Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Natural Remedies (and Natural Products) for Postpartum Pain

October 6th, 2011 · 55 Comments · Natural Health

Stitches in human skin are no fun.

Stitches on an extremely sensitive area that move and pull every time you sit, stand, walk, talk, cough, sneeze, and use the toilet? Now those are really a barrel of fun, don’t you think?

In case you’re single and/or have never given birth, you might want to stop right there. For the rest of you, forge on for my haphazard and backward story of discovering some natural options for the various pains of the postpartum week.

baby pic

Yep, that’s kind of how I felt afterward too, buddy.

Natural Remedies for Childbirth Stitches

If you read this week’s post including the letter I’m sending to our hospital, you noticed that I did not use the two prescription items offered to me for stitches pain.

This is partly because I wanted to be "natural" and partly because I’m just darn stubborn and figured I could handle it without help.

Natural Solutions for Afterbirth Pains

Folks usually say that the afterbirth pains, the cramping that comes with the contracting of the uterus back to its normal size (or somewhere in the right vicinity, at least), get worse with each child.

I totally blocked that out and forgot about this part of my recovery from my second child’s birth. That didn’t really help after child number three.

Let’s just say I firmly believe that there’s an evolutionary (designed) reason that mothers don’t experience much in the way of afterbirth pains after baby number one – we’d never procreate at replacement rate if they did!

These things are way, way worse than labor. Besides that, they continue for 3-4 days. (Maybe it was a week or two or a month, tough to say. I’m blocking it out again.) And they happen most strongly when baby is nursing and you wish you felt all lovey and maternal, but instead you want to crawl out of your skin (or at least leave your uterus behind, thankyouverymuch).

Most people would take a Tylenol or Motrin, both of which are deemed safe for nursing moms, but I had this foolish idea that I should not take any medication whatsoever. "Be tough." (Of course, I may have paid double digits per pill, so I’m kind of glad I declined them now.)

My biggest mistake was the forgetting – since I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of the pains, I found myself playing "catch-up" after Jonathan was already born, trying to figure out my natural options for easing the pain.

It wasn’t until I was home and they were on their way out that I realized I had a few things already in the house that I should have been taking:

  • Arnica, a homeopathic remedy for pain from my NaturoKit. I am just notnaturokits (1) (475x356) familiar enough with what’s in there and forget I have it…but I’m getting more on top of that now!
    • Hypernicum is another homeopathic from the kit, which says it can be used for "surgery or injuries to nerve-rich areas such as genitals," so had I been on top of this, I would have tried it for the stitches pain.
    • Both homeopathic remedies are safe for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby sent me some teas that I hadn’t tried…and of course a day or two after the afterbirth pains subsided, I read the package of Monthly Comfort Tea, which includes an ingredient for uterine contraction and another to ease afterbirth pains! Sigh…
  • This After Ease Extract was recommended by a reader for afterbirth pains too, but it wouldn’t have come here in time.
Breastfeeding Ouch

Even these raggedy old breasts that have nursed kiddos for a total of five years already take a little "breaking in" for another new little one. I’ve always used lanolin and/or a prescription "magic all-purpose nipple cream" (I wonder how much that costs?!) in the past, but this time I was happy to have a sample from Earth Mama Angel Baby: Natural Nipple Butter. It did the job just fine.

If you’re considering buying a tub, go with the smaller size unless you’re on your first baby – I didn’t even come close to using half of the 1-oz. size, and it’s not something that it seems like I should pass on to another new mom, you know?

Note: lanolin is perfectly natural, from the skin of sheep, but apparently there is some question about toxins from pesticides or something…honestly, it seemed like a pretty weak argument, so I’d be perfectly content using lanolin as an option, too.

