How to Power Through Postpartum

My pregnancy with Baby H was a breeze. For most of it I felt great! My cankles and Sasquatch feet (as Pat liked to call them) were another story… But even they didn’t sour my time spent being pregnant.

But then… labor happened.

After laboring for 30 hours and then having a c-section I was in no shape to take care of another human being. But that didn’t stop the nurse from wheeling me out of the surgery room on a gurney and placing my little miracle of a baby on my chest. I hadn’t even spoken my first words post surgery when the nurse told me that Baby needed to have skin-to-skin contact and we should start working on his latch right away.

Of course these moments are the most precious ones of my life that I will only ever remember as a absolute gift. But it was also simultaneously the event in which I was catapulted into motherhood where from then on, this new little bundle of life would completely take over.

Every mom loves a good labor story (particularly their own) but what I really like sharing are a few of my favorite things that helped me to feel just a little bit more like a human through my postpartum journey.

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1. Satin Pajama Set, 2. Delivery Robe (similar) 3. Belly Wrap 4. Nipple Cream 5. BBQ Cauliflower Tacos 6. Eyeshadow Palette 7. Powder Foundation  8. Calvin Klein Dress

Some of my favorite postpartum things that helped me focus everything I had on my new Little One…

Cute, Comfy PJ’s

Girly sets for when you just want to feel feminine instead of like an oozing, bloated mess. And purely comfy ones for when you “just can’t” anymore. I spent so much more time in my jammies than I had expected… Some days I just changed from one milk-stained PJ set to the next. And some days I didn’t change at all…  But having a few matching jammies made nursing at 3 am s little more glamorous (just kidding, that’s not a thing) as well as made it perfectly acceptable in my mind to go a whole day never changing out of them at all until it was time for bed.

Bathrobes

These go hand-in-hand with the PJ’s, but I got extra mileage out of mine because it’s a “delivery robe” which means it has a little extra room around the mid section and is longer in the back. I packed it away in my hospital suitcase and wore it for the first time post delivery at the hospital. There were a lot of things to make me uncomfortable during my stay (one word: catheter) but I can’t imagine having to have been stuck in a hospital gown for all that time… UHHG.) Plus, one of my favorite pics of Me and Baby H is of him in my arms and me in my pink floral robe in the hospital bed. My robe is from online at Pink Blush Maternity … I’ll be going there for my next one too!

Belly Wrap

OK so this one isn’t exactly fun to wear. It was hot and uncomfortable at times, but I can say that the time I put it on and one of my normal shirts just slipped over my flat belly for the first time in almost 9 months, that was a great feeling. Also, just having had surgery, it allowed me to make quick movements and cough without feeling like my guts were going to burst through the inner layer of stitches. A pretty amazing thing when all I wanted at that point was to feel normal again! I did a bit of research on this product before I ended up purchasing it. I also had the advantage of knowing what I didn’t like in a belly wrap after using the one from the hospital for two weeks. The Squeem is difficult to put on, but once it is, there’s no going anywhere. I wore mine every night for two weeks, and intermittently throughout the day for about a month. One note though: the sizing can be a tricky to gauge so I definitely recommending purchasing from somewhere with free returns. I had to exchange my from a small to a medium.

Nipple Cream

Just do it. Buy the nipple cream. Don’t wait until you actually have the baby and start breast feeding. When I began nursing, even before my skin started to feel like it was getting raw, I rubbed on some of the cream because the jar sat right next to my bed and al-be-darned if I wasn’t going to take 2 seconds and pamper those poor little nips. boob-ease was the brand I went with because, well yes, the name! And also because the ingredients are non-toxic, organic, and according to the company, completely safe for baby to ingest. (Which makes perfect sense, right?!) It’s weird to think that the run of the mill nipple cream contains lanolin which actually contains pesticides. The ingredient list for boob-ease: Extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, calendula flower

Prepared Meals

Boy did I drop the ball on this. Why? Why did I think i was going to cook more once the baby was here? Oh yea, because I was staying home from work and would have oodles of time. What else was I going to do?? Please don’t look at me sideways… I know, I was silly for thinking that. Also, those wonderful gems of prepared meals that family and friends bring over the week or two after baby is home from the hospital… they tend to disappear quicker that you’d think! Next time around, I’m stocking the freezer with half-prepped meals that just need trowing together and a little lovin’ from the oven. Izzy from over at shelikesfood.com has fantastic tasting and innovative meals that are easy for a non-foodie-food-lover to make. All of her recipes are vegetarian and mostly gluten-free, and while I love a good burger once in a while, it’s a refreshing alternative.

New Makeup & Toiletries

Nothing makes you feel like a brand new you as a makeup bag full of unopened mascara tubes and fresh eye shadow palettes! I also stumbled upon Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation Powder which covers so well that if you have two shades you can even accomplish a natural contour. I’m a full-face of makeup kind a girl, but the fact that I can apply powder in only a minute and with just one hand makes it a very appealing option in a pinch. I also packed a bag of new toiletries (mostly sample sizes) that were of course convenient to have at the hospital, but were also just another little thing that helped me cope. I’ll never forget when my my mom stopped by the hospital to watch the baby and I snuck away for a glorious 30 min shower session (the first one I was allowed in 4 days!… and not regular days… gross hospital days). It was just your typical hospital bathroom, but I can’t imagine any spa experience topping how great it felt to take out my new “invigorating” mint and sea kelp shampoo, and wash my hair three times in a row.

In-between Clothes

A few weeks postpartum I went to Ross’ to pick out a dress for Baby H’s baptism. No one should be surprised, but I ended up finding LOTS of new dresses. I was still a good 20 pounds heavier than my normal weight ( i like to tell myself that half of it was boob weight), but instead of making myself suffer through a diet and say goodbye to breast feeding, I said, “body, you’re alright with me.” And then you know what I did? I bought all 5 of the dresses. I wore them to work throughout the summer and they helped me get ready quicker in the morning and not agonize over losing the weight until I was good and ready.

So there you have it! If you’re looking for the end-all, be-all list of “essentials” that includes the boring stuff like a peri bottle and a Sitz Bath, this isn’t for you. But there are lists all over the internet with those kinds of items. For me, I am a firm believer that if I take care of myself (and I mean more than just managing the pain and cleaning down… well you know where) then I am in a much better position to take of everybody else.

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