This blog post is about postpartum recovery. My postpartum recovery tips for the first time mama.
This blog post is sponsored by adidas as part of their new maternity and postpartum collection.
Postpartum recovery has been one of the most challenging parts as a new mom. My hopes in writing this blog post is to help those about to or currently experiencing postpartum navigate the weeks ahead. Keep reading for simple ways to make your postpartum recovery easier, smoother, and/or faster.
WELCOME TO MOTHERHOOD (POSTPARTUM RECOVERY)
So you labored and delivered and welcomed your beautiful new baby to the world. Everyone tells you how magical this moment is, but for some it’s actually not.
While childbirth is incredibly magical, there can also be trauma that takes place. For me after 46 hours of labor where I eventually needed a c-section there was trauma. Delivering your baby to the world brings trauma to your body and sometimes trauma to your mentality.
The best thing we can do is work through the trauma and begin recovery physically and mentally during our postpartum recovery period.
POSTPARTUM RECOVERY TIPS
Here are my biggest postpartum recovery tips no matter how your birth experience went.
RULE #1 FOR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY IS REST!
Postpartum recovery is full of contradictions. You know you need rest, but you also have a newborn to care for. However you must get plenty of rest, everyone will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. For me this was not practical or possible. Most newborns need to feed every 2-3 hours. If you have a baby like ours, it’s more like every hour.
After a long labor and c-section, plus 3 weeks of PUPPPS prior to labor, my body was drained. My mind was raw and I was exhausted. I needed rest, but it was almost impossible with the demands of breastfeeding and a newborn.
My milk did not come in right away and my baby was hungry. Most women’s milk do not come in for 3-4 days, sometimes much longer. Do not feel guilty if you need to supplement with formula! However, if you plan to breastfeed, this is the routine they give you till your milk comes in:
nurse first, partner bottle feeds, you pump 15 minutes, and hand express/ massage. Repeat from the start of the last feed every 2 hours.
This really cuts into your ability to rest and recover.
For me, it was best to do this routine during the day, right before bedtime, and have my husband take night shifts bottle feeding. This gave me 6 hours of sleep to recover. While not ideal for breastfeeding and building up your supply it was necessary for me to recover. We worried about my milk supply once I was more recovered.
Whatever works for you to get rest, do it! Don’t listen to anyone if it doesn’t work for you. Stress and being run down will lower your milk supply, so do what you need for sleep and build up your supply around that. Postpartum recovery should come with weeks of support at home, however this is not the case for most so we must do what we have to to rest and sleep.
COMFORT IS KEY
When it comes to recovery having comfortable and supportive clothing is key! Adidas women is launching a new line of maternity clothing. You can view the collection here.
Typically after delivery you can expect to still have some swelling and about a 6 month pregnancy belly.
I personally experienced a lot of swelling the first few days and welcomed loose fitting pieces that also offered support like the adidas 2 move ⅞ sports tights (maternity). The flexible high waist panel allows for your belly, but also offers a nice support to help you feel whole. More on this below.
Something I didn’t anticipate after delivery was how loose I felt in the center, like my insides were swimming around. For tops, I enjoy wearing breathable tanks like the AEROREADY Designed Ready to Move Sport Tank Top (maternity). Comfortable and practical when it comes to nursing. The moisture absorbing fabric is great for leaks, drips, and sweat.
BELLY BAND FOR THE WIN
I highly recommend a postpartum belly band. Here’s the one I wore. My doctor loves them and so do I! The first few days I didn’t have a proper fitting one, so I had to wait for the correct size to arrive. Once I had a belly band that fit, I felt so much better.
The band offers support, promotes better posture, and helps everything go back to pre pregnancy faster.
It was easier for me to get around, hold my baby, nurse, and sleep with a belly band. Having the band and supportive high waist underwear are two things I could not live without during the first month of postpartum.
POSTPARTUM RECOVERY MOVEMENT - WALK and STRETCH
I was active through my entire pregnancy, but toward the end my activity became more stretching based. When you are home for your postpartum recovery, you’ll want to be as easy on your body as possible, but light stretching can help your recovery especially counter stretches to holding baby and breastfeeding.
Walking is a big one! Part of being allowed to go home early was my ability to walk and move around ASAP after surgery. Even when you’re at the hospital, try to get out of bed and walk around your room as soon as possible. Even sitting up and dangling your feet is important.
When you get home, walk around your home and when you feel up to it and weather permits, take a walk outside. Avoid stairs, inclines, declines, and carrying anything other than your baby. For me even holding or carrying Lilian was challenging the first two weeks.
PILLOWS and MORE PILLOWS
Our birth doula says if you’re comfortable then the baby is comfortable. Often we are concerned about the baby’s comfort, but nursing and feeding is hard work on our bodies. Make sure to use pillows to help support your arms, neck, back, and anything to make sure you avoid tension in the neck and shoulders.
I recommend having plenty of fluffy pillows to help prop you up and support your arms. This pillow is also great once your incision is more healed if you’ve had a c-section and great for mother’s who birthed vaginally.
The postpartum recovery period is hard. I don’t think anyone would disagree with me on this. Your body grew and carried a tiny human for 9 months. You then labored and delivered this human to the world.
Birth is a wonderful, magical experience, but it’s also filled with waves of hormonal dumps, and no matter your experience your body went through one of the hardest things it will ever endure. We must be kind to it and ourselves.
One of the hardest parts of recovery for me is patience and kindness to myself. It’s okay to take time to recover and it’s okay to need help. I still have to remind myself of this hourly.
You’ve got this mama because you are the perfect mother to your baby, but you have to be kind to yourself and recover to be there for your baby.
I’m still working on this.