Having a baby is a lot of work and your body goes through some major changes which is why I wanted to share some tips for postpartum healing.
The first few days, weeks, and even months after having a baby are vital for healing and rebuilding your body for a lifetime of good health. In fact, most doctors will recommend you give your body at least 18 months to recover after birth for your body to fully heal and be ready for another pregnancy. Eighteen months!
While your instincts kick in to push you to care for your baby, the pressure to bounce back right away often leads mothers to push themselves too hard and to completely ignore taking care of themselves. Caring for yourself is important as caring for your baby is and with proper care, you can help prevent physical and mental health struggles for years to come.
Your support system is vital for the postpartum period.
If you do not have a supportive partner and family that can help you get through the first few weeks of your postpartum period, consider hiring a postpartum doula to help you with the baby and tasks around the house so you do not have to do everything on your own.
Tips for Postpartum Healing
First things first, remember: It takes time to heal from childbirth.
During this time you should avoid pushing your body too hard. If you push yourself too hard too fast you are more likely to take longer to heal due to the damage you do to your body from overdoing it. Take things slow and try to rest as much as possible and these tips for postpartum healing should help a TON!
Enjoy long soaks in a warm bath when possible.
While advice used to be to avoid baths in the postpartum period, as long as your bath is clean you can safely take a bath. Showering off first to clean your body before you soak can further help control the risk of germs in your bath water that can affect any external tearing. Warm baths help to soothe your tired muscles and encourage healing while offering a nonmedical pain relief option.
With that being said, make sure to double check with your care provider. After the birth of my third child, they encouraged Sitz baths after the first week to help with recovery. And in terms of a traditional bath, they were fine with a clean water bath after three weeks because of how little tearing I had. However, the biggest rule was nothing in the bath with me – no bath bombs, bubble bath additives, etc. And no pools/hot tubs!
Remember – you literally have a huge gaping wound where your placenta just detached from your womb.
Food and nutrition tips for postpartum
Warm foods help to encourage healing.
Going through childbirth is a major shock on the body and it can take several days for the digestive tract to settle down. For this reason, light warm meals are easier to digest and easier for your body to take the nutrition form to help you heal faster.
Take advantage of soups and light stews that use plenty of fresh vitamin-packed herbs and greens. Bone broths are a great option! While this may not be what you are craving it can go a long way with helping your body fight postnatal depletion.
If you have time before your baby is born, work on cooking up nutritious meals and snacks that you can enjoy in your postpartum period to help provide your body with what it needs to recover. Nutrition is vital for new mothers.
Keep taking your prenatal multivitamin during your postpartum period.
This will help your body heal and prevent depletion that leads to many of the problems that we are told are a normal part of pregnancy and childbirth like losing large amounts of hair or dental issues.
If you are not already taking a quality probiotic it is a good idea to start taking one in the postnatal period to help your digestive system recover from the shock of pregnancy and childbirth.
Tips for dealing with physical discomforts postpartum
Use a belly binder
After having a baby you are likely to experience abdominal discomforts. Walking around while your internal organs fall back into place and your back is suffering from a lack of abdominal support can be a very uncomfortable situation. For those that have had a c-section, this can be even harder with the pain on the incision. Using postpartum abdominal supports or wraps is a great way to help with this discomfort and provide support for the body to recover faster.
Use ice to help with perineal swelling and pain
Swelling is common after childbirth and can be incredibly painful. One thing you can do to help with this is to use ice. Making padsicles by freezing a pad that has been filled with water is a great way to help with this pain and swelling. You can also opt to simply use a frozen water bottle or ice pack between your legs while you are sitting in bed to help with the pain and swelling.
Witch hazel pads for soothing
If you have any tearing it can be very sore and painful for the first few days after you have your baby. This can make bathroom trips or even walk around difficult. Witch hazel pads are a great natural solution to numbing this area so you can feel better. You can use premade pads like Tucks witch hazel pads or use a bottle of witch hazel and cotton pads for this treatment.
Breast and nipple pain
Whether you are nursing or not you may experience nipple pain. Using a lanolin cream and a supportive bra can help control breast and nipple pain. If you are not nursing avoid expressing milk to handle the discomfort instead use cool ice packs or cold cabbage leaves to help deal with engorgement pain.
I hope these tips for postpartum healing have helped you figure out a way to speed up a safe recovery after giving birth!
For more postpartum tips, check out the posts below: