Now that I’m 3 weeks into the 4th trimester of pregnancy (aka postpartum) I thought I’d share a bit about how things have been going so far.
I was nervous about how nursing would go and my motto was, “it’s okay to feel kinda icky about breastfeeding. AND it’s okay to try to do it anyways.” Breastfeeding was painful for the first 6 days. My nipples were mega blistered and there was some bleeding. I was confused because so much of what I heard said, “if breastfeeding is painful you’re doing it wrong.” Andrew and I met with a lactation consultant in the hospital and watched some Youtube videos on proper latching. One nurse mentioned it can take a few days for your nipples to toughen up a bit. I mean, makes sense…I’ve never had someone sucking on my nipples for hours at a time before.
On day 7 of her life I fed Joanna and realized there was pretty much no pain and all blisters/bleeding had gone away. I wouldn’t say nursing is 100% pain free now. When Jojo first latches I take 3 deep breaths because right when she starts feeding can be a bit painful…then it subsides. But there are no more blisters or bleeding and at least once a day when I’m nursing her I wanna scream, “THIS IS THE MOST MAGICAL THING! I LOVE BREASTFEEDING! MY BABY IS SO SWEET AND CUTE AND I LOVE HOW SHE RESTS HER LITTLE HANDS ON MY BOOB LIKE THAT.” And then the other 5-10 times we feed that day I’m like, “blah. Let’s just turn on the tv and get through this feed.”
I haven’t started pumping and storing milk yet, (because honestly it sounds like one more thing to figure out and I don’t wanna overwhelm myself), but I do wanna start having Andrew give her a bottle because 1) I think it’s a cool bonding thing to feed her, 2) I will be going back to work in early 2018 and I wanna make sure Jo will easily take a bottle, and 3) I wouldn’t mind giving my nipples a break from time to time.
Things I found to be super helpful for nursing (some affiliate links included)…
- Medela Tender Care Hydrogel Pads – SO SOOTHING for your nipples. I highly recommend these. I ended up buying 12 pairs of them because my boobs leak and ruin them pretty quickly.
- Boppy Nursing Pillow – I’d recommend getting as many odd shaped pillows as you can. They’re great for stuffing behind baby to support her during feeds. I also have a random cylinder shaped pillow that I’ve found works great for nursing.
- Booby Tubes – These are excellent because you can wrap them around your boob so your nipple is sticking out of the center, which keeps your nipples from touching anything while allowing them to dry out. Even 3 weeks into nursing I’m still using these.
- Netflix shows/deep breathing during the first 6 days when feeding was painful and I needed a bit of a distraction.
- 3 nursing bras. I have two of these and this one.
- Nursing pads. I’ve got disposable and non-disposable ones. I find the non-disposable ones are less rough on my nipple, so I prefer those…but if those aren’t clean I think it’s convenient to have the disposable kind. I’ve got Bamboobies (Reusable) and Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads.
I haven’t really felt ravenous. I’d heard a lot of people say they constantly felt hungry while nursing, but I’m doing a good job staying ahead of the hunger by eating meals and snacks constantly throughout the day. It helps to have friends, family, and UberEats dropping off meals!
My first poop after delivery.
Holy crap. This was something I didn’t know was gonna be so tough. I didn’t poop for 4 days after delivery (which I’m told is typical) and during my first poop I cried my eyes out because it felt pretty scary and like my stitches in my perineum were going to pop out. Pooping has gotten a million times easier, but for a while there it was like I forgot how to poop. Some of you mentioned you used flaxseed + water to help poop after delivery, but I chose to take the stool softener my OB prescribed…and I continued to take it until just recently.
During pregnancy I felt really scared about postpartum depression. Instead of being able to be curious about the unknown, I felt myself getting more and more terrified. The below quote about the unknown is one I love, but in pregnancy I found in really hard to cope with anything and everything life…so I couldn’t get my mind to a place of curiosity.
But here I am 3 weeks into motherhood and I’ve never felt happier. I think it’s similar to how I felt after getting married. The first year of marriage and ever since I’ve felt like I was MADE to be married. I’ve find being married to be a lot of fun and I feel the same way about caring for Joanna. I’ve only cried once since she was born…when Andrew went back to work. I’m not saying that in a brag-y, “oh look at me I’ve only cried once” way. I’m just sharing my experience. I know that isn’t everyone’s experience postpartum and I’m grateful my mood has been so positive. Andrew reminds me that it’s okay if my mood does shift and I do start feeling sad and emotional. I think something that is hugely helpful is that we have so much family support between our parents and caring mom friends who have been reaching out and giving me a lot of support. If you are reading, big thank you to Nikki, Ashley, Stephanie and Kristin.
I’ve been able to give myself a ton of self compassion by remembering that Jo has never been a baby before and doesn’t know how to handle anything and I’ve never been a mom before so we’re just gonna figure everything out together.
Right now taking care of myself looks like doing the below Well Mom checklist everyday. The list (which I changed a bit) was given to me by my OB via a local therapist office.
The more I’ve thought about it over the last 3 weeks, I’d believe that pregnancy and giving birth marked my 100% complete recovery from my eating disorder. This time has been incredibly special for me as I’ve been able to trust my body like I never had before through the body changes in pregnancy and while pushing out baby girl.
In pregnancy I knew that my body knew how to gain the right amount of weight and it wasn’t something I needed to try and control. And in this post-partum period I know that my body will find the body size it is meant to be. I’m feeling good about letting my body size journey as it needs to. My job is to take care of myself and that doesn’t involve me aiming to end up at a certain body size. Right now taking care of myself involves me focusing on doing the above list each day.
My body has been through a lot over the past year…
48 hours before I delivered…
24 hours after birth…
2 1/2 weeks after birth…
I honestly haven’t thought that much about my body other than having awareness that my body feels like a soft-fleshy-limp-noodle that makes milk to sustain a cute little baby. And that is the perfect body for me in this season of life.
Our bodies are made to change. I think it’d be pointless and exhausting to be attached to staying the same exact size, which I talked about here and here. The more time you spend teaching your brain to focus on things that are more important than your body size, the easier body changes will be for you to journey though. Here’s a post on reframing unhelpful thoughts (aka retraining your brain to focus on things other than body size).
I am excited to be able to move again in a few weeks, but I’m being patient. Short, slow walks and stretching are fine and it’s rejuvenating to get outside, but after a longer walk recently my stitches were super achy (the aforementioned “flu of the vagina sensation” lol) and I know that was my body telling me that longer walks aren’t okay right now.
2 postpartum essentials I loved (any of these would make excellent gifts for moms to be!)
1. Fridababy Fridet Peribottle. This is for washing your perineum postpartum. My friend Stephanie gifted me this and it’s fabulous. The hospital sends you home with a peribottle, but this one is angled and a million times better.
2. Friends, family and UberEats to bring meals and snacks.
Sally (Andrew’s mom) loaded our fridge and freezer with meals and snacks. My parents have come over multiple nights and cooked us dinner at our house. It is so helpful to not have to think about cooking. If there is a way to gift an UberEats giftcard, that’d be an EXCELLENT gift for a family with a new little one!
So that’s how things are going so far! I hope you’re enjoying coming along on this journey with us!