I felt like when I got pregnant, everyone talked about what pregnancy is like for all 3 trimesters and what delivery is like (the good, bad and ugly) – but not a lot of people talked about what postpartum was like on their bodies. And surprise surprise, it was one of the biggest parts about having Penelope that I was scared of.
As my pregnancy progressed from the first to the second to the third trimester, my sense of fear of what my life would be like in the 4-6 weeks after I gave birth to Penny was growing. How bad does everything hurt? How long does it hurt for? How could I possibly take care of her if I was going to be such a mess? What can I do to make it less painful?
Now that I’ve healed, and Penny is 9 weeks old (um can time slow down please???) I wanted to share the knowledge I received from friends, YouTube, blog posts and website articles and what worked and didn’t work for me! (I’m spilling some details, so if you think that might gross you out – you might wanna skip these.) Also, if you’d like to read about my labour & delivery, click here!
MY POSTPARTUM RECOVERY
It’s been 9 weeks since I gave birth and I’m happy to say I feel 100% like my old self, just with a baby! The first week of recovery was really tough – I had third degree internal and external tearing. I was in a LOT of pain – sitting down was excruciating, I could barely walk, and trying to navigate motherhood while trying to take care of myself was hard. Thankfully Pete ended up taking 3 weeks off of work which was honestly the best thing ever. After the first week, I felt way better! I could walk and sit down with minimal discomfort which was an amazing feeling. I’d say by the third week, I felt a lot more like my old self – almost no discomfort with my stitches, the bleeding had lightened up a lot and we were getting a handle on being new parents.
I think a lot of help came from preparing as much as I could beforehand with the things below. I didn’t do much, because as a first time mom I didn’t know what to expect, but what I did prepare really helped me out!!
One of the first things I did when I was prepping for my postpartum was make a postpartum basket for each of our bathrooms. It housed a bunch of different kinds of pads to accommodate my healing body and I made sure to buy varying absorbencies to ensure I would be the most comfortable at all stages of recovery. After doing some research, I decided to buy (I bought mine from our grocery store, but linked everything on Amazon since they have everything):
- Depends underwear – I bought these and wore them the first week after Penny was born. I had researched and gotten feedback from other moms that these were a necessity for right after their babies were born. My body was just starting to heal, so the absorbency that these provided were an absolute lifesaver. They were also super comfy! I wore a pair leaving the hospital and continued using them for a week. After about a week, I used these as underwear, and wore a pad inside it.
- Pads, heavy overnight – These were for phase two of recovery. Once the heavy bleeding stopped, I transitioned over to these inside the Depends. They added the protection I needed, and allowed me to still feel like I was protected. I used these for 4 or 5 days. I also used these to make “padsicles” (see below for a better description)
- Pads, overnight – As my body continued to heal, I continued to downgrade the absorbency levels of the pads I was wearing. These were slightly less bulky than the heavy overnight, which made them a bit slimmer making me feel more like myself.
- Pads, light – These were great for in between the thicker pads and liners. Again, just another way for me to continue to feel comfortable as my body healed, and the absorbency needs changed.
- Liners – I am still using these! They’re so thin and comfy, they provide just that little bit of extra coverage I want, just in case. Because this is my first, I’m not 100% sure I’m done recovering so these make me feel a bit more comfortable knowing there’s something there protecting my underwear. The liners also helped before Penny was born, since I had gotten a few membrane sweeps leading up to the delivery I had some spotting that these took care of!
OTHER BODY CARE
Make padsicles!! The term sounds silly but honestly they made a world of a difference. I took some of the pads from my postpartum baskets, opened them up, poured some witch hazel onto them and popped them into a freezer bag in the freezer. Witch hazel helps to reduce swelling which in turn reduces pain and can also help stop minor bleeding you are definitely prone to as a new mom. I honestly LOVED the padsicles – they offered instant cooling but also still had a lot of absorbency. It’s like an ice pack that helps reduce swelling and pain – a MUST for postpartum. If you didn’t want to make padsicles, you could also just add some witch hazel to a pad before you put it on to help with swelling – I kept my witch hazel in the fridge for extra cooling comfort. I also doubled up sometimes too!! A padsicle fresh out of the freezer with extra witch hazel was a dream.
I stole a peri bottle from the hospital to help keep myself clean (since you can’t wipe). This is essential, and I was still using 6 weeks postpartum because wiping sometimes made me nervous still and it’s refreshing! TIP – steal as much as you can from the hospital!
Of course I bought comfy clothes all throughout my pregnancy (because who wants to wear jeans when you don’t have to??) but I made sure to think about things I would want to wear immediately after having her. Stretchy fabrics, pants with really adjustable waistlines, shirts I could wear during the day if we left the house but also worked for nursing.
One of the first things I bought second-hand was this Francis and Henry Nursing Dress. I wore this all throughout my pregnancy as a nightgown, took it with me to the hospital and wore it around the house after Penny was born. It’s really stretchy which was perfect for my growing bump, and is now perfect for pumping. If buying brand new, it’s expensive but honestly I’ve worn it so much I’d recommend buying this one OR something similar – it’s just so soft and I love it!!
Plush Sweatshirt (sold out)- I bought these in dark grey and cream with the matching Plush Harem Joggers, and basically lived in them, especially when I was put on medical leave. They are SO comfy and since the tops are stretchy, they’re perfect for when I need to pump. The waistband on the pants was loose enough that it never felt uncomfortable, and since they’re harem style, they provide a bit more room than regular yoga pants would – perfect for postpartum!
Plush Waffle Knot top (sold out but linked a similar one) – these I bought specifically for post-delivery for nursing. Again, SO stretchy and SO comfy, they make the perfect nursing tops!! I bought mine in the mustard and rust colour and they are amazing.
Postpartum was a rollercoaster for me, between all the emotions and my body recovering – but these things helped make it a bit easier. Hopefully any tips you take away from this help you. Good luck mama!