You had a baby! Congratulations! …now what?
Take it easy.
Take a minute and think about what your body just went through. You pushed a kid out of your body or had a c-section! It’s hard to force yourself to slow down and allow time to heal, but do it. I was probably 5 weeks postpartum and got really confident and started trying to go out and about like I did before baby. My body let me know REAL quick that I needed to cool it. I was sore again like I had been weeks before and my bleeding increased (I’d say TMI but whatever, we’re all adults here.). So listen to your body and allow yourself that time on your couch guilt-free.
Take the painkillers…and stool softeners.
Along with making yourself rest, take the painkillers and stool softeners your doctor gives you. It’s probably a stronger dose of ibuprofen so nothing scary. And let me tell you, you’ll be sore. For a while. Like weeks. (I gave birth vaginally so if you have a c-section it’s a whole other story with real-life painkillers) They’ll probably tell you to take stool softeners for a few weeks too – do that. Your whole downstairs went through hell so give your body a break and make your bathroom trips less stressful and painful.
Get adult diapers. Really.
Trust me on this one. This was a tip from a friend and it was a great one. Yes, it’s not too glamorous buying a giant pack of diapers for yourself, but you’ll thank yourself later. It’s so much easier just pitching that in the trash than dealing with giant pads for the first few days…or weeks, depending on your bleeding.
If you delivered vaginally you’ll probably be advised to soak in a sitz bath at least once a day to promote healing. Do this. Do this even if you feel like you’re healing well already. In fact, take advantage and do a full-on soak in your tub…maybe with a candle, your favorite beverage, and a handful of epsom salts tossed in the water. The opportunity once a day to take 15-20 minutes for yourself is priceless. Trust your partner to take care of the baby while you shut the door and ignore what’s on the other side of it for a while. (Plus soaking really does help your stitches heal!)
I know I told you earlier to take it easy but you also can’t be shut in your house for weeks at a time. We don’t want you to go stir-crazy! Take a little time and get out of the house without the baby at least a few times a week when you feel up to it. It’s hard, but the baby will survive without you and you need to take time for yourself too! I found even a quick 30 minute trip on my own to get a coffee on my own was a huge help and allowed me to reset my brain. (shout-out to Kris for forcing me out of the house! Ha ha)
People will offer to help you after the baby is born. Let them. Friends may want to drop off food, or come over for a little bit and hold the baby (when you’re ready for visitors, of course!), or bring you groceries. Say yes when you can! As moms we tend to try to do it all ourselves, since sometimes it’s “easier”. Spoiler alert: it’s not. If you have a partner let them take the baby – they want to anyway! They’re learning how to be a parent at the same time as you so hand off that cute little guy or gal and take a shower, a nap, or have a snack!
Hydrate yourself! Get a water bottle and make it your new best friend, especially if you’re breastfeeding. But even if you’re not, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when you have a tiny little person to tend to 24/7 so take 10 seconds and sip some water.
Wear sweats. I lived in a hoodie and yoga pants for 3 months and it was great. Throw on a pair of boots and BOOM! Instant Target/grocery store/coffee date outfit. Don’t stress out about what you’re wearing during your first few weeks (or months) postpartum – you just had a baby (and you’re not getting sleep even if you aren’t the birth parent!) so just stay as comfy as possible!
Enjoy the little moments.
This time can be hard, crazy, and frustrating. It is also amazing! You had a baby! They’re cute and love to cuddle with you and love you with all their little hearts. It’s cliche but true, enjoy those little moments now because it goes so fast!