A Few Things Regarding Postpartum
Here are a few things that I have found interesting or surprising immediately postpartum. Comment down below if you have something that you would add to the list!
Depression and the Baby Blues
The baby blues can get ya. So far, they have only wrapped their depressed and slimy fingers around me twice. Both times, I was alone and in a different room than my baby. I am not going to tell you to never leave your baby for fear of a sneak attack wave of depression. However, I immediately went and found my husband and talked about what was happening in my head and heart. This is what I encourage you to do. Do not stay alone! Go find your husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, cousin, dog, goldfish, whatever to go and talk to. Do not wallow by yourself, it will only make things worse and create a snowball effect. There is no reason to be embarrassed, feel silly or like a burden to whoever you are talking to. You just pushed a bowling ball out of you and your hormones are MESSED UP.
If you are feeling really down or for an extended period of time, contact your doctor immediately. There is always help.
I will publish an article solely on depression, postpartum depression and the baby blues in the future and create a link here when it is available.
This is the constant, never ceasing leakage that is totally normal after delivery. I will tell you I am three and a half weeks postpartum and I am still using panty liners. This has been totally obnoxious. Ruined undies, uncomfortable pads when sleeping and not being able to wear pants due to the diaper sized pads you have to wear, all really suck. Luckily there has been the most beautiful baby to distract me from this inconvenience.
Invest in pads of various sizes and thickness before you give birth. This way you will not be stranded on the toilet without any products. I am so grateful that I did this beforehand. I do want you to know that you do not need the jumbo-sized-anything for very long, and usually only when sleeping. I wish that I had purchased more medium-sized pads and panty liners.
Breastfeeding, Pumping and Sore Boobies
Once your baby is born, colostrum can be breastfed to your baby. Colostrum is SO important because it contains tons of mom’s antibodies and everything your baby needs to begin life in this world. Because colostrum does not contain much fat, your baby may lose a little weight while in the hospital, approximately 10% weight loss is normal. Do not get down on yourself when your baby’s discharge weight is a little lower than their birth weight.
When my baby girl was born, she came out lookin’ for a boobie. She was a natural and latched on right away. Part of our success here was that I did a lot of research on how to breastfeed throughout my entire pregnancy. My best advice to any first-time mom would be to watch as many videos about how to properly get a baby to latch as you can. Knowing what a proper latch should look like will be so helpful instead of trying to learn something brand-spankin' new immediately after birth. There is a lot more technique needed rather than simply offering your baby a nipple.
The lactation specialists are so helpful and you can schedule appointments to see just lactation! Take advantage of this service if it is available to you. There are often free goodies sent home with you such as diapers, formula, and nipples.
What no one freaking tells you until you start to breastfeed and/or pump is that for about the first week, breastfeeding causes cramping! Yeah, it’s weird and a total bummer. I had what felt like moderate menstrual cramps during every feeding and pumping session. This was NOWHERE in the research that I did. Also, I am unsure if this happens to every mom, but while I was actively lactating, I would be falling asleep/head bobbing the whole time; when we were finished, I would perk right back up.
So pumping is weird. First of all, what no one ever mentioned was that some insurance plans will cover the cost of a breast pump. I thought that I was getting a steal of a deal on a Medela breast pump that was used for a few years and needed replacement accessories on craigslist for $35. That is sort of a good deal, but once I knew that I could get brand new everything for free, I went ahead and did that too. I am truly very lucky with my baby. She is not picky about where her milk comes from and I measured at 44DD before I got pregnant. I am unsure if big boobs equal more milk, but I have a lot of milk so I assume that my baby does not have to work very hard to breastfeed because she can go back and forth between breastfeeding and bottle feeding without a hitch. That being said, I pump for multiple reasons. First, so that my husband can help feed her, including at nights on the weekends. It is a nice treat when he takes one or more of the nighttime feedings (this includes a chance to bond) and I can keep dozing.
