During pregnancy, we spend so much time preparing for our baby that we can forget about ourselves. The month following birth requires a lot of healing and patience and can be really hard to adjust if you don’t know what to expect. I was thankful that my sister had given birth approximately six months before me; I saw the entire experience first-hand. I was really shocked at what a woman’s body goes through to give birth, and the healing that must take place afterwards. I am lucky that I was educated going into birth, but most women aren’t.

The post-partum period was really hard for me. I cried more because I was so in pain and uncomfortable than I did because of new mom nerves. It was a very emotional time for me, and I hope that with the proper education and preparation, it won't be for other first time moms.

Many women say that their biggest fear is tearing, however when you give birth it all hurts! You can’t distinguish tearing pain from giving birth pain. However, the healing after a tear can be a little more traumatic than if you don’t tear. I was fortunate enough to have a fast labor, but that also meant that I tore more because of the speed and velocity of it. Also, Cobi was born with his hand by his face, cute – yes, but painful!

Following birth, I was taking two ibuprofen daily to help with the swelling “down there” as well as the pain in general. It was so helpful. It may seem like a mild pain-killer but it was my dear friend. I also fell in love with the ice-paks that are offered in the hospital. I really wish I had asked to take some home with me. As an alternative, you can cut up some rags (I used hand-me-down flannel receiving blankets) into long rectangles, soak them in witches hazel and freeze them. The initial shock of the cold is… shocking, but it becomes soothing very, very quickly. It is easy to either wash to reuse them, or just throw them out.

My midwife gave me a wonderful pack of herbs that truly helped speed along my recovery. My husband steeped them for me in boiling water, and added them to my bath. I wish I had known about the healing power of these soothing herbs before birth, I would have stocked up. I found a comparable pack available from Etsy seller Timedesigns. I am bookmarking them for the future! I soaked in the herbs my midwife gave me once a day for the first two weeks and I truly believe that it helped me heal faster than I would have on my own. You can also use these herbs in a peri-bottle, or on the rags you freeze.

My next favorite product that I couldn’t have done without is the Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Spray. It’s designed specifically for post-partum mothers. I sprayed it every time I used the bathroom. It was soothing and another naturally wonderful blend of organic ingredients.

And as if we’re not being candid enough here: I never thought I would say this but adult diapers became my best friend. I had serious issues with incontinence following birth (perhaps due to my needing a catheter, though either way the bladder is significantly weakened following birth). It was embarrassing for sure. My husband really had two babies to care for during his week off. The diapers saved us from many messes and excess laundry. I wore them about two weeks before I felt like I could feel my muscles well enough in order to use them effectively. Of course they also help with the insane amount of bleeding that occurs in the weeks following birth.

The adrenaline from labor and birth kept me reeling and unable to sleep for days. I found an amazing natural remedy that didn’t leave me feeling groggy when I had to wake up 2-3 hours later, but gave me restful sleep. Hylands Calms Forte also works to relieve the stress that can come with new-parent anxiety.

As far as leaky breasts go I opted for some wonderful super-absorbent organic cotton reusable breast pads. I went through four pairs a day during those early weeks.

I found that I was extremely hungry and thirsty while my body was recovering as well as trying to produce food for another little human. I ate as often as my newborn! Having healthy snacks on hand was very helpful; nuts, dried fruit, protein and snack bars, and granola were a few I particularly loved. As far as thirst, I kept mostly water on hand, as well as lemons. My Copco cup was very appreciated - I really liked the fact that it had a straw as it made it easier to drink while holding or nursing my baby.

I found it important, most of all, to have help readily available if I had an off day. My husband was only able to take one week off of work. So the following week, my sister or my mom were over nearly every day and the week following a friend of mine came to stay with me and help. It was so nice to have three weeks to heal, bond with my baby, learn how to breastfeed, sleep whenever I wanted, and have meals prepared for me. I was truly blessed. What were some of your favorite post-partum items? Or what have you done to prepare for this time?

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