What No One Tells You About PostPartum Healing

Your baby’s due date is commonly considered the finish line for many pregnancies – the end of the nine month journey to meet your precious baby. But I’m here to give you a REALITY CHECK! Postpartum healing and care is an entirely new adventure. If you are a first-time mom, or are friends with or the partner of someone who is expecting their first child, share this article now and keep reading!

postpartum healing and care

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The fourth trimester begins the moment your baby is born. Your healing over the next six weeks all depends on your method of birth, and how your doctor or midwife reacts to any injuries you may have sustained during the process.

I had two vaginal births and each one came with its own challenges. But there was one common lesson: Postpartum healing is a process and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Postpartum Care & Healing

Your postpartum care will depend on how you gave birth. I can only speak from my experience. I had one episiotomy with stitches during my first delivery, and stitches alone with my second delivery.

Episiotomy Healing and Care

An episiotomy is a surgical cut your doctor makes to the vaginal area during delivery. It’s typically only done when medically necessary to prevent harm to the baby or mother. 

In my case, my son’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and he was blue. Not a light blue – I’m talking dark blue – the blue that’s in every mother’s nightmare. 

In order to get him out quickly and safely, my doctor gave me a quick cut and likely saved my son’s life. The challenge began after my epidural wore off, and I felt every single stitch (to this day, I have no idea exactly how many stitches I got). There I was, relieved to have a healthy baby boy, severely sleep deprived and trying to cope with my new stitches and the healing process that would follow.

My peri bottle became my best friend. Once a day I would take a sitz bath with natural sea salt. Of course, the other option would be to actually take a dip in the ocean, but that isn’t always possible.

Disposable Underwear for Postpartum Healing

There will be blood. It’s called lochia, as your body sheds all of the excess lining that it built up over the past nine months to keep your baby safe and healthy. Hospitals in the US will give you a postpartum kit that includes disposable underwear and mesh underwear, along with giant maxi pads. But you’ll need those items a few weeks beyond delivery, to make your life a little easier.

Before you laugh it off, hear me out! Your bladder may or may not be working exactly the way it used to. Postpartum healing kits include giant maxi pads, and mesh underwear, so why not get the best of both worlds with one product?

postpartum healing and care

Postpartum Care and Healing Kit for 2020

FTC Disclosure: This post or video contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through my link.

  • Disposable underwear
  • Dermoplast pain and itch spray. This comes in handy for any tears during delivery, and can be especially helpful if you have stitches.
  • Earth Mama makes a natural alternative to the pain and itch spray that will also provide some level of relief ‘down under’ as you heal.
  • Peri bottle. I prefer this bottle by FridaBaby. It was designed with postpartum care in mind.
  • Witch hazel pads, for shrinking hemorrhoids and providing relief after bowel motions.
  • Hot and cold breast packs. Whether you decide to breastfeed or not, your breasts will need a little TLC after pregnancy and childbirth. These bead-filled packs can be frozen to provide relief for swollen breasts, or microwaved to help with milk letdown.

Postpartum Diet vs. Breastfeeding Diet

What you eat has a huge impact on how you heal. All the foods! A postpartum diet is not an actual diet. It is all about figuring out the balance between giving your body what it needs to heal from the inside out, and provide nutrients for your baby, if you decide to breastfeed.

While you may be longing to get back to your pre-baby body, don’t rush the process, and don’t starve your body of the essentials it needs. Carbohydrates and whole grains are still a part of a healthy breastfeeding diet.

Postpartum Wardrobe

Remember those postpregnancy outfits you bought yourself? Don’t bother popping those tags off just yet, chances are you are still going to want the ease and comfort of your second- and third-trimester wardrobe. That is, if you can even wear real clothes again. The first few weeks are all about survival; Keeping your little baby fed and clean, and doing the same for yourself. Choose cool and comfortable fabrics as your hormones regulate and night sweats creep in. Don’t be surprised if you wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat and breastmilk.

postpartum healing and care

Healing from the Inside Out

Healing doesn’t happen overnight. And stressing over how you used to look and how you used to feel will not help with the emotional side of healing. Bringing a new human into the world and your existing relationships can sometimes be stressful. Postpartum anxiety and depression, or the Baby Blues, are real and should be recognized by medical professionals as such. Western medicine traditionally puts little to no emphasis on how a mother’s mental state can be altered or impacted in the weeks following labor and delivery.

Similar to how you approach a newborn baby with patience, kind words and tenderness, give yourself the same grace. Healing takes time.

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