Congratulations on your upcoming bundles of joy! No matter if this is your first pregnancy or your fifth, delivery day is always exciting and a bit nerve-wracking. As a mom of twins, and a mom who had a vaginal delivery with twins (yup!) I can tell you that I wish I had more information on the afterbirth procedure. Many new moms focus on what to do before your first push and during, but not as much info is out there for the after part. When I was writing What To Do When You're Having Two the topic came up time and time again and I hope that these 10 tips help make your babies' birthday even better for you.
10 Tips For a Speedier Recovery After Delivery
1. Walk the walk! The moment you're able to get out of bed, DO! Walking will help you bounce back quicker, giving any medications a chance to run through your system. Although it may hurt, trust us, you'll thank us later. Be sure to have slippers or shoes with non-slip bottoms and a buddy or a cane to start off at first. No matter if you've had a vaginal delivery or C-section, it's going to be uncomfortable. Slow and steady wins this race.
2. Medicate! Even if you're the type of person who hates taking an aspirin when you have a throbbing headache, don't hesitate to take your meds now. If you're properly medicated, you're more likely to move around and stay comfortable during that time. Also, breastfeeding a newborn or two may take a lot of physical maneuvering, and being uncomfortable during your feeding times won't make anyone happy.
3. Do not disturb. Did you know that you could alert your nurses to not disturb you overnight? Many hospitals have a policy where your vitals are taken throughout the night, however if your delivery went wonderfully and there was no cause for concern, speak with the medical staff and see if you can catch some zzz's overnight instead of being awoken every three hours to have your temperature taken.
4. Ask for help. One of the best parts about spending time in a hospital after your children are born are all the extra hands on deck. From lactation consultants to the newborn nursery, there are plenty of folks there to help answer your pressing questions and to lend a hand after your kiddos are born. Ask to see the lactation consultant shortly after your birth since they are often making visits during typical business hours and your hospital may have had a baby boom that day. There is nothing wrong with finding out where the lactation consultants office is and sending your spouse down there to leave a Post-it on her door asking for some help when possible.
5. Talk about it. If you ended up needing a C-section after you had the world's most perfect birth plan, it's not unusual to feel disappointed and upset. If your birth didn't go the way you had hoped, talk about what specifically upsets you to your spouse, family member, or even a social worker in the hospital. You aren't the first mom to have feelings like this and you won't be the last. Even if you had the world's most perfect delivery, sometimes things may bother you. No matter what, try not to bottle up your emotions. Wear them on your sleeve until you feel satisfied.
6. Visiting hours only. Discuss with your family what the plan will be the day the kids are born. Will your whole crew be at the ready the moment your babies cry or do you prefer to keep it low-key with just yourself and your spouse until you feel settled and happy? There is no right or wrong answer. The only wrong part is not having a plan. After delivery you'll be brought to recovery and depending on how busy the hospital is, you may be there for a bit. If your whole family shows up and gets there before you are in a room, there is a chance that they might hold the baby and feed the baby before you ever do, so think about who you really want there. Plus, you won't get any rest if you have 10 family members hanging around.
7. BYOP. Bring Your Own Pads! If you are particular about the brand of maxi pad you use, you'll want to be sure you packed plenty. The postpartum bleeding is going to be typically heavier than a normal period. Just be sure you have any products you typically use. Stay away from any wipes though. If you ended up having an episiotomy, you'll want to stick to just water for a while.
8. Eat and hydrate. Think high protein and high fiber! You'll need to balance your body back to normal, nutritionally, after your delivery. If you are breastfeeding you'll need more protein so stock up! Think beef and bean burrito! Protein also helps to heal your body so take my words seriously. In most hospitals, you'll be allowed to bring food in from home or even have it delivered. If you aren't sure what restaurants are around that area, ask the nurses, they usually have a pile of take-out menus handy.
9. Ready. Set. Blue. Many moms experience “Baby Blues” after the birth of their children. Some moms experience nothing of the sort, but the rest of us feel the hormonal shift from being pregnant to not being pregnant. It could show up as just feeling “PMS'y” to full on tears, anxiety, fear, and disappointment. If you feel ANY sort of depression, frustration or anger, please speak to your doctor or nurse. This is VERY common and often they will be able to help you. DO NOT BOTTLE IT UP! Do not try to be a hero. Do not fake it till you make it. Talk to someone so you can get the help you need.
10. Let me take a selfie. Are you wondering, how does taking a selfie help you recover faster? Did you know that laughter actually does help you feel better? Do you know that the act of smiling brightens your mood? Hold your babies close, smile for the camera and you'll not only have a bonding moment with your twinnies, but you'll have a wonderful keepsake as well.
We hope these 10 tips round out your delivery day planning and we wish you the best of luck!
Natalie Diaz is the Pied Piper of twin families around the globe. Founding Twiniversity — the world’s leading support network for multiple birth families — in 2009, she’s become the global influencer for this small niche community. Natalie is a true connector, bringing parents from all walks of life together, breaking past cultural differences, to share in the highs and lows of parenting twins. Natalie’s book, “What To Do When You’re Having Two” is a global bestseller in Twins & Multiples Parenting.