|From left to right: Preparation H (was lucky not to need it), hospital mesh undies and flat pads, herbal sitz bath, Earth Mama Bottom Spray (did not need it), peri bottles, Always Maxi Pads|
People say that mothers-to-be take a lot of time to prepare for childbirth and not enough on postpartum.
I agree 100% !!
I did prepare a little bit for my postpartum, but I wish I had thought of doing more especially since I had a C-section.
Here are the things that helped me tremendously during my recovery:
-Giant hospital mesh underwear with giant flat pads: I read a few blogs about postpartum recovery that hospital would supply me with giant mesh underwear and giant pads. I laughed! I laughed hard and exclaimed to G that I would NEVER wear those hideous things! I went to mall and bought myself giant underwear for the hospital. When I was recovering in the hospital after the C-section, I was too tired and sore to reach for my giant underwear in my bag so the nurse pulled out the mesh panties with the pads and helped me dress myself. Oh Lordy! They felt super comfy even with the giant pads!! I was so surprised!! The mesh panties also did not interfere with my C-section scar and I liked that I could throw them away after use. When I got home, I still used the mesh panties (the nurses gave me so much of them!), but I was curious and tried the underwear with the Always Maxi pads I bought. I was not comfortable. The underwear lines would dig in my scar and it made me sore. I wore the mesh panties again and I was back in heaven. Ahhhh…
-Peri bottles: this really helped, especially since I could not bend well with my C-section scar. It was easier to clean my “lady bits” after using the bathroom. Sorry TMI! The nurses recommended I filled it with just water, but the OB/GYN told me I could mix water and the herbal sitz mix (see next item) for an extra healing cleanse. I stuck with just using water.
-Herbal sitz bath: I was browsing several blog posts about postpartum recovery and essentials, and I stumbled upon this gem. The herbs inside the blend are supposed to help you heal faster. You can make your own blend with the herbs you want. I had a gift card from Terra20 and I ordered mine online. Mine came with a little bag and I would fill it and plop it in my bathtub so I would soak myself entirely. I am not sure if it made me heal faster, but it definitely gave me the comfort I needed and my scar and “lady bits” were not as sore. I tried to do one bath a day, but I think I was able to achieve one bath every once awhile. It would definitely relax me.
-Advil/Tylenol: I heard that some OB/GYN would prescribe Percocet for pain after a C-section but it would restrict breastfeeding so I was definitely scared. However, the OB/GYN at the hospital told me that Canadian recommendation was to stick to Advil and Tylenol. Phewww!! During my recovery, I would be awoken at different times so I would take my meds and change my pads (the nurses would help me get in the shower in the morning so I could refresh myself and clean my scar). When I got home, I made sure to keep up with the pain meds. One day, I wondered what happened if I skipped one dose. Ohhh wrong thing to do! I felt the rush of pain! I was crippled! Luckily, G helped me rush to bed and fed me the pills. After that, I made DAMN SURE to take them at their regular time. At my 6 weeks postpartum, I felt a bit better and reduce the amount I would take. A few weeks later, I stopped taking them. Lesson of the story: if the doctor tells you to take the pills, take the pills and make sure you have a timer on your phone/watch so you don’t forget!
-Water bottle: I read that water was very useful on replenishing my milk supply when breastfeeding. Also I get extremely thirsty when I am breastfeeding. I decided to use a BPA water bottle on my bedside so I would not be too sleep deprived to forget to drink during the middle of the nights feedings.
-Nursing tanks/bras: I saved and splurged at the same time for those. I bought 3 (2 grey ones for being lazy at home and 1 black one for going out when I want to feel “fancy”) nursing tanks at Target from the Gilligan & O’Malley line. They are comfy and long enough for extra coverage of my booty (you do it too! Don’t judge lol!). As for my bras, I bought them at a maternity store called Milkface in Ottawa (the bran is Cake) and they are very comfy and breathable. They look and feel like sport bras which appeal to me, especially since I need my “girls” to be in place when I go to bed. One of the best advices I took was to wait until your milk comes in before buying a maternity bra so you will know what your size is when your breasts are full. You don’t want a nursing tank/bra to be too tight (you will get plugged ducts or being constantly sore and uncomfortable) or too loose (you don’t want your breasts flinging everywhere, do you?)
-Lounge/yoga pants/pjs: I bought them at Giant Tiger and Target on sale. I made sure to buy loose ones so I can be comfortable and they don’t bother my C-section scar.
-Button-down shirts: this is based on personal choice, but I love the shirts at Old Navy and how easy it is to nurse in them so nobody has to see my mid-waist and it can be somewhat discreet when I don’t feel like using one of the muslin covers to cover myself.
-Nipple cream: I have mixed feelings about this. I used Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple butter on the early days. Then Baby H and I developed a thrush infection. The lactation specialist told me I needed to make sure there was not too much moisture on my nipples after I applied the nipple cream and used the nipple pads, and I needed to let them air dry more often. She recommended I use my own milk on my nipples after I fed Baby H. It worked. I feel like the cream helped a lot in the beginning and now no need to use it anymore. Every situation is different so make sure you have a cream on hand just in case and adjust the use as you go.
-Disposable nursing pads: I was going back and forth between disposable and reusable pads. Because I leaked A LOT (still leak at times), I am glad I chose the disposable pads. I know!! Sorry Mother Earth!! It is easier for me, especially in the middle of the night when I feel a wet spot on my chest. I can just throw the soaked one, grab a new one, and go to bed.
-Freeze meals: this should be at the top of the list!! Regardless of your situation, you need freezer meals so when you/partner are too lazy to cook anything, you can pull a meal out, heat it up in oven or microwave, and eat. Time is precious, especially when you have a little one crying for you and you are trying to decide between a shower and a meal if you have 10 mins to spare. G and I made a few freezer meals for breakfast and lunch/dinner. However, one or two meals were unsuccessful as they were not as tasty as we thought (whomp whomp!). We were lucky as my mom was here a few months and cooked a lot. When she left, we had the freezer meals to rely on until we felt somewhat better to cook again.
-Netflix/Hulu/ lots of DVDs/board games: G is still on parental leave until June. It is great to have him home to help out and see Baby H grow. However, it has been tough being home in this winter when it is impossible for us to go for a walk when the temperature is in the negative double digits. I mean we went out for doctor appointments, errands, and such, but we had to make sure to bundle Baby H pretty darn well like a burrito. While we wait for the single digits for walks around our neighborhood, we binge-watched a lot of shows on Netflix and Hulu. We re-watched movies from G’s movie collection and played a lot of board games (I am still working on beating G at Scrabble!).
Another important tip essential to postpartum that my midwife gave me: BE KIND TO YOURSELF MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY! You have gone through being pregnant for 9 months or so. It will take around the same amount or more for you to be exactly back to yourself (if you are one of those super-moms to recover super-fast, kudos to you!). Enjoy your baby, re-discover yourself as a person, and work out new routines with your partner. I am amazed to see how Baby H has been growing. I am more amazed that G and I have not lost our minds completely. I mean, don’t get me wrong! We still have fights (some of them stupid, my bad!), sleepless nights, dealing with fussy and constipated/gassy baby, but we still make sure to help each other get breaks when we need it. It is tough at times, but we take it day by day.