Hi friends! Feels good to write a post here and there while still soaking up these first few weeks of motherhood.
As discussed in Willow’s birth story, a lot of the things that I feared the most ended up going so smoothly. Postpartum care also falls under this, because it really wasn’t as scary as I had always heard. Physically, I was fortunate to not have major tearing or any other issues, so it was pretty straightforward care. But aside from physical care, it is extremely important to care for your mental and emotional state. This was the hard part for me, but I’ll save that for another post. For now, I wanted to share some of the ways that I was able to stay comfortable and get through those first few crazy weeks. When it feels overwhelming, just remember that it is temporary. I had to tell myself this quite a few times. So if that is how you feel, the good news is, the weeks fly by.
Onto what worked for me :)
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I’ll receive a commission if you purchase from this link. This will not change or increase the cost of your purchase. This extra income provides for my family and keeps The Friendly Fig running strong.
Wear comfortable nursing tanks.
I currently live in nursing tank tops and I love it. They are super comfortable, look nice, and the best case scenario for breastfeeding. My favorites are these iLoveSIA nursing tanks in all black. They are stretchy enough to formfit my constantly changing body but also great at sucking everything in and keeping me “in place.” They have padding that can be removed (I personally felt more comfortable without the padding). The best is that they look good with everything, and I’m excited to pair them with all my favorite cardigans and zip-up hoodies this season.
I also stocked up on some by Jessica Simpson. They have a pretty lace trim and are super soft.
Use/make recommended products for easier recovery.
I made the mistake of stocking up on postpartum essentials. The hospital provided me with everything I need (and sent me home with a ton of extras!) You may want to ask if your hospital will provide, as well. But at any rate, they sent me home with mesh undies (not as bad as you’d think), tons of pads, dermoplast, tucks pads, hemorrhoid cream, a peri bottle, and ice packs. They also provided stool softeners, but I bought my own to use at home, too. Trust me, you’ll need them.
Having all of this at my disposal made the whole recovery so much easier.
I personally loved this postpartum recovery belt. It was inexpensive and helped me feel much more “put together” after the first few days home from the hospital. Some of these products can get really expensive, but I don’t think it is worth dishing out a ton. This one worked perfect for me.
Even if that just means your fitted nursing tank with some leggings, getting out of your pajamas and ready for the day will do wonders for your mood and mental state. I may be home, but I still get dressed each morning to start the day. It brings a sense of normalcy and has kept me from “losing myself.”
Bathe – in some way, shape, or form.
Even if you are not leaving the house, take a shower if you can. Or buy some body wash wipes and give yourself a quick wash. It keeps you feeling yourself.
Get some fresh air.
Put baby in a carrier/sling or stroller and hit the neighborhood. Or if you are still early on in the postpartum process and shouldn’t be walking/exercising much yet, just take a quick step outside of your home. Being outdoors and breathing in the fresh air is something you just can’t explain… but man, it will improve your overall mood. Even just 10 minutes!
Drink plenty of water.
It’s that simple, folks. Keep a large reusable bottle next to you at all times – especially when breastfeeding. Not only does it help flush out your body and keep your milk supply going strong, but it is just so good for you. It keeps you feeling refreshed, improves your skin, and keeps you from feeling sluggish. Water. All. Day. Long.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Whether that means help cleaning the house or turning to a breastfeeding consultant. If something is stressing you out and you could receive help accomplishing it, ask. They say it “takes a village” to raise a child. Turn to the women in your life that can be that for you.
For me, this is my mother. She is always there when I need her, whether that means coming over to play with Willow while I sneak in a quick nap or just help with the laundry. Even just an hour or two being able to rest undisturbed will be enough.
I know everyone is very excited to come see the baby – it’s a huge deal. However, I found that having a lot of visitors all the time really overwhelmed me. I was especially sensitive and my mood/hormones were everywhere. I was crying a ton, and just not in the best place to have company at all times. If you do have visitors, make sure you limit to maybe one set of visitors a day and for only an hour or so. Between the mood swings, breastfeeding on demand, and just the general whirlwind of emotions… you’ll thank me later. My best days during recovery were days spent with just Willow and my husband.
Keep easy snacks for yourself within reach.
If you are breastfeeding, this is especially important – you’ll be so hungry! I was fortunate enough to have my mom bring over a ton of homemade meals for us and was always well fed. I also kept clif bars, larabars, energy balls, and other quick snacks on hand. The quicker and easier it is to eat, the better.
Care for your boobs + be kind to yourself.
Breastfeeding is hard – I won’t sugarcoat it. Sure, it is a natural thing, but it does take some practice and getting to know one another. Both you and baby are doing this for the very first time, so it doesn’t always go as smooth as one would think. I had a lot of trouble the first couple days, and finally started to get the hang of it by day 4-5. And to be 100% honest with you, I didn’t enjoy it until about weeks 6-7 (and now I truly do enjoy it). It is tiring. It is taxing. You may feel like a milk machine. You’ll get frustrated. You’ll be sore. Take care of yourself and do not feel guilty if things do not go as planned. I worked with a consultant (highly recommend) and embraced a couple products that helped make it easier. This includes: boppy pillow, nipple cream, coconut oil, and warming/cooling breast pads. Use whatever it takes to make this process easy for you. And again, most importantly, do NOT be too hard on yourself!! Do what you need to do to feed your baby and save your sanity. For me, this meant supplementing with formula the first week or so (especially at night). Once your milk comes in, it will get easier. Promise. And if not, it isn’t the end of the world. Again, promise.
These are just a few ways that I was able to get by the first weeks. Did I miss anything that may have worked for you? xx bianca