How to Prepare for Your First Week Postpartum
Preparing for your postpartum recovery is just as important taking a pregnancy class or setting up your baby’s nursery.
In this post, guest contributor McKayla Spencer shares her best postpartum recovery tips for that crucial first week. That is, what you need and what to do during your first week postpartum.
You get a lot of articles telling you what you need to bring to the hospital, what you need to pack in a diaper bag, and how to prepare for a newborn – but, how do you prepare for your postpartum recovery?
If you’re a first time mom, it’s highly likely there are a lot – and I mean a LOT – of things you might not know about postpartum recovery.
For instance, did you know that postpartum bleeding can last from four to six, and even 12, weeks? Or, that because of your beautiful newborn baby and the stress on your body, you might be leaving the hospital with a hemorrhoid?
Yep, all the not-so amazing things that come with your oh-so-amazing baby. And, while some hospitals and birthing centers prepare you right after birth, it doesn’t do much when you’re not prepared at home.
Plus, who can retain all that information in the 48-72 hours after birthing a baby? I didn’t.
In this post, we’re going to talk about how to prepare for your first week postpartum. You’re going to learn about some of the postpartum essentials you’ll need in your bedroom and bathroom, and the best practices to help improve your postpartum recovery.
POSTS RELATED TO PREPARING FOR YOUR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY:
- Making Your Postpartum Plan Course Review
- The Ultimate Guide to Healing Your Pelvic Floor After Birth
What Happens During Your First Week Postpartum?
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What happens during your first week postpartum?
Very little sleep along with some of the best newborn snuggles. That first week postpartum is a struggle while you’re adapting to being a new mother – even if it’s your first, second, third, or fourth baby. You’re recovering and your baby is experiencing outside life for the first time. It’s a week where time is all over the place.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’re learning how to adapt to this new thing on your breast, and if you’re formula feeding you’re figuring out how to time bottles and portions just right for your little one. Either way, you’re quickly working out your baby’s hunger and sleep cues.
Throw on your own recovery – like spending 20 minutes peeing, changing your own diaper/pad, and carefully spraying – not wiping – yourself and the one to two pediatrician’s visits and it’s a busy week.
Don’t forget that you could be struggling with kidney stones, hemorrhoids, or even postpartum insomnia.
Let’s not even consider if you’re allowing family and friends to visit you and baby during that first week postpartum, that’s another minefield to navigate. I will say that I had visitors the day after I was home from the hospital with my first and it was a terrible experience – I recommend setting boundaries beforehand.
How to Prepare for Your First Week Postpartum:
I can spend all day explaining what happens during that first postpartum, but I would rather help you prepare for your first week postpartum… What I included in my little basket in the bathroom saved my life after each baby. Of course, my postpartum preparation went beyond the bathroom – I had baskets around the house stuffed with goodies within arm’s reach.
The Postpartum Bathroom Essentials:
Every mom is going to need something different – instead of telling you exactly what you’ll need, I’m going to give my best suggestions for your first week postpartum. Let’s start with the tough one, your bathroom preparation:
- Perineal Healing Foam, I preferred this over the witch hazel pads because it didn’t feel like my underwear was soaked 24/7. Frida mom has a great option.
- Disposable Underwear, with my second, they allowed me to take extra from the hospital. These are a lifesaver when doing laundry hurts (and sometimes you don’t want to keep those postpartum undies).
- Dermoplast, you’ll most likely get a spray from the hospital to take home, but I highly recommend investing in a backup.
- Large Pads, the ones from the hospital are terribly uncomfortable. I purchased overnights of my preferred brand – comfort is key during this time.
- Peri Bottle, this one is actually optional. I never had an issue with the one from the hospital.
I was dedicated to using ONE bathroom in my house so that all my supplies were always in one place. If you’re going to use multiple bathrooms – say you live in a two-story home – I highly recommend getting a basket/kit for both.
There’s nothing worse than going to the bathroom during your first week postpartum and realizing you don’t have what you need.
The Postpartum Bedroom Essentials:
Let’s just say that when I had my first baby, I was a hot mess. Second baby went much smoother at home since I knew what I needed. I kept a basket on my side of the bed with all my newborn essentials and my postpartum essentials. Here’s what I included:
- Nursing PJS/Robe, I spent 99% of the time in the hospital topless as I figured out how to breastfeed. If you’re breastfeeding, specific pjs or a robe is a must.
- Postpartum Vitamin, these really helped with all the changes your body is going through immediately after birth.
- Water Bottle. I felt like a camel during that first week. I could not drink enough water no matter how much I guzzled down.
- Hakaa, again, more for the breastfeeding mama. Hakaas help when the breast that is not currently feeding the baby starts leaking everywhere.
- Ibuprofen, for the late night and early morning aches and pains but you don’t wanna get up just yet.
- Snacks, my go-to midnight snacks were cheez-its. Pick something that’s not messy and doesn’t require any prep. Very much a grab and go.
Of course, you can add things as you realize you need them in the middle of the night. And you can add your newborn’s things as well. I typically had some diapers, extra wipes, an extra onesie/sleeper, and a thermometer.
All my babies started by sleeping in our room in a cradle, but saving a few steps and repeated ups and downs (because you’ll always forget something) really helps.
The Postpartum Essentials to Keep Throughout Your House:
When I say I had baskets throughout the house, I mean it. There was a basket stashed in each room that I knew I might sit down in. While each had some newborn things (I was very much against getting up once I relaxed), it also had a few things for myself:
- Water Bottles, I kept 2-3 disposable water bottles ready in each basket.
- Snacks, more of an assortment than what’s kept in your bedroom. I stashed granola bars, mini snack bags, and a few high-protein snacks as well.
- Nursing Pads, I had a tendency to leak through at the worst moments so I tried to keep a backup to prevent it.
- Tee Shirt, again, I had a tendency to leak through my shirt. Keeping a backup shirt helped me feel more human and less sticky/smelly.
- Nipple Cream, breastfeeding hurts.
- Ibuprofen, for the aches and pains that you’re not willing to get up for but you know you should try and take something for.
Since my babies had a hard time latching, I also had nipple shields stashed in every basket and pacifiers for my firstborn. My second was uninterested, so we didn’t push it.
What to do During Your First Week Postpartum
The only thing you should try and do in your first week postpartum is rest and take care of your newborn baby. This is hard when you have multiple children or you don’t have a partner to help split some of your household workload with, but you want to try your hardest to rest and heal.
Your hormones, your body, your entire life is altering in this first week now that your baby is here. And while it can be hard to remember what an awesome mom you are, this is only one stage of raising your baby. There are still so many amazing moments to come!