Postpartum Isn't a Dirty Little Secret

The postpartum period or time directly after delivering your baby can sometimes be treated like a dirty little secret. Something we don't often talk about publicly. Why is that? I'm not sure but I know we should change that. If your close to delivery your probably focusing on everything you need for your hospital bag and essentials for bringing baby home, leaving your postpartum recovery as little more than an afterthought. Every part of pregnancy including delivery and life postpartum are all part of a beautiful infinite journey we shouldn't be ashamed to talk about. It's not dirty and lets stop with the secrets. I'm going to share my top tips for surviving life postpartum.

Photography by Infinite Journeys

My Number One Hack

Put your postpartum recovery on the front burner for a moment. Lets focus on you, your body, and what you will need to manage life after delivery. I'm going to drop my number one postpartum hack right off the bat. Padcicles, I know they sound silly but just trust me when I tell you these things are a life saver. After giving birth you are SORE down there, there's inflammation, bruising and possibly worst of all there may be stitches. I personally had to have an episiotomy when I had my daughter and that was exactly what I had been hoping wouldn't happen. Unfortunately a lot of moms especially first time moms have to be cut to avoid tearing. The stitches make recovery harder and the pain more intense. You wont know if you need an episiotomy until your literally pushing so its best to just be prepared for the possibility and honestly I imagine these would be soothing down there even if you didn't have stitches. They are basically just a frozen pad with healing and soothing properties you make yourself. They do sell postpartum ice packs now which is nice but they don't contain the same healing ingredients so I much prefer the homemade version. I would make them early on while you still have the energy. Labor drains you so you don't want to be gathering ingredients and making these after delivery. It's best if they are ready and waiting for you when you get home.

Make Padcicles

Shopping List.

-Aluminum Foil

-Pads, Preferably Thick Ones

-Witch Hazel WITHOUT Alcohol

-Pure Unscented Aloe Vera

-Pure Lavender Essential Oil (Optional but Pleasing)

Step 1. Lay out your piece of aluminum foil, make sure there is enough to wrap all the way around your pad.

Step 2. Open your pad and lay it on the aluminum foil.

Step 3. Squeeze and rub your pure Aloe Vera all over the pad using a spoon or clean fingers.

Step 4. Pour or spray your alcohol free Witch hazel all over the pad.

Step 5. Optional Step, Add a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil onto the pad.

Step 6. After you've completed all the steps fold the pad back up inside the aluminum foil and place it in the freezer.

They can stay in the freezer for a long period of time and I recommend making a good supply of them pre delivery. The Witch Hazel can reduce swelling, pain and bruising along with any itching and inflammation. Aloe Vera has analgesic properties, which relieve pain and inflammation. The Lavender smells nice and has properties that relieve stress and anxiety. After delivery just take the pad out of the freezer, let set for about a minute, then place the pad in your panties and boom, you'll feel the almost instant relief. Change them as necessary depending on your flow. I cannot express how thankful I am that I discovered this sorcery prior to delivering my daughter. Apart from the general soreness I had several stitches that I found quite bothersome and these offered so much relief.

I'm going to offer another hint that you may or may not be on board with. Placing the padciccle inside an adult diaper is underrated. I admittedly wore adult diapers for about a week after delivery and I'm not ashamed to admit it. The adult diaper will absorb any extra flow the pad doesn't catch and honestly at the time they were just plain comfortable. My favorite were the Always discreet brand. Make sure you have them on hand before hand because trust me the last place you want to stop after leaving the hospital is Wal-Mart.

Post Partum Pads Incognito by Prevail Absorbent 3-in-1 Protective Maternity and Postpartum Pad with Wings for Menstrual and Bladder Leaks, Up to 11 Hours of Protection with Odor Guard, 28 Count: Health & Personal Care

Pure Alcohol free Witch Hazel : Earthwise Pure Witch Hazel Distillate 250ml / 8.5oz : Beauty

100% Pure Aloe Vera : Organic Aloe Vera Gel with 100% Pure Aloe From Freshly Cut Aloe Plant, Not Powder - No Xanthan, So It Absorbs Rapidly With No Sticky Residue - Big 12 oz : Beauty

Pure Organic Lavender Organic Lavender Essential Oil with Premium Therapeutic Quality Pure USDA Certified - for Diffuser, Aromatherapy, Sleep, Headache, Meditation, Anxiety, Candles & Massage - 1 fl. oz. Natural Riches: Beauty

Perennial ice packs if that's your preference Perineal Ice Packs for Postpartum w/Adhesive Strip | Perineal Cold Pack - 2 in 1 Ice Pack Pads for After Birth - Instant Ice Maxi Pads (24): Beauty

Optional Extra Peri Bottle - : Peri Bottle for Postpartum Perineal Care- Baby Travel Bathing kit, Cleansing for Mom After Birth- Travel Size Cleanser-Portable Bidet for Birth Tears, Hemorrhoids, Pain- (Tiffany Blue) (Single Pack) : Baby

