“One-month-old baby, one-month-old mother, one month of deep, all-consuming love, fixation, appreciation, dedication to you. One month of growing those tiny little fingers and toes. One month of baby coos, chest naps, hick-ups, and nursing. One month of feeling utterly complete, you are the most precious thing my arms have ever held. You’ve given me the greatest gift Lucy Marie, the profound meaning of life. And while the passing of time is truly bittersweet, being witness to your life for the past month has been my most treasured experience. I love you so much, sweet girl!”
I genuinely can’t believe it’s been a month already. Time felt as though it was at a standstill in the weeks leading up to Lucy’s birth. Then suddenly, it’s June 8th and I’m trying to make sense of where that time just went. I’m certain this is what happens in the first few months, especially considering all of the adjustments, the recovery, and just figuring things out in general. We went from feeling like every day was groundhogs day pre-birth, to something new and exciting everyday post-birth.
So many of you are going through the same right now, and it’s been so grounding to have this community of strong new mama’s. I’ve so loved chatting with all of you in DM, sharing stories, asking each other questions, and getting to know each other. I truly feel like I have this new and amazing community I am supported by! Last week, I asked a question on Instagram stories. I asked you guys; “what do you want to hear from me about my postpartum experience” and received SO MANY questions! So many that I’ve been actively procrastinating because of how much time I know it will entail. But here I am, showing up for all my mama’s out there to share my first month’s experience as a new mama!
As we all know, everyone’s experience is entirely different so please take mine as just that.
PHYSICAL RECOVERY + L&D
How are you??? How do you feel?
I thought it was appropriate to kick things off with a broad question because it’s the most common question you will get when you go through childbirth. As you guys read from my Birth Story, I went into childbirth feeling very mentally strong. Working with my doula combined with daily birthing meditation and practicing yoga truly helped me to feel prepared. Something, however, I didn’t feel as prepared for was recovery. Since I had no clue how my delivery would go, I had no clue how my recovery would go. Would I need a C-section? Would I tear? Would I be able to walk? The only thing I could control about my recovery was to be prepared to feel out of control. I truly feel like I prepared for the worst-case recovery, and therefore my recovery didn’t feel terrible because of that. On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the worst), my recovery was a 3. Minimal tearing, minimal bleeding postpartum, and Lucy picked up on breastfeeding immediately. I just dealt with minimal uncomfort down there – and as expected, because a baby just came out of my vagina!
What was the most unexpected thing about childbirth?
There were LOTS of unexpected things, but these are a few of the strangest things that I didn’t read about anywhere; while laboring, I felt the constant urge to pee. Getting up and out of bed to go to the bathroom was a hassle; they have you connected to heart monitors, so you have to be unplugged to use the toilet. At one point after the 10th time I said I needed to go pee, my nurse told me that I don’t have to pee, it’s just the pressure of the baby on my bladder. Once I knew that I didn’t have to pee anymore. I also didn’t realize that you have to deliver your placenta after you deliver your baby. So the contractions don’t stop suddenly, they’re definitely less intense, but the doctor pushed on my abdomen to help push it out, which I remember being a bit painful – mainly because I was just confused about what she was doing. Lastly, I popped so many blood vessels pushing. My eyes had two large popped blood vessels in the corners for almost two weeks; my entire chest was also covered in blood vessels. I looked bruised. All of this went away, though.
Maybe TMI, but how bad/not bad is the recovery from vaginal birth? Any tips?
Literally, prepare for the worst, hope for the best. From What I’ve heard from my friends though, it’s much easier than a c-section. Prenatal yoga is the BEST thing you can do for yourself, it really helps your cervix open up. I was on my yoga ball constantly the last few months and even labored on it. Here is a great YouTube channel that explains how to use it.
What helps with the pain? Like how do you get through it mentally?
