Hey y’all! I planned on writing this during a night feeding with Mercy but she decided to sleep all night. I feel like I’ve hit the baby jackpot or maybe God just decided to give me a little break from crazy town for a bit. Either way, I am not complaining! My midwife has given Derrek and myself strict instructions that I need to stay in bed with her for a full week so, that’s what I am doing. I tend to jump right back into the swing of things after I have a baby but my body really needs the proper time to heal so I won’t miss things up permanently. I am going to share more about our home birth experience on another post so just be patient with me while I prepare that.
This post is one that I feel every new mom can benefit from. I’m about to get real with y’all and share all the not so fun parts of post partum. For some reason people just associate PP with depression which is not the case. I often refer to this time as my Fourth Trimester and it’s sometimes the most intense. As amazing and euphoric as mom life is, it’s pretty intense after birth. Don’t get me wrong, that sweet little newborn gives me all the heart feels but, it’s def not all candy canes and rainbows. You not only go through a new transition with your body but you and that little newborn go through a transition of learning each other. Give yourself more than a little grace and throw your expectations out the window. Just be in the moment and know that it won’t be like this for long but while it is, here are some helpful tips.
1. You’re going to bleed. The first week is really intense but it will slack off. I am also not claiming to know an exact amount of time you will bleed. That’s different for everyone and every pregnancy. So, how do you cope with that amount of bleeding? Adult diapers and maxi pads. The bigger the better. Some people say to get granny panties for this time but anytime I’ve tried to wear panties after childbirth, blood always leaks on to them and makes a big mess so for that reason, I stick to Depends. They haven’t failed me the last three times I’ve had a baby and I just throw them away every time I have to go pee. I also make sure to line them with the thickest maxi pads I can find at the store. I normally take two pads and layer them long ways in the diaper to get the best absorption. Diapers aren’t made to absorb blood so don’t think you can just use that and skip the pads. You need the pads.
2. Your uterus is going to contract and cause cramps. This mess hurts more than labor, in my option. And fun fact, every time you have a baby, it gets worse. I was doubled over in pain so bad after I had Mercy from the cramping. I couldn’t even hold her. My midwife told me, she’s seen holistic moms with 5-6 kids have heavy meds on stand by because the cramps are so bad. For this reason, I suggest three things. A heating pad, arnica tablets and cramping bark + ginger tablets. Take the tablets a few minutes before nursing and make sure that heating pad is on high and on your belly before nursing. It still hurts but not as bad as without any pain meds.
3. If you are nursing, do yourself a favor and invest in nipple cream. I steer clear of the name brands that you see in the baby sections of stores because of the ingredients. You can look them up for yourself on www.ewg.org/skindeep and see what’s in them. So, where does that leave you for needing protection and help with dryness and cracking? I’ve found that the Beautycounter Protective Baby Balm works best for two reasons. The ingredients are clean and there are vitamins in it that cause healing. Heck yes! I have used this same balm for so many other uses including on my psoriasis flare ups so it’s a no brainer that I would just add it to my list of PP must haves.
4. Comfy pjs. Ladies, let me just share… you’re not gonna want anything tight or uncomfortable on your body for a whileeeee. You’re also gonna be stuck inside for a few weeks so why not be comfy? I’ve found that investing in a few pairs of nice pjs make all the difference in my emotional stance after I have a baby. Let me also share that, by “nice” I mean from Target! Hahaha. You don’t want to spend $100 on a pj set that’s going to be covered in spit up and your own blood. I’m a huge fan of softness and fabric that doesn’t change after it is washed. For this reason, I love the Gilligan and O’Malley brand from Target. I also love their undies but since we won’t be wearing those for a little while, it doesn’t matter. I currently own three sets of the button up top and shorts that are available on the Target website and in store and I love them. They are perfect for breastfeeding as well. If you would rather wear pants, then go for their pj bottoms in various patterns. I love the quality of these!
5. That brings me to the next most important item you need. A good support bra that doesn’t have underwire. My midwife advised me to not wear a bra for a full week after having Mercy but with my milk coming in, I knew I needed something to hold the nursing pads on my breasts and give me a little support. I am obsessed with this bra by True Body. It’s like a tank top but not and it’s so soft I don’t feel like I’m wearing anything! There’s no underwire so it skips that and it’s not tight and constricting. I actually own this in several colors and I alternate them as I get covered in milk or spit up.
That’s all you really need in the first week or so. I wouldn’t suggest putting much into your wardrobe at this point and just focus more on self care so you can take care of your sweet little bub. Let Dad do the laundry and cleaning and try to stay as horizontal and hydrated as possible so you heal. The worst thing that you could do is jump up and try to get back into your normal routine. You just birthed a baby for God’s sake. Act like it! 🙂