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If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What do I need for postpartum recovery?”, you’ll know exactly what by the end of this post.
Getting your postpartum recovery plan in order before you deliver your sweet newborn baby is just plain smart.
But don’t worry if you’re currently postpartum, shocked by what’s going on with your body, and now looking for a good postpartum recovery plan.
(That was me after delivering my daughter – shocked and miserable – TOTALLY unprepared for my own postpartum recovery – I mean why is that important?! haha! 🙂 )
This post is more than a postpartum care checklist, it’s a postpartum recovery plan that will have you feeling normal and healing properly as quickly as possible.
That way you can enjoy all of those sweet baby cuddles.
So let’s dig right in! 🙂
(This is kind of an epic post so make sure you pin it for later!)
Your Postpartum Recovery Plan
Postpartum Recovery Timeline
Your postpartum recovery timeline will look different than other moms – how long it takes to recover postpartum really depends on what your childbirth experience was like.
Recovery after normal delivery (vaginal delivery with no tearing) can take up to 3 weeks (or so say the medical experts but from my experience and talking to other mamas this. isn’t. always. the. case.)
Generally, most moms start to feel like themselves around the 6-week postpartum mark no matter what kind of labor and delivery they experienced.
And, while you might start to feel more like yourself that doesn’t mean healing from childbirth is quite finished.
Postpartum Care and Recovery During the First 6 Weeks After Delivery
During the first 6 weeks, your postpartum recovery plan should be focused on taking it easy on yourself so you don’t get an infection and trying to bond with your baby as much as possible.
But, mama, please don’t forget yourself!
HERE IS WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN YOUR EARLY POSTPARTUM RECOVERY PLAN:
No matter what kind of childbirth experience you have, you’ll experience heavy bleeding that’s known as the postpartum period (and, yes, it’s as wonderful as it sounds, haha!).
Depending on your body, you may bleed for two weeks or you might have a period for six weeks.
One never knows (thanks mother nature, haha! But the good news is, even if you bleed for longer, it will lighten).
Part of your early postpartum recovery plan needs to include how to handle the heavy bleeding so you feel comfortable and don’t worry about leaking.
(That’s the LAST thing you need to deal with while you adjust to new mom life and/or entertain people who want to see your baby).
HERE’S YOUR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY PLAN FOR HEAVY BLEEDING:
Pick up long and thick maternity pads WITH wings like these ones so that the pads will stay in place.
You’ll also need disposable mesh underwear (don’t use your normal underwear, trust me) or grabbing granny panties (yes, I cringe too as I write that) you don’t care about staining and throwing out later.
Make sure you have loose fitting pants or your favorite maternity nightie on hand because the ultimate goal here is feeling comfortable while you are at your heaviest point of postpartum bleeding.
Place a mattress protector pad on your bed that way you won’t have to worry about leaking while you sleep.
If you like to use natural products (which is something I also love 🙂 ) check out these all natural postpartum pads that also have wings (I’m telling you wings are important).
I’m thinking about using them the next time I’m postpartum so check them out if natural products sound good to you.
Another postpartum recovery tip is to just use Depends.
That way you’re solving two issues with one product: your pad will definitely stay in place and you won’t stain any underwear you actually want to use after you recover from childbirth.
If you’re worried about how they’ll fit, Depends have a stretchy waistband which (that feels like real underwear!) will adjust no matter the size of your belly.
POSTPARTUM CARE ESSENTIALS
So, now you know how to handle postpartum bleeding but what are some of the other items that need to be part of your postpartum recovery plan?
Let’s go over those now…
Mamas, you absolutely need to pick up a few peri bottles and place one in each of your bathrooms.
Fill your bottle with lukewarm water and gently spray on your lady bits.
I found doing this helped keep me cleaner (which is SUCH a nice feeling!) and also encouraged me to actually pee postpartum (you’re so swollen down there so it’s can be HARD to go to the bathroom even if you feel the urge).
Now, since my postpartum recovery, I’ve seen a peri bottle that I will FOR SURE be picking up next time – it’s called the Mom Washer (an appropriate name if you ask me, haha!) and it has a curved spout that gently sprays water AND works well if the bottle is turned upside down.
Grab your favorite maternity pants and keep on wearing them, mama!
No matter what the media tries to tell us about postpartum recovery – it DOES NOT happen in two weeks.
So, give yourself a break okay?
Have your favorites washed and ready to go so you don’t have to worry about any of that during the first couple of weeks postpartum.
You’ll need a few nursing bras (please pick up these ones I pinky promise swear they are amazing! And, yes, I still wear them because they’re THAT comfy!), nursing nighties, and/or nursing shirts.
You should also pick up some nursing pads for leaking milk – the last thing you need is to have a wet shirt when people are over to see your baby.
Basically, pick up nursing items that you think will make YOU comfy.
That’s the goal.
Comfy, while taking time to heal and snuggle your sweet newborn baby.
