Post Partum Basics: My Survival Kit

40 Weeks pregnant vs 10 days post partum

So you’re SUPER pregnant and wondering what’s next, OR you just have your baby and have no clue what you’re doing?
Congratulations and Welcome! You’re having a baby or just had one! You get to take him/her home but what about you!? How are you going to take care of you!

Remember, before you can care for a baby you need to be at least semi-put -together, so I’m here to remind you of that.

Hours after birth

That was just 2 months ago for me, so listen up while it’s still all fresh in my baby brain.
Writing about it always helps me so I want to remember “the struggle”, the challenges and the wonderful, because apparently people forget and do this multiple times, because well, they forget or are gluttons for punishment. Motherhood is the most beautiful and satisfying job I’ll ever have, but it can be tough, so I’m hoping that sharing my experiences will help other new mommies out!
If you’re still going to have your baby and are interested in pursuing a natural birth, I invite you to read my birth story

I really shared EVERYTHING, just like I would have liked someone to share with me. There is no way I’m going to forget that. It was physically tough, but more of a mental struggle. The more I think about it the more I understand how our bodies were beautifully engineered to do this, and it was a gift being able to birth this way.It was amazing, and wonderful and everything I would have liked for it to be except so much more amazing, but I don’t want to forget all I went through, so I wrote about it, also in hopes it helps those reading it.

Your house will be a mess…it’s OK.

Ok, back to what this post is about. Your postpartum life, also known as 4th trimester (3 months post partum) which corresponds to the period of time you are recovering from having your beautiful bundle of joy who has likely left your nether regions very very upset!

Either that, or you’re healing from major abdominal surgery. Whichever way, it was rough times, and now you must heal. Having a baby vaginally is great, sure, but the rough reality is that it can cause some serious damage to you’re netherlands 😉.
All jokes aside, you’re lucky if you get out of it without any tears or with minimal ones because either way, you’ll end up with a very angry VaJJ. Most women, especially first time moms (delivering vaginally l) end up with tearing, lacerations, stitches, hemorrhoids, and sometimes even organ prolapse. YEP! But don’t get freaked out, there is definitely a spectrum, and most women bounce back from it all with the proper TLC. It’s incredible, I can assure you, after 2 short months after the baby blast everything looks good and is back in service 😃, so fear not! You will not be ruined, because I was sure I was the day after, but that was just me being dramatic!

My case was as such
: I did tear but not externally. Rather, I had a small tear internally, quite close to my urethra is apparently unusual. This meant that peeing for the first 2 weeks SUCKED, and was quite painful. The burning sensation was the worse part, but eventually it healed and the 3 stitches dissolved around 4 weeks after, thank GOD.
First things first….Here is what you’re most likely dealing with.


Angry lady bits
: You just squeezed a huge head (I don’t care if your baby’s head was exceptionally small), from a tiny hole that miraculously stretches to 10cm which is virtually 4 inches, which is a lot compared to the no-inches normally. Yikes, you need ICE.


Ice pads, or Padsicles which are pads that have been moistened with healing herbs and frozen specifically for your relief. You will need this the first few weeks, you will LOVE this, this will be your best friend.

What people don’t tell you
: all about POOP, or rather, inability to do so. I don’t know if it’s because your body did a great job cleansing itself right before you go into labor (or during). Yes, this happens to all of us at some point: you will poop all day before you’re in labor, (or during pre-labor), during active first stage labor (before you feel the urge to push vaginally, and lots of times during second stage labor which is when you’re pushing the baby down your birth canal.

Now for my actual point
: your body just went though the shock of pushing a baby out, so now it just holds on to everything for what feels like forever! The best advice I can give you is get yourself a light stool softener, like colace right away. What also helps is a probiotic of your choice (that really you should be taking during pregnancy already) to get that good bacteria acting in your gut to get things going. Don’t wait to attempt to poop 4 days after birth like some people (yes, me) and have flashbacks of labor (when attempting to have a bowl movement) so soon after having your baby because it is the WORSE. It’s so bad. You don’t need to go through this again, especially if your lady bits are already so angry at you and stitched up.

It’s just a mess down there, so if your poop can do you a favor and just slide out of you, you’ll be thankful. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck trying to push out something very unpleasant, and the last thing your bottom needs is more pushing. Trust me on this one.

Their Mistake, NOT yours
: I guess if you have an episiotomy or a grade 3-4 tear, the medical staff automatically puts you on stool softeners due to the destruction that happened on your pelvic floor, but if you had very little tearing and a fairly uncomplicated birth, it apparently doesn’t even come up! That’s why I’m warning you! You’re welcome.

Since we are in the topic, keep taking prenatal pills as you need the added nutrients. I started taking B-12 as well to boost my immune system.

Must have post partum kit, really.


Hemorrhoids
: If you’re lucky enough to not have them, God bless you.  But most oeoooe get then from pushing. If you have even a little one, they hurt, so take care of that. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm and cooling spray are fantastic, as are padsicles or tucks (witch hazel cleaning pads) also help relieve it.

