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Let's be real; there's nothing glamorous about labor. Is it empowering? Yes. Is it worth it? Totally. But glamorous? Not so much. I don't think I was really prepared for the whole recovery that comes after birthing a human. If you've pushed a baby out of your nether regions, you know what I'm referring to. I'm talking about tearing (and the stitches that come with that), endless bleeding, hemorrhoids, that darn breastfeeding curve, and wearing those flattering mesh panties as you hobble around to care for your newborn. No amount of research could have prepared me for all that comes with the birth of a child. Thank goodness for cute tiny babies, or no one would go through childbirth.
Thankfully, I've done it once; so I'm a little more aware of what to expect. They say each labor and subsequent recovery period is a bit different, but I feel I'm much more prepared nonetheless. I shared how I'm preparing for baby #2 already, but this post is more on how I'm going to make my postpartum recovery more bearable this time around (and hopefully that will mean bouncing back quicker).
A suggestion I give to everyone is steal from the hospital. No, don't literally steal medical supplies or equipment. What I'm referring to is the fact that they will provide you with some basic items that you will need and you can take them home without feeling bad. This includes the giant mesh panties and maxi pads. Those things are amazing, even if they look awful. If there is a pack of them in your room, put them in your bag to take home. They are way better than wearing a basic pad in regular old underwear when you are bleeding heavily for the next two-four weeks or so. Along with the mesh panties, the hospital provided me with a squirt bottle (called a peribottle) to fill with warm water for cleaning downstairs (again, glamorous), some numbing foam that helps with swelling and discomfort, witch hazel pads, a donut pillow to sit on, and Dermoplast which is a pain relieving spray. You can request things like nipple shields, nipple cream, which you will need if you're breastfeeding, and things as simple as chap stick. The hospital won’t reuse any of these items for another patient, so you are practically throwing them away if you don't stash them away in your bag for home use. (You can also take home diapers, wipes, Vaseline, pacifiers, swaddles, and more for baby, but that's a whole other post.)
I plan on purchasing beforehand all the things that I can’t steal from the hospital at Walmart. I live right across the street from Walmart and it always has everything on my shopping list. Some of the things I've purchased already are Epsom salt for sitz baths (which are definitely necessary), Colace, and Preparation H® Medicated Wipes for those darn hemorrhoids. No one likes to talk about hemorrhoids, but they do happen. I got some on my last go-around and I plan on being prepared this time. Preparation H® Medicated Wipes provide effective hemorrhoid relief, are convenient to use, and soothe as they clean. Also, did you know that 1 out of 3 women get hemorrhoids during pregnancy? If you manage to avoid them during pregnancy, make sure to have Preparation H® Medicated Wipes for Women on hand for post-partum recovery. They are the first and only women's hemorrhoid wipes infused with chamomile, aloe and refreshing cucumber, plus a soothing medication that cools on contact. Make sure to use as directed.
Even though postpartum recovery isn't the best thing ever, you know what is? That sweet newborn phase. A lot of times people will stop by with gifts for baby. While that is sweet, I can guarantee that baby has more than enough (and they're too little to even realize they're getting presents). The person who really deserves a gift is mom. I have a few friends due around the same time as me and I've started making gift baskets. I want to help make those first few weeks as a new mom as wonderful as possible.
Here's some of the fun things I'm including:
Lotion and Chap Stick - Who doesn't love some new lotion and chap stick. It's nice to have on hand, and mom can place it next to the chair she uses most to breastfeed baby.
A Cute Water Bottle/Tumbler - Breastfeeding requires hydration. Mom needs to be drinking water constantly. A nice new water bottle will remind mom to take frequent sips and stay hydrated.
A Good Book - There are lots of idle hours while nursing baby. Sometimes mom gets stuck in a chair with a sleeping newborn on her chest. A good book comes in handy in those situations.
Chocolate - There are going to be days when mom needs some chocolate. I'm going to make sure I provide that.
And here are the necessary items:
Preparation H® Medicated Wipes - We've discussed this already. Mom is gonna need them.
Nursing Pads - There are some really cute ones out there and they come in handy.
Dry Shampoo and Face Wipes - Let's face it - as cute as those newborns are, sometimes they don't give mom a chance to shower. Dry shampoo and face wipes can at least help mom feel a little more put together.
What are some things you love for postpartum recovery?
What items do you give to new moms?