five postpartum favourites

A piece of me  1

everyone’s experience with healing and adjusting after having a baby is so different, and those first weeks are often very, very challenging. but i strongly believe that the postpartum period can be a really beautiful, sanctifying, precious time in a a woman’s life. (i wrote a bit about this back here.) this time around, for me, it has been trickier in many ways to savor this unique slice of life … but i am finding joy and sweetness and wonder everyday.

i’m definitely no expert, but just from my own experience i have two main tips for new moms:
firstrelax. you’ll get so much conflicting advice and there will be so many tiny worries and you may experience a strong urge to control things. just follow your instincts, chill out, and try to enjoy. this time will go by really fast (even if it definitely doesn’t feel like that in the moment!). and all the hard bits are part of the adventure.
second, prioritize taking care of your body, mind and spirit. work with your partner and others in your support system to make sure that you are able to tend to your own wellbeing. taking good care of yourself is essential to taking good care of your baby. i have a list of eight small things that i make sure i do every day postpartum that keep my mental, physical and spiritual health in check. (pray / read or listen to scriptures / gentle exercise / shower and groom / go outside / talk to a friend or family member / spend at least a few minutes of quality time with my husband / get one thing done from my to-do list)

Portrait of a mother

here’s five random things that i have found helpful in my postpartum periods that i wanted to share!

1. hydrogel breast pads
the first few months of my breastfeeding journey with moses was so difficult (all-in-all harder for me than pregnancy and childbirth combined!). i tried every method under the sun to remedy the pain i experienced, and the best product i found along the way was hydrogel breast pads. i used several different brands and kept the boxes in the fridge before i used the pads themselves. ooooh the sweet, cold, soothing relief for my sore, cracked, bleeding nipples! i stocked up on those bad boys before gabriel was born and started using them after his very first feed. this time around breastfeeding has been so much easier for me (essentially pain free!!), and i think the hydrogel pads contributed a bit to that. so i recommend them heartily from the beginning no matter what … and especially for new mamas with painful breastfeeding starts.

2. buttermilk bran muffins
soooo, as it turns out, giving birth to a baby messes a bit with digestion. let’s just say that all the changes happening within your womb just disturb the regular flow … and most ladies could really use some fiber in the days and weeks following birth. after both of my births, one great way that i found to get some extra fiber into my diet was making and eating some yummy bran muffins. one of my best friends gave me this recipe before moses was born (and soon after she had given birth herself). i love it because the batter stays good in the fridge for a couple of weeks, so you can mix up a big batch and then quickly bake fresh, delicious muffins every morning.

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil (or a combination)
2 eggs
2 cups all bran cereal
1 cup bran flakes cereal
1 cup boiling water
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped dates (optional, but yummy and extra fiber!)
—> mix together the flour, soda, and salt in a bowl
—> cream the sugar and oil/butter, then add the eggs
—> put the cereals in a bowl and pour boiling water over them (to soften)
—> add the bran to the sugar/oil/eggs mixture
—> alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk
—> mix in the dates
—> bake for 15-20 minutes at 350
—> save whatever batter doesn’t fit in your muffin tin in the fridge to bake on subsequent mornings!

3. padsicles
a blog reader actually pointed me to these during my first pregnancy! they are awesomely glorified ice packs for your undercarriage :) i found these extremely soothing and helpful after moses’s birth since i had a lot of stitches and a lot of healing that needed to be done down there. i made a bunch before gabriel was born as well, and even though i didn’t have any tearing or stitches i still was glad to have them. i used this “recipe."

4. cheap belly band
there are a bunch of fancy/expensive postpartum wraps out there - some of which claim to really help contract the womb and re-flatten the belly after birth. i’m not sure how much i buy into their supposed cosmetic benefits (surely the only way to tone one’s abs is consistent exercise and healthy eating!), but i will say that it felt so good to me to have something tight around my midsection after birth. i ordered a super cheap belly band off amazon and started wearing it soon after both my boys’ arrivals. i didn’t wear it all the time, but when i did it was really nice just to feel a bit “held in.” i was actually gifted an expensive postpartum belly band and i liked the cheap-o one much better!

5. @momstrongutah
i discovered meg miles’s instagram account a few months ago and have so appreciated her “postpartum recovery circuit” posts. she just had a baby fairly recently and posted videos of the exercises she did at one/two/three/four weeks postpartum - while she was still allowing her body to heal before returning to her regular workouts. the exercises she demonstrates are really good for healing diastasis recti and strengthening the pelvic floor. it has felt so good to me to work on toning my body with gentle moves that i know will allow me to feel strong when i can get back into rigorous exercise. (you need to scroll back in her posts to january/february 2018 to see the postpartum recovery circuits.) meg knows her stuff and her online space is really inspiring.

i hope this post is helpful to some postpartum mamas out there!
artwork by caitlin connolly

4 comments:

  1. I will forget "surely the only way to tone one’s abs is consistent exercise and healthy eating!" in a minute and blame it all on not having had a belly band!

    Do you think that a second child is easier than a first? It sure looks good on you!

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    1. for me, all the newborn stuff has been soooo much easier second time around. it's so hard to know if that's because i got an easier baby or because i just know what i'm doing more. it's probably a combination! of course having a toddler around makes it a whole different ballgame ;)

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  2. Is your cheap belly band a wrap-around velcro-type, or an elastic-y one that you shimmy into, like the Bellaband?

    Signed,
    A 35-week pregnant reader

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