I thought I should follow up my Top Gear: Pregnancy Edition with some of my postpartum recommendations.
I'll try not to turn this into a "everything is going to be horrible and you'll have stuff coming out from everywhere" post, though inevitably, some of that kind of stuff will be mentioned. Postpartum (the first three months or so, in my mind) is such a sensitive time, and as someone who is still there, I think any useful tips from someone who has "been there" are helpful. Thinking back to that time period definitely brings back some... feelings. I was in pain, exhausted, and in teary awe that there had been such a delightful little guy in me all those months. But mostly, I felt (and still feel) like I was way in over my head in thinking that I could be someone's mother and that I have no idea how to take good care of another human being.
For the items below, note that I had a Cesarean section, so this list might be different for those who don't go that route. Also, I decided I'd do a separate "Breastfeeding Edition" of this post, because many, MANY of the items I had to run out to get postpartum had to do with that specifically. I anticipate it to be a lonnnnng post.
1) Pads, liners
Yes, people who get the ol' slice-and-dice need these, too, even though you'd think they would do a pretty good job cleaning out the premises before sewing you back up. You'll see these on every one of these postpartum list, but I underestimated the need. Get ones that are comfortable as they are functional, because you should make every effort to be comfortable at this point when everything else is going crazy. Switch to liners as soon as you can, which might take a few weeks, but you'll love when you make the switch to them.
Also, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that "granny panties" are not really necessary unless all you wear normally are skimpy things. I mean, I'd imagine whatever worked during pregnancy should be able to support a pad... right? Anything that is "normal" will make you feel better during a time where everything is but.
This was so, so, so important during those first few months. I was hungry and didn't have the hands to cook. People brought food, bless them. My family brought a lot of soups and rice, Japanese snacks, and even a Thanksgiving meal. My in-laws brought cake, and I totally almost ate the whole thing single-handedly in a few days. My friends brought over Chinese food, breads, pizza, tamales, and pie. I have always been one to bring food to new parents, but I greatly, GREATLY underestimated the need for this, too, so if anyone else has a baby, I will make sure to bring more (or maybe I was particularly hungrier than most).
The freezer covered the balance, and I'm not talking about fancy freezer meals that people actually had time to prepare -- I'm talking about Trader Joe's meatballs, enchiladas, and pizzas. The other balance (told you I was hungry!) was covered by oatmeal, cereal, and bars/trail mixes from Costco. Speaking of which, bulk is great. In the beginning, I'd keep food by my bed and on the couch because I was hungry and on my butt in those places a lot.
3) Belly Bandit
I wonder if people will find this post by Googling "does the Belly Bandit work?" hoping to find an answer. Unfortunately, I don't really have one. I did not really use mine, since it was uncomfortable to sit or nurse with it on, and I did a lot of those things. I imagine it would help with things flattening out after delivery, as well as provide core support post-surgery. I ended up getting something similar from the hospital, though I did not wear it when I got home due to bad associations/memories of pain. I think what helped get my stomach mostly back to normal (because it still isn't what it was, let's face it) was nursing, small amounts of exercise, and whatever I had built prior to pregnancy plus the time period I was exercising during pregnancy. I'm sure I would have done better had I been on top of wearing this. Everyone is different, though.
These are not discreet under clothing necessarily. If you are going to try this, get the bamboo version, as bamboo is known to be soft. I can't imagine what the non-bamboo version feels like.
4) Hip Shrinkx
This I also ended up not really using, for the same reasons stated above. I haven't bothered to check if my hips grew due to pregnancy, and now that I'm a few months out, these no longer would work on me because they work with the hormone relaxin in your body that only lingers in the first few weeks afterward.
All the hospital and pregnancy fluids were horrid. I remember coming home wondering why I only lost 10 pounds after birth, only to shed the remainder over the next few weeks (through sweat and pee, lovely!). One thing that helped immensely was ginger. My mom made a bunch of ginger stuff for me, including tea, to hasten the process. Try infusing it with water or buying ginger tea. Drink water in general... it's important for flushing out things as well as milk supply if you're doing that.
Speaking of weight, one thing you don't need: a scale. I mean, you're going to WANT to keep weighing in, but in my opinion, that's quite stressful. And anyway, that weigh-in will happen sooner or later... like at the postpartum appointment. I had mine 4 weeks out, and I was pretty pleased with the results -- unfortunately, no progress since then -- *cough*.
6) Hand lotion
All the hand-washing, feeding accessory washing, and hand-sanitizer made my hands soooooooooo dry. Now that I'm constantly slathering moisturizers on my baby, I no longer need this, but it really did get bad before. Choose your favorite, preferably something you wouldn't mind touching your baby with, though usually by the time I would pick up my baby in the beginning, I would have already washed my hands again.
7) Yoga pants
Of course, right? My favorite comes from New York and Company. I have a pair from years back that I love... by the time they went on sale again online in my size, I feel like something changed about them, yet I still like them. They are probably the most flattering things that I wore for a while. Due to multiple clothing changes that will be necessary due to your or the baby's bodily fluids, get a few.
8) Prunes & Colace
I hate to bring more TMI into this post, but you should really pick up some of these things, even if you think you won't need them. You will, regardless of how your baby is born. Heck, you might already have some of this stuff lying around from pregnancy.
I'm still taking prenatals leftover from my pregnancy (due to nursing, but even if I wasn't, what would I do with them otherwise?), but vitamins are just helpful in general because I don't know about you, but healthy eating is questionable during this period... and vitamins are very much needed to replenish your body after all the madness.
So that's that. Really, though, what you need postpartum are not items, but mostly: help with the baby while you take care of your basic needs, showers, people to talk to (especially people who recently had a baby and can help you answer your 4784957403 questions without Google), fresh air, and sleep. Oh, how I (still) miss sleep.
FTC Disclaimer: I was not provided any samples for this post... just sharing my opinions!