You’ve decorated the nursery, and fitted the baby car seat, but have you thought about how you will look after yourself after baby is born?
We have put together a list of the things you might find handy to help you recover quickly and easily from the birth of your bouncing baby.
Postnatal care for new mums:
- Maternity Pads – you will need large maternity pads for the postnatal bleeding (lochia) that you will experience after giving birth. This may continue for up to 6 weeks. If there is anything you are unsure about (like heavy bleeding), please speak to your midwife or obstetrician.
- Sitz bath – a herbal sitz bath can help soothe your perineum. You may choose to use a specially designed sits bath that fits over your toilet, or just a shallow bath in the bathtub is fine.
- Peri Bottle – a peri bottle is so handy to use when you go to the toilet. Toilet paper can be too rough for the first few days. You can even add some herbs (see our Peri-Heaven – Postnatal Herb Bombs) or essential oils to this to help your perineal recovery.
- Ice Pack – using an ice pack against your perineum in those first few days can really help ease the swelling and relieve your soreness
- Donut pillow – Using a ring shaped pillow takes the pressure off your perineum, and haemorrhoids
- Breast Cooler – new mums often find that their breasts become engorged and uncomfortably full when their milk first comes in. The traditional remedy for this is to place a cabbage leaf on each breast. Or you can use special breast coolers like the Breast Soother which may be useful later on as well if you have issues with blocked milk ducts or mastitis. A Homeopathic Breastfeeding Kit may also come in handy for inflammation, mastitis, over or under production of milk.
- Comfy clothes – after you have birthed your baby, you will want to be in something comfy. You will probably be sore and tender in all sorts of new places. Wear your comfiest clothes, but also have something a little nice for popping on for photos. If you have had a caesar, then something like these hospital pants are perfect, as you can throw them away if you couldn’t be bothered washing them (or wash them up to 10 times). They allow your scar to breathe.
- Nipple Cream – sore or cracked nipples need some extra TLC, to recover. The three best choices I’ve found are using a little expressed breast milk and taking advantage of tis healing properties, Weleda Nipple Care Cream, which include a soothing selection of healing herbs and moisturisers, or Lansinoh which is is 100% pure lanolin.
- Belly wrap – using a post partum belly wrap is an ancient practice which can help give you abdominal support, and may help restore your tummy to its pre-pregnancy size and shape.
- Haemorrhoid treatment – any pain during bowel movements may be a sign of haemorrhoids. You can help ease any discomfort using witch hazel pads. The ring pillow will help you to be more comfortable too.
- Nutrition – it is still important to have a good diet – after all, you need to produce lots of lovely breastmilk for baby, as well as recover from a marathon (aka labour). You can try to include foods like fennel and oats that can increase your breastmilk supply. Your water intake is important too – keep a water bottle by your side, especially when you sit down to feed baby.
- Heatpack / TENS – your uterus needs to return to its original size, and for the first few days you may notice the after pains (more contractions!) as it tries to do this. A heat pack or TENS can help with any discomfort you experience.
- Rest – you may have heard people advise you to sleep when the baby sleeps. Well, I can only advise you to do it. I didn’t with our first, as I strangely thought I might be superwoman and not need it. By our second and third, I grabbed every bit of sleep I could get. Of course by then it was harder as I had other children to worry about, but if I could get everyone to have an afternoon nap, I did. And dreamt that the housework fairy would sort out the mess while I slept. Don’t try to play hostess – ask your guests to put the kettle on, or empty your dishwasher – most people are very happy to help.
The key to these first few weeks after birth is to look after yourself. If you are not happy and healthy, you won’t be able to look after your new baby effectively.
Have fun getting to know your new baby! x
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