Home Remedies for Stitches Pain

I had two items from Earth Mama Angel Baby for stitches care, but I was only on top of noticing one of them. I had New Mama Bottom Spray at the hospital with me (less buckeroos than the $42 "prescription" Dermaplast, that’s for sure!). It is cooling and soothing, but doesn’t last much more than 10 minutes or so. I do love that the instructions explain that I can use the leftovers as a facial toner.

imageOnce I got home, I found the other option, which I liked much better. It’s called Earth Mama Bottom Balm, and it’s a direct application, just like a baby’s diaper cream. Here’s why I love it: you can feel it working. There’s a pretty intense cooling tingle that lasts for quite some time after applying. I used it every time I went to the bathroom, and what relief!

Now about that going to the bathroom problem…

(I’m telling you, non-mothers, stop now!)

The Stool Problem

You know this section really should be called "the Poop Problem" but I just couldn’t stomach letting that phrase be in large, bright green letters. Winking smile

When your skin has torn pushing something as gargantuan as a human person out of your body, there’s both a physical and psychological block to anything coming through there again.

Hospitals routinely offer a "stool softener," and I have no idea what’s in there (deemed safe for breastfeeding). I thought, stubborn as a mule, "I can just do this myself."

Three days later, the major goal in the house was a successful poop. There would be (muted, for the in-laws’ sake) joyful cheering and celebration.

Starting on the second or third day after birth, I dug a product out of a box in the basement that I should have taken to the hospital: Move-EZ constipation support by Trilight Health. You have to take some every 3-4 hours, which was hard to remember once I got home, and I can’t say whether it works or not. ??? It is expensive, as you’d really need to purchase the 8 oz. bottle to have enough to take a spoonful every 3-4 hours.

I ended up caving and grabbing a bottle of stool softeners (under $4, thank you – bet it would have been more than that per pill at the hospital!). I probably took 3 or 4 total, twice a day, and it was worth it. No poop is no fun! If there’s a next time, you can be sure I’ll be doing some "natural-minded research" on this issue.

How do you handle postpartum pain naturally?

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Disclosure: I received products for my review from all these companies, mostly because I’m too chicken to spend big bucks on stuff I’m not sure will work. I do receive commission if you purchase at Earth Mama Angel Baby or Naturkits, but nothing from the other companies. I just talk about what I find that works and doesn’t, full honesty. See my full disclosure statement here.


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55 Comments so far ↓

  • Carolyn

    Thanks for the post – my little one is due in about three weeks, so this is timely! I got the Earth Mama nipple butter and bottom spray this week, but maybe I will pick up some of the bottom balm too!

  • Kristina

    Loved this post -especially the part of uterine cramping after 3rd child! There were times when I was Breastfeeding my son that I just wanted to leave my boob for him and run away the pain was so horrible! I’ve bookmarked these tools for next time! Thanks!!

  • Laura

    Hot packs and ice diapers! The hot pack was the most helpful thing for me to help with afterpains (and boy were they bad after the third child!). At our hospital, we make one out of hot water and towels wrapped in a waterproof pad then placed in a pillowcase. Just be careful that it’s not too hot or you could burn your abdomen. As far as stitch discomfort, an ice pack (ice pack, ice glove or ice diaper- which while not very environmentally friendly works like a dream) went a long way to help the first day or two with stitch discomfort. After that, using a squirt bottle while urinating really helped kill the sting or burn while using the bathroom.

  • Sheila, BS-RN, IBCLC

    Hi! I enjoy reading your column very much!

    There are two other concerns that I am aware of regarding the use of lanolin on nipples while breastfeeding:
    1-Lanolin is made from sheep. So while lanolin may be perfectly safe for lambs to ingest, it may not be as safe for some human babies, especially if those babies have a family history of allergies.
    2-Yeast (thrush) thrives in moist environments. Using lanolin, or any other moisturizer on nipples while breast feeding may increase the chances of developing a yeast infection on the nipples for some women. Incredibly painful.

    Suggestions:
    Hand express a few drops of breastmilk at the end of each feeding and cover each nipple with that breastmilk. Allow to air dry.

