Postpartum doesn't have to be something that you fear. It's is a time of discovery for you your baby, and your family. Postpartum is the recovery time after you've had your baby. And like you planed for labor, you need to plan for this time.
Plan to rest for a month
This doesn’t have mean sleeping, but it means laying/sitting quietly for as much of the day as you possibly can the first couple of weeks to a month, in some cultures the rating period could last up to 40 days without showering, cooking, or cleaning. I'm not saying that you need to be this extreme if you can't. But you do need to rest.
Try to arrange for a postpartum doula to come over for a couple days out week for thus time. U
Having help is much better for you, you really need to rest you will bled much less and recovered both physically and emotionally much more quickly. One of the benefits of having help is that you can extend your “night” sleep so that you end up with a good nights rest.
If you feel that you have to do something, use this time to catch up on reading, nursing/bonding with your newborn, writing in your journal, catching up on phone calls, blogging or other writing projects, starting your baby book, etc.
Preparing for a month long rest sets you up for a quicker recovery, and is, in the long run, it's really worth it. Lack of sleep and rest are your worst enemies after giving birth. Invest those first few weeks in concentrated rest.
Adjust your expectations
Are you a die hard natural food purist? Time to put all that on the back burner (perhaps) and buy some boxes of cereal. Toast is good. Have fast, easy food on hand that your family can serve up themselves. PB&J sandwiches can be a staple at lunchtime for a couple of weeks. The new diet might be boring, but nobody will die.
Part of the work that your doula can be to make meals before baby is born. Then your family can then pop these meals in the oven and still eat the kinds of healthy foods their family is accustomed to eating. She can also set up a meal sigh up sheet so that is you have friends or family that wants to help they can sigh up to bring you a meal. Anything you can do ahead of time to minimize your responsibilities after baby comes will only help you rest, recover, and heal more quickly.
Prepare for nursing
Apply a sterile, medical grade lanolin cream (or some other type of healing nipple cream) to your nipples daily a few weeks before birth. Then faithfully apply it after each nursing session. You will avoid cracked, bleeding nipples this way, and your breasts will adjust more quickly to nursing.
Have a nursing basket by the place that you will be nursing. It can have the TV remote, extra diapers, and snacks for you. This basket is nice so that you don't need to stop nursing to grab these things.
If you find that nursing isn’t working for you or your baby even if you have pursued professional help, give yourself emotional permission to quit.
Nursing is wonderful but there are too many women who have honestly done all they can do to make it work …and they are unable to. Nursing is not a sign of spiritual health. Let it go if you must, and enjoy the little life God has given to you without the added emotional pressure.
Drink lots of fluids
I'm talking about water. A lot of water. You need to replenish your liquids. Drinking water will help you with your bleeding, and recovery. This is so very important.
Heal your perineum
The best way to do this is to consistently keep it clean. Take at least one warm bath a day with a few drops of lavender essential oil and some therapeutic bath salts.
In addition to this, after you use the restroom each time, first spray your bottom with warm water put a few drops of lavender essential oil in the water, it will be even more effective, and then gently wipe with a witch hazel pad directly on the sore perineum. This will wipe away any bacteria, blood, etc. as well as provide a cooling relief to that area. Witch hazel is very healing as well, and if you are consistent, you will find that area healing up very nicely in no time at all.
Dealing with the Baby Blues
Accept the blues if they sweep over you, and remind yourself that they’ll be sweeping away again soon. Normal baby blues are like the ocean tide. They come in and they go out. Daily. If you start noticing that they are not ebbing away in intervals, then you may need to seek the help of a friend, counselor, or health practitioner.
Many (not all) baby blues that persist in hanging around are due largely to unhealthy thought patterns that we so easily fall prey to when we are in the middle of this vulnerable time of healing. Anger, feelings of being unfairly dealt with, resentment when others close to us can’t seem to understand where we are at…all these things can build up into overwhelming obstacle of pain.
The key to breaking out of this negative cycle is understanding that your Heavenly Father can completely understand where you are at, and promises to sustain and restore you if you will turn to Him for your ultimate comfort and satisfaction.
This is not a time to put your relationship with Jesus on hold, but quite the opposite. It is a time for reaching out to Him more fully, embracing His plan, finding joy in His presence, and focusing on purposeful thanksgiving for the blessing of a new life and all that it means for eternity.
May God give every one of you a precious peace and rest when it comes time to enter a postpartum season!