My first postpartum experience sorta threw me for a loop.
It’s something that you really can’t comprehend until you’ve done it. And even then, when you’ve done it, the postpartum recovery period still seems like a hazy + baffling time.
The postpartum experience is shocking, to say the least.
There’s love (so much love!) + joy + crying + blood + tired + crying. There’s hormones, there’s aches and pains, and there’s scary moments. There’s even postpartum hair loss (who knew?!). You are looking for a new normal, and that normal can be hard to find.
A few of my postpartum posts have become really popular lately, and that just tells me that there isn’t enough good postpartum advice out there for new mommas.
I’ve asked some incredible women to shared their BEST postpartum advice with us, so we can ALL be a little more prepared for the upcoming postpartum experience.
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
Since I’ve done this all of one times, I want to throw in my best 2 cents here as well.
I really wish I had just chilled the heck out a bit. Listened to my mom more, and not allowed all the fear mongering that goes on in the world to get to me.
Everywhere you turn there’s some friendly “warning” about all the terrible things that are going to happen to you or to your baby, and while it’s fine to be aware that there are real risks + know how to avoid them, it’s not healthy to obsess about these things. (And, actually, it’s about the best way I know to zap the joy out of having an amazing new human to love.)
Also, just practically, if you are recently postpartum or about to be postpartum, I share more of my best postpartum advice in these other posts:
The BEST postpartum advice, from moms who’ve been there + done that:
UPDATE: I have had another baby, and taken my own advice. I DID chill the heck out, and I had a MUCH better postpartum experience. Read here – How to Enjoy the First Week With a Newborn.
Obviously, having experienced it before I was better prepared this time – this advice will help you get prepared too!
Do some planning for how your home will run ahead of time:
“Having done this 8 times, my best piece of advice is to decide on only 3 household tasks that must get done each week, 3 household tasks that could get done each week, and 3 household tasks that you will let slide each week. The best part of this is that well meaning family members and friends who want to help know exactly what to do to help.” – Jennifer, from The Intentional Mom
“A simple but overlooked way to take care of yourself is to use paper plates for at least the first month, if not longer – it’ll make your life easier and save your energy by eliminating the need to do dishes. Want to be eco-friendly? Choose biodegradable ones.” – Andrea, from Simplifying Mom Life
“Prepare lots of freezer meals ahead of time. It makes recovery so much easier when you aren’t having to worry about what’s for dinner.” – Laura, from Mom Envy
” Everything is always 100 times worse when you don’t sleep. Sleep whenever you can! Have friends over to help prep some meals and store in individual containers before baby comes. Or start stashing a serving of dinner every night in the freezer so you have a lot of easy meal options when baby comes.” – Jennifer, from Figuring Out 30
Take Care of yourself (and baby) – MEDICALLY:
(OK first I need to butt in here and say I used this magic cream to speed healing + prevent infection postpartum. It was awesome. It doesn’t help with the pain, but it DEFINITELY helped with the itching… just FYI. On with the tips!)
“Don’t ever be afraid to call your doctor. And, no clots bigger than a golf ball.” (This really can’t be stressed enough!) – Hilary, from Pulling Curls, who just happens to be a Labor + Delivery Nurse, and who also happens to have an awesome online prenatal class for all the first time Momma’s out there.
“Make sure to steal extra mesh undies & as many of those humungo pads as you can before leaving the hospital. Also, invest in those fancy adult diapers to carry you through once your run out or for days that you expect to be a bit more active. *Life Saver*!” – Alea, from Frugal Nesting (The hostpital I delivered at watched their supplies like a hawk, and I couldn’t sneak any extras. I found them here for cheap, and they are a LIFESAVER.)