    If more help is needed, hydrogel pads (Made by Medela, Ameda, Soothies, etc) can be purchased at places like Target, Babies-R-Us, and Amazon.com. The main ingredient in hydrogel pads is glycerin, which has a vegetable base instead of animal base.

    If none of the above suggestions help, then please get advice from a professional who specializes in breastfeeding. There are many hospitals that have low cost breastfeeding clinics, or a local La Leche League would be a good resource as well. There are many issues that can be resolved by a professional, sometimes in just one visit.

    Thanks so much for your blog!

    Mama Eva Reply:

    I would like to add: ORGANIC EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL! The was recommended to me via professional LC – it is relatively inexpensive, safe, healthy and very easily accessible. I have even seen it at Walmart ;)

    Katie Reply:

    Well, now, that’s easy – thanks! :) Katie

    Susan Alexander Reply:

    Related to #1 – for those of us with a TRUE wool allergy (I am one) lanolin is not a good idea. It’ll make your nipples go crazy. I didn’t realize at first it was made from sheep and when I found out, I suddenly understood why it was making me crazy. I used the breastmilk trick to great effect. :)

    Leslie K Reply:

    I use the nipple butter or lanolin before birth and then use my own milk/colostrum after birth. I have not had any problems with doing that.

    Katie Reply:

    Sheila,
    Thank you for the great advice! I hope all new moms get a good lactation consultant to help them get started.

    I was a little worried about the moisture thing, since I couldn’t “air dry” living here with my in-laws! My poor father-in-law already has to deal with a nursing mother in his house who doesn’t always use her cover-up 100% of the time! ;) Katie

    Sarah Reply:

    Lansinoh is the brand recommended by La Leche League. I’m trying to remember if it is ultrapure or synthetic, but it is hypoallergenic. Supposedly it will not irritate mom or baby, even if they have a wool allergy.

  • Sheila, BS-RN, IBCLC

    ….I would also like to add that, while there are other reasons for nipple pain during breastfeeding, the number 1 cause, hands down, is an improper latch. The number 1 cause of an improper latch is when the lips, especially the lower lip, is not in a flanged position during feeding. The lips should look like a fish. Here is a picture of a proper latch:

    http://www.the-parenting-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/free-online-adventure-games15.jpg

    For an excellent online resource:

    http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/newman.shtml

  • karen

    The afterpains with #3 were out of control. My MW had warned me but I was not expecting quite that level of pain. I used a crampbark tincture (from Wish Garden but there are other brands as well). It tastes vile but works in minutes. No really, minutes. Best stuff ever.

  • nicole

    #1 is 7 months… Im the same way about pain, and took nothing after my (unplanned) c/s. I wish I didn’t know the pain would be worse next time though, haha. I just thought I was a lucky mama. As for lanolin, DD has food allergies, and tolerated lanolin just fine AND my IBCLC told me to use it. Tongue tie is another cause for bad latch. DD’s wasn’t caught til a few weeks ago despite my persistence. Never knew how good nursing could be. :)

  • Creative Christian Mama

    I just made my own post-partum herb/salt bath mix to speed healing and ease pain. I’m posting it on my blog tomorrow, if anybody is interested. I also made a healing spray and plan to make nipple butter soon, which I will also post about. Making your own, when you have time, is a really fun nesting project! :-)

  • via Facebook

    Great post! I had no idea what I was getting into with my first, so this time I’m making a bunch of the post-partum care products myself. Tomorrow I will be posting my recipe and instructions for an herb/salt bath mix to speed healing and ease pain. :-)

  • Mary P

    Sitz baths rock. Also, I got some witch hazel pads and used those a lot. You could probably make your own with witch hazel and a small washcloth though.

