I have been on a hiatus for a while. That is because 10 days after my last post, I went into labor and delivered a gorgeous baby boy or Baby J as he will be referred to on this site. Baby J is almost exactly like his Canadian daddy right up to the finger nails and long eye lashes. His eyes are pretty much all I have contributed to his physical self. He has his daddy’s torso, patience, and personality…oh I could go on about Baby J and this website will have a lot of things to say about my experiences raising him. For now, however, I wanted this post to be about the things I found most helpful post partum.
On a side note, I had read a lot about labor and delivery while I was pregnant so I knew what to expect. I am almost always a careful thinker who does her research well before she decides on anything and yet, I don’t know how I completely forgot or skipped the part about reading up on post-partum recovery.
Some of the issues I dealt with after bringing Baby J home were: the infamous baby blues (emotional break downs and crying); hemorrhoids; backaches; breastfeeding challenges including issues with sufficient supply and later, blocked milk ducts and lumps; severe carpal tunnel tingling in both hands; and mood swings. I had a tough few weeks and now as I am slowly recovering, other than sleep deprivation and a baby who has severe tummy issues, life is pretty darn good. Below, I list a few things that helped me make that journey from bringing the baby home from the hospital to now bearable.
My most painful problem and the single biggest reason I was completely discouraged from ever having another child was hemorrhoids. People don’t like to talk about them but I believe that when certain things are revealed, they help those who suffered in silence to be more forthcoming with their own pain. It also helps people become more informed. More importantly, I strongly believe that being educated about anything gives you the fortitude to appropriate it to suit your situation. Anyway, as a result of hemorrhoids, most of the things I will include in my recommendation of a post-partum recovery kit pertains to this painful issue (not everybody gets them and you may be one of the lucky few who doesn’t).
1. Americaine Hemorrhoidal Ointment Maximum Strength — 1 oz
When I came into the post-partum recovery room after delivery, a tube of Americaine was already provided for me by my hospital (Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital) staff. I did not use this during my hospital stay and for a few days after I returned. I started using it only after I realized I needed SOMETHING to alleviate my pain. Later on, I also purchased Prep H but never used. Upon doing some reading, I learned that Americaine is a topical numbing cream while Prep H prevents itching and discomfort. All things considered, Americaine was indeed the better choice for me. Point being, there are no hemorrhoid creams that actually heal them. All these topical creams can do is reduce the pain and discomfort. I preferred the numbing quality better.
Update: 3 months post-partum, I still suffer from constipation and the cause of the pain are indeed hemorrhoids. While I am very careful of what I eat for the sake of my baby’s tummy, I am even afraid of eating things that might cause constipation. Being constipated in and of itself is not so much an issue but when combined with hemorrhoids that are ready to flair up at a second’s notice, the painful morning episodes clubbed together with sleep deprivation are enough to make me one grumpy person!
A kind nurse brought me a small container of 40 pads which I used during my hospital stay. However, they were not enough and I purchased the 100-pads as well. I still use this same pack even though I don’t really need it anymore. I would strongly recommend buying this.
Update: 3 months post-partum, I ran out of these a while back and do feel like I would appreciate a moist coolness but I have been resisting the urge to buy more or try Prep H wipes (although I did use them between running out of the 40-pack and buying the 100-pack) since you are not supposed to use these as a long term solution.
3. Preparation H Medicated Hemorrhoidal Wipes with Witch Hazel and Aloe, 48-Count Refill Packages (Pack of 4)
I had purchased regular wipes but later realized that I should have bought these instead, which I did within a couple weeks of returning home. Prep H wipes do the job they are intended for and this is another product I would recommend. Of course, one could just buy witch hazel from a drugstore, and use that directly but you cannot beat the convenience of these ready-to-use and flushable wipes.
To be honest, I bought this late just as I was beginning to heal and so I didn’t get to use it much but trust me, the few times I did use it, I kicked myself for not having bought it sooner. A simpler way to do this would be to simply take a soak in your bathtub but I preferred the localized convenience of this ‘bath’.
Update: 3 months postpartum, I may go back to using this since my hemorrhoids are kind of back (another thing, they never really go away. They may become less painful but they are always hanging around waiting for the right time to flare up again)
5. Metamucil Orange Sugar Smooth Texture Powder 48.2oz/114 Doses
Constipation is a post-partum fact. They gave me Colace, a stool softener at the hospital which I took sincerely and also bought 1 bottle and completed the course. However, Metamucil was what really worked. I even tried prune juice but that was effective only occasionally.
6. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Spray – 4 oz.
I used this on and off. Not sure it helped and it has a specific smell that I’m not sure I like but it does do the job in terms of soothing the aggravated area somewhat.
7. Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter, 2-Ounce Jar
I used this a lot in the initial days of my breastfeeding. Despite Baby J’s great latch, since my nipples weren’t used to breastfeeding, they often hurt. I never had cracked nipples and never had any bleeding either, but these were a great help, regardless. I also used this around the aerola before putting on the breast shields for pumping. I haven’t used the other popular brand but the texture of this ‘butter’ is granular in case you were wondering.