“Sleep whenever you can. Make sure you drink tons of water and ask (and accept) help when you need it.” – Laurie, from Learning 2 Bloom
“Especially if you’re a first-time mom and have NO idea what you’re doing, hire a midwife who does house calls. Twice a week at the beginning, then once a week for the next 6 to 8 weeks. She will look out for you AND your baby. Mine helped me take care of c-section wound and even took out the staples for me so I didn’t have to leave the house to see a doctor. She was invaluable in helping me naturally heal my kidney infection which resulted from the catheter. That way I didn’t have to take antibiotics and could continue to try to breastfeed my twins (which she helped me with as well.) She cleaned the umbilical cord area once it fell off; also monitored if my babies were gaining enough weight. She even taped my back and knees for me because the infection had settled in there and it was so painful I could hardly walk (much less carry my babies upstairs.) She also taught me some yoga poses specifically for those painful areas. She also listened to me about typical concerns new mothers have. I love her to the moon and back for making that time in my life so worry-free!” – Rebecca, from Mother’s Little Helpers
“Get your self a postpartum healing herb bath mix. It makes you feel sooo much better. Helps heal wounds, achy muscles, and helps calm anxiety. They have a bunch for sale on etsy, a few on amazon or you could make your own.” – Stormy, from The Happy Herbal Home
Eat well and be careful what sort of activity you jump into doing when it’s time to get moving again
Once you’ve gotten the ok at your 6 week check up, it can be tempting to start doing all kinds of sit ups – I know it’s frustrating when your clothes don’t fit and your body looks SO different than it did a year ago… but go slow with your workouts, and eat well – especially if you’re nursing – don’t cut a bunch of calories trying to get into your pre-baby clothes!
If you’re hanging on to baby weight or if you feel like your tummy won’t ever shrink back down, you probably need to heal your core muscles – holding a baby for 9 months straight is HARD work. The Postpartum Cure is a SUPER AFFORDABLE eating and workout plan for getting rid of the mommy tummy WITHOUT causing further damage.
It includes meal plans, grocery lists, explanations of how to heal and strengthen the pelvic floor, and best of all, it will help you get your body back! Check out The Postpartum Cure here.
Take Care of yourself – MENTALLY:
“If you feel off after baby comes, don’t write it off as the baby blues if you feel like it’s more… even if the little quiz they give you at the postpartum check ups says you’re in the normal range. Be your own advocate.” – Jamie, from Simple Living Mommy
“I am not trying to be a downer, but keep your eyes open for the signs of postpartum depression. If the “baby blues”, the hormonal fluctuations that throw you into teary ups and downs last more than a few weeks, contact your OB right away. Because a friends share this with me, I received treatment immediately and made a (in hindsight) quick recovery.” – Brandice, from Grace Filled Plate
“Don’t forget to take some time for yourself and keep up with your hobbies and goals. I struggled with feeling like I was “just” a mom and not a person with their own goals and interest for a while and I think it is important to remember that you are much more than “just” a mom.” – Cassie from Life on Waller
“It’s ok to say NO to visitors, even family members and close friends! Especially if you’re an introvert or someone who feels pressure to entertain visitors, give yourself permission to take all the time you need before letting everyone come over to meet your new addition.” – Kate, from High Low Baby
“Allow yourself to talk to someone about how hard it is, and about the sweet simple joys. Being able to fully communicate your feelings with someone you trust will help so much!” – Myra, from A Heart Full of Joy
Cut Yourself Some Slack:
“Give yourself a baby gift: grace. I tend to set expectations for my house, my schedule, my post-baby size. A new baby changes all of that! For a season. So give yourself grace and lots of margin until things get back into a rhythm.” – Lisa, from Lisa Appelo
“Don’t forget to take care of you! That sweet baby needs you healthy first and foremost. And don’t worry about losing the weight right away, it took almost a year to gain it, give your body time to lose it too.” – Jamie, Living Life As A Wife
“Be unbelievably self forgiving.” – Linda
“Give yourself an unbelievable amount of grace. Focus on you and baby; everything else will still be there in a couple of weeks, but the newborn time is fleeting.” – Lisa, from Graceful Abandon
“If it’s not your first baby, make sure your husband is prepared to watch baby alone for a couple of days because the cramps afterwards require all of your rest and relaxation.” – Jamie, from Simple Living Mommy
REST, REST, REST! (This is a good time for baby snuggles!)
“Take the time to heal your body and in doing so, enjoy your baby. I am a go, go, go person. So resting and relaxing does not come naturally to me. In fact, even the hospital makes me antsy! Most moms in our culture are not accustomed to resting and taking the time to heal after having a baby. You MUST rest! Your body needs proper time to rest in order to heal. It’s essential for you to take the time. And…in doing so, you will have the added benefit of enjoying your baby. Spend the time now to snuggle your sweet, soft, squishy baby while he’s willing to sit still on you. It won’t be long, and he’s be running around. Babies grow fast!” – Amber, from All Natural Joy (ummm, she has 7 kids, girls. LISTEN to this lady!)
