I read a ton of postpartum must-have blog posts during my first pregnancy and compiled a small list of the items I saw come up the most frequently. Then five weeks after Simon was born (4 years ago!) I wrote this blog post, and now I’m bringing it back!!!
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Ibuprofen and Tylenol
Between tearing pretty bad, and just the soreness and tension that having a baby brings, I had some pain I wanted to numb. Thankfully it wasn’t that bad and taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen around the clock kept me feeling fine. That first week I set alarms on my phone so that I was taking something every 3 hours (alternating between ibuprofen and acetaminophen). I got lazier with it as the days went on and needed them less and by around 10 days I quit taking anything.
I packed a stool softener in my hospital bag and took it as soon as they let me, which I think was the next morning. Pooping is a scary thing after having a baby and I wanted to set myself up for success! Kyle joked that I had to get in the mood, light a candle, drink a glass of wine, etc… and while that’s an exaggeration it’s partially true. I HAD to relax. My butt muscles were so tight for 2 weeks after giving birth I definitely had to make a conscious effort to relax.
The heavy bleeding lasted a couple days for me, then I had light bleeding for another 3 weeks. At the hospital I used the mesh undies and giant pads they provided. When I got home I used incontinence underwear for a couple days! It sounds ridiculous, but it was nice to not have to worry about leaking. After that I switched to Always Infinity Heavy Pads, and by week 4 I switched to Always Radiant Incredible Thin Liners. I also got some super comfy, one-size-up undies to wear the first couple weeks. Beware that even if you haven’t bled in a couple days you could randomly start bleeding again so just keep wearing some sort of liner for way longer than you think you need to.
I got a bunch of stuff and only ended up using a few things. I ended up not using the sitz bath, TUCKS medicated pads, or hemorrhoid cream. I’m sure they would have been helpful, I just didn’t have time to fuss too much in the bathroom. I did use lidocaine sprayand really liked it. I got an inflatable donut to sit on and that ended up being really nice for the first few days. My other must-have was the perineal bottle they give you at the hospital. You really don’t want to wipe much down there at first but using the peri bottle you can still feel clean with just a quick pat with toilet paper.
There is one thing I didn’t have and wished I did. I saw a bunch of people post about “padsicles”. Basically they took heavy flow pads and made these glorious little ice packs with wonderful soothing ingredients like witch hazel and aloe. I had the supplies to make them, but I didn’t get them done in time for Simon’s surprise arrival two weeks early.
I used a whole bunch of stuff to help with breast/nipple soreness the first few weeks. I’m kind of a wuss when it comes to pain so I did everything I could to minimize pain and keep my nipples from cracking/bleeding. I went though two tubes of lanolin the first 2.5 weeks and then a third tube carried me through the rest of breastfeeding. I used hydrocortisone cream sometimes, my lactation consultant recommended that. When I mentioned sore nipples to my doctor he gave me a prescription for nystatin, a cream for treating thrush, I don’t know if I or baby had it, but I went ahead and used it. I also picked up some natural nipple butter from the health food store, it’s Earth Mama Angel Baby brand and is made of olive oil, cocoa butter, Shea butter, mango butter and calendula, I got it a couple weeks in so I’m not sure if I could have substituted it for the lanolin. I LOVED Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads, they basically feel like heaven on sore nipples. I kept them on nonstop in between feedings the first week and off and on the week after. Do yourself a favor and get a few boxes even though they’re expensive. Lastly, I like these cold/hot gel packs from Lansinoh. They feel great cold after a feeding, and they feel great hot before a feeding!
The thing that helped me more than any cream or gel pack were the amazing lactation consultants at Goshen Hospital. These amazing women make themselves available day and night and provide such support and encouragement to us breastfeeding mamas. One of them met with us the morning after we had Simon, I went in as needed for one-on-one consultations, and I went weekly to the moms breastfeeding group at the hospital to get Simon weighed, hang out with the other moms, and bounce questions off the lactation consultant.
Basically comfy sweats, a tank top or t-shirt, a cozy open cardigan or robe, and a pair of mens socks are what worked for me. Specifically I had one pair of PJ pants and a short robe that I wore almost every night to bed. These PJ pants were super comfy through the end of my pregnancy and those first few months postpartum. A cozy short tie-belt robe ended up being a go-to for me because the tie-belt keeps it “closed” when I’m sleeping so I’m not getting all bunched up all the time, but it’s easy to slide either side out of the way for nursing. I would wear a sleep nursing bra and a tank top underneath. During the day I’d change out of my nighttime uniform pretty much just so I could wash it (I got spit up on almost every night). If I was staying home I would usually just wear a pair of sweat pants and a tank top/cardigan. If I went out I wore either maternity jeans or size-up jeans I bought to tide me over, a nursing bra, a regular tank that can be pulled down, and a button up shirt or open front sweater/cardigan.
I want to talk a little bit about nursing bras, because I bought too many that were duds! Bras are such a personal preference kind of thing. I am small-chested (36B pre-pregnancy, 36C right now) so I don’t need a ton of support, I was mainly looking for comfort and something that would look nice under clothes and give me a smooth shape.
(1) Women’s Nursing Sleep Bralette – Gilligan & O’Malley™ from Target I love this brand at Target. They always use super soft fabrics and these sleep bras are great.
(2) Women’s Nursing Wirefree Seamless Bra – Gilligan & O’Malley™ from Target After having kids I switched to wearing only wireless bras, much like this one!! This is a great nursing bra that has enough of a cup to smooth you out and look good under tops, plus the racerback style is great for summer.
(3) Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra from Amazon This was my “splurge” bra that I bought after researching to see what other people liked and reading tons of reviews on Amazon, and it help up great through both babies. I love the light padding and it’s easy to get out of the way for nursing.
(4) Seamless Clip Down Nursing Bra from Motherhood Maternity I wished I had gone to Motherhood Maternity sooner. They have really great bras for any nursing mama. I like wirefree, but if you prefer a bra with a wire they have beautiful and functional nursing bras that will make you feel like a woman again. This basic bra is super great and I wore it a ton.
(5) Bravado Designs Buttercup Wireless Nursing Bra from Motherhood Maternity This one is more expensive but it’s exactly like the bras I like to wear when I’m not breastfeeding, but with the clip-down feature. So I love that I just feel like I’m wearing a normal bra but it’s functional for breastfeeding. And a lot of the time Motherhood Maternity has buy three bras, get one free. I recommend just going ahead and getting four bras from them, they’re good.
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