Well, I am finally getting into the swing of the new mom routine. Me and my little one didn’t have the easiest go during the first week and we spent most of our time in the hospital, but we have been home for 2 weeks now and are settling in nicely. Thank you for all the well wishes upon her arrival.
These past 3 weeks have definitely opened my eyes to many experiences of being a new mom. There are lots of tips and tricks I have learned from family and friends about keeping little babe happy and healthy, but I wanted to take some time to today to honour the mental, emotional and physical things experienced by new moms.
In all honesty, I hadn’t given much thought to how I might feel after my little girl was born. I knew I had to be careful about baby blues and post-partum depression, but I wasn’t prepared for some of the physical discomforts that come along with childbirth. Leaky boobs, sore nipples, sore tailbone, constipation, sore lady parts, hemorrhoids, etc. There are days when I have felt completely out of my skin and wondering what on earth has happened to my body.
Thankfully, I was given the head’s up to prepare a few things ahead of time to help my body recover as best as possible.
Here are my 15 Post-Partum Essentials for New Mom:
For Healing up the Sore Bits:
1. Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray: My ND told me about this spray and thank goodness she did. It’s remarkable. The combo of witch hazel, cucumber and more is cleansing, cooling and healing. I used it after every rinse with the peri bottle (so basically every time I used the loo) and it helps me feel much cleaner.
2. Always Discreet/Tena Disposable Underwear: Yep! There is a lot of bleeding and those first few days after delivery left me feeling like it would never end. I couldn’t stand the giant hospital pads (I felt like I had a mattress between my legs) especially because my tailbone was so sore I couldn’t sit on them. Thankfully, my ND told me to purchase some disposable underwear. I used Always Discreet underwear for the first week post-partum. Amazing!
3. Perineal Wash: You can either fill the bath or a Sitz bath with healing herbs (I chose the blend from The Herbal Clinic & Dispensary in Toronto) to soak in twice each day. Things in the nether regions heal up much more quickly!
4. Padsicles: You’ve heard of these magic things haven’t you? If not, please spread the word. Before heading into the hospital I bought a package of overnight pads, soaked them in Thayer’s Witch Hazel and stuck them in the freezer. Oh my! What a lifesaver. The soothing cool of the pad mixed with the astringent healing of the witch hazel is an amazing combo for those early days of healing.
For Overall Healing & Nourishment:
5. Supplements: Of course, as an ND, I was right back to my regular supplement routine as soon as I returned home from the hospital (and I even had a few in the hospital). I had prepared ahead of time by chatting with my ND and my doula (who is also an ND) to develop a good plan for me. At the very least it’s best to resume your prenatal vitamin, fish oil, vitamin D, and probiotic. If you’re like me, you needed to add in iron and a few gentle and breastfeeding-friendly anxiolytic herbs to help with new mom anxiety. Speak with your ND to determine what supplement regime will be best for you.
6. My Magic Supplement - Placenta Pills: Yep! I did it! I encapsulated my placenta. I’m sure you’ve heard chatter of this amongst new mom circles. I didn’t even hesitate to do it. While there isn’t a strong body of research on the benefits of eating your placenta after birth, there certainly is a strong cultural component and even an animalistic component. Women in many cultures will eat their placenta after delivery, and most animals will do this, too. The argument is that the nutrients in the placenta will help you recover faster, improve energy, reduce fatigue, and reduce the likelihood of developing post-partum depression. So far I do feel I’ve recovered quite well and have returned to a lot of activities faster than I thought I would.
7. Powerballs: You’ll be told time and time again to stock your freezer with food to consume after delivery. It’s true – the last thing you want to do is cook. But one of the best pieces of advice I received was to make powerballs. These little nuggets are chock full of protein, healthy fat and healthy carbohydrates. They have nourished me many times during late-night nursing sessions and during daytime hours when I am need of quick, healthy snack. Need a great recipe? Grab it from this post.
For Help with Nursing:
8. Nipple Cream: Oh thank goodness for this magical stuff. Those first few days of nursing were a little intense, and my nipples were sore. I had purchased Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple cream before delivering and definitely put it to good use. I still use it almost daily for comfort and nipple care. It has a love cocoa smell that makes it a joy to use.
9. Nursing Tea: Keeping up a good milk supply has thankfully not been a huge issue for me, and I think that has a lot to do with my daily cups of lactation tea. There are many different brands out there. I stocked up on Mother’s Little Helper from The Herbal Dispensary in Toronto. Earth Mama Angel Baby also make a tea blend.
10. Lactation Blend: You can also add in a lactation supplement or tincture to the mix on top of the tea to help increase flow. I stocked up on Tori Hudson’s Vitanica Lactation Blend. I’ve been taking this once per day, but your ND can help you determine how much to take to achieve the desired result for you. MotherLove makes another option that also comes in tincture form.
11. Nursing Pillow: On the advice of a friend I purchased the BrestFriend nursing pillow. I brought it to the hospital and it made those first few days of nursing so much easier. I highly recommend it. I am using it less now that babe and I have gotten into a good routine with comfortable positions, but it laid a wonderful foundation.
12. BabyNursing App: Apps make the world go ‘round these days! I found the nursing and diaper chart provided by my midwives to be quite cumbersome. My husband found the BabyNursinf app to use instead. It is a great app to track feeds, poos and pees for the first few weeks.
13. Nursing Tanks & Dresses: For some reason I completely forgot to get prepared for nursing. These early weeks mean nursing many many many times each day. It is a pain to fiddle with awkward clothes. I was so thankful that my sister-in-law gave me a nursing tank top, and I wore it every day for nearly a week! Thankfully now I have invested in some cute nursing tanks and dresses from Ripe and Boob to help me took chic, while still being able to whip out a boob in no time to feed little babe.
For Help with Pelvic Floor & Abdomen Recovery:
14. Ab System: This is a wonderful investment to make to help your abdomen & pelvic floor recover after delivery. This system comes with an ab tank for wrapping and a complete set of exercises. You can learn about all of the benefits here.
15. Prettymama Skin Repair: Thankfully, due to my diligent use of Matter Company's Substance Belly Jelly, I was able to walk away from pregnancy stretch mark-free, but that doesn't mean my abdomen doesn't feel a little weird and squishy. I've been using Prettymama's Skin Repair oil to help heal my skin. It also smells incredible, which makes me feel like a pretty new mama!
What magic tools did you have in your toolbox to help recover?