I am blown away with the response from my first post about everything they don't tell you about having a baby! It's doing so well that I thought it was time to expand on the topic. That's right...there's a few other things that happen in the weeks and months after having a baby that I had no idea about either! So here is (almost) everything they don't tell you about your 6 weeks postpartum
1. You'll still look pregnant
This is the one for all of the crying emojis...I totally thought my stomach would shrink back to normal size after I pushed that baby out of me. Oh no! It's actually worse after you have the baby because instead of being huge, your belly is huge AND squishy. Yuck! I did find that one item that helped soooo much with this was an abdominal binder.
I stick that thing on 24 hours after giving birth and wear it non-stop (except for sleeping) during the first week and it does wonders! I did notice that with baby #2 my belly did not shrink back to size quite as quickly, but I think that's because I had some minor diastasis recti. But now that I've been exercising and strengthening my core, I'd say my stomach is almost back to it's original size. The first picture is in July, at one month postpartum. The second picture is from February.
2. Your body looks different
And while we're talking about squishy stomachs, your body in general may look different. I remember looking at myself after having my first baby and realizing that there was weight around my hips that wasn't there before, and yes I had the dreaded mom "pooch". I think exercise can help with toning and tightening some of these areas, but your body is probably going to look a little different from here on out.
Walking is also a little weird for the first few days. Think about it...you're sore from having a baby AND you've been used to doing the pregnant waddle for the last 9 months. So walking may seem a little foreign and odd, but you'll get back in the groove in a few days.
4. Sore Nipples
Yes, if your breastfeeding your nipples are going to be sore! I guess that sensitive part of your body takes some warming up to having a little hungry human sucking on it 8 times a day! So while it's sensitive I highly suggest lathering on the Lanolin. It usually takes me 3-4 weeks for my body to adjust to the feedings, but it may be longer or quicker for you! So until then, Lanolin, and protect those nipples in the shower. Something about the water hitting them...ouch!
And while we're on the subject of nipples...there's a lovely event called your "milk coming in." Holy cow ouch again!!! It feels like you're sleeping on rocks and your chest is going to explode with milk. There's no better way to explain it. This lasts for a much shorter time than the sore nipples, but it's still something that's super uncomfortable. To help with the pain, I usually take a heating pack and apply it directly to the breast to help with the pain. I've also heard cabbage leaves help, but I've never tried that. The only way to really help with this is to nurse often and just wait it out. This is probably why most women give up with breastfeeding because it's so painful at the beginning, but don't give up! The pain will pass and now I don't even feel it when my baby is nursing.
And no I'm not talking about from your boobs...this is leaking that happens down there when you have to go to the bathroom and just can't hold it anymore. Yes, that's what all of those kegels were for! I just wasn't prepared for how weak those muscles would be. You really have to retrain them how to stop yourself from peeing your pants! It's definitely worth it to keep those kegels up even after you've had baby. I tried to do a few every time I breastfed in the first months.
7. Hair Loss
This one I had NO idea about until I started picking up huge piles of hair after I would wash and blow dry. I turned in horror to social media and lots of moms confirmed that it was totally normal. Yes, your hair will probably fall out leaving those lovely, wispy baby hairs that are short and stick out. There's really no solution for this except waiting it out (unless there's something I don't know!). I'm dealing with this now myself so I just have to hairspray those pesky baby hairs down!
I worked out up until the day before I had my second baby and was pretty proud of that fact, so I thought I would just ease back into doing the intense workouts I was doing before I got pregnant. Even with the exercise I did during pregnancy, I was super winded and tired after exercising for 15 minutes. You'll definitely want to ease back into your regular workouts and take things slow. But don't feel bad if you're not running a half marathon 6 weeks postpartum. It takes time and at 9 months postpartum I feel like I've finally gotten my stamina back. For more info on what I've done to lose the baby weight and get back in shape you can check out this post here.
9. Sleep, what sleep???
Exercise is tough after baby, but it's even worse when you're not getting any sleep. Doing anything is tough when you're not getting sleep! Babies wake up during the night to eat for several weeks which means not a lot of sleep for mom. Just accept the fact that you may feel like a zombie during the first few days (or weeks, or months!) after having a baby. And moms...I totally get it. My first did not sleep through the night until he was 18 months!!!!! I was completely exhausted and so overwhelmed. One thing that finally helped us was using Baby Wise. I wish someone had told me about it sooner! I know it's not for everyone, but I used it with my second baby (just to test it) and she was sleeping through the night at 10 weeks and has done so since then.
10. You may not feel like yourself
On top of the lack of sleep I wasn't getting with my first, I slowly realized that I didn't feel the way I did before I got pregnant. I knew about Postpartum Depression and was looking for signs, but I never felt sad or withdrawn or depressed so I didn't think I had it. But when the strange emotions crept back after my second baby, I knew something wasn't right. I started researching more and discovered that anger is an emotion commonly felt during Postpartum Depression. I knew that's what was happening. I was just angry all of the time, at my baby for crying, at my toddler for disobeying, at my husband for the smallest things. It wasn't fun and I wasn't enjoying being a mom. I would see all these other mothers posting about how much they loved motherhood, but I didn't love it and that made me feel even worse.
I finally called my OB and got a prescription and things have been much better since then. It's not that I don't get angry still, but it's a lot more manageable than it was, so if you're not feeling like yourself, know that it's common, but not normal and you should definitely talk to your doctor about it. That was probably the hardest part for me, but I'm so glad that I did.
These are just a few things that were a surprise to me after having my babies, so I hope that now they won't be a surprise to you!
Thank you so much for reading and supporting this little blog of mine! Motherhood is truly such a blessing and I'm so glad I get to experience it.
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