  • Danielle

    loved the sitz baths for stitches… afterbirth pain… yikes… I’ve had six children and totally think it is unfair to have to go through that!!! haha! heating pads and I cave on the meds for this!… stools… I drink a lot of apple cider:-)

  • Heather

    Prunes are good for the stool problem…I avoided all softeners by just eating a few of those each morning (not my favorite, but worth it to avoid the drugs) and never had a problem even with having a VERY unusual tear and having surgery (knock me out, significant type of surgery) 5 days post partum. Give the prunes a go next time around :)

    And congrats on your decision. I was anti, my husband undecided. We watched the Penn and Teller show about it (bad language!) and afterward
    my husband looked at me and said “We are NOT doing that to our sons.” End of story :) Other than MIL freaked because her father had it done in his 70s and it was SO PAINFUL and FIL wanted my husband to “Be a man and get it done.” If it hurts an adult, it hurts a baby too…so that argument was not valid to us and my FIL just never got told we didn’t do it. He never changed his son’s diapers, so won’t do his grandkids and will probably never even know!

    Heather

  • Jen @ Oh no! I really do need to eat my vegetables!

    Yay resources! I had a bad bad hospital experience that left me with over an hours worth of stitches and I couldn’t walk or sit on normal chairs for a month. Afterbirth pains were worse than childbirth – and I’m little concerned – that was my first! Hoping diet, lots of good herbs, and the helpful items you mentioned will make this next birth a lot more enjoyable!

    Katie Reply:

    Jen, congrats and good luck! You’ll be so prepared, I bet it will go much smoother!

  • Milehimama

    I’ve nursed 9 children and I always have a TERRIBLE time “breaking in”. I’m pretty fair and I get cracked and bleeding nipples every single time. With my last baby I just used straight up coconut oil as a cream instead of Lasinoh/lanolin and it was the BEST stuff I’ve ever, ever used. I just put a little spoonful in a dish by my bed and rubbed it on before and after nursing.

  • Katie @ Wellness Mama

    I always bring my own motrin and after pain tinctures. I don’t do meds during labor, but once the baby is out and I’m holding the little bundle, I don’t mind muting the pain!
    I use after ease tincture and it really works well (this was #4 for me so the after pains were pretty rough) and motrin. I also make a homemade salve with coconut and olive oils, plantain, comfrey and vitamin E that goes directly on the stitches (or the c-section scar after #3).
    I definitely second the coconut oil recommendation for nursing too!

  • Naomi H

    haha, this post made me laugh. Definitely for mothers only!

    I gave a sigh of relief every time I used an ice pad (sprinkle those gorilla pads with water, freeze (but not touching anything, ask how I know). Also, a squirt bottle with water for going pee afterward – squirt as you pee to dilute the sting.

    I forgot about the afterbirth contractions…and #3 is coming up in a while. yikes!

    And I’m thinking – what about coconut oil for nipples?

    Katie Reply:

    Naomi,
    I bet straight coconut oil would do a quite nice job… :) Katie

  • Katarina Johansson

    I have 4 boys. Never used any painkillers for stitches or anything else for that matter. Nothing for the nipples either and breastfeed all 4. Of course I could feel the uterus contract a bit when breastfeeding but no big deal, was just happy it was working and getting smaller, getting back in place! ;) Ok, to pee burnt a little bit just after birth, but that could be helped by showering with lukewarm water at the same time as peeing. When it comes to the stools….maybe good to think about what one is eating first and foremost instead of taking other meds to soften the stool. Please don’t scare those that are expecting…it’s not that bad at all! lol ;)

    Sarah Reply:

    My FAVORITE after-birthing remedy was a squirt bottle of witch hazel and a box of menstrual pads. My midwife squirted (a little) witch hazel on the pads and put them in the freezer for me. They were cool and soothing on my sore bottom. Don’t soak the pads, or they become ice packs, which is no fun! I also used herbal baths. I soaked a couple/few times a day, and they really sped my healing.

    As for the afterbirth pains – oh.my.goodness. The pains with #3 really were worse than labor with none of the incentive! I took crampbark tablets, and they helped a lot.

