After nine months of growing a human being and hours upon hours of bringing that human into the world, it's nice to think that the hard work is finally over. But alas, the fourth trimester has officially begun.
The postpartum period is the least talked about period of the pregnancy cycle, yet, aside from the actual delivery, it is the most challenging time for mothers both hormonally, physically, and emotionally. On top of feeling drained, being somewhat swollen and having no clue how it was possible to survive labor, there is now a tiny little human to take care of and get to know.
The postpartum period is a crucial time when moms also really need to take care of themselves. It can be really difficult to even imagine a second for oneself after having a baby, though. From the constant diaper changes to dealing with the ups and downs of their newfound milk production, moms have it pretty rough just after the baby is born and it is really easy for new moms to put the needs of their baby ahead of their own. The only thing is, a tired mommy who is not taking the best care of herself after birth, can not the best mommy for her family.
So, looking for ways to take care of that postpartum body mind and soul without worrying about spending hours away from the newest addition to the family? Follow these 20 postpartum care hacks and thank us later.
20 Put It On The Wall
With a brand new baby around expect to have a lot visitors come around to see how you and the little bundle of joy are doing. Why not have them help out while they are visiting, as new parents you sure could use an extra hand.
The hack? Write down the chores that need to get done on a dry erase board and post it to the wall near the entryway of your home. That way they can pick a task and help you out before they leave.
Generally speaking, it is best for new mothers to be relieved of all responsibilities except the feeding and care of herself and her baby at least in the beginning.
What a wicked way to get things done.
19 Sleep Lighting
You have probably heard of mood lighting and blackout curtains, but what about sleep lighting? This genius postpartum hack will help you avoid hitting your leg on the corner of the bed during late night diaper changes and tripping over the chord to the bottle warmer on the way to the bathroom, again.
The hack? Consider replacing your lightbulb to a different color (like blue, green, or red) so your little one will not be disturbed by the bright light and you can actually see when you need to be up and about at all hours of the night.
The best part, if you do wake your baby up, low light makes getting back to sleep much easier.
18 Baby Sleep Gowns
The last thing you want once you finally get your adorable yet exhausting newborn to sleep is to wake him or her up in the middle of a diaper change. Talk about frustrating. When it’s 3 A.M. the last thing you’re going to feel like doing is fumbling with snaps and swaddles so your baby's sleep gown can really save a lot of energy and time.
For a hassle-free postpartum hack, invest in a baby sleep gown, or several. I highly recommend sticking with baby sleeping gowns for at least the first month. If you want to use them longer, then do so.
17 The Pre-Labor Hack
For those weeks leading up to your due date, when you've finalized everything on the to do list and the nesting phase hasn't yet pushed you over the edge, consider one of the wisest hacks on this list: meal prep before you go into labor.
By prepping meals and popping them in the freezer before you even go to the hospital, you can ensure that you and your family won't be hungry when you first get home with the baby. You will also be too tired and too swamped with figuring out how to strap that onesie to worry about cooking.
16 Prenatal And Postnatal
Do yourself a favor and keep taking your vitamins. Not doing so can have some really extreme side effects, like hair loss and lack of energy.
"Many women think that once they have the baby, they don't need to continue taking prenatal vitamins," Sherry Ross, M.D., doctor of feminine medicine at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica told Self Magazine. Think again.
"If you're breastfeeding, your body requires more vitamins and minerals than during your pregnancy," she explains. New moms should also consider talking to their doctors about taking added vitamin D and omega 3 fish oil to make sure that your little one gets all the vitamins he or she needs.
15 Walk Around
The magic 6 week grace period after delivery is when you are supposed to do most of your recovering after birth. Some moms may need the entire 6 weeks while others may feel great after just 2, just know that as soon as you are feeling up to it, getting your body moving just a bit can be a real game changer when it comes to postpartum recovery.
Just try not to push yourself too hard in the beginning. A walk is considered a good start to postpartum exercise by most doctors. Take a 5-minute walk and then come home and see how you feel. If nothing pulls or aches, move up to a 6-minute walk.
14 The Mom Floor
There is another kind of exercise that can really help new mothers get to feeling a lot more like themselves after birth and they involve your pelvic floor. Kegel workouts can really rejuvenate your situation down there, and Doctor Sherry Ross recommends starting Kegel exercises as soon after delivery as you remember.
"Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, resulting in uncomfortable pelvic pressure and unwanted leakage," she said.
"Kegels are a simple and effective way to whip those muscles back into shape." And a little goes a long way. Just a few reps for a few seconds every day will really make a lot of improvements.
13 Yup, Every Single Time
Do yourself a favor, for the first three days after you arrive home with your precious little bundle of joy, go to sleep every single time the baby sleeps. Yup, every single time. Even if you aren't tired. Even if it is the middle of the day.
It may sound a little difficult, since babies schedules are extremely unpredictable, but even if you can't turn your mind off and are looking at the growing pile of dirty laundry, sleep. Or at least just lay there.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, newborns sleep about 16 hours a day for three to four hours at a time. Which means it will pretty impossible for mom to get that solid 8 hours she'll need for recovery.
12 Don’t Feel Guilty
Expect a lot of visitors once your little one makes his or her debut, which can be a good and not so good thing for mom. Luckily for you, there's a postpartum hack for that, do not feel guilty about leaving to nap or feed the baby during visits. Even if you are just not in the mood to see some of the visitors at the moment, just kindly excuse yourself and say you are tired, guilt free.
You just brought life into the world, after all, you kind of deserve a nap. Of course, this excuse will only work for the first few weeks so try not to overuse it.
