I have only been a newborn mom again for a week and a half, but I wanted to give an update on how the postpartum period is going. This post has some very personal confessions, but I hope that my experiences might help another mom. I will try to do a couple of these posts as time progresses. I also wanted to share my postpartum essentials (the fun part!) to help survive the newborn period. My must-haves for the first couple of weeks after childbirth are first, and the heavier subjects are toward the bottom of the post.
Nursing Help: Exclusive breastfeeding and/or pumping is a lot of work! As a new mom all over again, I think that anything that makes this easier is worth it. I’ve listed some of the essentials, in my opinion, below:
- Nursing Bras: I would like to buy at least one prettier bra, but for now I have some basics. These sports-bra style nursing bras from Target are great to wear during the night and around the house. If I am going out and wearing real clothes, I like to wear my bra that has the clasps at the strap, right above the cup. These allow for easy access for the baby, and it is still easy to cover up while nursing.
- Nursing Pads: If you’re new to breastfeeding, know that it can be a little messy. I’m sure it’s worse at the beginning, but your milk can leak, so it’s a good idea to wear disposable pads inside of your bra.
- Boppy Pillow: For your own comfort, I highly recommend a Boppy pillow. It is a simple concept, but it works so well, and allows you a place to rest the baby while you nurse. Plus the covers are washable!
- Pump: Did you know that your health insurance should cover a breast pump? If you are pregnant, call your insurance provider to ask about this. I have a Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced, which works very well. Mine did not come with the tote or freezer pack.
- Pumping Bra: Hello, life saver! I didn’t use one of these when I had Davis, but my friend recommended this to me, and it is the greatest thing ever! You can pump hands-free, which is so convenient.
- Bag for Your Pump: My girlfriend has to pump at work often, and I saw that she keeps her pump and all of the parts in a bag for easy transport. I copied her and found a tote bag to keep my pump, my pumping bra, and the parts to the pump in. It’s been really convenient, even just for keeping up with the parts and toting around the house!
- Button-Front Pajamas: Vital for night feedings. I honestly love wearing mine at night, because you can easily unbutton them, rather than lifting a large t-shirt, etc. I am planning to ask for another pair of the Victoria’s Secret ones for Christmas this year. Todd bought me a pair years ago, and I still love them.
Me Time: As a new mom, I feel kind of “ick” a lot of the time, because there is little time to shower when I want, or time to get fully ready. Taking 10 minutes every few nights, and doing a face mask has helped me feel refreshed, and allowed for some “me time.” If you are recovering from childbirth and have stitches, an epsom salt bath can help with healing, so I have done this mask while taking a bath.
Pain Help: Unless you’re having a c-section, just trust me and buy this. Your hospital may also provide some, but I’ve since used more at home. Dermoplast spray can really help with post-birth discomfort and pain! Bonus – it’s great to use right before a bikini wax. 😉
Leggings: My girlfriend recommended these Blanqui high-waisted postpartum leggings, and I’m so glad I took her advice. They are full coverage, and very high-waisted. They seem to really suck me in, which I’m grateful for these days. These leggings are also more comfortable than most of my other leggings.
Concealer: Any mom, in any stage, needs a good concealer. And a large cup of coffee. Amen?! I am still a believer in Tarte clay concealer. I apply it with a brush, and top it with a really light finishing powder. (These are some of my makeup basics, with the concealer in the middle).
Now for the more personal subjects…
Weight: I gained around 30 pounds during my pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Davis I watched the scale like a hawk. This time I decided to try not to stress over it, and only saw my weight at my prenatal check-ups. I think I have 9 or 10 pounds to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. But again, I’m not stressing over it. Honestly the number is less important to me than being able to breastfeed. As long as I can comfortably fit into my old clothes within the next month or two, I’ll feel good about it! Once I am cleared to exercise, I plan to restart the BBG program (by Kayle Itsines), which I was doing before I got pregnant.
Emotions: After having Davis I had postpartum depression and everything just felt so incredibly hard. Breastfeeding didn’t go well, we were beyond exhausted (because he cried constantly and never slept), and I had no clue what I was doing. I also did not ask for help. This time I feel more confident and relaxed. We are exhausted but we feel like we have more of a grasp on parenting this time around. Postpartum depression sneaks up on you in a bad way. I didn’t realize I had it until I had been a mom for 6+ months. If you’re feeling low, extremely lethargic, sad, cry a lot, frustrated, annoyed at having to breastfeed, or like you just can’t do it any more, I’d encourage you to speak to someone and ask for help. At least confide in your husband or a fellow momma friend. If I had done this more, and sought help from a lactation consultant, we most likely would’ve had an easier time with Davis. I have an appointment with a lactation consultant tomorrow, and I will gladly take any extra advice. Sometimes cases of postpartum depression can be more serious, and women require more help than simply speaking to someone. I am just speaking from my personal experience with it.
Placenta pills: Some of you may think I’m a total weirdo because of this but I had my placenta encapsulated, and I am a believer! I honestly think it has made a big difference in my recovery, mood, and milk production. If any of you would like more info on who I hired, cost, etc, please leave a comment or feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nursing: I have been feeding our little guy on demand, not worrying yet about any kind of schedule. I was encouraged by lactation consultants and friends to feed him when he shows hunger cues. This helps establish my supply, helps him gain necessary weight, and helps with his jaundice. It is exhausting, but so far it has been a pretty positive experience (thankfully!!!). I feel like it is literally all I do, but I’m trying to remember that this is just a season, and I do not want to rush this time.