10 Things I Wish I Had Known About Postpartum + Some Essentials That Helped Me Through It
We had a baby yall! It still feels a bit surreal that he's here after all this time! If you missed his birth story you can read all about it in This Post. It was truly amazing, but today I wanted to share a few things you can expect in the weeks following giving birth and a few products that really saved the day for me.
To be honest, the healing process was a lot faster for me this time around. I felt better sooner which actually made it difficult to stay in bed! I had to be extremely intentional about not doing too much too soon. It was so helpful that my mom came and stayed with us for the week after Alfie was born. She basically forced me to rest and I'm so glad she did. It's so so important to let your body fully recover otherwise you will be in pain for longer than you need to.
When I had my first baby 5 years ago (gah can't believe its been that long!) I did all the research about baby gear. Which stroller is the best, which car seat is the safest, what you need, what you don't need etc. I also read books on what to expect during labor and birth so I felt pretty prepared (although nothing can TRULY prepare you) for that. But what I had no idea about were how hard those first few days (read: weeks) are! There is SO MUCH that nobody tells you about! Not gonna lie I felt completely blindsided. Here I was with my fresh new baby thinking the hard part was over and it was just gonna be snuggles and naps from here on out and then BOOM postpartum hits you like a ton of bricks. In an effort to help you be more prepared than I was, I've compiled a list of things I wish I had known prior to going into labor (and some advice and essentials to help you through it). So buckle up! It's about to get real TMI in here
*disclaimer: this is based on my personal experience and none of this is meant to be taken as medical advice.
You bleed so much for such a long time: Think your heaviest period day for 6 weeks straight. Then when you think you're done, it starts back up again!
My advice: Forget the mesh underwear and get some Depends. Then put a postpartum pad inside. I felt so much more comfortable and secure! I also loved my knix period panties towards the end when I wasn't sure if the bleeding was over for good yet but I wanted to feel normal.
2. Your milk doesn't come in right away: It usually takes between 3-5 days and trust me, you will KNOW when it happens. My boobs turned rock hard and hurt like a mother.
My advice: Be patient. Those first few days of trying to breastfeed are so frustrating. It feels like your baby isn't getting anything and that fear is heightened by them trying to nurse around the clock but truly, they are getting everything they need from you.
3. My milk coming in was literally the worst thing ever: Seriously guys be prepared. I went from being frustrated by no milk to having so much milk that I was drowning my. baby and it is incredibly painful. There are also SO MANY HORMONES.
My advice: Again, patience. It will take a couple of days for your supply to regulate and the only way for that to happen is to nurse your baby. I highly recommend the Haaka to relieve some of the pressure instead of a traditional pump which could signal your body to produce more than you need which will lead to painful engorgement and could lead to mastitis. Also, these boobie ice packs will be your best friend!
4. Your first poop is almost as bad as giving birth: It's mostly a mental block but the idea of "pushing" again is legit terrifying. I had no idea about this and it took me daaaaayyyyss to muster the courage.
My advice: stool softener
5. You will be starving all the time: If you thought pregnancy cravings were intense, you ain't seen nothing yet.
My advice: SNACKS! Keep healthy, hearty snacks stocked in your fridge and by your bed (for those overnight cravings). A few of my favorite things to keep me going between meals are protein bars, lactation cookies, yogurt, hummus, berries, banana "nice cream", and cashews.
6. Your boobs will leak constantly: You haven't lived until you've woken up soaked in a pool of your own breastmilk.
My advice: Nursing Pads and Sleep Bras! I know It seems weird to sleep in a bra but these are so so soft and help keep you dry and supported at night. My favorites are from Kindred Bravely! Use the code TABBILANE20 to save $$$!
7. Afterpains: Really wish someone had told me that you still have contractions for days following your birth! Apparently it helps move all your organs back to their original place so it's a good thing but DANG its painful!
My advice: Stay in bed. Don't try to walk around or do anything. Just chill out and let your body heal.
8. You never get your "pre-baby body" back: Even if you lose all the weight, your body is forever changed. Your hips may be wider, your boobs may be a bit saggier, and you may have stretch marks that stick around for the long haul.
My advice: Buy new clothes. After my first baby I NEVER got my pre-pregnancy jeans back on. It took months of trying them on and being disappointed until I finally caved and just bought new ones. Don't be like me. Even if you just get a few items that you feel great in it will make the biggest difference in how you see and feel about your new body!
9. You will know what to do: I was so terrified before my first baby that I wouldn't know how to be a good mom. How do you know when they're hungry, or sleepy or how to breastfeed? Which baby gear do you need? How do you know if they're too hot or too cold? But when the time came, caring for my little babe just came naturally.
My advice: Trust your instincts. You know your baby better than anyone else. Don't ever let anyone make you feel otherwise.
10. It's incredibly lonely: Those weeks following your birth are so isolating. You're stuck in bed and it can feel like the world just keeps on moving while you're in a parallel universe where time stands still and also flies by.
My advice: Talk to your mom friends. Chances are they have gone through the exact same thing and they SEE you. Invite them round to spend time together but for the love of all that is good and holy DO NOT FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO CLEAN FOR ANYBODY. Lay in bed and snuggle your baby while they sit around and tell you what an amazing job you did. Trust, it will be good for your soul.
A Few Of My Favorite Postpartum Things: