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Postpartum is a special and beautiful time that comes with its own challenges and hardships amidst the incredible joy of having a new baby in the house. Looking back, all I really remember is holding my babies constantly, spending perfect moments with my husband and our new family, and eating a lot of delicious food. Postpartum care is extremely important; it is way too easy for a new mama to run herself dry taking care of her baby and not herself. I know this first hand, as I came down with a nasty postpartum uterine infection after my second baby and landed myself in a hospital. Natural postpartum care is an excellent way a new mom can take care of herself in those first weeks and months following childbirth.
We prepare for months for labor and childbirth, but for some reason postpartum gets an afterthought. This is unfortunate, as many new moms find themselves struggling with the challenges of a newborn as well as postpartum depression and anxiety, exhaustion, and are overwhelmed with the changes in their body. Natural postpartum care includes post birth pain relief and recovery for the pelvic floor and perineum, proper rest and nutrition, breastfeeding advice, and emotional care. It’s a good idea to put together a natural postpartum care kit to have ready for whenever baby is born, so you have what you need without having to worry. Here are some items to include in your postpartum care kit and what to do with them as well as excellent resources to help you on your postpartum journey.
Post Birth Recovery
Read more about painful postpartum health conditions you may not know you have.
For a sore perineum, perineal tears, and hemorrhoids:
- Arnica– I used Arnica 1M all through labor and 200C post labor.
- Witch Hazel– Make these witch hazel wipes to use anytime post labor.
- Hemorrhoid suppositories
- A Boppy Pillow– To use as a donut pillow for sitting to relieve pressure off the pelvic floor.
- Peri Bottle– For easy, painless cleaning in the bathroom.
- Frozen Peas– These make a great ice pack to use down there post labor.
- Numbing Spray– Though not “natural,” this stuff is extremely helpful for the first week or so during bathroom trips especially if you tear or have hemorrhoids.
- Magnesium Supplements– To help keep your regular with soft stools, which is extremely important postpartum.
- Postpartum Herbs– A bath postpartum can be extremely soothing and healing for the perineum.
- Afterpain Salve– Make this salve to help with the cramping associated with the uterus shrinking back down to size.
Post Birth Breastfeeding Success– Read more about successful breastfeeding and preparation as well as engorgement and mastitis.
Hot/Cold Packs– Cold is very good for sore breasts and engorgement, while hot is good for any plugged ducts and mastitis.
Lanolin or Nipple Cream– Sore nipples are a part of early breastfeeding. However, if it is extremely painful, or they crack and bleed, see a lactation consultant. This may be a sign of a poor latch and/or tongue or lip tie.
Stretch Mark Balm– Unfortunately, stretch marks don’t end after pregnancy. When the milk comes in , breasts can double in cup size. Always have a jar of stretch mark cream ready to combat tight over taxed skin (just remember to use it after baby is done nursing.)
Load up on nutrient dense, easy to grab snacks such as:
- Lactation Boosting Trail Mix
- Lactation Milkshake
- Lactation Energy Bites
- Lactation Cookies
- No Bake Protein Bars
Focus on a well balanced diet, healthy fats, proteins, and fermented foods. Read more about proper postpartum nutrition HERE.
Drink plenty of fluids, including water, coconut water, and fermented beverages.
Emotional health is extremely important postpartum, and often a new mom doesn’t put hers as a top priority. I know from experience, we will run ourselves completely dry trying to keep up with the demands of a new baby, especially if there are issues going on such as breastfeeding trouble, colic, or food allergies.
But, even without a warning or reason, postpartum depression and anxiety can creep up on anyone and hit anytime. It’s always important to be mindful of when you feel your emotions are out of whack or beyond your control, and find ways to cope. I think the first and most vital step is to just talk about it, and to share with somebody else how you are feeling without judgement. If you feel you are dealing with unexplained sadness, frustration, anger, anxiety, worry, or a complete lack of emotion, find help now from a friend, spouse, therapist, or doctor.
Remember, postpartum anxiety, depression, and rage are not always obvious to us.
Read this mama’s story about dealing with postpartum depression: One Mother’s Fight with PPD and PPA
Ways to Cope with PPD and PPA:
If you feel that yourself or a loved one is suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety, do not hesitate to ask a professional for help and do not back down until that help is given. Postpartum depression is an extremely serious postpartum condition that is very hard to recognize and admit to because of feelings of shame and fear. No mother should suffer alone, and no mother should feel shame for suffering with a mental illness.
It is OKAY to ask for help. It is OKAY to be angry, sad, or hopeless. It is OKAY to feel overwhelmed with motherhood. It is OKAY to need medication and therapy.
Read about the symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety which can include intense feelings of hopelessness, sadness, emptiness, fear, panic, obsession, anger, and rage.
- Therapy and Medication and the first line of defense for PPD and PPA
- Meditation and Prayer
Postpartum is a joyous and challenging time! Preparation is key to finding yourself in postpartum period that you are not only prepared for, but are thriving in.
How did you handle the challenges of postpartum?