What Helps Postpartum Healing?

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Not too many people talk about postpartum care. I guess it’s because the beauty of a newborn baby overshadows talk about torn vaginas or painful hemorrhoids. Beautiful imagery right? Well, I wanted to share some helpful tips that helped me heal postpartum.

Herbs for the perineum

image from Avivaromm.com. Click on the image to go to her full post on herbal baths

Dr. Aviva Romm shares, “there are many herbs that can be used to soothe tender perineal tissue, heal tears and episiotomies (yes, you CAN take herb baths if you’ve had stitches!), reduce inflammation, and even shrink hemorrhoids after a vaginal birth.” Check out the recipe and how-to on her site here. The directions might overwhelm you when you’re preparing for the birth of a baby. However, I cannot suggest herbal baths enough! They are so wonderful in healing and the ritual of caring for yourself as a new mother is a great way to take a break from the chaos of the world.

Doula and educator, Stephanie Lynn Tanner, shares a great in-depth guide to making your postpartum life less stressful. Here’s an excerpt from her post, however I suggest you read the whole thing on her blog if you’re expecting a child because there’s so many great tidbits of info you don’t wanna miss!

from bear mama medicine. Click on image to go to her wonderful blog post!

Postpartum Principles for the First Week

  1. No pants. And I’m going to go as far to say no shirt, either. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, the no-shirt thing is essential. While you wait for your milk to come in, topless is best anyway. The basic logic to the no-pants rule is that if you put on clothes, you’ll be tempted to do stuff, and you need to be parking your booty in bed and only getting up to use the restroom for the first week at least.
  2. Visitors. This one can be tough, especially if you’re in the hospital. I have found that even if the unit you’re on implements a “quiet time”, the staff doesn’t always do the best job of enforcing it. With my first, I had constant visitors, and as a young mom excited about her new baby and the attention I was getting, I didn’t have the wisdom to appreciate that there was plenty of time for all of that. There is absolutely no difference in if your sister-in-law (or whoever) sees your baby on Day 2 or Week 2, except that YOU will be feeling very differently. I find that if you adhere to the first principle and only allow visitors who would be comfortable seeing you topless with engorged titties and a newborn plastered to your chest (and who won’t be expecting to spend time holding a swaddled baby), you are setting up a good expectation for your recovery. If it’s not somebody you’d want seeing you like that, then they can wait until you feel like putting on clothes in a week (or two). It may be a good idea to put a sign on your front door for visitors to read, like this one.
  3. All food and drinks should be brought to you in bed. This is 100% reasonable and should be a communicated expectation with the people around you. The longer you can maintain this, the better. Shoot for a week (at least). Ask that nobody come in the room without refreshing you with water and offering a snack. Again, this is basic.
  4. Keep all of your baby supplies- diapers/wipes, diaper pail, blankets, clothing, etc.- in baskets next to you in bed. Train someone else to prepare bottles for you if you’re formula feeding. Again, the goal is to not get out of bed for anything other than going to the bathroom.
  5. The only reason you should be leaving the house is for an appointment (we really need to implement house calls again for this- making families leave the house with a brand new baby is cruel and unusual). Do not put on makeup or jewelry. Wear pajamas (layer up if it’s cold). Do not go shopping!! Make someone else go in for you, or order your food, or whatever. This last baby, we both had to go into the bank to get paternity paperwork notarized with a week-old newborn and a toddler. It was dumb. Avoid doing anything like that like the plague.
  6. A note on lifting “anything heavier than your baby”: this includes baby + car seat. You’ll need someone to carry the car seat around. If you are alone, leave the car seat in the car and transfer your baby at the car into a baby carrier or wrap.

Read the whole post here for all the great detailed info she shares.

Don’t go through it alone.

While many of us women want to start off motherhood as supermom, we must face the fact that the postpartum period is a time of healing. The organs rearrange after birth, hormones take a huge shift, and your body adjusts to the no-baby belly. Don’t attempt to take care of everything on your own if you have friends, family, or hired help that can come to the rescue. At least for the first week or two, do your very best to focus on recovery. Postpartum depression is a very real issue these days for women. Adding stress to an already sensitive time can increase your odds of getting PPD. In some serious cases, PPD can lead to psychosis, which can endanger not only your own life but the life of your child as well. Make sure you have a support system around you, whether it’s your partner, a family member, a friend, or a postpartum doula. And if you’re really in need but have no one around, feel free to message me through the site and I will do my best to look up social services or resources in your area. Don’t go through new motherhood alone. There’s a community out there that wants to help.

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Founder at Dymin Collective
Mindy Song is a mother of one, a video artist, and musician from Orange, CA. She is an advocate of social justice with interests in globalization, socio-economics, and the history of women’s rights in developing nations. By day she is a marketing specialist for a dental imaging company, milk pumper, and wannabe supermom. By night she is an asian fusion chef, art critic, and blogger.
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