  • Leigh

    Earth Mama Bottom Balm was wonderful for hemorrhoids after (and shortly before) baby #2.

  • Barbara via Facebook

    My midwives taught my husband how to soak pads in witch hazel and then freeze them. Any time I needed pain relief down there, we got another one out of the freezer. Cheap, easy, no mess and completely harmless. But it felt SO good!

  • Sarah

    I didn’t feel a single after pain with baby 1, a few mild pains with baby 2, a few days of considerable pains with baby 3, and 5 days of the most INTENSE “transition-like” contractions with baby 4. I too “toughed it out” but I tell you it was not fun! The best thing I found was a hot water bottle on my lower back while nursing.
    I had a considerable tear with baby 1 and my husbands grandmother told me to have a chamomile sitz bath every couple hours. That was very soothing and effective for healing.

  • Susan Alexander

    I am scared about the afterbirth this next time. First time I didn’t notice any (but I was on pretty heavy duty meds from the c-section). This last time, they were awful and totally interfered with enjoying my newborn. I was looking at the after-ease tincture (it’s been recommended by other folks too), but I’m concerned about whether all those herbs are safe while breastfeeding – particularly the yarrow and motherwort leaf. Any thoughts on that?

    Maria Reply:

    I used after-ease after my last birth (my 5th), and it was approved by my very non-intervention, medically conservative midwife. Her only advice was not to over- do it for the first day or so, because, although painful, those after- contractions do serve a purpose. She didn’t have any issues with after-ease and breastfeeding, and she absolutely would have told me if she had any concerns.

    On another note- a hot water bottle on my abdomen while I was breastfeeding helped a lot with the horrid cramping that comes while nursing for the first few days.

    Susan Alexander Reply:

    Maria, thanks! :) I am excited for anything to make those pains easier! Like I say, it really took away from the whole experience for me. On the flip side, my milk did come in super fast and my uterus shrunk back very very quickly (the nurses/doctors were very surprised).

  • Jessica

    Before baby #5 almost a year ago, I read that liquid calcium taken during labor and then after the birth would help with the pain. I tried it, but didn’t realize until almost a week in that I was taking 1/3 or less of the recommended dose for that application :) I think it helped a little because my afterpains weren’t any worse than they had been with baby #4 – and each baby up to that point has brought an increase in intensity. It probably would have helped a lot if I had done it right! You can do a google search to find out how to do it right :)

  • Anastasia B

    Thanks! I’m due with my second in one month. I didn’t have any meds or pills with the first, had stitches. This time it is a water birth, so I’m hoping it will ease things a little. This is very helpful, I haven’t thought of preparing for this at all!

  • Lenetta

    Super post, Katie! I’ll be pinning this for sure- hope I get to use it. :) ps- thanks for covering me on the coupons today…

  • Jen

    Vit e oil is also great for “down below’ stitches and healing, just dab a little on each time you use the bathroom.
    also found it helped cracked nipples greatly, used it right after feeding on that side so it was all soaked in and pretty much gone before baby nursed again.

    vit C is also a good stool softener, I drank LOTS of it in the hospital and wished I had continued as well ;-) But once your body has all the vit C it needs, it just gets excreted and a little too much tends to soften stools, so that’s another option to an otc pill.

    now off to read all the other comments cause my nipples are still sore almost 3 weeks later…… ;-(

  • Emily

    On a bit of a lighter note: As I finished the post and started through the comments, Jolie Holland’s song Old Fashioned Morphine started on our CD player. It made me chuckle, had to share.

  • Debbie

    To help me go to the bathroom after having #4, 5, & 6 I used ground flax seed. Totally safe for baby, just remember to drink enough water with it. Enjoyed the post. Thanks so much

  • Weekend Wanderings

    [...] Natural Remedies (and Natural Products) for Postpartum Pain ~ Just typing the title sends shivers of pain.  Again.  [...]