Always Discreet Underwear Always Discreet Incontinence & Postpartum Incontinence Underwear for Women, Large, Maximum Protection, Disposable, 56 Count: Health & Personal Care

A Postpartum Care Kit

While your putting yourself on the front burner you might as well add a few more items to that postpartum care kit. Hemorrhoidal With Hazel Pads are definitely worth grabbing. I wore them in my underwear in between frozen padciccles and honestly a lot can be said for the relief Witch Hazel provides. A bottle of Earth Mama Perennial Spray certainly never hurt anyone I might add, so consider that. Adding a good pair or two of maternity underwear to your stash if you don't already have them is a great idea. You'll need something comfortable for those doctors visits and these can even be worn over a C-Section scar. Do yourself a favor and invest in a pair of super comfy sweats. The chances that you'll feel like squeezing back into jeans the first few weeks are slim , a comfortable sweat suit is a breeze to slip on for a quick doctors visit, or if company stops by. Painkillers and Stool Softeners are a must. Your OB may prescribe you something for pain but just in case you cant pick it up have some Ibuprophen or Tylenol on hand. The first time you go number 2 after baby can be a painful experience especially if you have stitches. Stool softeners can really ease the pain of this process and you should definitely consider having them on hand. Sitz baths are another must after delivery. There is something entirely soothing about sitting in hot water. Include some Epsom salt for ultimate relief. You'll see a lot of advice against this on the web but it honestly isn't dangerous and actually aids in healing. Talk to your doctor if you still have concerns. The concern mainly comes from submerging yourself in a lot of water which forces water 'up there', so Just fill the tub with 2-3 inches of water mixed with some Epson salt and you'll be okay. Do make sure your bathtub is clean before you do this, sweet talk your partner into doing it for you if that's an option. Soak for around 15 minutes, you can wear a t-shirt if your upper half gets cold. Afterwards pat dry preferably with a cheap towel as this can get messy. If you don't have a supportive partner or friend to watch baby while you do this do not fret. Just put baby's portable sleeper in the bathroom with you. If you don't have any kind of portable sleeper you could even use a car seat.

Medicated Witch Hazel Pads - THAYERS Medicated Aloe Vera Topical Pain Relief Pads, Clear/White, Witch Hazel, 60 Count: Health & Personal Care

Earth Mama Perennial Spray - Herbal Perineal Spray by Earth Mama | Safe for Pregnancy and Postpartum, Natural Cooling Spray for After Birth, Benzocaine and Butane-Free 4-Fluid Ounce: Health & Personal Care

Multi Pack Post Partum Underwear -INNERSY Womens Underwear Cotton Briefs Postpartum High Waisted Panties 5 Pack(Large, 5 Black) at Amazon Women’s Clothing store

Sweat suit with great reviews -ETCYY NEW Lounge Sets for Women Two Piece Outfits Sweatsuits Sets Long Pant Loungewear Workout Athletic Tracksuits at Amazon Women’s Clothing store

Stool Softeners Colace Clear Stool Softener 50mg Soft Gels 28 Count Docusate Sodium Stool Softener for Gentle Dependable Relief Doctor Recommended: Health & Personal Care

Sitz Bath Salt : Sitz Bath Salt – Postpartum Care and Hemorrhoid Treatment – Natural Sitz Bath Soak with Epsom Salt, Dead Sea Salt, Essential Oil for Self Care and Hemmoroid Treatment, 10 ounces by Pure Body Naturals : Beauty

Fairly affordable bath towels Amazon Basics Quick-Dry, Luxurious, Soft, 100% Cotton Bath Towels, Platinum - Set of 2: Home & Kitchen

Portable baby lounger - TCBunny Portable Baby Lounger with Head Support Pillow, Newborn Baby Nest Sleeper Prevent Flat Head, Unisex Infant Snuggle Mattress - Penguin Grey: Baby

Breast Feeding Mama's

I'll preface this by saying fed is best. I know all to well that every body doesn't produce milk and breast feeding just isn't an option for some of us. This was a surprise to me after delivery so I had prepared for breast feeding already, here's some essentials. A nursing bra or two can be such a comfort. When I was trying to breast feed before I knew I wasn't producing I was obviously trying to nurse. being able to just unsnap my bra without having to take it off made the situation much easier, plus that thing was COMFORTABLE. Nursing tanks are another great option. Breast pads are an inevitable must. You can opt for re-usable or disposable that's totally a matter of preference. They also make therapeutic gel breast pads that can provide heat or cold that I've heard many a mom swear by and trust me I see a lot of new moms. Nipple care is essential if you want to prevent or treat dry, cracked nipples. You can find regular and Organic options for cream on Amazon, just be sure to have some on hand. Something I hear less moms mention doing post partum is taking vitamins. They make vitamins specifically for your body post delivery or you can just continue your pre-natal's either way your body needs all the nourishment it can get, taking vitamins is said to increase milk supply by as much as 50%.

