Beth’s Ultimate Guide to Postpartum Care

Friends, gestating a baby is hard. Getting the baby out is ridiculous no matter how you do it. But then you go home and think things will go back to normal. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, you look forward to giving birth so you can get your body back. What you don’t realize is that it will take a while for your body to recover from the epic sh*t storm that is labor. And I mean that literally. You simply won’t believe the amount of feces involved in pushing a baby out of your hoo-ha.

So I’m here to tell you about a few things you may need when you get home with your precious little one.

For your lady bits:

Adult Diapers

  • Wear to the hospital if your water breaks at home because after it breaks, it just keeps coming out because your body keeps making more of it.
  • Wear home from the hospital and for a few days afterward until the bleeding subsides a bit.
  • Wear for fun and fashion!

Giant Pads

  • You’ll need these for a week or two after you stop wearing the adult diapers.

Regular Pads

  • You may need these for several weeks after you stop wearing the giant pads. HOWEVER, they have other uses. Keep reading.
  • **THIS IS IMPORTANT**  A day or three after you get home, you will need to poop, and it will be terrifying. The poop will be hard, and you’ll feel like you are going to bust a stitch getting it out. You probably won’t bust a stitch, but seriously, it’s scary. Your pelvic floor is all stretched out and weak right now, so here’s what you do. Take one of these pads out of the wrapper, fold the wings back, and fold the whole thing in half so the sticky part is on the inside. Press it up against your lady bits to give your pelvic floor some support while you push the poop out. You may pee on your hand, but probably the pad will catch most of it, and after giving birth, you really won’t care about a little hand pee. And getting that poop out will be worth it.
  • Make some padsicles (you can also do this with the giant pads). Open the pad and apply a liberal layer of aloe vera gel all over it. Pour about a teaspoon of witch hazel (alcohol-free) over the aloe vera. Sprinkle on a few drops of lavender essential oil. Wrap the pad in aluminum foil and put it in the freezer. You can probably get all the ingredients at Whole Foods.

Tucks Pads

  • Whether you have hemorrhoids or not, witch hazel is magical.

Ice Packs

  • Steal as many of these from the hospital as you want. You have more than paid for them.

Dermaplast

  • Spray as needed.

Squirt Bottle

  • Steal this bad boy from the hospital. They will surely give you one. Use it EVERY TIME you go to the bathroom. Every time. With warm water. Every time.

Hot Bath

  • Sit in a hot bath (as hot as you can stand) for 10 minutes every day.

Boppy

  • Sit on it (you’ll need to sometimes).
  • Lay your baby on it (it’s ok that you were just sitting on it). You can do this with it around your waist during feedings, or you can lay baby’s head on the pillow and sit his/her butt in the hole so y’all can lounge on the couch together.
  • Prop your arm up with it while you hold your baby.

For pooping:

Colace (Stool Softener)

  • 100 mg at least twice a day. If you need to take 3 a day, that’s fine too.

Milk of Magnesia

  • I hope you don’t need this, but if you do, get the mint flavor, and try just 1 tbsp at first. This stuff is potent. PLEASE don’t wait until you haven’t pooped in 2 days to use this. The longer it stays in there, the worse it’s going to be coming out.

Fleet Glycerine Suppositories

  • If Colace and milk of magnesia aren’t cutting it, and if attempting to poop feels like you are giving birth all over again, Fleet glycerine suppositories may do the trick. Shove one up there, and wait at least 20 minutes. You will feel like you need to poop immediately after you put it in, but wait 20 minutes.

Fleet Enema

  • This is your last resort, but it will work. If you haven’t pooped in 4 days, and you know it’s all backed up in there, but nothing is getting it out, send your husband out for an enema, and while he’s gone, prepare yourself mentally for the test your marriage is about to go through. Then follow the instructions and enjoy the sweet relief.

For breastfeeding:

Something for Your Nipples

  • Nipple butter, lanolin, coconut oil, fancy cooling stickies…whatever floats your boat.

Lactation Cookies

  • There are a million recipes on the internet. Find one you like and chow down!

Pumping Bra

  • Or any other contraption that will let you pump hands-free. For a DIY option, just cut holes in an old sports bra, but make sure it’s one that you can get on over your ginormous nursing boobs.

For your heart/mind:

Hot Bath

  • Sit in a hot bath (as hot as you can stand) for 10 minutes every day, and just cry as much as you need to while someone else pays attention to your baby.

Be Kind to Yourself

  • This looks different for everyone, but I think a pretty universal need we have as new moms is the message that we’re doing ok as moms. It’s ok that you don’t know everything. It’s ok that your baby is crying. It’s ok that you’re tired. It’s ok that you want someone to hold your baby while you take a nap/shower/bath/drive/trip to Target alone. It’s ok that you cry every day. It’s ok that breastfeeding isn’t working. It’s ok that you still look pregnant. It’s ok that you ____________________. Seriously, if you aren’t physically harming anyone, you’re doing fine. Cut yourself some slack because you’re new at this, and it’s going to take some time to adjust. Nobody just knows how to be a mom automatically.

Ask for Help

  • Tell someone you’re struggling.
  • Ask for food.
  • Ask someone to hold your baby so you can take care of yourself.
  • Join a support group.
  • Talk to a counselor or therapist.
  • Call the pediatrician’s emergency nurse line at 3:00 a.m. because your baby “looks weird.”
  • DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT.

Nap Time = Me Time

  • When the baby is sleeping, do whatever you want. Read, take a bath, take a nap, pray, meditate, watch TV, clean. Whatever helps you relieve stress, or whatever you need to do at that moment, do it. Don’t always feel like you have to be doing something “productive.” You don’t. But if cleaning is therapeutic for you, bring your baby to my house during nap time. I’ll take care of him/her.