I remember when I had my first baby. And boy, do I remember how my downstairs felt afterward. I tore pretty badly – I was terrified to walk, terrified to sit abruptly, and certainly terrified to pee and poop.
Since my poor vagina had gone through some serious trauma pushing out an actual human being, I wanted to ensure that I took plenty of care of my lady parts. So I could heal faster, feel less pain, start adjusting to motherhood, and get back to loving on my husband, too.
5 Tips I Took to Heart After Having My First Baby
These helped me so much in the healing process that taking care of my perineum when my second baby came around was more comfortable and way easier:
1. Use the herbs from a postpartum herbal bath as “underwear pads.”
My kids were both born in the presence of midwives and doulas. One was born at a birth center and the other at a home birth. After the babies were born, my midwife prepared a postpartum herbal bath for the baby and me to soak in. The herbs were full of therapeutic and body-supporting properties that assisted my body in healing itself and helping baby adjust to the outside world.
After taking our first bath together, my midwife would gather all the remaining herbs from the tub and compact them inside a cloth pad-like material. Once she created the pads, she placed them in the freezer. I would then wear a pad throughout the day, where the herbs would directly contact my perineum and assist the healing process. The coldness of the pads felt amazing, and the herbs were highly therapeutic for my injured skin. You can also try the Pariday Tendher gel packs!
2. Squirt a peri bottle with warm water on your perineum while going to the bathroom
This trick was probably the biggest Godsend of all time. Every time I needed to pee, I had a squirt bottle, or peri bottle, filled with warm water and a few drops of Young Living’s Lavender and Frankincense essential oils. I would squirt it on my perineum while I peed, and I didn’t stop squirting until I stopped peeing. This trick helped prevent any burning sensation that urine might have caused on my open wounds and stressed skin. Because I was faithful to do this every time I went to the bathroom, it eliminated my fear of going and the pain while I went.
3. Spray antiseptic mists or natural cleansing mists over larger wounds
I didn’t tear with my son, so I didn’t use this method as often as I did with my daughter (though I probably should have anyway). But for sure, if you experience any tearing, healing sprays are a must. Your OBGYN can refer you to some over-the-counter options that you could purchase at your local drug store. However, other moms prefer a more natural or herbal route when spraying stuff on the “down under.” A brand that I love is Ma Mere’s Soothing Postpartum Spray, which contains amazing skin-supporting ingredients such as aloe juice, tea tree, willow bark extract, alcohol-free witch hazel, yarrow, lavender, and grapefruit oils. A spray like this provides instant relief for newly birthed moms and also works as a cleanser and deodorizer (um, yes, please!)
4. Limit your amount of physical activity
This one is hard, but it’s necessary. I know moms can do it all – and when it comes to running a household and raising kids, our bodies are capable of having the strength and energy of Tasmanian Devil and Wonder Woman combined. But let’s be honest, momma – you just squeezed a watermelon-sized object out of your vagina – you have to rest. And it’s okay! Be a couch potato. Sleep in. Let your husband cook. Let your mom do the laundry. Have people come to visit YOU, rather than the other way around. Give yourself plenty of time to rest, recover, and adjust to this new motherhood milestone. Bond with your baby while you rest and you’ll be back to normal within just a few weeks!
5. Eat plenty of fiber and drink plenty of water
Diet is key in taking care of your perineum postpartum. Mainly because you don’t want to become constipated, and you don’t want to have stinging and acidic urine. Be sure to eat plenty of fiber-filled foods so that when you do poop for the first time after having a baby, it’s not a difficult task to face. Experiencing constipation or hard/large stool may cause further damage to your perineum, which you don’t want to do. Also, ensure you drink plenty of water rather than soda, coffee, tea, or juice. While drinking those things is fine, it can result in urine that stings a little more than it needs to. Drinking water instead will make your bathroom visits more neutralized and easy to do.
With these 5 tips, you’re sure to get through your first few postpartum weeks just fine. Your body needs this time to heal and adjust, so doing all you can to make it easier on yourself is what you (and your vagina) deserve!