I can’t believe its nearly 15 weeks since I gave birth. It’s been an intense time and I feel that we’ve now settled into some sort of routine and Rory is definitely so much more chilled. He’ll entertain himself on his mat for about 30 mins and will sleep by himself which is such a game changer! He’s also slept through the past few nights which again is just amazing! The next challenge is sleeping through ourselves as I keep waking up to make sure he’s ok.
Now that I’m finally on the other side and out of the 4th trimester I thought it’d be helpful to pull together what items I found useful in my post-partum journey.
There is so much to prepare you for labour but I was completely unprepared for what came after in relation to my body’s recovery. Pushing a baby out of a 10cm hole which is usually 0cm is quite the ordeal… so it makes sense that it takes a little while to recover down there. I had 3rd degree tears which required stitches in surgery and while they’re not that common, 2nd degree tears are surprisingly fairly common so you’re going to feel quite sore afterwards! With the tears I felt like my tummy was going to fall off along with my bum – it was the strangest feeling. Taking it easy and making sure you recover is so important. Give yourself time to recover and take all the help that is offered.
Here’s a round-up of things I found helpful to make your 4th trimester a bit easier:
For your intimate areas:
- Maternity pads – these big ones for the first few weeks when the bleeding is quite heavy and then these slim ones for afterwards for when it slows down. I then moved onto panty liners for a little while after.
- Big comfy knickers – I sized up and went for full black briefs so nothing felt too tight (see here).
- Peri bottle (see here) I didn’t have one but people rave about these!
- Spritz for your bits – (see here) I didn’t use this but again have heard some love it.
If you’re breastfeeding:
See here for a full list and my breastfeeding journey.
- Lanolin cream – it takes a good few weeks for your nipples to harden up and before then they’re going to be super sore and potentially cracked, bruised and maybe even bleeding. This stuff is amazing so remember to use it after every feed! I have 1 downstairs, 1 in my bedroom and another in the changing bag so I’m never without it! (See here)
- Hot compress – these are really good and heat up super quick in the microwave.
- A comfy non-wired nursing bra – my fav has to be this one from Gap.
- Nipple pads – any sticky ones from your supermarket.
- Haakka to help relieve some of that engorgement (see here).
- Comfy pjs – I loved any baggy bottoms and loose tops. You’ll have night sweats for the first few weeks so have a few options close by if you need to change.
- Dressing gown – I lived in mine for weeks! Have 2 so when 1’s in the washing machines from baby sick/ milk you have one to wear!
- Slippers – after my feet swelling disappeared I wore these around the house. While my feet were still swollen I’d wear slip on slippers or slipper socks.
- All the snacks – I loved having brunch bars close by for late night/ early morning feeds when I was famished! I also loved fox’s chocolate rounds and could get through half a pack so quickly.
- An easy to drink from water bottle – keep hydrated especially if you’re breastfeeding. I have this one.
- Travel mug to keep your tea warm.
- For when you feel like getting out of pjs, make your uniform leggings and comfy tops that are easy to breast feed in. I had about 3 pairs of these Jack Wills leggings and lots of t-shirts.
- Moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated – just remembering to moisturise after a shower made me feel that little bit more alive.
- Post-natal vitamins. The NHS give out free vitamins so make sure to get some off your midwife or health visitor.
Making time for yourself:
- Get your nails or hair done. At 6 weeks, I booked myself in for a manicure. It was the first time I’d been away from Rory and felt so strange walking by myself. But that hour peace and relaxation was priceless and I felt so good afterwards.
- Go for a walk – get your baby in a carrier or push chair and get yourself out in the fresh air. Not only will it help teach baby that its day time, but moving your body even for a short 10 minute walk will help you feel 10 times better.
- Have a bath. I had my first bath after 8 weeks because of the stitches and having to keep them dry. 3rd degree stitches take about 12 weeks to heal compared to 2nd degree which take 4-5 weeks and you need to keep them dry. I would use either Epsom salts which helped with blocked ducts and relaxing the body and Sanctuary bubble bath. Tim also got me these bath salts which smelt gorgeous because of the relaxing lavender which I love the smell of.
Let me know if there’s anything else you found helpful during your postpartum journey!