Postpartum Recovery With Multiple Children

by Brent Woods

If you are expecting a baby and you already have one or more, you know your recovery is going to be different following your first baby.  Remember how you could sleep all day when the baby slept?  Remember all those hours smiling at your sweetie's chubby cheeks and smooth skin?  It seemed you had all the time in the world to cherish every moment with your new baby as you recovered from childbirth.  

However, subsequent deliveries can be challenging to recover from because you have other little bodies clamoring for your attention, too.  Here are a few tips on how to bounce back after your labor and delivery.

1.  Ask for help: You may be one of those people that likes to do it all and do it all yourself.  However, your best chance for a speedy recovery will be if you have help.  Therefore, eat a big slice of humble pie and ask your mother, mother-in-law, or best friend to lend a hand.  Even better, ask your husband to take some vacation time.  He may be able to use Family Medical Leave time.  

In the best case scenario, you have someone stay a couple of weeks with you to be your stunt double.  Let them do the laundry, cook, and taxi your older children to their soccer practices and school.  Without this extra pressure on you, you can really rest and allow your body to recuperate. 

You may not have the rare gift of someone staying with you for a week or two while you adjust to life with another child.   However, reach out to neighbors and friends to see if your children can hitch a ride to and from school.  

2. Simplify meal times: Of course, you don't want to have take-out every night for the month after you have your new baby.  However, you also don't need to have 5-star quality meals either.  You need to stay off your feet as much as possible so you can rest.  Therefore, consider a combination of these ideas:

  • Freezer meals: In those weeks before you deliver, prepare some freezer meals that can easily be cooked with minimal prep time. 
  • Crockpot meals: Purchase ingredients for several crockpot meals so you can start meals early in the morning and avoid intensive cooking during the hectic afternoon hours of homework.
  • Boxed meals: Normally, you may prefer fresh ingredients and homemade flavor, but postpartum recovery is on the level of war time.  You're just trying to survive, so don't feel guilty for serving an occasional store-bought meal.

3. Hygiene and health: Continue to take your pre-natal vitamins, even if you are not nursing.  You need healthy building blocks to repair the trauma done to your body during labor and delivery.  In addition, drink plenty of water.  

One of the most important parts of healing your perineum is good hygiene.  Either take daily baths or use a squirt bottle filled with warm water to gently cleanse the area following visits to the restroom.  

4. Reassure your older kids: Your newborn requires huge amounts of attention—diapering, feeding, rocking, and snuggling.  However, your older children will need reassurance that you still love them.  Many fathers focus their time and attention on older children while you are busy with newborn care.  

Another suggestion is to plan a date with each of your older children so they can have special one-on-one time with mommy.  

Lastly, speak with your obstetrician, one like Bee Ridge Obstetrics Gynecology, if you have any concerns about the road to a speedy recovery.  With years of experience, your doctor can give you tips to help you recover