There will be blood!
And lots of it, sorry if that is TMI (too much information) but it’s the god awful truth.
If you really dive in and think about the TRULY AMAZING transformation your body is doing to create another human (literally 3D printer style as @naturally_blossoming would say) than you should find the ability to show yourself some grace during this messy period of pregnancy. After all – the female body is pretty amazing, and making another human is just one of our many SUPER POWERS as females.
So let’s get down with the dirty and be prepared “to just handle it” as we tend to do so well. (Uhhh hello, we’ve been doing this for a long time now, it really started in our pubescent days, am I right?)
Here is a list of the items you will need to make sure you have before the big day to plan for the healing process:
#1. Very large and Absorbent Pads:
Now this is obvious and really goes without saying, but I’ll say it again – There Will Be Blood. The Uterus takes a while to shed the intense amount of membranes that it developed in order to sustain a placenta (the baby’s lifeline).
I recommend having purchased at least 2 large packages of pads (ahead of time) for this postpartum period. I personally bought some for day time and then larger winged ones for nighttime that worked better while I was in the laying down position.
Now there are ways to decrease the bleeding time and amount of bleeding postpartum but that calls for another blog post.
You’re going to want to be the one to buy these. Do not trust your husband to complete this task successfully.
Funny personal story: I ran out of pads and sent the husband to get more and when he came back he passed me a package of Poise Pads. Pads for urine incontinence – peeing while you sneeze. These did not work at all, they are not made for absorbing blood. Don’t learn the way I did. Just get the right ones yourself and before you’re in dire need of them.
#2. Up The Comfort With Frozen Pads – a.k.a. Padsicles
In the first few days after delivery, while everything down there is super sore and swollen, use some frozen newborn diapers as inserts inside your pads.
Trust me this will make a world of a difference.
The diaper will act as an ice pack (doing wonders for the swelling and inflammation) and will also act as a “boat” to catch more blood (another TMI). You can also use pads to make padsicles if you don’t want to use diapers. Use these frozen pads once every 2-3 hours for the first 24-48 hours postpartum.
To make frozen diaper ice packs:
- Open the newborn diapers and place under running water to soak in water
- squeeze out some excess water so they still maintain a flat shape
- fold diaper back up and place in zip loc
- place bagged diaper in freezer
- when necessary, take out of fridge and place in underwear on top of extra large sanitary pad
- You can also add numbing aloe gel (but you only need a very light amount), witch hazel, or essential oils like lavender
You will literally hear your skin sizzle as it touches the ice (ok just kidding on that one but trust me the relief is heavenly.)
Side note. I’d also like to find a way to use “reusable” pads for this period so that I am not so wasteful and I can decrease my carbon footprint. I haven’t figured this one out yet but would love any recommendations and “how to’s” on sewing reusable pads. Send me any ideas and maybe I’ll try one and feature it in my DIY or Mommy 101 post.
#3. Buy Underwear Large Enough to House Said Super Bulky Pads
Do not use – I REPEAT- DO. NOT. USE. your super cute Victoria Secret boy shorts for this postpartum period. I found some boy shorts by Hanes underwear that worked perfectly for fitting the pads I needed and they had extra space for the frozen diapers as well. Cotton underwear seemed to do better with the pads sticking and staying in the right place.
I went on a pre-baby small shopping spree at Target with my best friend to find some undies and comfortable breast feeding friendly pajamas. Let me tell you Target has some great options! And honestly, who doesn’t love a good Target run?
Buying some cheap undies and pajamas or comfy around the house clothes will make it easier on you should you leak and stain them. I know I would not appreciate leaking and staining on my Victoria Secret underwear.
#4. Have a Way or a Means of Catching Leaked Breastmilk
Now if you’re not wanting to breastfeed, you can simply put cabbage leaves in your bra and up against your breast to help dry up those bad boys.
This point is more for methods for catching that liquid gold – not drying it up.
You can always use breast pads. I have used disposable ones as well as reusable ones made of bamboo, super soft and comfortable. But there are other ways to catch the milk so that it can still be consumed by baby.
I am very excited to say that I will be trying to use a milk-saver when I know I wont be around the baby. Prime example of why- I ventured away from Norah when she was 2 weeks old to go to target to find some better breastfeeding bras. Once in the changing room, my boobs heard a crying baby and decided to feed the mirror in said changing room. Don’t let that be you.
EXTRA TIP: Nipple cream is great for sore breastfeeding nipples. I personally used coconut oil so to keep with one natural ingredient to expose my baby to.
#5. Make Sure You Take a Stool Softener DAILY
Now this one is of high importance. I only listed this as number 5 so that if nosey husbands moseyed their way onto this post, the less cringe-worthy topics would have weeded them out before they stumbled upon this bad boy.
During the first week or two – or really while everything is still super sore and swollen down there- take a stool softener on a daily basis.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
Trust me on this one. I skipped a day or two of stool softener regimen early on – and HOLY MOLY – when I finally did have a bowel movement I felt as if I was crowning all over again! Don’t let this happen to you, I may or may not of passed out in that very moment, that remains to be determined.
You should also continue taking a prenatal supplement or postnatal supplement to replenish your body as its healing (that’s just an extra Nurse tip there for you).
The hospital provided me with one last time and it truly is a game changer for when you go to the bathroom. My Mother-in-law even gave me the tip of using the bottle as I would pee so that I wouldn’t experience any burning on my raw parts. I kept this bottle on the toilet ready to go, whenever I would. Make sure to “pat- dry” and not wipe btw.
I also used the peri-bottle in the shower to rinse off soaps that may have washed their way down there. This helped to decrease any skin irritation or dryness caused by soaps not meant for the peri area.
#7. Bring The Boppy to the Hospital and use for the Ride Home
This last tip is another way in which you’ll find use for the Boppy pillow. While in the hospital it will be great for use in breastfeeding the baby. I know that my ENTIRE body was sore from labor, so holding up the baby on the Boppy really helped.
But on the way home I recommend using the Boppy to sit on in the car. This way that super sore area, that you just pushed your baby out of, does not get squished by all your weight. The doughnut hole part of the Boppy will be in the perfect spot to help “float” your sensitive areas off of the hard seat in the car.
You can also use this to sit on the next week or two after delivery around the house as well.
I could really write this post for days but I’ll stop here. Congratulations on the new addition to the family and I hope you have a very easy and smooth road to healing!
What are some tips and tricks you used for the good, bad, and ugly parts of Postpartum healing? I’d love to hear more from all of you Modern Day Mommys out there so feel free to leave a comment below