Childbirth. A word that is loaded with meaning and laced with Maxi pads. Bringing a baby into this world is one of the most surreal experiences that life has to offer. It can also be one of the messiest. postpartum tips

Having given birth to two healthy girls, I am by no means a postpartum guru but I know first hand what it feels like to recover from the marathon that is childbirth. If you are someone that shies away from the topic of vaginas, bodily fluids and exorcisms, then I wish you luck, because shit’s about to get real.

Here are some tips and tricks for getting through the postpartum period:

Be kind to yourself.

I mean that with all of my heart. I remember what it felt like after giving birth for the first time. Suddenly, I needed a sanitary pad the size of my face and I was responsible for a living, breathing (not to mention oh so sweet smelling) human being. I was exhausted, terrified and in love. If that wasn’t enough, my vagina hurt and the hormonal rollercoaster that awaited me was no joke. postpartum tips

Remember, a lifetime of laundry and messes await you. Right now, you deserve extra TLC and a gold freakin’ medal.

Bladder incontinence pads are the way to go.
You can of course stock up on your usual menstrual pads but this isn’t your aunt Flo coming to visit. This is the mean and ruthless aunt you never knew you had, who also enjoys overstaying her welcome. Postpartum bleeding is like your period on steroids, so make sure you have the best leak protection possible.
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Your vagina also needs a breath of fresh air.
There is no doubt that going out for some fresh air will do your mind and body a whole lot of good. It is important to realize that your vagina is no exception. My doula gave me this very useful advice, and that was to let my postpartum hoo-ha get some fresh air in order to encourage healing. Every day for a solid week, I made it a point to sit on an old towel that I was comfortable parting ways with and let it all hang out in the open. My vagina seemed happy and that was good enough for me.
Popsicle pads for the win.
This piece of advice is nothing new but it was one of the most effective ways I managed to feel relief downstairs. Take your enormous sized pads and pour witch hazel (alcohol free please) from top to bottom and rewrap them before storing them in the freezer. The result will be a cool cushion of sweet relief when you need it most.
Thou shall not push or strain on the toilet.
Everyone warned me that the first #2 following childbirth is actual hell on earth. It definitely isn’t something to look forward to but it doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. My midwife and doula both advised me while I was in labor, to let my body do its work, and move the baby down the birth canal with each contraction. The same approach should be used when you finally feel mother nature knocking at your back door. Sit on the toilet with your feet flat on the ground and lean slightly forward (if you’re anything like me, hang on to something and say a prayer). When you start to feel the urge, don’t push. Instead, relax your body and let your bowels contract and let it do the majority of the work for you. Eventually, you will need to do your part but if you don’t strain, you will get through your first postpartum poop much easier. Also, the stool softeners the hospital give you are actual gifts from the universe, so take them
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Keep the peri bottle or buy one if necessary.
This little guy got me through some tough times my friends. If you’re feeling ultra sore or want to clean up a bit, the peri bottle is where it’s at. They typically give you one at the hospital and if they don’t, you can easily find one at your local pharmacy. This is a total must have.
Eat a well-balanced diet and leave room for dessert.

Nourishing your body with a well-balanced diet is good for recovery and it will give you the energy boost you so desperately need. Having mindful and healthy snacks at your disposal is incredibly important because a leisurely meal might not be in your immediate future. Go ahead and snack on all the nuts, kale and fruit that you can handle but leave room for a little bit of soul food. Remember, you’re fuelling your body but you’re also feeding your inner superhero who just had a baby and it’s okay if she wants cookies. postpartum tips

Breastfeeding might be natural but it takes practice and patience.

Your job as a mama is to feed your baby. Bottle or boob, you should feed your baby with love and know that whatever your method, you are doing your baby right. When it comes to breastfeeding as a first-time mom, there is a major learning curve and it’s normal. Not only are you new to being a human food truck, you and your baby need time to get to know each other and figure things out. Breastfeeding should never be painful but it’s normal if it hurts sometimes (improper latch, sensitive nips) and it will take practice and patience before you are able to whip it out like a propostpartum tips

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Guzzle all the H20.

You don’t need to have had a baby to increase your water intake. Truth be told, we can all use a bit of more water in our diets. It helps flush out toxins, keeps skin healthy and hydrates ours bodacious bods. After childbirth, the best thing you can do is drink enough water and if you’re breastfeeding, welcome to the world of always being thirsty. postpartum tips

Sleep when the baby sleeps or at least pretend.
You are now part of a world where the amount of sleep you get (if any) is completely dependent on another human being. Being exhausted is a terrible feeling and it’s one that you will get to know very well. When your cutie pie of a newborn goes to sleep, I highly recommend that you pass out too. There will be times that you rather watch Netflix or eat an actual meal, and you should. Just make sure that part of your baby’s downtime, involves you getting some downtime in whatever shape, way or form that you choose.
Postpartum recovery is a really sensitive time for a multitude of reasons. There is healing to be done but there is also a lot of love to be had. The real roller coaster has only just begun, so treat yourself right because motherhood is not for the faint of heart.

What did you do to help your postpartum recovery?