(That’s a pretty good postpartum recovery plan for the first few weeks if you ask me!)
Oh, and before I forget – make sure to grab a breastfeeding pillow – it’s wonderful for supporting the baby while you breastfeed and/or just want to relax with the baby on you.
TAKE THE STOOL SOFTENERS
Stool softeners will be an important part of your postpartum recovery plan.
Because it’ll take you a little while to get back to being regular (that’s whatever it means to you!)
If you want a laugh then read my post 8 Ways to Speed Up Your Recovery from Vaginal Childbirth and skip down to the stool softeners part – that’ll show you just how important they are!)
Basically, I was shocked and unprepared for this part of postpartum recovery – take the stool softeners!
HAVE PAIN RELIEF ON HAND
Mama, you will be sore – so having your choice of pain relief on hand is essential to your postpartum recovery plan.
Make sure it’s safe to take if you’re breastfeeding. 🙂
(Also, consider talking to a postpartum physical therapist.)
THIS PERINEAL SPRAY
I couldn’t have survived without this perineal spray – it cooled my lady bits and has healing properties and nothing yucky that will irritate you down there (because that’s another thing you DON’T want to deal with, ugh).
RELATED READ: Postpartum Recovery Tips for Quick Healing
If you love the idea of natural pain relief and healing – then making and using postpartum padsicles is a good thing to add to your postpartum recovery plan.
What are postpartum padsicles?
Think of them like having a postpartum pad for bleeding protection AND an icepack all at the same time.
A lot of mamas swear by padsicles during postpartum and it’s easy to see why.
Postpartum padsicles provide the following benefits:
That’s a lot of help rolled into one!
So, how do you make a postpartum padsicle?
I found this article helpful with a couple of different ways to make a postpartum padsicle.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK WITH BREASTFEEDING
Mama, there is a lot going on as you adjust to being a new mom.
If you plan to breastfeed then give yourself a break if things don’t go as planned.
I’m not saying it won’t work out – just take it one day at a time and realize breastfeeding isn’t always as easy as everyone makes it seem.
I’ve seen way too many of my mom friends stress over breastfeeding and I feel that can be detrimental to a speedy postpartum recovery.
So, take it easy on yourself, mama!! 🙂
RELATED READ: The Complete Third Trimester To Do List
POSTPARTUM BELLY WRAP
When I was postpartum, I didn’t realize I should probably pick up a belly wrap to help support and remind my abs where they actually belong.
This is a big regret of mine!
I’m still working on flattening my belly and I’ve been postpartum for awhile.
(I will not be making that mistake next time!)
A belly wrap is also a must for your postpartum recovery plan if you’re going to have a c-section.
A Sitz Bath Should Be Part of Your Postpartum Recovery Plan
Have you ever heard of a postpartum sitz bath?
If not, it’s definitely something to add to your postpartum recovery plan!
But please – get approval from your midwife or doctor before taking a postpartum sitz bath, okay?
It’s one of those postpartum recovery tips numerous moms recommend because it’s healing and soothing all at the same time.
And, it just feels so good.
WHAT IS A SITZ BATH?
A postpartum sitz bath is a small amount of warm water filled with healing, anti-inflammatory and pain relief ingredients that you immerse your lady bits into.
(Some moms might want to use cold water and that’s okay if you’ll feel better doing that!)
That’s a postpartum sitz bath in a nutshell – the point is it may help you speed up your postpartum recovery and I bet you’ll be willing to do anything that will make that happen!
HOW DO YOU TAKE A SITZ BATH?
You can either buy an over the toilet sitz bath or fill your tub with a small amount of water (enough that your lady parts are submerged), then add your ingredients.
(I personally couldn’t imagine lowering myself into the bathtub because my whole body ached – I worried I wouldn’t be able to get back out again!)
Here’s what you’ll need:
✔Epsom Salts – Epsom salt is an all natural ingredient that will reduce your swelling and gently cleanse which then reduces your chances of getting an infection.
✔Lavender – pick up lavender essential oil to add to your sitz bath. Why? Lavender is known to be a natural antiseptic – which will give you peace of mind while you’re healing.
✔Witch Hazel – it’s been long known to fight infection and offer inflammation relief – it also helps if you are itchy down there. Make sure to pick up alcohol-free witch hazel because the last thing you need is to irritate your really sensitive areas.
Make sure all the ingredients mix well into the water before you actually take the sitz bath.
Once you’ve done that, enjoy!
RELATED READ: The Complete Postpartum Care Checklist
Your Postpartum Recovery Plan for Around The House
FREEZER MEALS AND MEAL PLANNING
If you’re still pregnant then make sure to cook some freezer meals before you deliver.
It’s a good third trimester to do list item, haha!
There is nothing better than pulling out an already made meal and heating it up while you’re recovering postpartum. 🙂
If you’re currently postpartum and didn’t make freezer meals then enlist the help of your hubby and friends to cook meals.
