Giving birth to my children is easily one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. Postpartum recovery, on the other hand, at least after my first baby, was one of the more difficult things I’ve experienced.
This page is intended to be a resource to help you as you ease into new mom life (ha, who are we kidding… as you are launched suddenly into new mom life) and to help you heal after childbirth.
I’ve written a ton on postpartum recovery already, and I continue to add to this list of postpartum recovery information as time goes on. If you wish something was discussed on this page that that I haven’t written about yet, please let me know so I can consider adding the topic! (Postpartum is never going to go away, so we might as well make this thorough.)
Postpartum Recovery Tips:
Start by preparing for the postpartum period
1 ) As part of your postpartum recovery prep (in the third trimester), be sure to put together a postpartum care kit. You want to get on this early in the 9th month, because baby can come at any time… and doesn’t care how ready you are.
If you’re like me, baby might catch you by surprise – a few weeks early. (Twice. I don’t learn quickly.) Stopping at the drug store for giant pads and advil on the way home from the hospital sucks. Don’t do that… be ready, with all the supplies you need at home waiting for you.
(Here’s a complete third trimester to-do list to help prepare you for the postpartum period.)
2) As with most things in life, there are loads of wise women who have been here before. Take a few minutes and read through this list of brilliant postpartum advice from mommas who’ve been there. This list can help you get ready, and have a solid understanding of what to expect postpartum.
And speaking of postpartum advice, keep this list of postpartum hacks handy – things like using a red light bulb in your room at night, so as not to completely wake up during diaper changes – are pure gold!
3) I am partial to anxiety, and one of the ways I deal with my anxiety is avoidance. I didn’t go to a prenatal class or do any reading prior to going into labor. On one hand that was just fine because my anxiety was controlled, but on the other hand, there are better options – like this online prenatal class– which is the perfect amount of information without being terrifying. (Yes, I have taken it SINCE having a baby – haha.)
4) Because I was a little unprepared, these are the 8 things that most shocked me about postpartum recovery.
5) Baby really needs very little in this period – lots of love and sleep and food – this time can be more about mom. This is all you really need to know about bringing baby home.
Tips for healing (and staying comfortable) postpartum
6) We all want postpartum recovery to end as soon as possible – but the truth is that healing just takes some time. Here’s what you need to know to speed up postpartum recovery. If you’ve had a vaginal birth, here’s 12 tips to heal faster after vaginal birth.
7) A sitz bath to relieve pain, stop itching, heal faster, (and feel cleaner too) is one of the nicest things you can do for yourself – and yes, it’s safe if it’s done correctly (and when your Dr says it’s safe!). Here’s all about why and how to take a sitz bath for postpartum recovery.
8) Knowing how to pee postpartum without crying will be a trick you want up your sleeve – I promise! This is more of a want than a need, you WILL live through painful peeing postpartum, but my goodness, it sucks.
9) For a multitude of reasons, we don’t all have vaginal births. If you’ve had a planned or emergency c-section, this article on c-section recovery tips written by a mama who has had TWO c-sections (one planned, one not) will help you with that.
10) Make sure you see your doctor and ask him EVERYTHING – don’t hold back with any of your questions!! If you’re nervous about your postpartum visit to the doc, here’s what to expect at your 2 week postpartum checkup!
Taking care of your mental self postpartum
11) We hear a lot about PPD when we talk about postpartum recovery, but our struggles with becoming a mom can extend beyond depression. Postpartum anxiety was what got me.
Getting your body + life back after baby
12) There are lots of things to consider when you start working out postpartum. Check with your doctor, and when he okays you to start exercising, it’s time to get on with the longer term aspect of postpartum recovery… and that’s getting back into shape and (especially) working on your pelvic floor. Read all about the essentials of postpartum workout here – what you need to consider, what you need to have on hand, and what you need to AVOID while getting into a workout routine.
13) Finally, because we all want to know – when it is ok to have sex postpartum? (And all the other questions you might have on the subject!)