Postpartum Essentials – A simple self-care checklist for Mothers (written by April Fermaniuk of Edmonton Area Family Doulas)
Congratulations on the arrival of your new bundle of joy! You have probably spent the last 40 weeks (approximately) preparing for the delivery of your beautiful bundle of joy. But what about planning for your own recovery after the birth?
Now that you are settling in with your little one, the most important person can sometimes get forgotten. Postpartum self-care and recovery is just as, if not more important, than pregnancy self-care. Here are some of the essential things to have on hand and a few tips to get you through those first few weeks.
1. Depends or Heavy Postpartum Pads – Have a good supply of postpartum pads on hand. You don’t want to have to run to the store when you should be at home resting and snuggling baby.
2. Sitz/Herbal Bath – Help soothe wounds and reduce swelling to your perineum & bottom with a sitz bath or herbal bath.
3. Pain Relief - Have several pain control options on hand: Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc. Don’t forget the hemorrhoid cream just in case.
4. Constipation Relief / Stool Softener - Going to the bathroom for the first time after birth can be unsettling. Help make things more comfortable with a stool softener - be sure to have some on hand when you arrive home.
5. Water Bottles – Leave a water bottle in every room. You thought you drank a lot of water when you were pregnant… Wait until after baby comes!
6. Ice Packs/Heat Packs/”Padsicles” – Use cold or heat for pain relief and to assist in healing.
7. Late night snack basket beside your bed – Quick one-handed snacks will fill you up while you are feeding baby.
8. Prepared Frozen Meals – No need to think about what to make, have several options of ready-to-eat meals ready to go before baby comes (make your own or head to somewhere like simply supper).
9. Dim night lights – Make sure to have dim lighting for both your room & the nursery to make those late-night changes/feeds easier.
10. Baby Carrier – Baby wearing is a great way to cuddle your baby and be hands free to eat lunch!
11. Personal Journal &/or Baby Journal – Document both of your journeys, thoughts, emotions and changes.
12. POSTPARTUM DOULA - Hire someone to provide physical, emotional, and informational support that you need to understand your own physical/emotional recovery, and how to best care for your baby on your own terms.
Say YES to help when it’s offered, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Say YES when people offer to bring food, say YES to someone holding the baby so you can eat or shower. Also, don’t be afraid to say NO to playing hostess to others, and NO to visitors when you aren’t ready for them and would rather be catching up on sleep. Be PATIENT & KIND with yourself, you are amazing and it takes time to adjust.