Now, there will come a time when freezer meals run out and you’re back to meal planning but now you have this little baby that demands a lot of your attention.
(It’s a sad and happy time, haha!)
It was during this time that I decided to give TheDinnerDaily.com a try.
It’s been nothing short of life-changing, mama!
I love being frugal, so when I saw the service plans meals based on the sales at your local stores I was intrigued.
Then I saw you can still eat a healthy diet AND eliminate any ingredients that don’t work for your family.
That sold me.
(Although I can’t lie, anything that means *I* don’t have to think about what to have for dinner is worth it in my books, haha!)
If that sounds like something that’s up your alley then check out the service here.
TAKE TIME FOR SOME SELF-CARE
But you need to take some time for yourself in other ways too.
It could be taking a nap while your spouse watches the baby or treating yourself and an extra long hot shower.
You need to do whatever makes you feel good. 🙂
RELATED READ: 33 Self-Care Tips That Will Make You A Better Mom
MAKE SURE TO ASK FOR HELP DURING YOUR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY
I find of the most overlooked parts of postpartum recovery is asking for help from our friends and family.
It’s like us moms just can’t admit that we need help.
What we need to realize is that the people closest to us are looking to help us and sometimes they’re just waiting for us to ask.
So, have your mom or sister stay with you during the first few weeks.
Hire a maid or enlist the help of friends to clean.
Have your hubby make meals and snacks for at least the first couple of weeks.
And, don’t worry – you’re still a super mom – you just delivered your sweet newborn baby! 🙂
DON’T SWEAT THE HOUSEWORK
If you can’t ask for help for whatever reason, then please don’t sweat the housework!
This is the one time in your life where people will not judge you for how clean or dirty your house is.
So take advantage.
The mission of your postpartum recovery plan is to be comfy and enjoy your sweet newborn baby – that doesn’t include worrying about the housework!
You will get back to it so until then just relax, mama!
Postpartum Care and Recovery After 6 Weeks
Despite what you see in the media full postpartum recovery takes much longer than 6 weeks.
Yes, you’ll be up and feeling more like yourself after 6 weeks but you’re still on your journey to full recovery.
Your ab muscles, hips, and pelvic floor have been through a lot so don’t be surprised if you need to do some physio to heal them properly.
Just after 6 weeks postpartum, I started seeing a pelvic floor specialist for two months.
During those sessions, I learned exercises to help strengthen my pelvic floor and massages to help my lady bits heal (I had a tear during childbirth so I needed some extra TLC).
Please research a specialist in your area and book an appointment if you can.
If you don’t live in an area where pelvic floor therapy is offered there is another answer that can become part of your long-term postpartum recovery plan.
It’s called The Postpartum Cure and, so far, it’s been absolutely amazing!
Here’s what the program is all about:
✔What healing foods to eat.
✔How to heal diastasis recti
✔How to lose the baby weight and not lose your milk supply.
✔How to heal and take care of your pelvic floor.
✔How to get rid of that lingering mommy belly.
I recommend this course after you are 6 weeks postpartum because during those first few weeks you’re literally just trying to survive, heal and adjust to life as a new mom.
But if you find yourself feeling pretty good then make sure to check it out sooner! 🙂
I’ll be doing a full review of the course in the future so stay tuned.
What do you get from The Postpartum Cure?
An app to track your progress.
✔Safe postpartum workouts to start losing the baby weight (something I’m working through myself!)
Help to heal your abs. (SO important)
✔Eating guidelines – in other words, exactly what to eat!
✔60 unique meal ideas (yes, *I* eat these meals but use my meal planning service to feed my family 🙂 )
✔20 of the most healing postpartum foods (these are good to know!)
✔What will boost your milk (so you don’t lose it)
✔Pelvic floor help. (SUPER important)
✔A Facebook Group community to help keep you motivated.
It’s up to you, of course, I just wanted to mention it.
I so wish I had this two years ago, mama!
Interested? Check the program out here.
There you have it mama – your complete postpartum recovery plan!
To recap, make sure you pick up all of your postpartum care essentials so that you can make your recovery from childbirth as speedy as possible.
The objective of your postpartum recovery plan is to make yourself comfortable and to put yourself as a priority.
Yes, you’ll be adjusting to life with a newborn baby but that doesn’t mean you should feel guilty for focusing on your postpartum recovery as well.
Make sure you ask for help – this is the time when people are the most willing to help so there isn’t anything wrong with taking them up on the offer.
Research to see if you can get in touch with a pelvic floor specialist in your area so that you can heal the body parts affected by pregnancy and childbirth properly.
And, mama, don’t be scared to try that postpartum sitz bath – it’s pretty amazing!
Just to let you know, this is the exact postpartum recovery plan I’ll be using the next time I need it 😉
So, what did you think?
What postpartum recovery tips will you use?
Hopefully, I’ve answered exactly what you need for postpartum recovery but let me know in the comments!
I’d love to hear from you! 🙂