Warning: If you’re a sensitive person who can’t handle reality–tread carefully.
As you can imagine, the aftermath of passing an entire human out of your body is quite intense. My own labor and delivery lasted a mere 5 hours, so postpartum was the vast majority of my entry into motherhood. I was very concerned with physical aspects of postpartum, and had purchased all sorts of things in preparation for it.
I spent a solid week recovering from my delivery–which is really very quick. However, I had made sure I had all the goodies and walked away from labor with just three stiches.
What things helped you? What did your hospital provide?
Below is one week worth of supplies (double as necessary):
The Postpartum Poo
After four uneventful days of taking stool softener (with no result), eating as much food as offered to you, and one surprise fart into your Sitz bath, you might suddenly realize you should have some anxiety about your first poo.
The first poo is verifiable postpartum event. Do you really want to birth a 4-day old food baby while your stitches are still new? This is simply not something you should have to worry about at this moment in your life.
To make this experience easier, you’ll want:
- Dulcolax (stool softener, NOT laxative), 1 daily from birth
- Tucks Medicated Cooling pads (or standard issue toilet paper)
- A small box/foot stool
When you finally get the urge to do the deed, take pad-like quantity of tucks (or wet a healthy amount of folded toilet paper) and gently press against your stitches and zen out and do your thang. The counter pressure will help relieve (or eliminate, in my case) the feeling of your stitching being pulled apart as the skin moves around. Elevating one or both feet helps, so disgracing your giant dictionary is worth it. Remember, zen out. You won’t be pinteresting through this one.
The First Menstrual Cycle
Have you ever performed the following Google search: “Am I just casually bleeding to death?”
If so, congrats, you’re on your first menstrual cycle after birth. It’s much like someone stabbed you in the uterus without you realizing it. Or maybe that a small human leapt out of your uterus recently, either or. While normally I suffer under the wrath of cramps I had none for this little event.
You know those giant overnight pads you bought, and then did not use immediately after giving birth? Well, this is their 15 minutes of fame. To survive your first menstrual cycle, you’ll need:
- Giant overnight pads, extra absorbency
(don’t send a canoe out to sea…the Tampons can wait)
Many women, especially those breastfeeding, will likely have their first menstrual cycle quite awhile after their stitches have recovered. Postpartum is nearly a thing of the past when suddenly you’re at a near-hemorrhage. If you have any Chux pads laying around still, those are worthwhile to use basically anywhere you sit or sleep. Yes, even with those giant pads on. Staying hydrated will be obvious when you see the Post-Baby Niagra that is your nether region.
The Postpartum Bathroom Routine
Ok, this is the mother load of goods to handle your stitches, general bleedi-ness, and general discomfort.
- Ibuprofen, 800 mg (recommended per the midwife), as needed
This helps reduce the inflammation, swelling, and general pain around your stitches. Especially since you spend a lot of time sitting on them.
A good hospital should walk you through this. But, I am one to be prepared, so here it is:
- Perineal bottle (less than a dollar at most pharmacy stores)
- Standard issue toilet paper
Fill your perineal bottle with warm tap water PRIOR to sitting down to use the toilet. As you urinate squirt the warm water to dual-purpose clean and comfort the very act of peeing. Squirt from front to back, ideally (this is generally easiest). Take the toilet paper and dab dry… I don’t have to tell you not to wipe, you’ll learn your lesson if you do.
The Cooling Pad
After peeing it’s time to make a new pad. This pad feels like heaven. HEAVEN. Here is 1 week of supplies:
- Appx 50 Wide pads (not necessarily extra absorbent, more wide and long)
- 200 Tucks Medicated Cooling pads (or 2, 100-count containers)
- 8-12 Fl Oz Castor Oil (2-3 containers)
- 1 can, Dermoplast Pain Relieving spray
- (optional) 1 can Dermoplast Antibacterial spray (this one burns)
- Appx 50 Disposable Medical Mesh Briefs (~8 per day)
(or a generous quantity of loose, but fitting full-coverage undies)
After peeing, and dabbing dry it’s time to make your cooling pad. You take your wide/long pad, and line it with Tucks. Then you drizzle castor oil on top of the Tucks. Then spray some of the Dermoplast onto the pads and give yourself a good spray for the road. Optionally, spray your pad with the antibacterial spray.
Place this little slice of heaven into your undies (I LOVED the disposable mesh briefs to be honest), and feel the goodness as you shuffle your way out of the bathroom.
Put it into perspective
All this might seem intense, but it’s roughly 1-2 weeks after delivery. Which is much shorter than pregnancy, and much shorter than your time with your wee one. You’ll make it through 🙂
I wasn’t a big fan of the Sitz bathes or other sprays and ointments. Ultimately, do what feels right. You’re the one who has to sit on it. Postpartum vetrans, what was your go to?