going to be sore and need some care items on hand.
Your precious little baby will show you no mercy when it comes to those feeding machines.
Get yourself the following items:
OTHER BODY PARTS
This is so important. You need all the sleep you can get, when you can get it. Let people help you so you can sleep. If you need to sleep with one eye open to keep an eye on your precious baby, so be it, just make sure you get your zzzzs.
You need to eat well and eat often. Your body is in recovery mode, plus your child is draining you (just a glimpse of the next 18+ years). When people come to visit the baby, make sure they have food with them, or they’re not allowed in. The hospital will give you a water jug that is so big it puts a big gulp to shame. Take this home with you and make sure it’s always full. This giant jug of water is now your second baby, it goes where you go.