Postpartum survival

The biggest surprise to me throughout my whole pregnancy/labor/childbirth/baby experience was my postpartum body. Yes, I expected to have a flabby belly, wider hips, etc. What I didn’t expect was just how banged up my body was after giving birth. For the first 8 or so hours after Andrick was born, I was in a happy haze of snuggling and getting to know our baby. Once we came home that evening, I started to realize just how much I needed to recover. For future reference, here is a list of things I wish I had stockpiled prior to going into labor.

  1. Pads. Tons and tons of pads. I think I had maybe 2 packages in the house. To date (4 weeks out) I think I have gone though 6 or 8 (and counting) packages of pads.
  2. Ibuprofen. I was told to take 4 pills every 8 hours, and I probably did that for the first week or week and a half. I also had the option to take Tylenol between doses of ibuprofen, but I didn’t really feel like I needed it.
  3. Colace. I didn’t have issues with bowel movements after giving birth, other than general fear and pain. One of the nurses told me it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it would be, and she was right. But Colace certainly helped for about 2 weeks.
  4. Tucks pads. These are just so soothing down below. When I ran out, I continued to use baby wipes after bowel movements.
  5. Mama bottom balm. This stuff is also incredibly soothing and wonderful. I found it at Whole Foods and am still using it on occasion.
  6. Belly support band. If I had known about this, I would’ve taken it to the birth center with me. The first time I got up to go to the bathroom, I was shocked at the way my abdomen felt like a weight pulling me to the floor. I ended up getting it a day or two after Andrick was born, and I probably wore it for the first week or week and a half.
  7. Donut pillow. I actually used one of those neck pillows that you can buy in the airport. It really helped with sitting, particularly in the car.
  8. Nursing tops. I had a couple of nursing tanks from Target, and they were so comfortable. I ended up getting several more to make sure there was always at least one clean one available.
  9. Hydrogel pads. These were incredibly soothing on my cracked nipples and kept them from chafing against the inside of my shirt. I haven’t had issues with leaking, so I can’t speak to how these would work with a lot of extra milk flowing.
  10. ooh la lift. Or whatever you like for covering up dark circles under your eyes. Because eventually you’re going to want to leave the house and not look like a zombie. I just recently discovered this stuff, and it’s pretty great. Although, I’ve found I don’t really think much about my appearance as long as I’m carrying Andrick. If I don’t have him with me for some reason, I find myself wishing I had a NEW MOM sign.
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