It’s time to think about your own recovery, not just the baby’s arrival.

Don’t Clean the House — and More Smart Advice OB/Gyns Have for Postpartum Recovery

The truth is, no one can tell you exactly how birth and postpartum recovery are going to go for you: Every birth is different, and every person has their own journey on the path from pregnancy to labor and delivery to postpartum recovery. But you can try and be as prepared as possible, so at least you know in general terms what might be coming you way.

But while there’s so much information about pregnancy (how many week-by-week pregnancy guides did you read?), and even tons of advice about how to get through labor, we fall short when it comes to information about postpartum care. Maybe it’s because every parent who goes through it is in a new-baby fog, and maybe it’s because it can be difficult and not-fun to talk about, but these postpartum conversations tend to happen on a smaller scale in whispers with only our closest, most trusted advisors.
But we do a disservice to ourselves when we skip these postpartum conversations. So, we asked people who have seen it all — OB/Gyns, doctors, and post-birth specialists — to give us their best advice for the smoothest possible post-birth experience, since forewarned is forearmed. (Don’t forget to sleep!)

These postpartum care tips will get your recovery started off on the right foot.

Those first few days home from the hospital are often a blur, so have these tips in mind so you’re in a better position to weather the storm.

Things can be harder if you’re recovering from a c-section.

If you have a c-section, you’ll have more restrictions on what you can do after birth, and you’ll have to take care of the incision and scars. C-section recovery is harder, but this advice can help.

Breastfeeding might be tricky at first.

It seems like it’s the most natural thing in the world, but breastfeeding is often hard the get a hang of in the beginning. If you choose to breastfeed, here’s how to not beat yourself up about the steep learning curve.

Take care of your mental health, too.

Sleep deprivation and out-of-control hormones are a perfect storm for some wild feelings, which are normal, but it’s important to know when those tip over into more serious conditions like postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety.

Stock up on these supplies before you head to the hospital.

Do yourself a favor: Buy yourself these supplies as early in your pregnancy as you can, and just sock them away for later. You’ll need them after birth, and the last thing you’ll want to do when dealing with a newborn is make a pharmacy run. Our doctors recommended putting these items into a postpartum kit (you should check with your doctor before using some of these items, though):

The most important thing is to give yourself a break.

Having a new baby is hard, and you’re probably doing a great job. Repeat this in the mirror: You got this!