Padsicles
: (prepared by you) are actual absorbent period pads that you shower with healing herbs/witch hazel that have cooling and healing properties. It’s basically a pad soaked in tea and then frozen. You wear them on top of a dry pad to secure the oadsicke and absorb the moisture as it thaws (and also any residual bleeding you can have). Make sure you’re wearing underwear you don’t care about because yes, there will be moisture but your vajj will thank you for this TLC! I went through 3-4 padsicles the first week, then 2-3 the second and down to 1-2 the third week. By week 4 I no longer needed them and the ice pack from the mamastrut was enough. More on that below.
********

Literally right next to my toilet. Use all these items daily.

The picture above is not at all glamorous, but these things are very useful to your newly wrecked bottom. Some of these items are hospital issues and quite useful.

Healing Must haves:




Frida Fridet mom washer
 to clean up the lady bits which will be actively bleeding for weeks. Wiping won’t be pleasant at first so washing them and dabbing to dry will be best. I prefer this to the hospital issued ones because it has an angled nozzle. My cousin who had a c-section recommended it and it was a game changer! No struggling to look down under the swollen belly, just angle it and spray with lukewarm water or cold water. That felt best for me because of those peri-urethral stitches.

Cooling Wipes
or just wet wipes are not just good to wipe babies’ bottoms! Your bottom will appreciate it rather than toilet paper at first, especially if you to them rrhoids.



Tucks pads
: witch hazel wet round pads to layer on top of your actual absorbing pads or even padsicles. You can never have enough witch hazle to cool down the lady bits.



A variety of pads of sizes and capabilities:
your flow will be super heavy during the first few weeks so bring back some hospital grade pads with you. I’m not a heavy bleeder and it was heavy during the first week – 10 days. By the end of week 2 into week 3, I was only spotting, so only really needed an underwear shield. This will definitely be a case by case, as some of my friends reported bleeding for 6 weeks even.

I deflated significantly within a month of having her…but breastfeeding caused me to retain some weight so I’m definitely heavier now…. our bodies adjust and do what they need to do to provide for our children. It’s amazing.


High waisted underwear
is usually recommended for C-section moms but I think everyone benefits from these. They will offer some compression or support but not too much. The uterus is still quite swollen and the belly is pretty puffy so you almost want the added support without too much compression the first few days. These were from TJMaxx, not a specific brand.

Skin Care:

Dermae products have done wonders for my skin, especially this charcoal max which really relieved that redness from my face. On top of it, all products are all natural and cruelty free.


Face
– My face was super red and irritated after labor, so I needed some serious help. I was told it was from pushing so hard, but my cheeks were extremely red the first couple of days and I developed somewhat of a rash situation. It took a good 6 weeks to fully get rid of it and I feel like these products were instrumental at doing so.


Body
: everything is deflating, or going back to its place, so the same care with your belly. I continued using the same products from when my body was expanding to my deflating belly.
Alo products shea butter: I just love this for dry skin, and it was amazing the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy when o was finishing up the “growing process” from week 38-week 40, as baby only came on week 41.

If you’re breastfeeding….


Nipple care – ESSENTIAL to start before baby comes. For the breastfeeding mamas, nipple butter is A MUST. I started using it a few weeks before birth and it definitely made a difference. No cracked or bleeding nipples here. I use earth mama angle baby nipple butter and have one in each nursing station.
Since we are taking about nipples, I can’t forget to tell you about bamboobies nursing pads and pumping lubricant.


The bamboobies washable nursing pads I absolutely cannot live without and highly recommend the variety pack which has regular and heavy flow pads (just like the other period pads, but for absorbing milk!). They have saved me from a leaky boob situation many times, and I’m so thankful for them! They easily wash and dry, and I usually just wash them under the shower and hang to dry.


If you pump, you also need the bamboobies lubricant. I never hurt while pumping since I started using it. The nipple just slides though the pump and it makes the whole unpleasant process more comfortable.


Nursing Bras and Camis
: can never have too many because they will get used!

Use the belibea cami as an undershirt for ease of breastfeeding or pumping. Button down shirts are a must!


Seriously, these hand free bras/camis are a game changer! Totally saved my life this day. Again, my bathroom was a mess. I think this was 4 days post partum and late to baby’s 1st Dr’s appointment.


Belibea bra
and cami are amazing for both breastfeeding but even better if you’re pumping. I know they’ll be so helpful when I get back to work as they are hands free pumping and I often wear the cami also as an undershirt.


The simple wishes hands free bra is also awesome for pumping and has the strongest Velcro I’ve ever seen in the back.


Bravado designs have super comfortable nursing bras and camis. I feel like their bras provide both comfort and looks, and the cami is comfortable and sturdy!


Bellybandit
has the best BDA nursing bra for sleeping! I have 2 and just swap them every other night. Easy slide access and so comfortable.