  • Amanda

    This is great info! My second baby is four months old (and we’re looking forward to more!), and I love all kinds of natural birth information. I just want to say: After two entirely natural deliveries of 8lb-plus boys, one in the hospital and one in a birth center, I have yet to experience ANY tearing/stitches/terrible post-delivery pain. I know it’s probably just luck of the draw on my part. BUT, I was terrified of all that and in retrospect it would have helped me to hear that *sometimes*you don’t end up even having to think about that stuff! Just an encouragement to those who might be frightened :) And this is good to file away if necessary…I’m thinking it would make a great baby shower present in some form or another.

    Thanks Katie!

  • Laura

    It just occured to me that it’s pretty amazing that you’re brave enough to discuss your post-partum bowel movements with the world. If you think about it, it’s pretty funny. :-)

    Katie Reply:

    But only other moms. No one else was allowed to read that part. ;) Katie

  • sarah

    i gave birth about a week and a half ago, and i have been doubling (even tripling) up on our daily probiotic supplements to help with “the stool problem”… it has worked pretty well for me, no need to buy any commercial stool softeners! :)

  • Jennifer

    I found that ice (for stitches) and heat packs (for afterpains) were the most helpful for me. And I took all the stool softeners they would give me…I don’t care what is in them…I’m just so glad we have them!

  • 'Becca

    Thanks for the great advice! I will keep this article in mind in case I ever have another baby.

    I gave birth in a hospital and had stitches, but nobody offered me any kind of topical pain relief medicine! That seems strange now that I think about it. They offered ice packs the first night, and they brought Vicodin assuming I’d take it, but I refused it and took ibuprofen instead. (In addition to concerns about giving narcotics to my baby via milk, I’d taken Vicodin after dental surgery and didn’t want those side effects again!)

    I was going to quit the ibuprofen and “tough it out” on the second day, but my midwife advised me to keep taking it for 5 days to prevent swelling which can complicate the healing of stitches. You didn’t mention that–maybe it’s not accurate?

    Several people suggested witch hazel. I must warn everyone not to plan on using this after birth unless you have first tested it on BROKEN skin on a less-sensitive body area. It is possible to have a severe allergic reaction to witch hazel when it gets into the bloodstream by being applied to an open wound. This happened to me (after years of using it on surface irritations with no problems) and I broke out in HORRIBLE eczema in a 6-inch radius and felt like the wound itself was packed with broken glass!!! This was miserable as an interruption of my normal life; it would have been 100 times worse postpartum!

    I avoided the poop problem by choosing high-fiber foods in the hospital (there were a number of good choices) and drinking coffee–I was going to avoid it in case baby didn’t like it in my milk, but God sent me a migraine 48 hours after the birth, and I knew the best early treatment for migraine is simultaneous large doses of caffeine and ibuprofen; that big cup of coffee spared me the headache (migraine went away after the initial visual disturbance), let me stay up late holding my baby who needed extra cuddles after the trauma of jaundice treatment, prevented constipation, AND didn’t upset my baby, so I am grateful!

    I did have trouble after I was home from the hospital and my mother-out-law kept serving chicken, which I normally don’t eat, and making veggies just as a side dish. I was grateful that she was cooking for us, but I needed to eat more fiber! I also tended to forget to drink as much water as I needed, given that I was not only making milk but also recovering from excess blood loss, so that didn’t help. But once I got back to eating plenty of fiber and drinking plenty of liquids including coffee, I was okay.

