Coming home from the hospital with a baby the first time is kind of like a sick joke.
You want ME to take this precious BABY and CARE for it when my hormones are all over the place and my downstairs HURTS like hell? hahahahahahahahah
But they’re serious.
You do it though and you learn about newborns and you learn about yourself. Grace momma. That’s what you need at this time. Be gentle, be easy on yourself.
And also, be prepared with practical items to help you heal physically after a vaginal delivery!
I distinctly remember NOT being prepared with baby number 1 and shit hitting the fan when we got home. Cue sending my husband to the store to buy insanely huge pads and nipple cream.
Baby number 2 I was a bit more prepared and by number 3 I had that shit down.
Here is the ultimate list of postpartum recovery essentials/pain relievers for a VBAC delivery:
This is something you will probably get at the hospital. It’s essential for helping you pee without crying after you give birth and for keeping things clean down there. They look like this:
All you do is fill it with warm water and squirt yourself while peeing to minimize the pain and to rinse it all after you’ve finished going to the bathroom. Really helpful if you had stitches!
After going through some products I came across a ‘fancier’ peri bottle. It has an attachment that takes away the need for awkward bending and reaching. If I had known about this, I would have bought it for my births!
Don’t mess around here. Everything is bruised, stretched, possibly ripped. Just take a stool softener to make pooping not hell on Earth, mmkay?
I always buy two different kinds of maxi pads- the ones with the wings and the ones without. The ones without are specifically for the first few days to a week where you will still be wearing the disposable underwear and bleeding a fair amount.
Peri spray is a cooling spray for after you give birth. It brings such relief to your beat up lady parts. It’s meant to be used after peeing or bathing. Or anytime, really.
My favorite kind of peri spray is Earth Mama, simply because it doesn’t contain butane or artificial fragrance which I just personally didn’t want to be spraying on my hoohah. I usually buy this with the Earth Mama nipple butter– for the same reasons plus it smells like chocolate, is organic and safe for baby!
These should be easy to grab from the hospital- seriously, LOAD UP ON THESE BABIES. If you want something a bit more comfy, grab some booty short panties that are cheap and you can throw out when you’re done with them.
These are a total life saver. Because who wants to hold a friggin ice pack on their crotch? These fit in your panties easily and form to your body. And they’re cold but not TOO cold. Soothing, healing, necessary.
Made with witch hazel, lavender essential oil and aloe vera gel.
They’re super easy to make! Grab the recipe here.
I’m guessing you have some tylenol on hand. The hospital will send you home with some as well. It’s definitely needed. Everything just kind of aches after pushing a baby out!
There is actually no formal recommendation as to how long you should keep taking your prenatal vitamins after giving birth. However, most doctors recommend that you keep taking them as long as you’re breastfeeding, simply because you are passing nutrients on to your baby and need to keep your stores up.
Every time I have a baby, my immune system goes to shit. It’s because you’re energy is depleted from birth, you’re not getting enough sleep and you’re caring for a newborn! It’s almost a given that you are more prone to picking up bugs extra easily.
So, hand sanitizer is a postpartum essential- for me and those coming in to my home. It doesn’t have to be weird- just a ‘hey, we’re trying to keep the cold and flu bugs at bay, here’s some hand sanitizer!’
Staying hydrated after having a baby is key. Breastfeeding is a whole new way of life that you’re body will be getting used to and it takes a lot of water. Keep hydrated with a favorite water bottle you can carry around! My absolute, hands down favorite is a Contigo bottle with a spout. Spill proof and easy to drink out of while you’re nursing. Have you ever tried one of those bottles that you can put fruit or herbs in the middle to naturally flavor your water? They’re a lot of fun and make you excited to drink water! Some fruit/herb combos promote weight loss too.
Supplies For Postpartum Sitz Bath
A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath using either healing herbs or just warm water to relieve pain or itching in the perineum.
It’s called a sitz bath because sitzen (a german word) means ‘to sit.’
All you need to do is sit in a few inches of nice, warm water (enough to cover your stuff) with some epsom salt and lavender essential oil. You can add other healing herbs but I would suggest having them in a tea ball or cheese cloth so they aren’t floating around in the tub with you.
Earth Mama has herbal sitz bath sachets available so there is no worries about the herbs floating around. They’re completely organic and all you do is pop one in the tub with you while you’re soaking.
This is essential. Every single time I have a baby, I think, this is it! This is the time I won’t have cracked nipples! Then the first 24 hours pass and crack they do. Sigh.
Can you tell I love Earth Mama? This nipple butter is organic and smells like chocolate. And it’s completely safe for your baby too, no need to rinse it off in between feeds!
If you’re in a bind and forget to grab some- coconut oil will do the trick.
Own Your “No’s”
This one is SUPER DUPER IMPORTANT.
You have gone through (probably) the most intense thing you will ever go through. Your body will be a freaking mess. Your hormones will be a freaking mess.
It’s OKAY to say no to people coming over. It’s OKAY to not let people hold your baby. It’s OKAY to tell people that their visiting hour is up and to (politely) get the f*ck out of your house.
There will be plenty of time for these things to happen. If you don’t want people over and you feel like you just can’t handle it, don’t. Say ‘no’ politely and don’t worry about feeling guilty.
Say “Yes” To Help
If you ARE having people over and they offer to help- accept it. Or, at least, try. It’s hard and feels weird, I know.
But try to let them do some dishes or sweep your floor. And then next time someone you know has a baby- go over, offer to help and actually help, even if they say no, it’s all right.
Patience, Grace and a Dash of “Fuck It.”
Patience for yourself, patience for your babyand husband.You’re all learning and it’s incredibly intense.
Grace for yourself, grace for your baby and your husband. There are sleepless nights and pain ahead. Work together, forgive each other and bask in your new family unit.
F*ck it- embrace that you’re in survival mode for a month or two and laugh at what you can, cry at what you can’t.
It’s a magical time having a newborn. The postpartum recovery is hard, yes, but it will end. And your baby will grow so quickly. They’ll never be that tiny again.
Try to soak up some beautiful time with them before it’s gone. Good luck to you on your incredible journey ❤
Are you having your first baby or this round 2 (or 3)? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to connect with you!
LOOKING FOR MORE POSTPARTUM OR NEWBORN ADVICE?
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- Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms
- DIY Padsicles (for postpartum relief)
- Baby Must Haves (for newborns)
- How To Have A Faster Labor
- Breastfeeding Essentials For New Moms