The nice thing about a second baby is you have a general idea of what to expect during the postpartum period. Though of course things won’t be exactly the same as before, at least you have an idea of certain things you’ll have to endure. The first time around both Joe and I had no clue and no one really talked to me much about what recovery from a birth looked like. Below are my tips and things I planned in advance to help us prepare for Emilia’s arrival. Hopefully it’ll be beneficial to some new mamas out there. 🙂
- Meal Prep – I talked about this previously but Joe and I prepped quite a few meals while I was pregnant. I also stocked up on some snacks during my last grocery trip because when breastfeeding initially I was ravenous. Literally I can eat pretty much constantly. I wanted to make sure I had some healthy options so I wasn’t tempted by junk food and didn’t have to make Joe run out to the store frequently.
- Instacart or Other Grocery Delivery – Though it is more pricey, grocery delivery can be a life saver during the early weeks/months. The last thing I want to do is go grocery shopping right now and I’d rather have Joe at home helping here as opposed to running lots of errands. If you can, have a friend pick up the groceries for you if delivery isn’t an option. Knowing that we might be spending more money on convenience is helpful so it’s not such a shock.
- Postpartum Doula and/or Friends to Help Out – With Enzo we didn’t enlist too many people to help us out during the postpartum period. We did have family visit which was great while it lasted, but we could definitely have used the help of a postpartum doula and/or more friends stepping in. Especially with basic tasks such as dishes, laundry and light cleaning. We’ve hired an overnight doula this time to help periodically and she came for the first time last night. Basically she took baby all night and brought her to me when she needed to be fed. I got some decent chunks of sleep and Joe was able to sleep all night uninterrupted. We will also have one come over during the day time periodically to help with household tasks and run errands when we need it. This can also be pricey but since sleep is so crucial to my mental health, we felt it was an investment worthy of taking. We’ve also been more open/honest with our friends up front and pre-asking for help. It’s hard for me to ask for help and I think society makes me (us) feel that we should be able to do it all on our own. But this is not how it was meant to be. We need to swallow our pride a bit and reach out when we need it.
- First Postpartum Poo – So this isn’t the most lovely topic to discuss but it’s something I had no idea about with Enzo. The first postpartum poo can be pretty awful if you’re not prepared for it. I won’t go into details but with Enzo it was not my most pleasant moment. This time around I opted to not take stool softeners (as I don’t think they helped the first time) and instead focused on eating really well the last few weeks of pregnancy (lots of fruits/veggies, avoiding lots of junk and foods that normally can stop you up). And have been continuing to eat this way now that I’m postpartum. I also have been snacking on dried prunes throughout the day and drinking lots of water. This time it was honestly a piece of cake. Here’s a humorous article about this topic that might be useful. Current mamas should be able to relate!
- Rest – With Enzo I don’t think I prioritized rest as much as I should have. This time around, Joe and I discussed the need for me to truly rest for at least the first week meaning he will need to take on the majority of the housework and caring for Enzo (once he’s back in our care) and letting me mostly handle Emilia. It is hard for me to constantly ask for help and for Joe to get me this and that, but I know it will be beneficial to my physical and mental health. We’ve been lounging around, watching movies, reading and trying to nap when we can especially with Enzo staying with family. There will be plenty of time to be busy again.
- Placenta – I did not do anything with my placenta with Enzo. This time, my midwife (per her usual practice) prepared it and froze it in small pieces to be used in smoothies. The thought of it grosses me out but Joe has graciously been making me smoothies every day. I haven’t done tons of research but from moms I know that have either encapsulated or used their placenta raw, it’s been beneficial for recovery in many ways. Something to consider.
- Herbs – I stocked up on some herbs/supplements that I thought might be helpful including Happy Ducts (for lactation support), Sleepy Nights (for restlessness), Natural Calm (also to help with sleep), Stress Relief (for anxiety) and a good probiotic since I just finished antibiotics from my bout with pneumonia.
- Nipple Cream and Nursing Pads – I have a natural nipple cream that I really like and some comfy nursing pads to help with the initial breastfeeding sore nipples and leaky boobs. The things we do for our babies! 🙂
- Freezer Pads – This is something I also did with Enzo. I took some overnight pads and sprayed them down with a mixture of witch hazel and lavender oil then stuck them in the freezer. They feel really good during the first days of being sore and help promote healing.
- Mom’s Group – With Enzo I really didn’t have any mom friends in Austin that I could reach out to or relate to. When he was around 3 months old I joined a local mom’s group that met once a week for about 5 weeks. It was nice to just be with other women going through the same thing as me and I’m still friends with those ladies which has been amazing. I’m planning on going back to this same group again. I highly recommend new mamas get involved with other mamas somehow. It is extremely beneficial.
- Therapist – I’ve mentioned this before as well but I have a therapist lined up to start meeting with in a few weeks. Even if I’m not in the depths of postpartum depression/anxiety, I think it will be a huge help for me to keep everything in check. And if I’m doing well, then I don’t have to see her as frequently. If you are prone to mood disorders, it might be a good idea to at least know who you can reach out to for help.
- Prayer – I probably should put this at number one, but prayer is going to be extra important for me during the postpartum period. It can be really easy to get caught up in the busyness of day-to-day and forget to stop and pray, but I know it’s crucial to my mental health as well as my relationship with God. It’s something I want to really focus on and maintain during the early postpartum period and beyond.
Any other mamas have tips for surviving the initial postpartum period?