“Set up a cozy place to rest and feed your baby. This could include a comfy chair, pillows, nourishing snacks and drinks within reach, favorite books, a bouncer seat or place to put baby down nearby if needed, and (if you are breastfeeding) a nursing stool. This can make it easier to rest and recover the first couple weeks when your baby needs you so often.” – Beth, from Natural Mama Cafe
“Let your family and friends do everything for you. They can do laundry, meals and house cleaning. Right now is your time to hold your baby and learn who he/she is and how this whole Mommy thing works. If breastfeeding isn’t working, get help right away. Ohh, and get Dermoplast for those stitches. It’s Amazing!!!” – Treasure, from Treasured Mom
“The days are long, but the years are short… so use this time to literally do nothing, but snuggle, cuddle, kiss, and take care of the baby and yourself. The house and chores can wait.” – Lisa, from Dreams and Caffeine
“Sleep, Sleep, and more sleep. If you have company over and the baby goes to sleep kick them out and go to sleep. There is nothing worse than watching your baby sleep while trying to entertain someone when you are tired and sore. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your needs and tell family and friends no. At the same time, say yes to all of the help they want to provide. Let go of your pride and accept help on your terms.” Amy, from Daily Successful Living
Listen to the practical advice from Mom’s who’ve been there before – advice like:
“Let sleeping babies lie and sleep when the baby sleeps, if you’re exhausted.” – Sandra, from Plum Prarie Ranch
“Let your spouse/partner have some one on one time with the baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding because they’ll feel like they don’t get to bond in the same way.” – Amber, from Amber I Am
“Don’t give up on breastfeeding too early! It gets easier!” – Sheri, from Breastfeeding Magazine
YES!!! I have to yes this, because I REALLY struggled with breastfeeding for the first 2 months. Speaking of, you can use the code mommyonpurpose50 to grab a FREE breastfeeding pillow from www.nursingpillow.com!)
“Get a sound machine! I thought it was silly at first but our baby started sleeping through the night the first time we used our sound machine. It was a life saver!” – Mattie, from Growing the Givens
“Do not entertain the little one at night! Wake up, change the baby, feed the baby, then everyone back to bed. If they insist on staying up, keep the lights low and just cuddle- no play and interacting. I think I bored my kids into a better sleep routine within a week doing this.”- Deja, from Dejavu Organics
“Babywear! Using a carrier helps you keep your baby close and bond, while still having your hands free. This is also super helpful when you have another child and you can’t be sitting with your new baby all day!” – Christina, from Raising Biracial Babies
“Especially if you have other children, babywearing will save your sanity. I had three under five and very little help. I would have lost my mind if it weren’t good a good baby carrier. Also remember that it goes by so quickly. It’s so so difficult at first, but it DOES get easier!” – Amy, from Amy Fillinger
“If you want to breastfeed and are having trouble, go see that lactation specialist! They are boob queens! They know everything and can help!” – Nicole, from Maybe I’m Amazed
“Never ever leave the house without an extra outfit (or 20) and keep a secret stash of diapers and wipes in your car. You’ll be happy you did. And join a mommy group with like minded moms, especially if you are the first of your friends to have kids. It works wonders to have friends who understand when you’re running late due to a blowout or poorly timed nap.” – Jamie, from Simple Living Mommy
But, don’t forget to trust your Momma Instincts:
“People and books will tell you what they think is best. Take it in, but then trust your intuition. You got this mama!” – Angela, from Setting My Intention
“Don’t forget to listen to your own instincts. You’ll get advice coming in from every direction, but you will know your baby best so listen to your gut!” – Erin, from The Caffeinated Mom Club
Remember, postpartum is just a CRAZY time.
It WILL get easier. You WILL start to feel human again. My friend Jamie says “No one tells you what it’s REALLY like to have a baby. When you feel overwhelmed remember it DOES get better and you’ll soon feel like this is the best job you’ve ever had.”
Just do your sitz baths, love on your itty bitty and – seriously – don’t worry about the dust.
Have you done the postpartum thing? Leave your best postpartum advice in the comments to help out other moms to be who stop by 🙂