I’m now the proud mommy to an almost 6 week old. I. Can’t. Believe. That. It seems like I was delivering her just yesterday and yet, I feel like she was always a part of me. Since it has been almost 6 weeks and I’ve already shared my must-have newborn list, I wanted to share the things that have gotten ME through this time as well as a postpartum update.
Labor and delivery obviously take a toll on your body. I was in labor 21 hours and pushed for 2 before Charlotte finally decided to join us. I lost quite a bit of blood during this and became anemic. I’ve been on an iron pill since but the daily fatigue and brutal headaches get to me. I’m someone who feels like I need to have a clean house and keep up with my chores for my sanity. This is especially true now that I spend pretty much 24/7 in it. It has been hard for me to not always be able to do the things that I feel like I should be but thankfully, I’ve had some help from family to be able to get things done when I don’t always feel my best. Always accept the help and give yourself a break if things aren’t always perfect–I know it’s easier said than done but sometimes the floors don’t get vacuumed and the laundry stays in the dryer a couple days. This has been something I have had to become okay with. Right now, I’m focusing on balancing my life with a baby and learning how to divide my time between possibly going back to work some hours eventually, having quality time with my husband and the things I enjoy. Every aspect of life with baby has gotten so much easier though and that’s something you have to remember when times are tough. Being a mom is definitely a challenge that you do not understand until you are one but it’s also the most incredibly amazing job in the world.
*Postpartum Essentials: I’ve compiled the unglamorous list for self-care.
- If breastfeeding- Plenty of nice nursing bras, breast pads and a soothing balm for those first couple weeks. Breastfeeding can be very tough so I think it’s incredibly important to have anything that can make it easier in the beginning. I’m very fortunate that my baby immediately latched and never had any issues with nursing. However, I had no idea the amount of time that she would feed in the coming weeks–especially during times of growth spurts. I was pretty much nursing non-stop. Reminding yourself that your baby is going through such major milestones is so helpful but it is exhausting for a mama as well. I carried my Bamboobies brand nipple balm around constantly for the first several weeks. Just know that it gets easier. As for nursing pads, there are only 2 kinds that have worked for me. For washable pads, I use these and for disposable pads, I use these (props to Target on them!) Both are much thicker and more absorbent than the others that I’ve tried and have less of a chance of giving you a fun surprise through your shirt in public. My favorite nursing bra is this one. I actually haven’t had it long but I wish I would’ve bought it at the start. I do have a nursing pillow and while some people highly recommend one, I actually don’t use mine much. I found that it’s still a little large for my not small baby. For us, it was more hassle than helpful but I know that’s not the case for everyone. When I want to nurse hands-free, I typically use blankets to prop her up.
- Without going into too much detail, just get some Depends. My hospital’s selection of undergarments and pads was honestly just sad. I am not sure how that small of a pad would work for anyone who had just delievered a baby. So, if you have a similar experience as me, just bring them to the hospital with you. This way, you don’t have to worry about ruining your own things but will have the needed absorbancy.
- Comfortable lounging outfits that are nursing friendly if you breastfeed but make you feel put together. Again, with being at home all the time, having some spit-up running down your chest and not having time to get ready, it’s easy to feel a little blah. I wish I would’ve stocked up on a greater variety of lounging outfits that still made me feel good. I’m constantly doing laundry because I only bought a few things like this. I plan to change that soon.
- Baths. They were absolutely essential for the first several weeks. Enlist the help of your partner or someone who can watch your baby while you take a bath. Remember, you have to keep yourself healthy in order to care for your baby.
- Have stool softeners already purchased at your home. Enough said.
- The hospitals peri bottle or some similar type of bottle to clean and provide relief.
- Tucks. Again, for relief where you need it.
- A nice water bottle. You need to stay hydrated and sometimes that’s the last thing on your mind. Getting a water bottle and keeping it near you might help you remember.
- EASY meals. The last thing I wanted to do was cook. Peanut butter and jelly have become my favorite foods. Have quick and simple foods on hand and accept meals from others who want to help.
- Patience. You just did the most incredible thing in the world. Take it easy on yourself. Your body is not going to immediately feel or look the same as before. Your hormones are off the charts. You might feel defeated at times. Know that you’re doing great and we’ve all been there when you feel like you’re not.