I definitely thought that I was going to need something stronger but all I was taking were two Tylenol every 4 to 6 hours. That took the edge off for me. Also, you have to remember that you just went through the most painful thing you’ll probably ever go through in your life. Everything is temporary, even healing, so just continue to tell yourself that. Take it one day at a time so that you don’t get overwhelmed with how long your recovery will take.
Did you have to use FridaMom ice packs or the other scary looking recovery products from that line?
Yes! Don’t be afraid! The ice packs and perineal foam are Godsends! If you’re expecting and haven’t heard of the FridaMom kit, get one. You will use everything in that kit. Also, check out my hospital bag checklist, which as a few other postpartum essentials on the list.
Was it difficult getting in and out of bed?
Yes. Suddenly, you have use of your stomach, but don’t have any muscles that help your body to maneuver. That, on top of the fact that you’re going to be very sore, makes it tricky. This lasted for 3 – 4 days. Each day was significantly better than the last.
What’s the weirdest thing about recovery been?
Ok, maybe this is TMI, but it’s something I’ve never heard anyone talk about. It’s almost a good thing that I wasn’t able to see anyone for the first few weeks because my body odor from my armpits, was lethal. I hope you’re laughing because I am! I can’t tell you how shocked I was at myself. It’s obviously hormones at work, and I read that it’s how baby identifies where to nurse. But OH-EM-GEE, it was shocking! I am still dealing with it, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was in the first two weeks. Some fabrics I wear make it worse so I have been sticking to cotton only. No deodorant in the world could help it!
Are you dieting? How do you not have a tummy?
I definitely still have my postpartum weight. I gained a total of 35lbs during my pregnancy and still have 15 to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Somehow I managed not to get any stretch-marks which I give credit to using this stretchmark oil with. I would say that bloating starts to go down significantly around the two-week mark. I have not gone on any special diet. My doctor told me it’s important to have an additional 500- 700 calories when your breastfeeding, so I’ve been taking that very literally. We still haven’t been doing any takeout, although I have indulged in a pizza or two. Freddie cooks most meals and breakfasts consist of oatmeal granola and the occasional bagel and cream cheese. We are making lots of sandwiches and soups for lunch and dinner is mainly a protein of starch and vegetable. We’ve been cooking a lot of recipes from Joanna Gaines’s cookbook, and also a book called The First 40 days, which has a lot of amazing recipes in it. Like Lucy, I feed on demand, when I’m hungry I eat. Your body needs fuel to heal and recover, so the first six weeks is not the time to focus on baby weight loss.
Did you get postpartum night sweats?
YES! This is something else no one ever talks about. This happened for the first two weeks, 2 – 3 times a week. When your body is going through the intense parts of the hormone changes, for example, when your milk comes in.
How many days of postpartum recovery should I prepare for? (pads, undies, ice lads etc?)
Here was my breakdown;
1st week of these adult diapers, and you don’t need underwear since these will be your underwear. Plan for a week of ice packs.
2nd week, regular pads; buy extra underwear so you dont have to do a lot of laundry.
Is feeding going well? What’s it like when your milk comes in?
In short, yes! But the first week was tough, and there were definitely a few tears. Lucy latched immediately; almost minutes after she came out, she was rooting. It was painful at first, and yes, they do get dry and cracked and maybe even bleed a little. But I used this nursing balm, and everything was gone and back to normal in a week. My colostrum came in immediately, and at about day four, I felt my milk come in. This is also something I didn’t read about. But your boobs basically get really hard and huge, like pornstar huge, all the way up to my armpits and almost to my collarbone. I took a lot of hot showers for two days straight just to get my milk to let down. Once it comes down, things get easier. It’s a good week and a half adjustment period, but I kept telling myself, if I can go through natural childbirth, I can go through this.
How often do you pump?
Honestly, only when I want to have a glass of wine which is like once a week, if that. I really enjoy my time bonding when I feed her, so I don’t pump to pump. Also, if I feel like maybe my supply is running low, I will pump between feedings to generate more. They say what you produce based on demand, so if you pump, you’re tricking your body to think that the baby needs more, and you need to produce more.
