We’ve all heard of packing your hospital bag and having everything ready to go in anticipation for the arrival of a new, adorably sweet and squishy baby. BUT…do you know what needs to be in place for AFTER that little bundle of joy arrives?
I’m talking about the must haves for Mama…and I would bet that you haven’t heard of these before. Being a pelvic floor physical therapist and a board certified women’s health clinician, it’s my job (and my passion, let’s be honest) to care for women, mothers, and birthing persons. So that means helping her/them make sure they have everything they need (and probably don’t know it!) for a successful and easier postpartum recovery. Cuz, let’s be real…there’s a lot of unexpected things that come up during the early stages of postpartum, and beyond those first 6 weeks.
I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes the simplest thing can make a huge impact. We use ice or cold therapy in rehab all the time. Ice helps decrease swelling, improve healing, decrease pain, and speed up recovery. Make sure you have a lot of ice packs on hand and ready to go. I like the gel ones that you can re-use: simply slip them in a thin pillowcase or wrap in paper towels, and apply directly to the perineum/vulva/booty-hole…wherever you need it. Add in compression and elevate your pelvis for an added bonus
Proper compression garments are ESSENTIAL for a complete and effective postpartum recovery. And I am not talking about abdominal binders or corsets-scroll right by those, please. I am talking about graded, medical compression that provides gentle pressure to the perineum and abdomen in an upwards fashion. This is key for pain reduction and healing, and can give you the support your healing tummy and perineum is begging for. My faves are the postpartum recovery leggings that SRC has. Not only are the comfy, but they WORK for helping decrease abdominal separation, reducing pain, and speeding up vaginal healing, and my patients love them!
THIS IS KEY. Find an eye mask that is dark enough to shut out that light, Mama. You will need to sleep as much as possible, and if the opportunity presents itself to rest at 2 pm with the sun shining bright in your face, take it. Find a soft, comfortable, eye mask that has raised eye pockets, so you can still blink and open your eyes underneath. Trust me, this is something that no one told me about, and it made a world of difference for a quick cat nap
Peri Bottles, or “perineal bottles” are also on the top 5 list. These are small plastic squeezy bottles that squeeze warm (or cool) water on your bits after you pee or poop. FridaMom has one of the best ones, it’s an upside down bottle, and it has an angled spout, which lends itself to more accuracy and comfort while squeezing. This takes the place of scratchy and rough toilet paper, because you need something a bit more gentle on those parts, Mama!
This tiered rolling cart is so convenient, and having a cart with wheels nearby will save you multiple trips up and down stairs, and into other rooms. Fill your cart with snacks, water, diaper stuff, nipple pads, ice packs, pads, your pump, change of clothes for baby, nipple cream, pacifiers, burp clothes, wipes, etc. You can have this handy cart next to your bed, couch, nursing chair, WHEREVER you are, and just pull it along behind you as you make your way into the bathroom or kitchen. It will save you from having to get up and down frequently, and you can set it up just how you like it.
These are some of my fave things for that early postpartum period, and they will help you heal faster, be more comfortable, and rest.