This is a post I've wanted to write for a while because it's something I did not think about AT ALL when I had Piper. I was so focused on the pregnancy side of things, and then making sure we had everything we needed when Piper arrived, that I did not do anything to prepare myself for the recovery. Seriously NOTHING! I never bought any nursing bras or nursing pads until after I had her and realized those things would probably be helpful haha. I was so prepared for having a healthy pregnancy and taking care of Pipes, but soooo unprepared for taking care of MYSELF postpartum.
I had to be induced with Piper at 39 weeks (and will with this babe too), so they had me come in the night before the actual induction to soften my cervix. I went in Sunday evening, had Piper Tuesday afternoon (40 hours of labour - heyooo), and because the actual delivery was so long, we were required to stay 48 hours after she was born for them to monitor us both. We checked in Sunday evening, and didn't leave until Thursday afternoon. I know a lot of women have to stay much longer, have babies in the NICU, etc. so I am in no way complaining, but it was a long time and let me tell you, I was not prepared. **you can read Piper's birth story HERE.
After Piper arrived and we did the initial latch, they wheeled us down to the recovery floor, and that's when the "high" of everything died down. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything during labour. On top of that I hadn't slept longer than 3 hours total the whole time I was in the hospital (because the nurses check up on you every hour). I also pushed for 4 hours straight to get Pipesy out, so when we got to the recovery room, the adrenalin started to wear off, and I felt the effects of everything - BIG TIME. I was obviously swollen, sore, and bleeding a lot, but on top of that, I felt so emotionally overwhelmed and drained. You guys, I stayed in the stupid hospital gown THE WHOLE TIME I was in the hospital! It didn't ever cross my mind that I was allowed to change into my own stuff haha. I honestly wasn't thinking clearly most of the time we were there.
SO, with that, I have learned a lot of what NOT to do, and also what I definitely need/want this time around. I also reached out on Instagram to ask what other mums (especially those who have recently gone through delivery, because it's all so fresh) found helpful and necessary (THANK YOU, by the way!! You guys are so caring and helpful, and I love how mothers look out for each other). There is a LOT of stuff to share, so I'm going to split it up into a couple of posts. This one is dedicated to strictly postpartum and recovery, and I will post another one of things to take to the hospital! Of course, some things will overlap, but hopefully this stops it from being too much information at once!
- Comfy attire that's easy to nurse in AND that won't show off the big pads and mesh underwear you'll be rocking #realtalk. Also, keep in mind if you have a c-section, or end up having an unplanned emergency c-section, you won't want pants that rest on the incision.
- Comfy, loose dresses are the way to go! Ones that unbutton at the top, or unzip, are perfect for quick nursing (while keeping you from feeling exposed), along with hiding the diaper looking underwear. I got THIS from Bae the Label, and I plan on getting a Dwell and Slumber dress when they restock this month (I hear they're the best for pregnancy/recovery/nursing/lounging in general!)
- Looser crotch pants are another good option! I got some from Bae the Label HERE that I've already been wearing because they're SOOOO comfy!
- Latched Mama was a company recommended a lot for comfy nursing tanks, tops, and sweaters! ASOS also has great nursing-friendly stuff! Remember, you'll have family coming to see you and baby, so you'll want something that isn't too exposing. ALSO, black is a go-to because it doesn't show leaky boobs!
- Bravado Design comes highly recommended for great nursing bras!
- Covered Goods nursing cover (can also be used as a carseat cover!)
When you are in the hospital, they have everything waiting for you in the recovery room. Remember to take it all home with you!! I don't know if it varies slightly from hospital-to-hospital, but the nurses will most likely have your room LOADED up with mesh underwear (to hold everything), these GIANT pads (pretty much diapers haha), a peri bottle (to wash the area when you go to the bathroom), Tucks (medicated cooling pads - THESE FEEL AMAZING!!), and Dermoplast (antibacterial and pain relieving spray). Yes, going to the bathroom is quite the process haha. I left the hospital with enough stuff to last me through the rest of my recovery, BUT you can buy any of these items on Amazon is you need more!
Some additional products that were recommended from mothers for recovery at home:
- Homemade padsicles. I personally never made these, but I hear they feel incredible, and you can make them ahead of time and store them in the freezer! There are a few DIY options online, but they all pretty much look like THIS.
- Once I "graduated" from the super big pads they give you at the hospital (they gave me a TON because I was also back on my blood thinner shots which makes you bleed more), I just bought extra heavy maxi pads. If you feel like you need something more than that, TENA active fit was highly recommended!
- Earth Mama organics bottom spray is more of a non-toxic, natural soothing spray for down below.
From the "CLOTHES" section above, I mentioned you'll want something that's easy to nurse in - shirts that unbutton, unzip, or have a nursing flap, nursing bras or nursing tanks, and robes are what I lived in. It feels like all you do all day and night is nurse (and sometimes that is what you do all day), and especially when you start going out a little more, or have people come to the house, you'll want comfy clothes that are nursing friendly! I wish I'd prepared more for this ahead of time.
To be frank, breastfeeding is REALLY hard at the beginning. You have to learn how to nurse, along with teach your newborn how to do it. It's also really painful at the beginning as your milk comes in and your nipples toughen up. It's reeeeally painful! Hang in there! It gets SO much better, and it's the most special thing in the whole world. THINGS TO HAVE THAT HELP:
- Nipple cream!! A must! Coconut oil, and Bamboobies are the most recommended.
- Nursing pads: I originally got Lilypadz silicone pads because they were highly recommended by lactation specialists, and HATED them! If you leaked at all, the pads would slip and you'd leak right through. Lansinoh nursing pads and Lansinoh soothie gel pads were my favourite.
- WishGarden Herbs afterease for breastfeeding contractions (I never used this, but was recommended if you struggle with painful contractions postpartum!)
- Breastpumps are covered under insurance, but you'll need to buy bags to store the pumped milk in the freezer!
PREPARATION FOR HOME LIFE
- Freezer meals or meal delivery service! This was a LIFESAVER for me! I doubled a bunch of dinners we ate prior to delivery, and popped them in the freezer. It was THE best!!! I will definitely do a blog post on some good recipes soon!
- Lots of healthy snacks! You will be STARVING (especially if you're nursing), and remembering to feed yourself is often put on the back burner. I prepped tons of energy balls, healthy muffins, overnight oats, and bars ahead of time, and kept them next to my bed!
- ACCEPT HELP!!! As women, we want to do it all and feel like we have everything under control. Not only is your body going through a TON, but you're also going through a giant life change. You need help! Don't be too proud to accept it, or ask for it. People want to help, and it can make life much easier during this stage.