    Katie Reply:

    Becca,
    I don’t know about the swelling with the ibuprofen – the nurses told me I should only have ice the first 12 hours because after that it somehow inhibits healing (?) but that’s all I know about swelling.
    Katie

  • Anna

    I haven’t read all the comments so if this has already been said I am sorry… my midwife suggested this/explained this when I was having those terrible afterbirth pains with my 2nd… b/c you are so right, they’re not so awful with your first! I don’t know if you noticed, but you get most of the afterbirth pains while breastfeeding because the nipple stimulation can create contractions. Secondly, they’re much much worse when you have anything in your bladder. So… pee before you breastfeed! My midwife also reminded me that you don’t pee as often as you should b/c your body doesn’t feel like it needs too. After all you just had a 8# baby sitting on your bladder… So, remembering to pee before breastfeeding everytime made a HUGE difference for me :)

    Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz Reply:

    I don’t think I’ve seen this in the comments yet, so that’s very helpful! I’m afraid I’ll forget about your tip by the time I’ll give birth to #2 (in one month) though :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Kayci

    I didn’t read through all of the previous comments, so sorry if these are repeats, but here are my tips:

    After pains: After baby #3 my midwives recommended 1-2 droppers full of motherwort tincture to help with my after pains and let me tell you, it was amazing! It helped me to relax, so much so, that I often fell asleep right after nursing. I also recommend holding a heating pad or warm rice sock right over your uterus while nursing.

    Breastfeeding: Expressing a little milk onto your nipples and letting air dry and using gel pads like Soothies by Lasinoh.

    Stitches: Sit on a nursing pillow, like a boppy, so there’s no pressure on the stitches. Put ice packs in the center of the pillow to help with swelling. Hot sitz baths with salt.

    Pooping: Prune juice and lots of it! Its tastes better mixed with a bit of OJ or other kind of juice. And also, try going after taking a hot sitz bath, the tissues will be softer and more relaxed which makes it easier to go.

    I’m getting ready to have baby #4 any day now, really not looking forward to the after pains especially! Luckily I didn’t need stitches with #3, hoping I won’t this time either!

  • Christina via Facebook

    Initially using ice helps (but you have to do it right after giving birth. Later, sitz baths rock!

  • emily W.

    Went natural with both births, and while it is labor, it was bearable. The afterbirth pains? I almost threw up every time the 2nd baby ate for about 24 hours until the nurse came in and asked me if I wanted any pain killers. Totally caved. Definitely don’t regret it.

    Also, needed 2nd degree internal stitches with both (took an hour to do with the 2nd kid). Definitely used the ice-pack-pad thing layered with a couple witch hazel pads and some of the numbing foam. Natural? Not exactly. Relieving? Yes. The first birth I had a much harder time recovering from the stitches, and I think it’s because I forced myself to get up and move around instead of babying myself (haha!…:/). In fact the first time my stitches almost didn’t heal correctly because I sat so much. But everyone’s different. Oh…and use the water bottle when you pee.

    Speaking of going to the bathroom…I tried the stool softeners with the second one and regretted it. I was already downing enough apples and prunes and buckets of water. While it was nice to not have to push, I had enough pain going on down there already and didn’t need the cramping from an irritated large intestine or extra gas.

    Now, I nursed both (still nursing 11mo). And holy moly did it hurt at first with both of them. And yes, they both had a good latch. Definitely Lansinoh’d before, after, and between, and used those gel pads. The lactation consultant was like, “Oh honey…that’s about as bad as I’ve ever seen it!” But we all got through it, and it was worth it. :D

    Katie Reply:

    “it was worth it” — yes!!!

  • Ana

    Halfway through my first pregnancy and trying to prepare myself for all scenarios… did you have any local anesthetic for stitches? Wondering if its possible to manage the pain of that entirely with the balm you suggest. Thanks!

    Ana Reply:

    Also, do you know if things would heal better naturally (without stitches) if it’s a first or second degree tear?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Ana,
    I did use a local, and it still stinks to get sewn up! Truly the worst part of two of my deliveries (not to scare you). Allowing the epis with my first is one of my few regrets with childbirth. And I don’t know the answer to your second Q, sorry – but good luck and God bless! :) Katie

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

PTE350
Squooshi reusable food pouches