Many women are unprepared for how their bodies feel after the birth and what the body needs to heal. The postnatal journey is different for every mum, but included here are some tips on how to support your recovery.
- Post birth you will feel a little sensitive when going to the toilet and it can be quite a good idea to either pee in the shower with the help of warm water or have a jug of warm water to hand to take the edge off.
- Enjoy a herbal soak once a day. Here is a recipe for a herbal infusion for bathing the stitched area: Pour a kettle of boiling water over 2 tbsp of comfrey, 1 spoonful of lavender and 1 spoonful of calendula. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Add cold water until it becomes comfortably warm. Strain through a sieve. Pour into a basin such as a washing-up bowl, which you can squat over in the bath. Use a small bowl or jug to scoop up the warm liquid and pour it between your legs repeatedly. Or you can run a shallow bath and float the basin on the water. When you get tired of squatting, tip the infusion into the bath and just sit in it for a while. It becomes quite dilute, but is still nice.
- Using a few drops of good quality lavender oil on the flannel pads (neat) aids healing as well as being very soothing.
- Take homeopathic Arnica before and after labour to help reduce swelling and bruising. Other remedies to consider include Bellis Perennis to heal injury to deep tissue which is sore or bruised; Hypericum for injuries to nerve-rich areas from lacerated wounds; and Rhus Tox which can relieved soreness around the coccyx.
- Make use of the midwives to help you check that your baby is well latched on. It can be normal to experience a little pain but it should not make you wince. Excellent resource here
- Lansinoh (pure lanolin) is a great product…applying it to the nipples after each feed will keep nipples soft and intact. The added advantage of pure lanolin is that you don’t have to wipe or wash it off before baby nurses.
- When your milk comes in, some women’s breasts become very full and engorged. It can be hard for baby to latch on because your breasts have changed shape. Try expressing a bit of milk before nursing baby to soften the breast a little.
- To help with sore nipples and healing try usingsilver breast angels
- Note that many women feel weepy/emotional as the milk comes in. This is normal. Talk to the midwife if you’re not better after the first week or so.
- Write a list of foods you like and find nourishing, buy lots of it and make sure this is what is cooked for you or is available for you to prepare for yourself. This book is really helpful
- Top priority activities and making a list so you do not forget are essentially "SELF CARE" and getting to know you baby. Things like changing nappies, feeding, drinking water, going to the loo, sleep, cuddles, eat fruit, eat warming foods are good things to have on the list. This will help you to say no to doing non-essentials (washing up, sweeping floors, making guests cups of tea please send them in the direction of the kettle, cups, and ask them to make you one too, and wash up before they leave. You are not being a diva you are preserving your energy.
- Have lots of muslins, flannels, towels, nappies and bags of cotton wool balls to hand…it saves the need to run out to the shops.
- Think twice about who comes to visit, when, and for how long. If you do have guests make sure they are helpful - offering to bring food, clear up, supporting you. You need your energy for your baby, yourself and your family.
- ASK ASK ASK! People love to be helpful, but often they don’t know how. This TED talk is so helpful on the "art of asking". And please don’t feel bad if you don’t want people to hold your bab because this is a special bonding time, your baby likes to be close to you and knows your smell, so if you want to keep your baby in your arms, then do so.