Postpartum Care (What I wish I had known the first time I had a baby)

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When I had my son, I was wildly unprepared for my postpartum recovery. I’m sure this is because I was a first time mom and no one really talks about the nitty gritty truth of what happens AFTER you give birth. *Cough, hemorrhoids, cough*

Sure, I had tons of stuff for the baby, but very few items for me.

To make my life easier, this time around I was prepared! I knew I wanted to use cloth pads instead of disposables both for comfort and to lessen my waste.  I also wanted to make sure I had good nursing pads because my old organic cotton ones were nice & breathable, but one letdown and I’d soak a whole shirt. I didn’t want to risk being out with a toddler & newborn while drenched in breast milk. Other than that, I needed to make sure I had good & COMFORTABLE nursing bras. Since engorgement can be so painful and lasts an undetermined amount of time, I needed a bra that I could wear day or night that offered support, was soft, didn’t bind/cut into my back under the weight of giant boobs, and that was easy to breastfeed in because newborns do not mess around about their mealtimes. You’d think all bras labeled “nursing bras” would be easy to use, but I’ve now tried enough to know this is just not the case!

In addition to meeting that criteria, I was hoping to support WAHMs if I could, so I took to Etsy. I read listing after listing for cloth pads/nursing pads. Quite a few seemed promising, but Just Fussy swayed me when I saw she worked with organic fabrics, could make me both my cloth pads and nursing pads, and had amazing ratings/reviews. Plus, she was quick to reply when I messaged her for help placing my order, and made sure that I got exactly what I was looking for. She even threw in quite a few bonus items!image

I’ve now used every item she made for me, multiple times, and I have to say they’re all incredible. They’re absorbent, soft, easy to wash, hold up great against our hard well water, and hold their shape. I’m so pleased that I chose Just Fussy for my postpartum recovery items!

My 10 Must-Have Postpartum Items:

Top 5 Tips & Tricks:

Make Padsicles!

I waited until a few days before my “guess date” to make and freeze my padsicles. I made 8 of them using my 10″ and 7″ cloth pads. I had ordered 2 wingless 7″ and Just Fussy threw in 2 with wings. I loved both.

To make your padsicles you’ll need a bottle of witch hazel that has aloe in it. If you can only find witch hazel, you can buy the aloe gel separately or make it yourself from your aloe vera plant’s pulp using a food processor. If you don’t have lavender essential oil, just use the witch hazel and aloe. But if you do, make sure to add it to your mix. Besides promoting healing, it adds a nice smell to cover up some of the postpartum gore.

Before assembly, add about 1 cup witch hazel + aloe vera and a few drops of lavender EO to a bowl. Mix together then using a tablespoon pour a line down the center of your pad. Fold the pad up then place inside aluminum foil. Continue until you finish all your pads. Then place them in your freezer. Whenever you head to the bathroom for a postpartum change, you can grab one and use as a soothing ice pack for your healing lady business. They feel absolutely amazing, especially after a day of standing holding a new baby and chasing around a toddler.

Quick tip: Let them warm up a few minutes before putting them against your skin. Whew, chilly!

**You can absolutely do this same thing with disposal pads if you don’t want to use cloth.

Keep Witch Hazel in Your Bathroom!

Besides using the witch hazel for the padsicles, I used it on cotton balls for hemorrhoid relief after I ran out of the hospital issued Tucks pads. I think you’ll find witch hazel to be invaluable on your road to recovery!

Take Your Medicine!

I’ve had two completely unmedicated births, so trust me when I say I RARELY take any form of medication, but when the L&D nurse asks if you’d like some pain medicine, say yes. You’ve just pushed a human out of your vagina or you’re recovering from major abdominal surgery, either way, you deserve some freakin’ ibuprofen. 

The same goes with Colace. The first postpartum bowel movement can be a scary, scary thing especially if you were one of the lucky ones to get the massive hemorrhoids (me). I highly recommend just accepting the stool softener.

Make (or purchase) a Bengkung Belly Binder!

I didn’t use a belly wrap after my son was born and I really regret it. I think my stomach muscles could’ve used the helping hand. I started looking around for postpartum wrapping ideas. I definitely didn’t want anything synthetic because we live in Texas and Texas heat is no joke. Plus, I get pretty bad anxiety when I’m overheated and this ruled out anything that might be worn under my clothes. I came across Bengkung Belly Binding and was instantly intrigued. Not only did it look beautiful, but it went over your clothing. You can wear it underneath, too, but I’m not sure how noticeable the knots would be.

I decided I’d like to make my own, so during a fabric sale, a good friend bought me 3 yards of gorgeous purple & blue Batik. Then my amazing mom cut that 3 yards into 4 equal pieces and serged them together leaving me with 12 yards of one-continuous piece of fabric. I honestly can’t believe I need so much, but I have to have every bit of it to get a really good bind. When I’m finished, my belly is held in place, it offers tremendous back support, and as long as I’m careful what top I wear, I can breastfeed with ease. It also looks really cool. I’d totally feel comfortable wearing it out of the house.

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Use Rice Warmers!

If you own rice warmers, I highly recommend using them for relief from engorgement. I have the hand warmer size and I would heat them up in the microwave then stuff them in the sides of my nursing bra. The pain dissolved almost instantly under the warmth. It also helped me better massage my breasts to prevent clogged ducts since they weren’t so rock hard. I continued using them for several days until my milk supply balanced out and we were through what I consider to be the toughest breastfeeding transition besides weaning a toddler.

For those of you who don’t own rice warmers, you can easily make some using an old (clean) fuzzy sock. Add your desired amount of rice, tie the sock on the end, and use!

The only other advise I can leave you with is take it easy the first few days after birth! Go slowly, enjoy your time with new baby, and allow others to help you. If someone is holding a happy sleeping baby, go take a shower or a nap. You have plenty of time to try to do everything yourself, but you don’t need to do it immediately.

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