Two months ago, I gave birth to baby #3. For different reasons I chose to give birth at home with a midwife. My motivation initially was for financial reasons…birth in the hospital without insurance that will cover maternity care is expensive, and besides, since I have a fused spine I have to give birth naturally without an epidural anyway, so why not do it at home? I honestly have to say this was my most favorite birth experience of the three. You can read my full birth story here on my family blog if you’re interested.
Here’s a photo of me with my new baby girl right after she was born. Not the most flattering photo of me but it was a truly amazing moment. One of the things that has me raving about my birth is that I have learned sooo much this time about caring for myself after giving birth. If you remember, this is my third time giving birth (I’ve said that a couple times now haven’t I? ) so I thought I had this birth thing pretty much down when I first stepped into my midwife’s office…boy was I wrong.
Well, after some months of feeling the best I have after giving birth that I’ve ever felt, I’ve decided that it’s selfish not to share what I’ve learned about taking care of me after birth so if you or someone is about to have a baby, you might want to listen up. I’m not sharing this for my health but other mommas because this really has helped me. I’m going to add that these are just suggestions that you may want to talk to your provider about using.
My midwife suggested I start taking vitamin K once I reached 34 weeks. This is to help prevent hemorrhaging after birth. This really helped and my midwife was shocked at how little blood loss I had. You can get it here.
This stuff is remarkable for cramps! With my first child’s birth they gave me Percocet and that didn’t even work as well as this stuff…plus I feel like garbage on Percocet and Afterease does not have any side effects. You can take a dropper full every 15 minutes after birth and it works wonders especially when coupled with Ibuprofen every four hours (which I remind you never to take until after you have had a baby). I do have to warn you that it is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever put in your mouth so you may want a chaser of something not disgusting! With each child your cramps get worse so this stuff was a godsend!
Tylenol just does not compare to the power of Ibuprofen for cramp relief but be cautious when using this (and make sure you never take it while pregnant) because it is harsh on your liver and you want to take the lowest dose you can stand at all times.
This is a homeopathic medicine for swelling…honestly, it works amazingly well. I looked this up on the internet and some people clam that arnica is sugar pills and a placebo…whatever! If this happened to be true then my lower regions respond very well to placebos because if I forgot to take this I would be reminded pretty soon by my body that I needed my dose. You can get this at sprouts or www.birthwithlove.com.
This is something I learned about from Pinterest and holy cow! They are A-MAZ-ING! I made 24 before giving birth and wish I had made double….my poor 7-year-old boy was my runner to get one out of the freezer when I needed to use the restroom but luckily he was happy to have a chance to hold the baby so he didn’t complain about it much.
6. Pineapple Juice
Another fabulous thing that I learned about from another blogger. 100% Pineapple juice is an anti-inflammatory so this really helps with clogged milk ducts. I have always had problems with filling lumpy and in pain while nursing—until I learned to have my daily dose of Pineapple juice that is. Now I am much more comfortable.
For those of you who don’t know about this I have to tell you the first time I heard about this was at a La Leche League meeting for my second child and I was a little bit weirded out by the whole idea of it. However, there were many many women there who went on and on about the benefits of encapsulation—it helps prevent post-partum hemorrhaging, regulates your hormones so you’re less likely to have the baby blues, (you also may get really great skin as a benefit), and it helps with milk supply among other things. If you think about it all the mammals in the natural world (that I know about) eat their placenta after giving birth so I’m putting it out there that maybe it’s a natural thing to do even though culturally that just is too weird for some people. My suggestion is to look into it and do some research before blowing the idea off completely because you may be glad if you do try it.
Goldenseal is a natural antibiotic so it only makes sense that my midwife gave me some capsules of it to sprinkle on my babies cord with each diaper change to help her cord dry and protect it against infection. It’s a bright yellow powder so it pretty much matches the same color as breast-milk poop. This was a little bit weird to see on her skin because of the bright color but I felt it helped keep it dry without harsh chemicals.
9. Castor oil
This is a trick I wish I had learned with my first two so much in the early days. You know that black tar-like meconium poop that babies pass in their first couple of days? You know how it’s super sticky and you have to practically scrap it off your brand-new baby’s bottom? Well, with this trick you won’t have any more problems. After each diaper change, rub a little castor oil on your baby’s bottom and you will be thrilled that the poop will just come off easily in their diaper. *Sigh of relief* Such a nice feeling!
10. Coconut oil
Okay, some people are not going to like me for saying this, but baby oil is gross. Not only that, it smells weird and is full of chemicals that honestly, I’m not sure I want touching my brand-new baby’s skin. My little girl came out with dry little hands so I would just lightly message her hands with coconut oil and it was amazing how her skin drank it up and she smells divine! Oh, and she never got cradle cap because I just would message her sweet little head with coconut oil and that seemed to be the perfect remedy….I’ve heard some people suggest olive oil but I personally think coconut oil is better because it is absorbed so quickly into the skin it won’t make a big mess and it smells less like dinner to me.
Another thing that I should add is that my midwife wanted me to basically stay in bed for 3 whole DAYS after I had my baby! She didn’t even want me to venture downstairs at all….which I might add was pretty hard mentally for me to wrap my head around because I’m usually all over the house all day. Well, I obeyed her orders and went downstairs on the 4th day one time and up one time and added one more time each day. It did seem to help me heal much faster. And…it was nice to stay in bed and cuddle my new baby for days on end!
I hope you can benefit from one if not all of these suggestions. I know I have. If you have anything to add to it, I’d love to hear your suggestions!