Curious if your breastfeeding and if so, how it works with drinking wine and coffee? Is a little OK?
I had my first glass of wine at week two. I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it before then. I don’t drink coffee/caffeine because they say it really affects babies sleeping, so I have been sticking to this Mothers Milk tea 2 -3 times a day, which helps with milk production.
How do you know you’re producing enough milk?
Doctors will tell you that newborns up to a month will need 2 – 3oz of milk every 2 – 3 hours. But how do you know you’re producing that much? Once my milk came in on the 4th day, I pumped from each boob to find out how much I was producing. And I was producing about 2.5oz from each side. Which means I would feed on one, and then for the next feeding, I would feed on the other. On our first pediatrician’s visit on day 3, she said Lucy wasn’t gaining enough weight, so I increased the amount I was feeding her. Then on the 2nd pediatrician’s visit on the 4th day, the doctor was happy with the weight she had gained. It’s a little tricky, though. I pump once a week to see how much I am getting. I am up to 3.5oz per side, every 2 – 3 hours. Like I mentioned, your supply comes in from demand so if you can trick your body into producing more by pumping, this helps. Also, I drink 60 – 80 oz of water a day. Drinking a lot of water really helps with production.
Are you sleeping?
Yes, you guys, everyone says that you will never sleep again, I just have not found this to be true. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a good sleeper, but the trick is to nap when they nap even if it’s odd hours of the day. Don’t worry about chores or anything you have “todo.” If you follow this rule closely for the first few weeks, you will be just fine.
How many times do you get up during the night?
We chose to feed Lucy on demand. That being said, I won’t let her go more than 3 hours without feeding. When I would wake her up in the middle of the night to feed at 2 hours, she would just fall asleep on my boob and not drink anything. The first 2 weeks I was up 3 – 4 times and now that she’s a month, it’s 2 – 3 since I go to sleep late and wake up early with her and nap through the day. Just get ready for your sleep schedule to change radically.
How often do you check the babies’ breathing?
The first few nights, every time I heard a noise, I would check on her. But it gets easier; you learn to trust yourself and get to know the sounds your baby makes and what they mean.
How do you plan sleep times?
Currently, we have a schedule of 2 to 3 hours of sleep 30 minutes to an hour of “playtime” where we do tummy-time, change her diaper and engage with her. Then she’s ready for another nap. This is just our newborn schedule for the first few months; eat, sleep, play, change repeat.
Is she colicky?
We’ve been fortunate that Lucy is not colicky. She’s also very vocal and lets us know when she needs something. For example, when she cries, she’s either hungry or needs a diaper change, it’s always one of the other. She’s never just fussy to be fussy, which we’re hoping lasts.
Do you have a night nurse? Any help besides you and your husband?
When I was in my 20’s, I would joke with Freddie that I wouldn’t have kids until we could afford a night nurse. Even leading up to the birth, I was terrified of the idea of not having my mom around to help. How on earth would I manage cooking, cleaning, recovering, and taking care of baby? Hats off to all the mama’s that do! The key here is to have an open dialogue with your partner. Freddie and I had so many conversations leading up to her birth about who would do what and when so that neither of us builds up resentments, we both felt like we could get things done and that things were taken care of. Doing this on our own has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I can’t imagine having a night nurse now and not having that time to bond with the baby in the middle of the night. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that of course; I was just pleasantly surprised to discover that something I thought I needed so badly, was actually something I didn’t need at all. A forced discovery thanks to quarantine. All of that said, things would be wildly different if Freddie worked at an office full time. We are a team, 50/50 on everything we do. I can’t imagine doing it 100% alone and commend mothers who do.
Before you go! These were just 20 of the top recovery questions I had. There were so many more product related questions so I’ve decided to dedicate an upcoming blog post just to address all of the product questions I received. Will try and pull myself together enough to get that live by later this week!