Saturday, October 4, 2014

Stuff You Never Knew You'd Want Postpartum...

These are a few of the things that have made postpartum an easier time for us this go around...

Dimmer Switches or Low Watt Bulbs

This is seriously GENIUS, if I don't say so myself!
We planned a home birth and at some point I realized that the glaring lights of our bathroom would not be enjoyable for me to deliver our baby in (the tub). So, I asked my husband to pick up a dimmer switch (cheap) and install it (easy) in the bathroom for me. He did and also installed one on our main overhead light in our bedroom (I figured he was thinking ahead for some nice "mood lighting").

It was SO nice during labor to have dimmed lights and also for them to easily be turned up after delivery for the midwives to be able to do their thing with ease. What I didn't realize is just how awesome the dimmer switches would be for postpartum... Namely, late night nursing.

I had also asked my man to pick me up the lowest watt bulb he could find for the lamp behind my nursing rocking chair. It was great, but then I realized that the overhead light on the lowest setting was even better because it was easier to turn on and off and made less noise than a clicking lamp switch and it provided just enough light to make late night diaper changes and nursing not a hassled, fumbling ordeal!

It only took us 6 kids to figure this amazing trick out... live and learn!

Postpartum Absorbers for Mama

Home births kits typically come with a stack of Chux pads, a pack of heavy duty (diaperish) pads and usually a pair of "depends" or "mesh underwear". But here is the deal, home birth or hospital... you might want one more pair (at least) of those "underwear" and at least 3-5 chux pads for at home.

You can make one pair of "depends" last a bit longer by treating them as underwear and placing an additional pad in them and changing that out for the first 24 hours after delivery. But depending on the "damage" done and your rate of bleeding postpartum you might like to have a few more around... just so you don't have to worry about making a mess because most pads won't cut it. Having some extra Chux Pads around will also help you not ruin your sheets and give you peace of mind while resting. I like to put them down under me and place a ratty twin flat sheet, towel or receiving blanket over it... it is far more comfortable, and it doesn't move around on you as easily.

The last absorber you'll want is lots of nursing pads. I don't really like the cloth kind, and I just stock up on my favorite brand (Lansinoh).

3 Types of Blankets

#1 ... Cheap flannel receiving blankets
Folded for a diaper changing cover on your bed, couch, etc...
To wipe up fluids of all kinds, basically a bigger burp cloth.
To lay over those handy, yet nasty chux pads so you don't feel like you're laying on plastic.
To lay down on your bed to put baby on (if baby wets or spits up) only the receiving blanket has to be laundered... No changing your entire bedding at 3 am!

#2 ... Bulky blankets to roll up
These are all the blankets people make or bought you for your shower ... the "pretty" ones that don't seem to serve much purpose.
Roll them to make a bolster to prop behind babies back to keep them on their side, put a roll on each side of baby (well away from their face of course).
Lay them on the floor for a ground cover for babies tummy or play time.
Cover carseat to keep out drafts, help baby sleep or keep germy stranger hands from touching!

#3 ... Muslin swaddle blankets
Swaddling of course!

All three used at once: yellow for a bed cover, knit rolled up under her side (and over her) and the circles as a swaddle.


Soothies are glycerine gel pads for your tender nipples... yep. And they ROCK! I typically get 3 boxes to cover me for the postpartum period. They are kind of like little cool packs for your nipples, they reduce swelling and soreness. That said, I make sure and also let my breasts get some air from time to time too.

Pillows... lots of them!
I am a pillow hog. But, postpartum you will need lots of pillows! Depending on where you nurse your baby, having a few around is super helpful! Use them to prop yourself up on, put behind your back and head for better support on a couch or making a little nest on your bed, or using them for added height under your nursing pillow of choice... because they aren't quite enough in my opinion.

I think there are 7 pillows being used there! 

Also, we always do some co-sleeping for at least a season of time and I always struggle to know where to put the baby that will be safest. If I put her on the inside between my husband and me she is more easy to cover with bedding or at risk for being hit or rolled on my my less aware husband... but if I put her on the outside she could fall off the bed.

This time around I took a firm dense blanket and rolled it up tightly. Then I placed it under the fitted sheet on the edge of the bed. It creates a bumper for her and I can sleep more soundly knowing she is safe and won't roll off and that the sheets won't cover her.

Belly Binder
Oh my goodness! I have never used a belly binder after my 3 previous pregnancies... but I will say, that this is now my #1 most needed postpartum item! After you deliver you'll notice that your once tight abdomen is about the consistency of a "bowl full of jelly". Your poor muscles are extended and they literally are holding in all your innards and pulling on your back. It feels pretty weird, and can be painful on your back to not have support. Belly binders are the added support your body needs! Additionally, it will help get your uterus back into a smaller size quicker, helps eliminate painful afterbirth pains and it helps position your organs into the proper places. All in all... they are ESSENTIAL!

My 2nd day postpartum I was having some severe lower back pain and just felt like my whole core was swaying all about every time I moved. I was hesitant to put on the binder quite so soon, but the back pain convinced me to give it a shot. The moment I put it on it provided INSTANT relief from the pain!!! It was unbelievable. I wore it the whole day and am still going strong wearing it. My back  and core seemed to heal and reestablish itself all properly much quicker than I remember it having done so with my previous pregnancies.

I tried the Gabrialla Abdominal Wrap postpartum... and found it to be highly comfortable, easy to use and good for immediate use after birth. Its' only downside for me was that it did roll up in the back a bit, but I found when worn over a nursing tank and under yoga pants it stayed in place very nicely all day long.

And I had purchased this one, but wouldn't suggest it for use immediately after having a baby because it is far less adjustable and honestly, I am currently having issues figuring out how to wear it properly!

Witch Hazel Astringent
Like with my previous newborns I started using rubbing alcohol for our newborn's cord care. It dried up very quickly, but the alcohol seemed to be causing her a lot of pain and not really doing anything for the base of the cord, that was getting a tad stinky. She would cry and cry because it was stinging. It was really making me sad!

I mentioned it to our midwife who suggested making a switch to Witch Hazel which is an astringent. It is milder, gentler on the skin and still cleans and dries it out. She stopped crying and really didn't seem to mind me dabbing the witch hazel on her cord and around the base. Amazingly, her cord fell off before she was even a week old! I really think it was the Witch Hazel.


So thats what I've got!
I've really enjoyed this postpartum season... its been easy and enjoyable. A time of rest and healing.

Honestly, that is the best thing you can give yourself and your baby... keep this time sacred, live in the now, and allow your body to rest and restore itself! Don't short yourself, and your baby, this time will be over before you know it!

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