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  • 12 Essential Tips for Taking Care of Yourself After Childbirth

    "Been there and done that" moms share their two cents to help make the fourth trimester easier.
    by Rachel Perez .
12 Essential Tips for Taking Care of Yourself After Childbirth
PHOTO BY monkeybusinessimages/iStock
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • Congratulations! You've just welcomed your bundle of joy. You've waited nine months to see and hold your baby in your arms, and now that moment is finally here. But for you to be able to take care of your little one properly, you need to help your body recover fully from childbirth. We ask some moms what's their no-fail postpartum recovery tips for first-time moms:

    Wear a binder.
    "After giving birth, you'll still look like a few months pregnant. It will take time for your flabby belly to return to its shape -- but it might not be as tight as it was before [pregnancy]. Parang naging guide yung binder ko on what shape my body should take after giving birth," swears Mia Natividad, mom of two.

    Use adult diapers and disposable panties.
    "I had a lot of bloody discharge after giving birth. So I wore adult pull-up diapers instead of maternity pads. I was less conscious of leaks and moved around more freely. I didn't have to worry about blood stains if any, thanks to disposable panties," suggest Christine Lee, a Pinay mom of three based in California. 

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    Have warm and cold compress ready.
    "Breastfeeding is a challenge at first, but it will become manageable. Have warm or cold compress ready," said stay-at-home mom of four Esper Jimenez. Warm compress usually helps when your breasts get engorged. A cold compress can ease pain in the perineum area. But the use of cold or hot compress can be interchangeable -- it depends on your preference. 

    Eat a healthy and balanced meal.
    You're breastfeeding. You will need a lot of energy and nutrients so your body can produce milk. "Halaan (clam soup), sinigang, tinola, anything that has soup worked great for me. Of course, your breasts won't magically produce milk if you don't do direct breastfeeding," says Mayumi Santos, mom of five. 

    Buy yourself a breastfeeding pillow.
    "It helps. But there were also times when my baby wasn't too comfy nursing when I use my breastfeeding pillow. So I just sat on it to avoid putting pressure on my perineum area. At nights, it helped me get a good position, so I don't wake up sore all over," Bernice Lazona, a marketing supervisor and mom of three. 

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    High-fiber food helps with poop.
    "I was so afraid my stitches down there would break open when I poop. So I took a lot of high-fiber food, drank lots of water, and just waited until I really have to go so I won't have to push," shared Samantha Lee, a single mom to a baby boy. 

    Keep your vagina clean and dry.
    "I couldn't wash my vagina the way I did before at least for the first few weeks. So I used squirt bottles filled with warm water to wash myself down there while peeing and after peeing. You'll still be peeing a lot since you're getting rid of extra water," Sue Espiritu, an account executive and mom of two. It also means changing pads whenever you go to the bathroom and patting them dry after every wash. 

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    Take it easy.
    "You may not feel pain (it's probably because of the meds you're still taking for pain) or may feel agile fast, but your body is still recovering, so take it slow," stresses Vicky Roquez, graphic artist and mom of three. During the first three months after childbirth, focus your energy on attending to baby's needs. If you're not caring for your baby, take the free time to rest. 


    Stay away from stress. 
    Yes, you have a baby who depends on you, but you also need caring. "Take pockets of time to take stock and unwind. I need to know I still have me even if I'm already a mom. Talk to your partner about feelings; just let it all out and don't bottle it in," said Liza Rey, mom of two. Talking can help you steer clear of sad thoughts or overwhelming emotions.  

    You'll need help, so arrange for it.
    "Since my husband doesn't cook, he asked the grandmas to send us food. They did it non-stop and would even take my requests," shared Angel Reyes, a new mom. Have your partner, mother, or mother-in-law stay with you for the first few weeks to help you prep for baby's bath, clean breastfeeding paraphernalia, watch over baby when you sleep or take a shower and do some house chores. 


    Do ge-lai if you can.
    It may be hard, but ge-lai has its benefits. "My mother-in-law had me go through it, with a few modifications. I'm just comparing my own postpartum recovery from that of some of my friends, and I think it helps a new mother's body recover faster and better with ge-lai. Kahit some aspects lang ng ge-lai," recommends April Gomez, an account supervisor and mom of two young kids.

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