Nipple Cream - Lansinoh Organic Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding, 2 Ounces: Health & Personal Care

Breast Pads - : Medela Safe & Dry Ultra Thin Disposable Nursing Pads, 120 Count Breast Pads for Breastfeeding, Leakproof Design, Slender and Contoured for Optimal Fit and Discretion : Baby

Therapeutic Breast Pads - : Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Pack, Breastfeeding Essentials, 2 Pack : Baby

No Wire Two Pack Maternity Bra - The No-Wire Maternity Bra Bundle | LIVELY (

Padded Nursing Tanks - Nursing Tank Top With Built-in Bra Pads or padding (

Post Natal Vitamins - Mama’s Select Post-Natal Plus Vitamins - Supports Breastfeeding & Lactation - Methylated B Vitamins, Iron & MethylFolate for Folic Acid - MTHFR Safe – 60 Veggie Capsules - 2 Month Supply - Postnatals: Health & Personal Care

Photography By Infinite Journeys

Freezer Meals

The absolute last thing I felt like doing after delivering was standing in front of the stove cooking. However as I had a 4 year old to feed already by the time I delivered my daughter something had to be done food wise. I was very blessed that my mother came to stay with me for about a week after birth due to unforeseen circumstances. She helped tremendously and scolded me regularly for doing things I shouldn't have been like sweeping or laundry. I will tell you I did tear a stitch within a few days of coming home and had I listened and not worried about mopping the kitchen floor or scrubbing toilets that probably wouldn't have happened. I nested hard even going as far as swiffering the walls, and had the whole house prepared but somehow I still found a million things to do. A lot of this was due to an anxious mind and looking back I should have talked to my doctor. So don't be like me and if you find yourself battling unforeseen circumstances after delivery talk to your doctor instead of trying to clean away the worry, your stitches will thank you. Coming back to my original point, you wont feel like cooking and should be getting ample rest. Preparing freezer meals is a great solution to this problem that I wish I would have considered. Pinterest & Google are your friends, you can find dozens of recipes for pre-prepared meals on the internet. Do yourself a favor and whip a few of them up prior to delivery. Then when you come home with your brand new bundle you can just pop one in the oven and have all the more time for those sweet once in a lifetime newborn cuddles. Here's a link to 15 pre prepared freezer meals for moms to be.

15 Make-Ahead Freezer Meals for New Moms | Allrecipes

You will Persevere

Pregnancy is hard, delivery is hard and yes you guessed it life post partum is hard. However each part is a beautiful portion of the beggining of your infinite journey into mommyhood, which is the best hood by the way. Don't let yourself get so bogged down by the pain and fatigue postpartum that you miss out on truly enjoying those first few fleeting weeks. There are several things you can do to make the experience easier to navigate, giving you more time to cuddle that sweet bundle. Have your pain relief and recovery plan prepared and ready for action prior to delivery, including having all the necessary items on hand. Make sure your home is amply supplied with at least two weeks worth of groceries if its at all possible. Have all the household essentials on hand like toilet paper and hand soap. Have freezer meals prepped and ready to go so you don't have to dedicate time and energy to cooking. Set up stations in the main rooms of your house, for me that was the living area and the bedroom. Both had a station with all the baby essentials like diapers, wipes, creams ect on hand so I didn't have to wonder around looking for what I needed. I had a bottle warmer with a small cooler attached in my bedroom on my night stand so I never had to leave the bed to get and warm up a bottle. It was the dead of winter so I included a wipey warmer to keep her from startling during late night diaper changes. I bought a pack of diapers every week for the last few months of my pregnancy so I never had to run out for diapers. At night I kept her dressed in gowns that easily rolled up for diaper changes so there was no messing with buttons and sleeves. I had a bassinet in my living room for her to sleep in during the day and a playpen with a bassinet for night time in the bedroom. I kept track of her diaper changes and feedings using an easy app on my phone that honestly just brought me comfort. I converted one of my kitchen cabinets into a baby only cabinet, where I kept bottles, bottle cleaning supplies, extra nipples, and formula so it was all in one convenient location. One thing I didn't do enough of was sleep, even though my mom was present and it wasn't for lack of trying, just unforeseen circumstances like I mentioned earlier. Cash in on all those well meaning friends offers when they say, 'is there anything you or the baby need?'. Tell them yes, you need a sitz bath and a nap. Have them come to your home where your comfortable and just watch the new baby for an hour or so while you sleep freely. People are not lying when they say you need rest after giving birth. Having a baby was hands down the most exhausting thing I've ever done. The more rest your able to get the faster your body will heal and you may begin to feel like yourself again. If you take on the task of caring for a new baby completely alone your not going to get much on the rest front. If you let your village help you despite your new mama nerves you may sneak in some shut eye and self care. Good luck mama, you got this.