11 Cool Off After Birth
It is no secret that childbirth can be pretty rough on a woman's nether regions. Even if you have a normal delivery with no complications tearing or cutting, chances are there will still be a pretty significant amount of discomfort down yonder.
One of the best and most natural ways to provide some relief for that sensitive area is to use padsickles.
Just before labor, maybe right after you finish meal prep, use some aloe on some of those huge maxi pads you just purchased, along with some essential oils and pop them in the freezer.
The cooling soothing relief your lady bits will get from them will be a real healer.
10 Feeding The Baby
Those late night feeds are the worst, there is just something about being ripped from your sleep in the middle of the night by the sound of your crying baby - talk about a rude awakening. For a simple postpartum feed the baby hack, get a good pillow if you are breastfeeding, like a boppy or a My Breastfriend, or a decent bottle warmer if you are formula feeding.
Placing a bottle warmer right next to the bed will really help when you have to wake up to feed your baby, and a good nursing pillow will take some of the strain off your back and get back to sleep sooner.
9 Eat Together
One of the biggest things new moms are guilty of is forgetting or running out of time to eat. The postpartum solution? Eat when the baby eats.
It's easy to skip a meal here and there when you're dealing with the demands of a new baby, but the lack of nutrition will eventually cause you to burn out. Chances are you won't have time to eat the entire meal prepped meal you have stored in the freezer every time your little one eats, so instead try to stock up on vitamin-rich, healthy snacks. Think lots of fruits, nuts, and veggies.
You will also want to drink a lot of water, especially if you are breastfeeding.
8 Embrace Them With Moderation
You are hungry and tired and all you can think about is chocolate cake and a pork chop. But the baby is already born. Sound familiar? Yeah, postpartum cravings are a real thing.
Just because the baby pops-out does not mean you suddenly go back to wanting your old time dinner standby of pasta and a side salad. Unfortunately, it will be a while before anything feels the way it once did, which can be a bit of a bummer.
So the postpartum care hack... eat what your body craves, but remember, everything in moderation. The point is to give your body what it needs and still lose some of the baby weight.
7 Get Dependable
If the sight of those huge postpartum pads have you shaking in your knickers, you may want to consider alternative options. Adult diapers are a great way to make sure that everything is wrapped up down there.
They may not be the most attractive option but according to Baby Center 1 in 3 women experience light bladder leakage (also known as urinary incontinence). Following childbirth, at least for a little while, every time you sneeze, laugh, or hit a speedbump you may have a little leakage here and there. Not to mention just the regular postpartum stuff.
So do yourself a favor, grab a diaper.
6 BUY COMPRESSION SOCKS!!
Oh my gosh, the swelling. Just when you thought the days of propping up your feet and swollen ankles were a thing of the past and that you could finally get away from those weird bands and support garters, enter the fourth trimester.
Never in my life have I had the amount of swelling I had just a few days postpartum. My feet were the size of cantaloupes and I could barely make out my toes. Apparently, circulation, like the rest of your body, does not just snap back into shape as soon as the baby comes out.
The best way to avoid cucumber toes is to buy and use compression socks, every single day.
5 Hydration Hydration Hydration
After you have a baby dehydration becomes a serious problem, and if you are breastfeeding it gets even worse. You need a lot of water to feed your baby and keep up with what your body needs, dehydration plus fatigue is not a good mix.
Delivering a baby causes some serious fluid loss, and replacing those fluids is important to avoid dehydration, according to the Pregnancy Center. Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, which makes matters even worse.
If you are breastfeeding, being severely dehydrated could reduce milk production and affect the composition of the milk. The simple hack is to drink lots of water.
4 Wrap It Up
The secret to less back pain and also less belly flab post baby? The tummy wrap. Your postpartum belly will probably feel super weird and squishy since your ab muscles are pretty atrophied. Think about picking yourself up a belly wrap to help put things back in place and get those tummy muscles back into shape.
3 Go Up A Size
Just as with everything else that went up a few sizes during your pregnancy, you may need to go up a size in bras just after birth, regardless if you are nursing or not. Having some larger than normal bras can really mean the difference between comfort and extreme discomfort.
Nothing says 'ouch' quite like trying to shove engorged boobs into a bra that is too small. If you have made the decision to nurse get nursing camisoles, they will make covering up for company simple and easy, just please please please do not forget to stock up on very comfortable bras.
2 Changing Stations
You are bound to need at least a few diapers throughout the day. What better way to save on sleep than to lay out diapers, diaper cream, and wipes for late night changes.
Having everything all right there laid out will save you a lot of time from having to look for things, which will mean even less time that your little one will be awake or disturbed by a diaper change since he or she needs some rest as well.
Consider also having some portable changing stations where you place the items you need on a changing pad that way, wherever your little one is in the house he or she can easily get changed.
1 Call The Plumber
This is something that a lot of new mothers are not totally prepared for after they have the baby: the leaking. It is sort of one of those inevitable things that happens after you have a baby, not really fun but, kind of hard to avoid.
The good thing is it will not last forever and for some it may not happen at all. Some mothers will leak more than others by nature. Just try not to be alarmed.
The hack: get some washable breast pads, you will be glad you did. Make sure they are extra soft too, no one wants to walk around with itchy sore body parts after having a baby.
References: Self Magazine, Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital, Liberated Body, Today's Parent, MamaHippie Blog, Babble, American Academy of Pediatrics, The Mayo Clinic, Baby Center, Pregnancy Corner, Mom loves Best