Being prepared for your recovery after birth can help you heal faster, which will provide you with more strength and energy to care for yourself and your new bundle.
Regardless of your birth experience, your postpartum recovery can be a tough time. There will be pain to some degree and simple things you may have taken for granted - like having a pee, will seem really daunting.
Here are a few things that we’ve found essential for making recovery a little easier during the postpartum period.
This one is not so much an afterbirth essential but more a preventative measure. Doing perineal massages during the last weeks of pregnancy has been shown to be effective in preventing the need for episiotomy and a decrease in the amount of tearing a woman has during her birth. This is particularly effective in women having their first baby.
You can help to prepare the skin for birth by applying a perineal oil to lubricate the perineum region. Our perineal massage oil can help improve the skin's suppleness ahead of childbirth. You can use it for perineum massages from 34 weeks.
Using witch hazel is a great way to get some relief from perineal swelling and haemorrhoids. It’s extremely soothing and can reduce inflammation with its astringent properties. Plus it has great wound healing properties.
You can use a perineal spray that contains witch hazel directly or spray on your maternity pads for soothing relief.
Use it to make padsicles - soak a maternity pad in witch hazel or a perineal spray and freeze before applying. This is great to soothe perineum pain and irritation after birth.
Soak circular cotton pads in witch hazel or a perineal spray to make a compress.
Brief-Style maternity pads, maternity pads and black cotton knickers
No matter what kind of birth you have, you’re likely to experience bleeding for a good portion of the first six weeks postpartum and Brief-Style Maternity Pads are the best option when bleeding is heavy, especially the first couple of days.
They are really comfortable, absorbent and super convenient. You won’t have to worry about leaking through pads with these and you can just toss them in the bin as you would with normal pads when it’s time to change them.
They are great for the first 2 weeks postpartum for the heavy bleeding then you can switch to regular maternity pads for about another 2 weeks then regular pads when it's more like a light period and liners once it's just spotting.
For regular maternity pads, wear underwear that is breathable and that you don't cherish as you will probably end up throwing them away if you experience leaks. M&S and Primark do some really comfy black granny panties that work really well.
Also make sure you stock up as you will need quite a lot of pads.
A Peri Bottle (a bottle for squirting warm water) is perfect for rinsing the perineum in those first few days, you'll be using it for the weeks following too.
It’ll keep you feeling clean and help ease any stinging sensation you experience around your stitches when you pee. Just fill it up with warm water and squirt it in the area while having a pee and thank us later.
It’s also great for cleansing so if you have more than one bathroom in your house, just have one for each, and one for the diaper bag to make life easy.
Sitz baths are one of our favourite postpartum recovery tips. It is essentially a warm, shallow bath or sitz pan with an Herbal bath soak or Epsom salt soak which can feel like the ultimate relief once you’ve given birth.
Not only is it soothing it can also encourage the healing process, increase your circulation, reduce swelling, cleans the area so there’s less risk of infection and ease itching.
Sitz baths are also a great remedy for painful, itchy hemorrhoids. You can add oatmeal to ease any itching experienced when recovering with stitches.
Breastfeeding is definitely not easy! Even if it goes well, it’s normal for your nipples to feel sore or tender as your skin adjust to constant feedings.
Nipple balm or cream is really good to have on hand to help soothe your aching nipples.
Not many know about the benefits of Arnica, a homeopathic super remedy for bruising and wounds. Arnica promotes healing by reducing pain and bruising after trauma. It can also help to minimise strain on soft tissues to assist the recovery of both vaginal and c-section births.
Good nutrition is key to healing for postpartum recovery. You want as much nourishing foods as possible to encourage your body to heal and to keep your energy levels up.
If you are able to, prepare wholesome cooked meals before the baby arrives. Meals that are warm and easy to digest are ideal so think bone broth, meat stews that have been cooked for hours, and soft veggie soups.
The First Forty Days by Heng Ou has some great recipes that you can prep - this book is an absolute essential and it should be on everyone’s postpartum recovery list no matter how they baby comes out.
For each meal try to include a colorful vegetable and/or fruit, a good source of protein, a source of slow carbs, some healthy fat. Foods rich in vitamin C are also great for wound healing and helps your body absorb more iron - this is really important if you were already suffering from low iron or had a particularly complicated pregnancy or delivery.
Try to stock up with breastfeeding-friendly snacks, because you will likely be ravenous in those first few days after birth when your milk starts coming in so having healthy snacks to grab will be a lifesaver.
Water & electrolytes
Those early postpartum days can be leaky with breast milk, night sweats, lochia, and a few hormonal tears so it’s really important to stay hydrated. This will help to restore balance and help you recover your energy.
Electrolytes can also help to speed your recovery because they are needed to rebuild damaged tissue. They can also help the uterus to contract back to its pre-pregnancy size.