First Week Postpartum – Set Yourself Up for Success

Top 3 Thing to Improve Postpartum Healing, image of new mom kissing baby

“What can I do to improve healing at home as a brand new mom?”

There are a bunch of things you can do to help support you during your first week postpartum. Check out my top 3 must haves and must do’s for those first few days at home!

Hit the Postpartum Easy Button

Postpartum Support Garment

This one is easily my #1 recommendation for YOU, the mom! So much is focused on baby during those first few weeks, but this post is all about you.

You know how you wrap your ankle and put some ice on it after you roll your ankle? That’s what a postpartum support garment does too. You can start wearing it right away and wear it for the first few weeks postpartum to improve healing after giving birth. 

A good support garment will provide support, gentle compression, and an option for a heat pack or cold pack. The compression should start at the pelvic floor and gradually decrease going up towards your abdomen. This is the opposite of a waist trainer, where the compression is heaviest around your abdomen and non-existent around your pelvic floor. 

Image of woman synching waist in with hands.
Not ideal, not at all.

Not a Waist Trainer

You should be able to take a deep breath without feeling inhibited by the the garment. This is often not the case with waist trainers. They are so restricting, it’s hard to do your diaphragmatic breathing you learned from my Day 1 post. If you haven’t read the first post in this series, click over because this is the most important thing you can do during your first week postpartum.

Honestly, waist trainers should be called “waste trainers” because they are a waste of money. Please don’t fall for the hype. And if you already bought one, either send it back or stop using it. It’s better to cut your losses now and move on… There is absolutely no judgement here. Those waist trainer companies are really good at marketing to women and making us feel like we need what they are selling. Don’t even get me started on fear-based marketing…

Unfortunately, waist trainers can end up causing more problems in the long run though. Applying too much pressure to your abdomen can actually increase your risk of having pelvic floor dysfunction – urinary or fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain… you get the idea.

Remember your piston of the core? When you breathe, you want the pressure that moves into your abdomen and pelvic floor to get distributed equally – into your belly, sides, back, and pelvic floor. When you wear a waist trainer, that pressure will get pushed into your pelvic floor more than your abdomen, creating an unequal balance. Especially while you are newly postpartum, your perineum (pictured below) really can’t handle much more pressure. Even if you had a C-section or you didn’t tear during your vaginal birth, your perineum is still recovering from supporting all the extra weight during pregnancy. Your pelvic floor muscles will get tired, this may feel like increased heaviness or pressure into your pelvis. Eventually you may develop pelvic floor dysfunction as your muscles simply cannot keep up with the unequal distribution of pressure.

Image of woman pointing to pelvic floor model
That’s your perineum!

MamaStrut Pelv-Ice

My favorite postpartum support garment is by MamaStrut – it’s basically compression shorts with a velcro closure over the abdomen, a support strap that wraps under your pelvic floor, and a place to put an ice or heat pack either at your perineum, on your low back, or over your Cesarean section incision. They are often covered by health insurance too! I’m not an affiliate for MamaStrut, I just think they’re great and want you to know about them.

Feeding Pillow

Nursing or bottle feeding as a new mom is hard. Even if you just gave birth to baby #6 and you’re an old pro at however you decide to feed your baby, your baby isn’t. This is his or her first time nursing or using a bottle and it will take awhile for both of you to figure out this new system.

A feeding pillow will help support your baby while you are feeding them so that you don’t have to strain your neck, hunch forward through your upper back and shoulders, or get a weird cramp in your arm from holding baby’s head and body up. The pillow helps you maintain an upright posture and also allows you to shift or change positions relatively easily without disrupting baby.

Image of woman not using nursing pillow with poor posture and using a nursing pillow with good posture

So, get yourself a good feeding pillow. There are tons on the market right now – here is a list of the best rated feeding pillows out there. You can also take a look at their design and just use some throw pillows or bed pillows, a rolled up towel or blanket, or make your own from some materials at your local fabric store (if that’s your calling, then I love that for you!). The point here is that you can spend >$100 on a nursing pillow or you can repurpose what you have at home. Whatever works best for you is best.

The Log Roll

This isn’t something you have to buy, but it’s a technique to get out of bed that will certainly make things easier for you. 

The log roll is easy and is exactly what it sounds like. When getting up from a laying down position, simply roll onto your side and then push yourself up through your arm. If you’re on an elevated surface (like your bed), your legs should swing over and dangle off the side. If you’re on the floor, then pull your bottom knee up to get that leg out of the way as you come to sitting. 

How To Log Roll image of woman performing log roll on couch

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Is it awful to sit up in bed as you normally would as a new mom? Well, that depends. If you had a Cesarean section, then yes. You really need to practice the log roll every time you get out of bed or get up from laying down or being in a reclined position. If you had a vaginal delivery, then no, it’s not awful. But it’s not ideal either. Your abdominal muscles have been through the wringer with that whole pregnancy thing, so give them a break when you can. The log roll isn’t forever. You’ll likely phase it out of your habits gradually and without even realizing it.

Next week, I am going to outline 5 exercises you can start during your first week postpartum that are totally safe! Know a pregnant or new mom that might benefit from this info? Share it with them! And make sure you sign up for my free resource library (below) where I’ll be adding a helpful download with all the information in this series very soon!

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