Eyedrops
– for your red eyes from lack of sleep in those first couple of weeks or whenever your sleepless journey takes you. Eventually you just get used to waking up and sleep whenever able to. It takes a while for baby to figure out what is day and what is night but he or she will get the hang of it eventually.

Abdominal binders and back support
– You possibly have diastasis recti which is when your abdominal muscle separates or ‘splits’ in half. There are different levels of it and it sounds awful and a lot worse than it is. Most women only have a small grade diastasis, such as 1 inch of separation like I do. If that’s the case. you will feel much more supported wearing some sort of binder.
Here is how to tell if you have diastasis recti. Anything more than an inch indicates you do have it and will likely benefit from binding and core strengthening.



For the first month or two postpartum I highly recommend the mamastrut abdominal binder.


It is AMAZING because the support system comes with shorts attached, and a cold pack system for your lady bits. So if you don’t want to deal with padsicles these are a plus, and even if you want to wear padsicles you can alternate between those and the cold packs from the mamastrut. Heck, I’ve even used both together for added coldness. I really kept my VaJJ frozen the first month postpartum.
Your core is also weak due to carrying a large baby/placenta/lots of fluid, so you will feel better protected. I started alternating between mamastrut and original belly bandit into my second month when I didn’t really need the cold pack anymore.

The belly bandit definitely holds you on and is amazing as well. I still feel great wearing an abdominal binder.

Post partum core compression leggings

I’ve been a fan of leggings for a while now, long before pregnancy, but now I get to wear them for looks and comfort with compression.
Here are a few that I LOVE!

Bellybandit BDA which I wore all during pregnancy. That’s why they are before, during and after leggings.


Bellybandit mother tucker leggings
is awesome!! High waisted and compression, it’s great for under flowy tops and pairs super well with boogies for a dressy look. I wear them everyday. They also come in caprice length and I wear both. They are even great for layering with thicker leggings for when it’s cold outside.



Lalabu leggings
 are high waisted crop leggings so they have more of a caprice look, especially if you’re tall like me. They can be dressed up but are also amazing for a sporty look and I love wearing them to workout or to go along with the soothe shirt.

baby lives in my lalabu soothe shirt

Post partum core compression/Nursing Friendly Tops:


Bellybandit mother tucker nursing top is the A-list of nursing tops when it comes to looks. It’s beautiful, and can definitely be dressed up. It works great for busty moms and provides great compression to the core. The flexible cup moves over easily for nursing ability, otherwise it’s just a great boobie shirt to display your beautiful cleavage, or slightly under a flowy shirt.


Lalabu baby soothe shirt are designed for baby wearing, but are also great for compressing the stomach. These can be used as regular shirts as well as no one can tell they have a “hidden” pouch that can also be easily be pulled down for nursing.

Suggestions for ease of breastfeeding:

Milk production: these have really helped me boost my production. I was never a tea drinker but have 1-2 cups of these a day and I have noticed a significant and steady boost in milk production.

The Teas: these are on rotation, and yes they work. Some people are not too fond of the natural taste of it but I found that honey works really quite  well in there. Earth Mama’s Milk Maid Tea, Mrs Patel’s Milk water tea, and Organic Mother’s Milk are great.

Fenugreek capsules – I’ve learned that these are also useful during baby’s last growth spurt. I got them out of desperation but I learned that it does keep my production nice and steady. Also fenugreek bars are not only a treat, but also assist with production from my experience.


My homemade milk boosting recipes:

Breastfeeding out

Lovely covered goods nursing covers

Wear a nursing cover if you’re uncomfortable or want a more modest approach to breastfeeding in public. I recommend covered goods nursing cover which also worked great as a car seat or shopping cart cover, not to mention a scarf for us moms.



Bamboobies nursing shawl which can be worn as a top. No one will know it’s a nursing shawl, and you can nurse without flashing anyone if your baby doesn’t mind being covered.
If baby dislikes being covered but you still feel the need to maintain your modesty, layer or wear scarves! It is hardly noticeable that you’re breastfeeding.


***Please understand that this is my perspective of life after childbirth and the things I enjoyed in the healing process and beyond. I could speak with certainty regarding the healing process of an uncomplicated vaginal birth, but not so much in regards to cesarean sections, which I’m mesmerized by. I have so much respect for all types of births, especial C-section mom’s who really have extensive abdominal surgery that requires a much longer recovery period. Kudos to all of us who carry a child sometimes for nearly 10 months and have the ability to heal and do it again, sometimes multiple times! Shoutout also to all the moms who aren’t able to carry and birth a baby, but are able to love a child as their own even though they did not carry them.

We hope you found this post helpful! Please leave us feedback and questions below!

ENJOY,

Xo, Ana

Count Colors, NOT Calories!
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6 comments

  1. Maria Shaetonhodi says:

    Hi Anna, thank you so much for sharing your story with us to empower and help many more woman. I found it very helpful and loved the suggestions.
    Keep up the good work of sharing just as it is; straight to the point. 😉

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