When I launched Bouncing Back From Birth I reflected on my own personal experience and postpartum challenges, a natural inclination of course, however when I acknowledged that, I am but ONE Mama in a tribe full of totally amazing and unique Mama’s the real work began. And so, I asked countless questions (sorry friends) and surveyed literally hundreds of women about their experience too. I spoke with Midwives, Lactation Consultants and Doulas everyone I could think of to get a bigger diverse picture of what postpartum looks like.
We hear about having a freezer full of meals ready to go and ‘leaving the dishes and washing alone’, (personally this one shits me because - really?! Can no one else possibly do it!?) So I thought I would add some practical and effective tools for healing vulva’s and boobs as well as giving the middle finger to unhelpful thoughts to that advice.
- Clean and dry
I think we get told this a lot - it’s a bit of a banal throwaway.
“Keep the area clean and dry”
HOW?! It was the question I had for every midwife at every home visit, and I see variations of this asked in Facebook group thread after Facebook group thread. Because, how can you keep stitches clean AND dry when you have heavy (totally normal) postpartum bleeding?
Allow me to introduce you to the three ‘S’s -
SOAK - in a bath
SITZ - in a sitz bowl (over the toilet) or, a warm bath filled to hip height
SPRITZ - with a perineal irrigation bottle or a Perineal Spritz
Do one, do all three but just don’t leave this out of your daily routine.
C-Section Mama’s stick with the Sitz and Spritz until your care provider gives you the A-OK for a bath soak (Countdown!) When in the shower opt for fragrance-free simple and gentle body cleansers. Lather up and carefully avoid your incision site. Simply let the goodness cascade down. Pat very gently dry with a super soft towel.
- Easy Breezy
This one is a cinch for Summer babes, but a bit trickier for winter ones!
After your soak, sitz or spritz, pause a while - don’t pop those disposable undies on yet Mama. It’s time for phase two - (one of my personal favourites FYI). Place a towel on the bed or couch anywhere you feel comfortable and lay down on your side, knees bent.
If you’ve just finished feeding - take a boobie breather and let ‘the girls’ hang out
Let the fresh air caress your lady loves like millions of little healing kisses. Take this moment to remind yourself how awesome you are and that you are doing an amazing job.
- Just Chill.
Aaaaah cold compress therapy your very best friend for:
Reducing pain and inflammation
Can I get a collective sigh of sweet relief from Mama’s with
Tender cesarean incisions
Some No No’s using a cold compress though:
Never put the ice/cold source directly on the skin, wrap in a clean towel or sleeve
20 minutes of contact is ample, return to the fridge or freezer for recharging of its chilly goodness and allow your skin to return to its normal temperature before applying again.
- Kindness is key.
In every way.
Kind words to your body
Kind and nourishing food in your belly
Accepting kindness and generosity from family and friends
Walking away from places or people where kindness is not present
Kindness to others whose journey is different to your own
- Trust your Instincts aka Be a ‘Difficult Woman’.
YOU are the expert and authority on YOUR body
YOU are the expert on your Babe
When you feel uncomfortable, worried or anxious this is your body telling you to stop and assess.
“Is this what is right for me?” or perhaps “Am I satisfied that I have been heard or supported?”
Do you have anything you would add to this list?
Go forth and conquer! But like . . . totally at your own pace. . . with kindness . . . and confidence.
You've Got This! x o x o