Postpartum Healing: Recovering From Delivery
Postpartum Healing: The first six weeks postpartum is all about recovery. You’ve just been through what is probably the most physically enduring experience of your life and your body needs time to recuperate. Here we share eight tips on postpartum healing and recovering from a delivery.
1. Use a good perineum spray
Even if you had a very straight forward delivery (and especially if you didn’t!) if you delivered vaginally, you are going to have soreness down below. This can range from swelling, to grazing and severe tears, and a perineum spray can help to soothe discomfort. We love Natural Birth Company Bottoms Up Soothing Bottom Spray, which is included in our Arrival Survival Postpartum Care Kit. Mist it over the perineal area whenever you are experiencing discomfort.
2. Know your body
When you get home from the hospital, use a mirror to look at your perineum or C-section incision. The benefit of this is that if you experience any issues, like increased swelling, tenderness or inflammation, you have something to compare it to, and can make a judgment about whether or not you need to contact a health professional.
3. Invest in a peri bottle
Peri bottles, also known as perineal irrigation bottles, are essential to postpartum healing. A peri bottle will help keep areas affected by childbirth, like your perineum, safe from infection and speed up recovery. We love the First Days Maternity Peri Bottle, which we include in our Arrival Survival Postpartum Care Kit.
4. Give breastfeeding time
Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing with many benefits, but it can also be very hard in the early days. Be prepared to be patient because it might take a little while before it feels like the effortless bonding experience you’ve imagined. One point we can’t push enough is, don’t suffer in silence. If you’re really struggling with your latch or experiencing nipple soreness, be sure to contact a lactation consultant for advice.
5. Fill up on postpartum healing foods
You might be tempted to eat anything you can get your hands on (a packet of Oreos, anyone?), but try to keep healthy foods nearby. Almonds, apples and protein bars are easy snack options, which you can eat one-handed (bonus!). You will probably also find that you are constipated, so try to eat a lot of fibrous veggies and drink plenty of water. And, if you’re breastfeeding, try to fill up on full-fat foods, such as fish, yogurt and avocados.
6. Prioritise postpartum healing
As a new mother it’s really easy to put yourself at the back of the queue, but remember, part of taking care of your baby is taking care of yourself.
7. Trust your gut
It’s really easy to feel inundated by tips and advice when you first have a baby, but try to pick and choose what works best for you.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask visitors to leave
We’ve spoken to nurses and midwives who’ve described scenarios where new mothers have literally been trying to sleep post delivery, and their family and friends have filled the hospital room in order to get a first hold of baby. Never be afraid to ask people to leave if you’re exhausted, or better still tell well-meaning visitors that you’d rather they came to see the baby in the coming weeks (instead of day one!), in order to give yourself time to heal postpartum.
Words: Catherine Sullivan is a mum of two, a freelance journalist and the co-founder of Mama Hug.