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Postpartum Essentials to Aid Your Recovery
If you’re in the third trimester you’re no doubt thinking about all that’s to come; labour, birth, and a precious newborn baby. There is so much to look forward to and prepare for. But often, we spend so much time thinking of what our baby needs that we rarely think about ourselves. So, we’re here to gently encourage you (read: implore you!) to start thinking about your post-birth recovery. It’s generally quite a slow process and for many women, especially first-time mothers, it can be quite confronting. We don’t want to scare you but research shows that realistic expectations pave the way for a positive postpartum experience.
Your birth experience will significantly inform your recovery but generally, this is what you can expect from early postpartum (the first few weeks after birth) as well as the essential products that will assist your healing and elevate your comfort.
The perineum is the space between the vagina and the anus that stretches to make space for your baby to be born. You may have an intact perineum after birth (no tearing) but you can still expect your vulva, vagina and perineum to be swollen, bruised and tender. It’s also common to develop haemorrhoids in postpartum if you’ve birthed vaginally (if you had them in pregnancy, you can expect them to get bigger with the pressure of pushing).
In Australia, close to 80 percent of women who birth vaginally experience perineal trauma, either an episiotomy (a cut to the perineum to make more space for your baby’s head) or a tear. Some women also experience tears and grazes on the vulva and in the vagina. If you have stitches, you recovery will be slow but there’s some practical things you can do to ease your pain and discomfort:
The Bare Mum Perineal Wash Bottle is an award-winning peri-bottle with an ergonomic spout that allows you to spray water on your vulva and perineum to ease the sting and wash away lochia. It’s a practical addition to your recovery whether you had a vaginal or caesarean birth.
Our patented Postpartum Briefs, endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives, provide abdominal and pelvic floor support without being restrictive to promote healthy muscle and connective tissue recovery. Paired with the Warm & Cool Insert, the unique pocket design makes it easy and hygienic to use heat or cold therapy across the abdomen or against the perineum to assist with inflammation and bruising (heat in labour can also relax the perineum and warm compresses are often used by midwives to prevent tearing).
You will bleed for up to six weeks after birth so consider soft, absorbent pads absolutely essential. Our organic Herbal Infused Postpartum Pads don’t catch on stitches and easily absorb bladder leakage (very common in early postpartum) and lochia (the vaginal discharge after birth which is a mixture of blood, mucous and uterine tissue). They are infused with healing botanicals such as witch hazel, aloe vera, and lavender, and can be kept in the freezer for a pre-made padsicle.
If you have stitches or haemorrhoids, we highly recommend a sitz bath (a shallow bath to ease perineal discomfort). You can infuse the water with our Sitz Bath Salts featuring a soothing combination of Epsom Salts, coconut milk, and natural herbs for instant relief of postpartum soreness. This concentrated mess-free formula dissolves quickly into water to help relieve pain, itchy skin, and swelling.
In Australia, 96 percent of mothers initiate breastfeeding. Halfway through your pregnancy your body starts producing colostrum – the thick, creamy golden first-milk that’s full of nutrients and antibodies for your newborn. Your baby will latch soon after birth and will feed consistently in the days afterwards to establish your milk supply. This is particular relevant on day/night two when your baby will cluster feed (lots of short feeds over a few hours) to encourage your milk which will likely ‘come in’ between day 3-5 (if you had a caesarean birth or a postpartum haemorrhage your milk may be slightly delayed).
This is all normal and expected and the best way to assist with breastfeeding in the early days and weeks is to practise lots of skin-to-skin. When your baby is on you you’re encouraging the flow of oxytocin which is the hormone responsible for the milk-ejection reflex (MER) aka the ‘let down’ of milk.
You can expect your breasts to be firm and full and nipple tenderness is common. If you have nipple pain, we encourage you to consult an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) without delay as pain can significantly affect your breastfeeding experience.
You can expect your breasts to be full, rock-hard and tender. You’ll also likely leak milk day and night so a Postpartum Bralette is essential for comfort and support. It’s stretchy to accommodate cup fluctuation and avoid the development of breastfeeding ailments such as engorgement and mastitis, especially in the early stages. The patented pocket design makes it easy to use heat or cold therapy using our Warm & Cool Inserts which can be frozen to assist with inflammation or warm to encourage let-down. If you’ve got a baby in the NICU and you’re pumping, warmth can definitely help relax you.
Our reusable Ultra Absorbent Breast Pads are incredibly absorbent (8 times more than other leading brands), comfortable and discreet with their moulded design, making them perfect for day and night. They are supremely soft on sensitive nipples and their anti-bacterial and dry-touch inner layer keeps your breasts healthy. Pair them with our Nipple Balm which is deeply restorative and repairs the skin’s natural barrier to relieve sore damaged nipples. Practical and hygienic, the cooling ceramic applicator is soothing whilst also avoiding cross-contamination. Its natural non-stick formula is gentle for you, safe for your baby, and doesn’t need to be wiped off before breastfeeding.
You can enjoy 15% off storewide at Bare Mum with the discount code ABS15 and see just how lovely and supportive their range is.
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Typically occurring between day 3-5 after birth, breast engorgement is a common symptom in early postpartum when your milk comes. It can also occur later in your breastfeeding journey if your baby sleeps for longer and misses a feed, or drops a feed during the day or night. It can cause your breasts to be full and hard and this can cause pain and make it tricky for your baby to latch. Essentially, your breasts can feel like they’re about to explode which is quite disconcerting.
You may have heard some nightmarish stories about mastitis and frankly, it’s not something you want to contend with at any stage of your breastfeeding journey. It’s most common in the first three months postpartum but it can strike at any time, particularly if your baby has reduced their feeds, is starting to sleep for longer periods at night or you’re weaning.
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Firstly, if you’ve recently birthed your baby and your bleeding has increased, don’t delay in seeking medical attention. It’s recommended to present to the emergency department at your local hospital and explain that you’ve recently given birth and you’re concerned about your blood loss. You may be experiencing a postpartum haemorrhage.
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