By Frida Mom
Postpartum healing with a newborn and toddler is a juggling act
We know what you’re thinking: “I’ve done this before! I have intimate knowledge of the lovely surprises that await me in postpartum recovery!” And it’s true, you do! But what you might not be prepared for is dealing with all that postpartum has to offer while also parenting a newborn and a toddler.
Remember being pregnant while parenting a toddler? It’s like that, but with more blood and pain. Don’t get us wrong, we absolutely love toddlers. Those adorable little maniacs are a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day (for the most part). But toddlers aren’t exactly known for their patience, understanding, or reasoning, and critical thinking skills. So when you say, “Mommy just needs a minute to put out my hemorrhoid fire,” your toddler hears, “Now would be an excellent time to dump a cup of water on mommy’s laptop!”
When it comes to postpartum recovery with a toddler, you need quick, you need easy, and you need effective. You also need a whole lot of patience and the occasional miracle, but let’s cover the basics first.
There’s No Such Thing as Extra Time
It’s hard enough trying to find the time you need to tend to your own stuff when you’ve got a fresh baby at home. But when you’ve got a fresh baby, plus an active toddler? You have negative time. You have borrowed all of your allowable time from the time bank and are racking up interest like a mad person. So guess what? You don’t have time to make your own icicle pads. You don’t have time to sit and apply witch hazel from a bottle to your panty liners. Laundry to wash all your stained underwear? No time for that.
Make sure you’re stocked with the easiest, quickest postpartum recovery essentials you can get your hands on.
• Disposable Postpartum Underwear is wear-and-toss, so it doesn’t add to your laundry mountain, and also keeps your pads and various layers in place.
• Ready-to-wear Instant Ice Maxi Pads provide 20 minutes of cold therapy for perineum and hemorrhoid relief, but they’re absorbent enough to wear as a regular maxi, so no need to rush and change it out before the red tide comes in.
• Don’t even bother lining your pad with those little circle pads for hemorrhoid and perineum care. In the time it takes you to do that, your toddler will have likely scaled the baby gate and raided the pantry. Get Witch Hazel Perineal Cooling Liners instead. One-and-done, directly on your maxi, for continuous Witch Hazel healing power.
• Or pump a line of Witch Hazel Perineal Healing Foam on your pad or liner before rushing out of the bathroom to see why your toddler is crying/yelling/laughing like a guest star on SVU. The foam won’t get absorbed by your pad, so you won’t have to keep stealing minutes in the bathroom to replenish the foam.
Get Your Creative On
Keep in mind, your toddler is going through a major adjustment period with this whole new sibling thing. Not only do they have a cute and tiny human competing for your attention, but you’re recovering from a pretty major event and can’t be the on-the-go mom they’re expecting you to be. And that is 100% OK. Your recovery is important, and you need to listen to your body. But we know how hard it is to hear your body over the sounds of a demanding toddler.
So you might need to get a bit creative. Let’s say you finally got the baby down for the night, and have like 30 minutes for an Epsom salt bath for your burning booty. But that 30 minutes happens to fall during your toddler’s bath time, and they are melting down over the fact that mom isn’t giving them a bath. You definitely don’t want to take a co-bath with a wiggly toddler, so put them in the tub, grab your sitz bath, and pop in a Sitz Bath Tablet. It’s not the most relaxing or glamorous soak you’ll ever have, but you can give your vagina and butt some relief while listening to your toddler tell you all about their day.
Or, say you have some time to sit and read books with your toddler — that’s a great bonding experience! But your toddler wants you to sit on the floor, and your hemorrhoids are screaming at you. Best of both worlds: the Perineal Cooling Comfort Cushion. This seat cushion auto-inflates in 30 seconds (let your toddler do it!), and has a donut side for pressure relief and a cold therapy side for pain and swelling relief. Your toddler is happy you’re sitting on the floor with them, you’re happy you’re not angering the hemorrhoid demons. The cushion also works great when you have to sit in your toddler’s room until they fall asleep, which in our experience can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours.
Do It with Confidence
We know you want to do it all. We all want to do it all! And eventually, you will be managing your baby and your toddler like an absolute boss. But in the beginning, in those first days and weeks after you have your baby, patience is so important. Patience with your toddler, yes, but mostly patience with yourself. Give yourself the time you need to recover, physically and mentally. Lean on friends and family so you can take that nap or that bath or just get off your feet for a while. Remember that the more attention you give to your own recovery, the quicker it will go, and the fewer complications and setbacks.
And don’t let that mom guilt creep in (it will try, oh god, will it ever!). You are new to this whole two kids thing, and there is definitely a learning curve. You’re not neglecting your baby, and you’re not neglecting your toddler — you’re just trying to figure out how to be mom to both simultaneously. Set aside time everyday to spend with just your toddler, so they don’t feel like they have to compete for your attention. The less disrupted their routine and life is, the less likely they’ll be to act out. Involve your toddler as much as possible in the day-to-day stuff with the baby. They want to feel like they’re important and helpful, so make them feel important and helpful!
This period of adjustment and postpartum recovery is a wild one, but it’s short-lived in the grand scheme of things. Once it’s over, let us never speak of it again … or until the next time, at least.