New Mothers Reveal Their After-Childbirth Saviors

When it comes to recovering from childbirth, every mother has road-tested tips. And now we're sharing them with you.

Mom resting head to head with her newborn

Photo credit: ruizluquepaz/iStock / 360/Getty Images

Try Pilates breathing techniques

Mom of four (two sets of identical twins, no less!) Anastasiya G. from South Carolina, who delivered her first set of twins naturally with no epidural and the second set with a scheduled C-section, says, "After my first set of twins was born I felt that I really lost connection with my body and didn't feel comfortable in it. While I was still at the hospital I started doing simple Pilates breathing exercises to start engaging the deep layers of my stretched tummy and to help me stay calm and relaxed during this time. Those breathing exercises helped me stay calm during sleepless nights when the babies were screaming and I was getting no sleep at all. They also helped me develop a little bit of time to myself so that I didn't feel so drained physically and emotionally."

To try her breathing technique, inhale through the nose, while trying to fill the bottom pockets of your lungs with air. Then slowly exhale through your mouth imagining that the pain and stress are floating away.

She adds, "This breathing helped me relax my muscles and my mind and be in a better emotional state to connect with my babies."

Do your ab work and Kegels

Alex from Denver delivered her 11-month-old son vaginally with the help of an epidural. She says, "Pregnancy gives you a great opportunity for 'weight lifting' for your ab muscles. Think about the baby as an internal 'barbell,' and when you tighten your abdominal muscles, you’re actually using the baby as resistance. It’s very effective, helps keep the ab muscles engaged and once you’re approved to do ab exercises by your doctor they can’t hurt the baby. Simply hold your stomach in and engage those abs and you’re making a difference." She also adds that her mom told her to do Kegels any chance she got — in line at the grocery, while pumping gas, etc.

Call in the reinforcements

Krystle, a mom of three in Florida, suggests getting as much help as possible from family and friends during recovery, especially if you've had a C-section. She adds, "Moving around too soon can delay the healing process."

Consider a natural birth

Susie from Cameron Park, California says that her recovery period was exponentially shorter with the natural birth of her second child than with her first, whom she delivered with the help of an epidural. She says, "Without the added effects of the medication clearing itself through my system, I was able to pee immediately (after giving birth to my daughter I had a catheter for two days and almost had to take it home with me) and experienced no constipation. All of my bodily systems rebounded instantly, allowing me to only focus on my new baby."

Laugh through it all

Kerrie, mom of two in New York, says, "Laughter contributes to adrenaline, which will give you energy and gives you a better disposition to handle your new bundle of joy."

Be careful down there

Michelle from Bear, Delaware says, "For a vaginal childbirth, as crazy as this may sound, get overnight extra-long feminine pads, soak them in water and freeze them. Once you arrive home, the "ice packs" will work wonders on the soreness and they are easily disposable."

If you've had a C-section, she suggests holding a firm pillow against your incisions each time you sneeze or cough. She adds, "Trust me, it will help keep you from writhing in pain. And, don't forget to pay attention to where your panty line hits. If you know ahead of time you are having a cesarean, invest in lower-cut panties. There is nothing worse than the top of your panties running along the incision lines."

Listen

Dawn, mom of two in Folsom, California, says her best piece of advice is to listen to what the doctors and nurses tell you to do and rest. She adds, "After my first daughter was born, I tried to do it all. I wanted to be super mom and do laundry and housekeeping just days after labor while she was sleeping. I soon realized that this was not good for my recovery time and soon I began hurting and I knew I needed to slow down."

Use witch hazel

Gina of Caldwell, New Jersey, who delivered her daughter au naturel, advises using pads soaked in witch hazel to help soothe the area as well as reduce inflammation.

What tried and true tips helped you recover from childbirth?

More on pregnancy and postpartum

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