So, you’ve made it through those nausea-laden early days, done your best to get comfy sleep, and prepared your body – baby – for labor and delivery. In today’s post – our final one of the series – we’ll look at how to have the comfiest first days/weeks at home after baby is born.
Whether you’ve had a “natural” delivery or c-section, your body is coursing with adrenaline mixed with all kinds of other hormones that will help you forget the delivery, bond with baby, and recover. I’ve had three children: one natural, vaginal delivery and two c-sections. One for fetal distress and one for failure to progress; both were emergency in nature. So you could say I’ve seen it all, been through it all. And I’ve seen other mama’s go through it all and then some; and I’ve seen some take less than stellar care of themselves afterwards (myself included!).
So, how do you have the comfiest first days/weeks possible? Here are my top, tried and true picks for having the comfiest days after:
1. Frozen Peas and Refrigerated Witch Hazel Pads – If you’ve had a vaginal delivery, they are likely going to suggest you ice yourself a few times a day for the first few days. Might I introduce my best friend: a bag of frozen peas. Yep. Wrap them in a thin kitchen towel and use that instead of ice or frozen pack. It molds nicely to your body without any pesky sharp edges. I keep a bag in my freezer labeled “MEDICAL” (so we don’t cook them after they’ve been out several times to ice someone). We use them for head bonks, banged knees, etc as well. Then, take a tub of medicated pads; either witch hazel or hemorrhoid pads and put them in the fridge. As your layer up your pad each time you go to the bathroom, line these on the top of your pad where they will come in contact with your body. They soothe and help reduce pain and swelling. Seriously, sent from heaven!
2. Water – chug it, chug it, then chug some more. Whether or not you are breastfeeding, you need more water than you might think. I carry a handled jug with a lid and straw; keep it next to my bed at night so as baby is feeding, I am hydrating. Drink it up!!
3. Gentle Walking – this one is especially helpful if you’ve had a c-section. The last thing you want to do is walk, but try to do it a few times a day. Nothing major – just down the hall and back once or twice. Getting your body moving will help all your other systems moving and will speed the healing process. Just don’t overdo it like I did. The day after I got home from my first c-section I took a 20 minute walk around the block. I was feeling good, and going a bit cabin crazy, so I got out. By the time I got back I was wrecked and it took a couple of days to rebound. So try to find the balance.
4. Stool Softeners – Ask for them in the hospital/birth center if they are not offered to you. They really will work wonders. If you don’t want to take a medicinal stool softener, try drinking a cocktail of warmed prune juice mixed with apple juice once a day. You might also try yogurts that help the digestive process. But believe me, the last thing you want to do after pushing a baby out, or having a c-section, is worry about the dreaded first poo – and I’m not talking about baby’s!
5. REST – I saved this for last because I think it is the most important. Rest, rest, rest. More than you think you need to, more than you think you should. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Accept help from friends and family to bring meals, wash dishes, or even watch the baby an hour so you can sleep. Don’t go grocery shopping the day you come home from the hospital. Don’t try to be Susie Homemaker so your house is sparkling for guests coming to gush over baby. Don’t feel you have to entertain – or even accept – said guests! Better to rest too much (as if there is such a thing) now, than to do too much and burn out and end up in the hospital with heavy bleeding, a torn incision, or severe sleep deprivation. Your only priorities these first few days and weeks is taking care of yourself, and that sweet baby – yes, in that order.
I could go on and on, but these are my top 5 most favorite ways to make those first days and weeks home with baby the comfiest possible. How about you? What things helped you be the comfiest after baby came along?