So it has come to my attention that not all L&D nurses are as awesome as mine were. In terms of postpartum recovery, the only thing I had at home was a huge stash of pads—which, while necessary of course, would not have done me much good alone.
If you are anything like me and get multiple tears during delivery, despite having done all of those stretches and exercises weeks in advance that are supposed to help prevent it, then you are going to want a lot more than those pads. Luckily my nurses had my back.
Right after delivery they gave me a big bag of recovery material. I’m going to give you the down-low on what was in it and how it helped me recover like a boss.
- Mesh Underwear
Not the prettiest lingerie by any means, but definitely comfortable and definitely needed. You are going to want several pairs of these bad boys for probably the first week or two of recovery until your bleeding slows down. The reason being, you are going to be using huge, and I mean HUGE, maxi pads for at least the first few days after delivery. That mesh underwear is stretchy enough to fit the pads, unlike any other underwear you probably have. And like I said before, it is comfy, which is all you are really going to care about after delivering that precious baby of yours.
- Maxi Pads
Lots and lots of maxi pads. Some really huge ones, and then some lighter ones to use as the bleeding tapers off (which can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks).
- Ice Packs
I’m not talking about those hard ones you use in your lunchbox. That would be a horribly bad idea. I’m talking about the malleable, disposable, and semi-absorbent ones that will comfortably fit on top of your maxi pad. I used these for about two weeks after delivery. Great for soothing and cooling down there!
- Witch Hazel Towelettes
Take a couple of these pre-moistened towelettes and place them on top of the ice pack for added cooling and soothing. Make sure you get the correct type—50% witch hazel. Tucks is the name brand for these.
- A Donut
No, not the kind you eat—though you may want some of those too with how many calories you will be burning if you choose to breastfeed. You will want a donut to sit on. Whether it is one you blow up or a pillow-y one, it will be your best friend for at least a week. You are NOT going to want to sit straight down for a while.
- Peri Bottle
This is a MUST-have if you are going to survive going to the bathroom after delivery! Get a peri bottle, fill it with warm water, and use it every time you go to the bathroom. Urinating may sting, so the water will help dilute it as you go. I didn’t have a problem with stinging because I was drinking so much water that it diluted it already (stay hydrated, ladies!), but the peri bottle also helps to clean that area gently, which is important since you will be sore!
Hopefully your nurses will have all of these things for you, which you can find out if you take a tour of the L&D unit at the hospital you will be delivering at, but if not then you can prepare them yourself. Now, here are some medications you may want while you are recovering:
- Benzocaine Spray
Use this spray as directed—it will give a slight numbing effect down there to help with any itching or burning you have. Warning: the spray itself burns for a minute when you first apply it.
- Tylenol or Ibuprofen
Make sure you have some kind of pain-reliever at home! The hospital will take care of you while you are there, and may even prescribe you something stronger than over-the-counter pain meds to take home, but make sure you have backup. If not for the soreness, for the uterine contractions you might have while your uterus is shrinking down to its normal size (these are particularly strong while breastfeeding).
If you are at all afraid of using the restroom while you are first healing, consider a laxative like Colace to help you out. More likely than not your doctor will put you on one right after delivery, especially if you are on any paid meds (they tend to back you up a bit), but if not… feel free to request one. And have some at home, too!
Postpartum recovery can be a beast, but these things really helped me get through it. I am nearly 6-weeks postpartum now and am feeling pretty great! Fingers crossed that everything is all healed up at my postpartum checkup this week.
I hope you found some helpful tips here—good luck with your recovery, mamas!