Breastfeeding and pumping should not hurt. There are times when I am a bit sensitive, yes. But no true pain so far. There are lots of nipple creams, butters and fix all oils advertised for sore boobies. Being from the medical world, I read the ingredient labels of everything out of habit. Every single boobie cream is just lanolin. Get yourself some good ol’ bag balm and move on.
Check out if you can get a free breast pump through your insurance here: https://aeroflowbreastpumps.com/qualify-through-insurance
Weight Loss and Clothes
It was so insane to see myself in a mirror one day postpartum. My belly went down drastically. It sort of messed with my head a bit, not having a baby in my belly. For a few days, I would still sometimes rub my belly, pat it or rest my hands on the top of it. Multiple people that saw this said, “You know there’s no baby in there right?” almost every time I did this. It is completely rational to remind me that I have a baby on the outside now, but it broke my heart a tiny bit over and over again.
My pre-pregnancy clothes did not and still do not fit yet although I have returned to my pre-pregnancy weight. I have had more food cravings postpartum and while breastfeeding than I ever did while pregnant. I have been addicted to cake. I don’t even like cake! Vanilla, carrot, fun fetty… yum. Why can I not just crave celery?
With all this being said, I am still wearing maternity clothes. They are just so damn comfy! I am not ashamed of my mommy belly. I have had one person ask if I was pregnant and my sister politely explained that my baby was four days old and showed the person a picture of the baby. No big deal. This is to be expected. I do like the joke that if someone asks how far along you are, and you are actually postpartum, to reply with however many months you are postpartum plus nine. “How far along are you?” “Twelve months” *shows person three-month-old baby*.
We only get this time with our first-born ONCE.
I am still having a hard time getting used to not working. My head says I should be sad on Sundays because I have to go to work the next day… but I don’t. I get to hang out with the cutest baby ever instead. I still have five weeks of maternity leave left but it is FLYING by. My advice (which I am currently trying to follow) is to slow down and enjoy this time. We only get to spend this time with our firstborn ONCE.
Constipation (TMI Warning)
Wow. Just wow. I did not have a bowel movement until five days after birth. FIVE. DAYS. It was crazy! I was nervous about pain from my stitches, but I had very little discomfort during. Prior to giving birth, I was dealing with anal fissures (like papercuts in your bum) that would open up and practically bring me to tears with every BM. Not having a bowel movement for five days allowed those to heal up apparently because I am totally comfortable now. Yay constipation?
Edit: The fissures are back, and I am currently taking Colace twice daily for help. Contact your doctor if you are having any pain or discomfort while urinating or defecating.
Healing From a Tear
This was not nearly as horrific as everyone makes it sound. It happens. The doctor fixes it and you heal up in a couple of weeks. If you are not healed in a couple of weeks, see your doctor immediately. Nothing is going to fall out of you, your body is not ruined, and the world will continue to turn. You want to keep the site clean, dry (within reason) and numb. After birth, my rockstar of a nurse made this ultra-pad thing for me with all of the bells and whistles. She started off with one of the GIGANTIC sanitary pads, then a diaper filled with ice (hallelujah). She lined the “ice pack” with Tucks pads and then finished up with a generous amount of benzocaine. She told me to stick that sucker right on my torn but sutured perineum (second degree) and then put the disposable underwear over the whole thing. It was heaven. I carried on my own version of this throughout my stay and when I got home. Pure genius.
Standing up, sitting down and getting in and out of bed is a little uncomfortable, and my lower abdomen was pretty sore too. This discomfort was mild, tolerable and did not last long at all, maybe a week and a half.
There are some weird things that happen to postpartum bodies. I hope that what I have shared has been helpful and enlightening. These are some of the things that would have been useful to have a heads-up on. The advice and stories in this article are strictly from my perspective alone and research that I have done from resources that I cannot reliably remember. Take what you will, but just remember that everyone is different, everyone has different stories and everyone has different babies.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.