This post would be for the women folk ;-)
The art of belly binding! Ah, the things you learn after having multiple children. ha! After I had our third I remember standing up for the first time after the birth and feeling like I couldn't breath. My midwife told me to hold my stomach with my arms and that made an instant difference. She told us about a belly wrap, for which Jeremiah went to search for one the very next day. It made a huge difference for breathing when I needed to get up and about the first few days. But I only wore it for when I got up. Then I had Saoirse. After my first three births the after birth bleeding only lasted for a week before changing over to the lochia. But with number four (Saoirse), it lasted about three weeks. Then with numbers 5 and 6 my after birth bleeding lasted at least a full 5, almost 6, weeks!! I figured I was making up for all the lost periods I had missed by being pregnant! This time around my midwife told me the research that had been done on belly binding and how it makes recovery quicker. Hmmm, ok, I've done that.....but she said I needed to wear it 24/7. Well, I'm a week postpartum, and the bleeding changed over to lochia a day and a half ago!! I am sure it helps that I have an easy baby, so I am not 'walking the halls' at 3 AM. So sleep helps too ;-) I would definitely recommend getting a belly wrap if you are having your 3rd or more, or if you have weak tummy muscles.
Pain relief. I have relied on plain ole Ibuprofen for pain relief after a birth. That has always worked well enough. This time, after getting home from the hospital I decided to try Arnica in the Q potency. That stuff is amazing!! It works better than the Percaset that I took in the hospital and the Ibuprofen. Much better. I want to say that I saw an online homeopathic pharmacy that may carry such a high potency, but you may have to get it from a homeopath. It would be worth it if you've had difficult recoveries. Our homeopath's wife took it after her c-sections as her only pain relief. Like I said, amazing.
The wonders of the internet for postpartum: Food Tidings. This is new to me, and it is an amazing concept. I've never coordinated meals for anyone after they've had a baby, but I am sure for all of you who have, you would love a way to make that job easier. Foodtidings.com is your answer. You just need to get some basic info from the new parents (address, phone, time they want meals, how often, and likes/dislikes or allergies) and then send out the link to your small group, church, family, etc. People then sign up for a day and put in the meal they are bringing. This way when someone else goes to sign up they won't be the 3rd person bringing hamburger casserole :-)
Thinking ahead. It took me until my fifth to really see the need for this. I just thought that the postpartum period was one of chaos! I suppose I would have with our 4th, but we were in the process of moving, and I was wrapped up in boxing up our house. I think we get so excited thinking about the new baby, and all the gear we will need for our new arrival that we stop there and don't think past that. I would recommend reading any books on babies (Happiest Baby on the Block, The Baby Whisperer, etc.) before the baby comes. Plus really think about what tasks that you can do before the baby comes to make your postpartum time easier. For me that would be decluttering, to cut down on cleaning. Also it means freezing a bunch of meals ahead of time. I can not tell you how easy it makes your recovery when all you have to do for dinner is pull a bag out of the freezer and pop its content into a pot and reheat. No slaving over a stove and no need for fast food (unhealthy and expensive) or convenience foods. It will save you time and money. I also decided this time to write up an easy schedule for us to work towards. It also gives anyone helping you out a structure to work with. My schedule does not have any times on it, just a list of things that need accomplishing during the day. I also like to have some activities for the kids to do that are a bit fun. This time around I didn't and I wish I had. In the past it's as simple as new coloring books and a few games picked up from yard sales. If they loose the pieces I don't stress it as we bought it for 50 cents :-)
Getting help. I would recommend that you find family, friends or others to help you after a baby is born. You do not need to be superwoman! You need to rest, it is rejuvenating to take a shower, and it helps keep the house orderly. If you do not have any older children to help, then look for a mother's helper or an older teen. Also make sure if you have a child that will need watching while you give birth that you have a backup. I was so thankful that I had another person to call on when what would have amounted to a need of a few hours turned into a need for 30 hours of care. At this stage of the game I have older children who can help, but it was very much needed when I only had 2 or 3 or for that matter 4 children besides the baby to care for. I know the difference between having help and not having help, and trust me when I say...find help :-) I don't believe we were meant to do this on our own. Even in scripture, at least in the Old Testament you find that the new mother was not supposed to do any work for 40 days after having a son, and 60 days after having a daughter. Surly that meant that someone else was doing the work for her. I don't think that was meant to change, even if our society has.
Colic. A word that strikes terror in the heart of new parents! I would recommend the book "Happiest Baby on the Block" for a look at some great ways to calm a baby. It is sound advice, and even the neonatologist in the hospital says he does this all the time for new parents knowing how helpful it is! And he works with a lot of babies :-) Also, I do believe that foods you eat may be affecting the baby. I've had enough experience to know this to be true. One of the biggest culprits is dairy. Other common irritants are strong spices, onions, and acidic juices (OJ). But it could be anything. For Jed is was dairy, chocolate, and onions. For all of my other babies it was just dairy. Take note of what you are eating and keep a mental record of when your baby is crying. Every baby will vary as to how long a food will affect them, so be persistent. If you have a baby who spends great lengths of time crying and screaming and the advice in the above book does not help, try to weed out a food irritating your baby. This time around I also found a product called, Colic Calm, which can be found at CVS, or online. It's homeopathic so it is safe for baby. I''ve tried it after one night Aubrey was cranky and couldn't settle down. It took about 20 minutes or so for it to kick in. Some people report success immediately, for others it may take about 30 minutes. But with going no dairy, knowing some of the baby calming techniques and my homeopathic remedy at the ready, this has been our easiest baby yet.
That's all on my mind right now. If I think of any other helpful tips I'll make sure to pass them along. Do you have any tips? Please send them my way. I'll make sure to post them for all to benefit from.