Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Postpartum Necessities: Revisited

When I authored this post two years ago, I never thought it would be one of my most popular blog posts. (Who would have thought?!) 

But in all seriousness, when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, I didn't know what to expect about labor and delivery…nor the recovery process. So I searched Pinterest…and I really couldn't find anything. Like I said two years ago, everyone wants to talk about pregnancy, and the new baby, and what parenting is going to be like, but no one wants to talk about the postpartum stuff: leaky boobs, bleeding, pads, a jiggly tummy…and the list goes on and on. (I mean, it isn't the most desirable subject to talk about, to be honest.)

So, after having had Walker and gone through the recovery process, I authored this post about the postpartum necessities, and I hope it has helped many women in their recovery process! 

Since baby boy #2 will be here in two short months (!!!), I thought I'd revisit it two years later and update it just a bit…and also to remind myself of the fact that postpartum recovery is no joke -- but it does get better and easier with time. Here are a few things that I was shocked to find out about my own postpartum body, along with some of the products/items that were true lifesavers to me after having Walker. (I'd recommend stocking up before the baby arrives!) 

And again, like I said two years ago, this isn't necessarily the most ladylike or becoming blog post, but I want others to be prepared and confident about what's going to happen. (Note: I didn't have a C-section with Walker, and I know that recovery is quite different. So, these are my notes from not having had a C-section.) 

My Postpartum Necessities: 

one || two || three

four || five || six 

seven || eight || nine || ten 

Now let's get real: 

1. You will bleed. A lot. {Gross, right? I'm just being brutally honest here.} 
After you have the baby and your epidural wears off -- if you choose to get one -- your nurse will wheel you into the bathroom and you'll have to use the restroom in front of her. My sweet nurse, Kim, was amazing and I felt very comfortable in front of her. (But seriously, after giving birth, your modesty pretty much goes out the door. You're like, "Oh, pee in front of someone? Sure, I got this.") The nurse will give you a little squirt bottle of water you pat yourself dry, then use these giant mesh granny panties and economy-sized pads for your stay in the hospital. Don't be surprised at the fact that you'll bleed. I mean, you haven't for 9+ months, so it's just gonna happen.

2. Going to the restroom is zero fun. 
Pretty self-explanatory, right? You had a lot going on down there (maybe even stitches), so going to the restroom isn't exactly a walk in the park. They give you stool softeners in the hospital, and I'd advise you to take some when you get home, too. When I first went to the bathroom at home, I told my mom, "Yeah, that was not fun. At all." And she just laughed. She'd been there; she got it. Also? It takes you a lot longer to go to the bathroom, so just prepare yourself. 

3. You will cry. A lot. 
When I read blogs during my pregnancy, I saw so many people comment about crying, and ridiculously thought, "Oh, that won't be me. I'm going to be so joyful; why cry?" HA! You have so, so many emotions and hormones going on in your body that sometimes you can't help but cry. (And over the stupidest things that you know are stupid to be crying over, but you just can't help it.) I cried when I was feeding Walker and thought about taking him to day care at 13 weeks; I cried at the "Because of Mom" commercials on TV; I cried because I was so dang tired; I cried because we were out of ice cream; I cried because he didn't sleep much at first. Which leads me to…

4. Unless your child is perfect, you will be up every 1-3 hours at night. 
I don't know what I was expecting -- a perfect baby, maybe? -- but I wasn't expecting to be up so often at night. When babies nurse, they eat 1-3 hours from the time they started, not finished. So, Walker typically ate every two hours during the day and every three hours at night in the beginning. That meant: I started feeding him at 2 p.m. and it took him 30 minutes to finish. So, I then started feeding him again an hour and a half later at 4 p.m. And you have to calculate time in there to burp and change them. It's a marathon! The sleep was pretty bad at first, and that's coming from someone who loves her sleep. But, your body slowly adjusts to being up every 2-3 hours, and I promise: they DO sleep eventually, and so do you! You can do anything for a short while. :)

5. Speaking of feeding, your milk doesn't come in right away. 
Again, I was naïve and thought I would wake up in the hospital the day after Walker was born to boobs full of milk. Uh, no. In fact, it was quite the opposite. My milk didn't come in until the morning of Day 5 after his birth, and I'm not going to lie -- those five days of trying to feed him were awful. No one tells you that breastfeeding hurts at first. Your boobs will become dry, sore, bleed and even have callouses. {What a pretty sight, right?} But I will tell you that IT GETS BETTER. And if you have to supplement with formula while you wait for your milk to come in -- or if you strictly formula feed -- you are a good mom. I had to have my mom and the hospital's lactation consultant tell me that before I believed it, but it's true. My mom would force me to pump while I was waiting on my milk to come in because it's supposed to really encourage it to do so. That hurt, too, but I knew my milk came in because I was pumping the morning of Day 5 and it just appeared out of thin air (boob?). You would have thought I won a million dollars I was so excited. Also? Your boobs will leak. Not a water fountain or anything, but they'll definitely leak. (And sometimes during intimate moments; or when other babies cry; or even when you're in the shower.) 

6. You will still have a small belly. 
Think Duchess Catherine here. The baby doesn't come out and you immediately have your body back. It takes a while to go back to "normal," and that's okay. Breastfeeding/pumping does help take down the belly because it shrinks your uterus back down. (And yeah, that doesn't exactly feel amazing, either.) Additionally, you will still swell in places. In fact, I had to have the fire department come to my house a few weeks after Walker was born because I stupidly put my wedding ring on for his newborn portraits and couldn't get it off. My finger was swelling and turning purple and just wouldn't budge, so the Fire Chief had to cut my beautiful wedding ring off my finger with what looked like a miniature can opener. So, moral of the story: it's okay to not wear your wedding rings or have tight shoes after baby! (Thankfully I can totally laugh at that story now!) You'll be able to wear it again soon!

7. You will be in the weirdest clothing limbo ever. 
I laughed when people told me I'd still be wearing maternity clothes after Walker was born. But alas, I did. They were a little big, but my regular clothes were too small. So, I pretty much lived in pajamas and/or jersey knit pants for a couple of weeks until everything started to fit okay again. And guess what? Your cute clothes will fit again! 

But, amongst all of this gross, yucky stuff, you have a beautiful baby that you had a part in creating -- who you love more than anything in the world -- makes all of the icky stuff so worth it. My best friend's dad jokes that they put "forgetful medicine" in the IV's at the hospital so you forget about all of it and do it again. ;) 

So, thank you for reading. Every mama -- and soon-to-be or future mama -- has to get real every now and then, right?! Right. 


  1. Very informative post, thanks for sharing.

  2. This is a really helpful post...and very real. I think it's good to know the good and bad to expect so you can be as prepared as possible and aren't feeling like "omg, is this normal?"

  3. Oh my gosh scary and informative! The most beautiful yet non-glamorous stage ever. I remember watching my sister go through it with both of hers and she was making me pull her granny panties up because she couldn't bend over... modesty totally out the window! Watching her definitely opened my eyes to this whole postpartum experience!

  4. Thanks for writing this! I feel like I know so much about it, but will be completely different when I go through it for the first time in 2ish months!!

  5. Seriously, once we have kids I think I'm just going to scan through all your posts again - so helpful! Learned so many new things already!

  6. All great points, and so true! I need to send this to my sister for her first baby experience in a couple of months. Also, that is scary, but hilarious about the wedding ring. What a story to tell now!

  7. Just when I was starting to think about maybe in the near-ish future that another baby was a good idea, you've brought me back to reality...haha! Jk. Sort of.


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