From Surviving to Thriving in the First Two Weeks Postpartum
A common theme that I have seen in my practice is that everyone prepares for the birth, and no one prepares for postpartum. This is not surprising to me, as it is only more recently, that anyone has started talking about postpartum. Ads like the one that got rejected from the Superbowl by Frida are starting to change that. There is now a dialogue starting about postpartum and it is long overdue! Most women I see are not preparing for postpartum because they don’t know that there is much to be prepared for. I usually explain it like this, “labor and birth are a marathon for your body, no matter how you give birth. You will be sore, tired and generally feeling like you got hit by a truck. If you haven’t prepared for postpartum you will be forgotten because you also have this new little baby who needs your attention almost 24/7.” Those days or weeks that you are off work before the baby comes are the time to get everything set up that you need for a successful postpartum recovery. These are the tips and tricks that should be getting shared at baby showers!
In this post, I am going to focus on the first 2 weeks specifically, although some of the suggestions apply for a longer period of time
How to Thrive in the First Two Weeks Postpartum
- Rest! Stay in bed/in your room so long that you feel really restless and need to leave. This was the best piece of advice I received, from my cousin who has had 4 babies, nonetheless. I stayed pretty much in my room for the first 10 days! This means you aren’t going up and down the stairs, walking too much, and pushing it and gives your body a chance to physically heal and lets you regain some of your strength and energy from blood loss with birth.
- Frida Mom- Get this and not the regular peri bottle they give out at the hospital. It sprays much better at an upside-down angle. A tip I learned from my nurse sister is also to lean as far forward as possible when peeing, so the urine just goes in the toilet and has less of a chance to sting. Fill the Frida mom with water and spray that while urinating to dilute the urine.
- Evive Smoothies- These are a lifesaver in both early postpartum and later if you are breastfeeding, starving and looking for something to make one handed. Bonus, you don’t even have to blend them if you have a baby who hates the blender. You can pop the pre-blended cubes into a glass and add your liquid of choice. Leave for 20 min and stir. They contain mostly organic ingredients and are a good source of plant-based protein. My personal favorites are Samourai and Yogi.
- Power Balls- One handed quality nutrition is key for a good recovery, breastfeeding or not! Flaxseeds, oatmeal, and healthy fats from nut butters can help to increase supply. Adding a little chocolate is always welcome. Here is a link to some of my favorites.
- Bone Broth- Make ahead while still pregnant. The warmth, liquid and healthy ingredients are just what a postpartum body need. Bone broth provides collagen for tissue healing, minerals and healthy fats.
- Sitz Baths- At least once a day, but up to 3 times, filling a sitz bath with our Sitz Bath Soak and soak 5-10 minutes. This really helps to accelerate healing time. Many midwives have commented on how quickly their clients have recovered when they used it. I experienced a quicker than expected recovery as well.
- Padsicles- These are becoming more common place nowadays, but I want you to up the healing potential by making them using our Sitz Bath Soak instead of just aloe and witch hazel. Brew the Sitz Bath Soak as directed on the package, and then saturate organic cotton pads. Store in the freezer and use 1-2 pads a day in the first week to help reduce swelling and accelerate healing.
Superstar Supplements! If you do nothing else suggested in this blog please, please, please keep taking your prenatal vitamin. Click here for a summary of my favorite brands and why
- Prenatal Vitamin-If you are not breastfeeding, I suggest taking for a minimum of 3 months, if you are breastfeeding, I suggest taking it until you are no longer breastfeeding. Nutrient deficiencies are common post pregnancy and delivery, after all babies are essentially little parasites, so a prenatal is your best insurance policy that you are meeting your nutritional requirements.
- Vitamin D- Studies have shown that lower levels of vitamin D are linked to higher incidences of postpartum depression. Supplementing mom with vitamin d also helps vitamin d to pass into the breastmilk for baby if mom’s levels are sufficient.
- Fish Oil- Also helps to reduce the risk of postpartum depression and is associated with accelerated brain growth in breastfed babies.
- Vitamin C- Critical for collagen synthesis and wound repair for both vaginal tears and cesarean incisions.
- Collagen- Supplementing helps to ensure that collagen levels are high enough to facilitate optimal tissue repair. It is also a good source of protein.
- Herbs for Milk Production- These are the most effective when started within the first two weeks of feeding. My favorite is by MotherLove and is called More Milk Plus.
- Nipple Balm- Even if your baby has the perfect latch and you have done this multiple times before, those first few weeks of feeding are rarely super comfortable. Our Nipple Balm does not need to be wiped off before feeding and is helpful for cracked and painful nipples.
There you have it. The first 2 weeks survival guide! I did not mention having food frozen/premade for postpartum, as well as, having support people lined up and these are 2 key factors to reduce your stress and help you to thrive in new motherhood. Also, get the postpartum doula! It is money well spent.
How was your immediate postpartum? What did you wish you knew? Post in the comments below
Dr Alexis sees patients via telemedicine and is currently accepting new patients. Click here to book your appointment