Postpartum recovery is no joke. I mean, I always knew there would be a recovery period after having my kid, but it became real clear, real fast that I had NO idea what I was in for…until I was in it.
If you have kids you may have read this post and rolled your eyes. A cute robe ain’t going to fix what you’ve got going on after baby, am I right?!
Wait, I already said that…
I did a ton of research on postpartum care and ordered the following to have on hand for when the hospital stay was part of our past. Of course, you should plan on taking whatever you can from the hospital room. You’ve already paid for it, or you’re about to once you get that hospital bill! BAI MONEY! A lot of people will tell you to stash the supplies little by little to fly under the radar, but I was straight up with my nurses.
Kate: So, listen, I’m pretty much going to take all this shit home, okay? Can you refill it when you have a moment?
Nurse: Yes. Thank you for your honesty. BRB.
I think I even got extra ice packs. Fahk yah. Honesty is always the best policy.
As I said, I knew I’d be in for a bit of recovery time, but the extent of said recovery caught me a bit off guard. Maybe I’m naive? Dense? Blissfully unaware? Yeah, let’s go with that.
What you’re about to read is all truth, nothing but the truth, and my personal experience. Keep in mind every woman is different!
Ice Packs: Your new best fucking friend. Seriously. I found that because of the bulk they’re not that comfortable or helpful unless you’re laying down. I would pop open a new one a few times a day and get in a horizontal position for 20-ish minutes at a time. While you’re icing your bits, your husband or partner should be on baby duty.
Earth Mama Perineal Spray: I hadn’t even heard of this shit until I was preparing to give birth. Insert face to palm motion here. Ugh, it’s not pleasant, but let’s talk about it. I had a 2nd-degree tear and vaginal birth which wasn’t the worst case scenario, but also not the best. In recovery, the stitches were uncomfortable in addition to whatever else was going on down there. I sprayed this all-natural product on pads (cute!) for extra cooling relief.
Cottonelle Flushable Wipes: The thought of going to the bathroom after giving birth is literally horrifying (read between the lines, ladies, I’m talking about taking a shit, okay?). These flushable wipes are crucial. Buy them in bulk – you’re going to want them.
Miralax: I’ll jump across the collage above to address stool softeners WHILE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC. Put a capful in your coffee every morning. And when you run out, you’re probably going to be like, “Great! I’m good to go!” Wrong. So wrong. Repurchase and keep on keepin’ on.
Disposable Underwear: I don’t know if these are necessary, but they may be helpful. I wore these sexy disposable undies for the first four days I was home from the hospital. But after the first week was under my belt (no pun intended), I didn’t feel like I needed them.
Overnight Pads: I hate to say it, but you’re bleeding anywhere from 4-6 weeks after you give birth, and you can’t even think about a tampon for 6-weeks (you’ll need clearance from your OB). So…yah.
Tucks Pads: You will have to push REALLY hard to get your baby out. But your kid isn’t the only thing that’s going to be poppin’, so you may need hemorrhoid treatment. Cool!
Extra Newborn Diapers: I worked with THE BEST lactation consultant the day my milk came in, and she shared this baby hack with me: splash some tap water on a newborn diaper and throw it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. It creates a warm compress that you can put on your breasts to encourage let down. This tactic proved to be a LIFESAVING maneuver to relieve engorgement and help Luke latch.
Soft Shells: Luke really did a number on my nips the first week of feeding. I was cracked, sore, bruised, blistered, bleeding, and wounded. I purchased these directly from my LC, and they helped with healing. You place them in your bra to alleviate any friction on the nipple. Even my softest t-shirts and bras would make me cry each time they rubbed up against me. Ouch.
Lanolin: I use this as lube on my breast, areola, and nipple while pumping.
Nursing Pads: I haven’t used these yet, but EVERYONE told me to buy them. They’ll soak up any leaks, so you avoid a wet t-shirt, to be clear, that’s NOT THE GOOD KIND of wet t-shirt.
Motherlove Nipple Balm: Yes, if you’re tracking with the above, this is the third balm in your nipple arsenal. I LOVE the texture of this product, it’s super soft and really smooth. Plus it doesn’t need to be wiped off before a feeding (unlike the medicated balm my LC prescribed). My rotation looks like this:
- I used the medicated ointment at night only. Remember that part in The Hunger Games when Katniss is like in a really bad fuckin’ way, and Hamish gets the sponsors to send her that miracle salve? She applies generously and wakes up the next morning like, “I SAID, I VOLUNTEER, BITCHES.” That’s basically what I felt like after using this prescription. In one application I was 60% better, and it was HEAVEN.
- Luke was feeding every 90-minutes at one point, so I found it to be a lot of hassle to apply the medication and wipe it off each time I needed to feed him. I opted for the Motherlove balm during the day. The organic coconut oil would be an alternative.
- Finally, as I mentioned, I used the Lanolin as lube while pumping.
Handsfree Pumping Bra: Crucial for pumping so your hands are free to take care of the babe, work, or scroll through your phone. Want to know a little secret? I’m PUMPING RIGHT NOW. That’s right. Mama needs to be productive and get shit done, OKEY?!
Good Wipes Body Wipes: Somedays a shower isn’t in the cards. Use these wipes to at least feel SOMEWHAT like a functioning human.
Peri Bottle: For rinsing instead of wiping. You can snag the one from the hospital, or buy one on Amazon for cheap. I did both, obviously.
My mom friends say, “Don’t worry, it gets better, and you’ll feel like yourself again soon.” Those bitches better be right! And a question, how soon is soon!?! Asking for myself and all women everywhere. Wink!
UPDATE: At 7-weeks postpartum I can confirm it does, in fact, get better. PRAISE. All the shit above is totally temporary. And totally worth it.
Less than 24 hours old, less than 24 hours into this new life. Haven’t looked back since.
- My lactation consultant provided me with the information for the medication I used, Dr. Newman’s All-Purpose Nipple Ointment. I had to call my OB to provide the actual prescription, which needed to be fulfilled by a compounding pharmacy. Meaning, you can’t pick this up at your local Walgreens or Target. If you don’t have access to an LC, you could probably ask your OB to order it for you on your own.
- If you don’t have an Amazon Prime subscription, seriously consider getting one. The amount of shit I have purchased on the fly has been IN-SANE.