Whether your baby was born vaginally or via cesarean section, pregnancy and birth takes its toll on your body. You may have tearing or an incision that is still healing. Regardless of your plans to breastfeed, your body is likely making some milk, which can be another physical issue to deal with. Read on to learn about some products that may help make your recovery easier.
While some people swear by the mesh panties and giant pads that most hospitals and birth centers provide, adult diapers are another great option. Things that are common during the first few weeks postpartum include: bleeding called lochia that can be as heavy as a very heavy period, incontinence, and pain. Adult diapers help address all of these issues because they can hold a lot of liquid, be it blood or urine, without leaking and they tend to be soft. It is also nice to just be able to throw them away when you are done. Most adult diaper companies will send you free samples of several sizes so that you can find the size that works best for you.
Ask your care provider about a stool softener that you can take in the early days to help make pooping easier. It might be scary to push while you poop or you might have hemorrhoids that you don’t want to make worse. Stool softeners are pills that you take with a full glass of water that help make stool softer and thus easier to pass.
Warm water over your perineum can help relieve discomfort and encourage healing. You can buy a sitz bath—an apparatus that you sit on atop the toilet seat that will direct warm water over your body—or you can take warm baths in your bathtub either with plain warm water or after having included herbs, which are available commercially in large tea bags. There are also sprays available that sooth your perineum after birth.
Any number of products can help with the discomfort that often comes along with learning to breastfeed your baby. Nipple creams or balms are commonly available—ask a trusted friend for a recommendation. Another helpful product are gel pads that you can keep in the fridge to help sooth sore or cracked nipples in between feedings. A more readily available alternative to these are the gel pads available at the drugstore to help heal burns, which work just as well. Nipple shields also might be something to talk to your lactation consultant about if you have a lot of pain during breastfeeding.
After your body grows a baby, it might feel as though your abdominal muscles will never come back together again. Abdominal muscle separation, called diastasis recti, is common during and after pregnancy, but for some people belly binding can help. You can bind your belly using the traditional bengkung method, where long strips of cloth are knotted around your belly and hips, or by purchasing a product designed to do a similar thing. If you try belly binding, talk to your care provider about their recommendations first, especially if you have had a surgical birth. Once you start binding, pay special attention to how it makes your body feel, so that you can discontinue its use if you feel as though it is not helping you heal.
Pick out an easy to open water bottle that you can keep close by at all times during those early postpartum weeks and keep it filled. Being hydrated can help you breastfeed, heal from birth and surgery, and feel less fatigued.
Nice Robe or Pajamas
Having nice clothes is not essential for the postpartum period, but it could help your emotional health to wear something that feels soft and pretty, even if that is a robe or pajamas. If you have time off from work to recover and heal, it is a great idea to be able to sleep whenever you can, and wearing pajamas or a soft robe all day long can really help with that. Robe and pajamas can also help discourage visitors and allow you to spend special time bonding with your baby.