I did so much googling while I was pregnant. Were all of my symptoms normal? Was my baby moving too much? Not enough? Was I eating right and buying the right things for when he arrived? One thing that seemed so mysterious to me was the postpartum healing period.
Don’t get me wrong, I did my fair share of googling about that too. But what I found mostly was that there would be a lot of bleeding (some sources said up to 6 weeks of bleeding! Thankfully that wasn’t true for me), milk coming in (mysterious), and no sleep because of that precious little baby swimming inside of you right this moment.
So how could I prepare for this? It seemed like there wasn’t much I could do and that I wouldn’t care at all what was going on with me, and only what was going on with the baby. From my experience, that wasn’t exactly true. Newborns sleep SO MUCH so I had a lot of time to think about what was going on with all the weirdness that is postpartum.
Here is my list (and explainations!) for what you need to survive the postpartum period.
Lots of Pads
I used cloth pads, and they made those first few weeks so much more luxurious and comfortable! Even if you are a tampon or cup kind of girl, you aren’t supposed to use them postpartum in order to let things heal. If you’re doing cloth diapers, you can wash your pads with them and it’s easy peasy. I have 9 (in varying degrees of absorbency) and I’ll probably get a couple more for next time so that I don’t ever have to worry about running short.
I just got these cheapie ones from Amazon, but I still love them now when that special time of the month comes. They give you a little bit of extra protection in case everything doesn’t want to stay put in that pad. These also make exploring the world with your little baby much less scary if you’re still bleeding.
I got this bidet attachment for my toilet and I swear I never want to live without it again. If you get stitches, the hospital will give you a special little squirt bottle. You’re supposed to use it to spray your stitches as you pee to prevent burning (ouch!). I did obviously use the little squirt bottle whenever we left the house, but this bidet made it so much easier to pee (sometimes postpartum you have very little to no notice!) and to also keep clean down there.
If I was feeling particularly tender, I would squirt some Thayers lavender witch hazel onto my pad before putting it on. It was super soothing and made me at least feel like I smelled nice!
Earth Mama Bottom Spray
This really helped with that soothing. After peeing and cleaning up down there, I would spray my stitches and any burning that may have happened while peeing was gone. And oh man this stuff smells so good! The bottle is little but you’ll probably only need one. And it fits great in your diaper bag if you’re feeling adventurous.
I saw plenty of “recipes” for frozen pads on Pinterest while I was pregnant, and even having gone through childbirth and postpartum… ouch. Those recipes seem way too cold, bulky, and hard. I found this reusable pad that is flexible and can be either hot or cold. Trust me. It sounds weird now, but it’s dreamy.
Nothing prepared me for the weirdness, uncomfortableness, and pain that was my milk coming in. My breasts were so big and engorged. It was pretty painful! Since I wasn’t prepared for this, I didn’t have these amazing warmers to help give a little relief. I had to stand in the warm shower instead which sort of helped? But not when I was exhausted and just wanted to lay down. Or when the hot water ran out. Get these, I promise they’ll be fantastic.
When your milk comes in, you’re probably also going to be leaking milk all over the place. This might stop when your milk regulates, or it might keep going through your whole breastfeeding journey. Either way you’re definitely going to want these around so you don’t have wet and sticky bras and shirts all the time. I love my reusable ones since they’re comfy and soft, while saving money and resources at the same time.
While your milk is regulating, your breasts are going to be changing size and shape rapidly! You’ll want some sort of stretchy bra to keep you comfortable as your size changes by the hour. A sports bra will work, and there are also stretchy nursing bras that will do the job. Just make sure the bra you choose isn’t too tight! And you’ll want more than one because of that leaking I talked about earlier.
Waterproof Mattress Protector (for YOUR bed)
You’ll want these for more than just the leaking! A lot of people also sweat A LOT postpartum, it’s part of your body ridding itself of all of that extra fluid you accumulated during the last nine months. Also handy for any blood mishaps, or spit up or poop explosions. All around a handy item to have.
Water Bottle with a Straw
With all of this liquid going on… everywhere, you’re going to be thirsty a lot! Get a nice big water bottle so you don’t run out when you’re down for a marathon nursing session. The straw makes it so much easier to drink while nursing so you don’t have to be tipping anything, and potentially spilling on your baby.
Hopefully this helps prepare you a little more for the mysterious time that is postpartum! If you have more questions about what to expect of your body after baby, go to Ask a Bestie and I’ll help you out! Do you feel prepared for healing after birth? Let me know in the comments below!