So as most people know you don’t just have a baby and snap right back to pre baby life and body. Your body just gave birth to a miracle and there is a lot that needs to happen for your body to recover.
This is all about my first 6 weeks postpartum and the changes I have experienced.
40 weeks pregnant
The first couple days
The first couple days after baby are some of the hardest. The uterus continues to contract, trying to navigate breastfeeding, sore muscles from delivery, and a sore undercarriage from delivery.
My body at 3 days postpartum still looked pregnant. It is so strange to know the baby is out but to see your body looking like there is still a baby in there. However it is important to recognize everything the body just did and how incredible it is to have stretched out so far to make room for a baby and that it will take time to come back together.
Lucky for me I didn’t have any tearing this time but that doesn’t mean it still didn’t hurt. I did have some “scratches.” Using the bathroom to go pee was terrible…so much burning so I highly recommend using a squirt bottle while peeing to help it sting less. Key words are sting less…it still stings a lot. Also go to the bathroom as frequently as possible. I wouldn’t realize how bad I had to pee until all of a sudden it was like “I gotta pee!”
Breastfeeding was another challenge. Owen was born tongue tied and so that interfered with nursing. We did have it clipped but until then it was a little challenging getting him to latch and stay latched. After it was clipped he latched much better. However no matter how good the latch, the nipples still get sore and cracked. Not right away but within a few days. I would highly recommended taking care of your nipples right away, even before the soreness. I loved motherlove nipple cream and ice packs to help with sore nipples. Also medela nipple shells were a life safer for me. Also, drink lots of water. I get so thirsty every time I nurse.
So much bleeding too. The hospital provided me with everything I needed in that area but I also was stocked up with large pads at home and even some freezer padsicles (frozen pads with aloe vera, witch hazel, and lavender) too. The first day is the heaviest but it gets less and less with each day.
The uterus contractions after baby were painful. More painful this time than they were with Liam. I used a hot pack and iBuprofen/Tylenol to help with the pain. They only lasted about 3 days where they were so painful.
My legs were super sore/tired post baby. I think I may have been tensing up during my contractions and therefore they got sore. Plus spending so much time laying and sitting post baby didn’t give my muscles much action. I did walk around a little to help but they were sore. I tried to do some light stretching as well.
As time passed…
I’m not sure when it started because I don’t remember it happening at the hospital but I had some serious night sweats. Every night. I would wake up so hot and sweaty but then I would get up, feed Owen, and then be freezing. This lasted several weeks.
Breastfeeding became way easier. It took about 2-3 weeks to get my nipples in a place where feeding now longer hurt. I stayed on top of my nipple cream application, wearing the shells when I was home and able, allowing my nipples to “get air” after each feeding, and iBuprofen/Tylenol when the pain was strong. All of this helped my nipples heal quicker. With Liam it took me 6 week due to a poor latch in the beginning so be sure to get help with that latch!
The bleeding continued down below. Certain days were heavier than others and this was especially true of the days I was more active. I went through 2 packs of pads in about 3 weeks probably. I changed it frequently especially early on during the heavier bleeding.
My body did not really feel like my own for many weeks. I would wear a post baby girdle to help get my belly back. The girdle helps the uterus shrink down quicker and it also helps get the abdominal muscles back to where they are suppose to go.
Reaching the 6 weeks milestone. I had my 6 week appointment and all is healing well. My abs still have a small gap (totally normal) and so I need to modify any ab work during my exercising. Other than that my midwife said her farewells and to call if anything came up that I had questions about. It is so weird seeing someone so frequently for about a year and then saying goodbye. I am going to miss seeing her!
Breastfeeding is a breeze at this point. It makes me thankful to stick out those challenging weeks and be able to follow the plan I had to breastfeed my baby. I am hoping to make it to 1 year but I am starting with a smaller goal of 6 months to start. I have been pumping in addition to feeding to help me build up a freezer stash. I did this with Liam also. This way if anything happens where I no longer produce milk or if I want to stop feeding a little before a year or whenever, I will have some frozen milk to use as well. With Liam my stash lasted an extra month after stopping nursing him.
The undercarriage….things are healed up really nice with just some spotting here and there. It’s amazing how long it takes for things to get normal down there.
My body…I know it isn’t my pre-baby body (yet) but I am very happy with where I am at. My belly right now feels mushy and my pants still don’t fit quite like I would like and I am still above my pre-pregnancy weight by about 10 lbs. However, I feel that at 6 weeks postpartum I look good and I feel good. Also this is with minimal to no exercise! It’s always an adjustment to have the bigger boobs and my clothes fit differently because of them but I am finding shirts I like better than others right now and I know that the big boobs will get small again eventually.
**Every woman heals differently. This post is not made to be a comparison. It is made to share my experience and as a journal for me to reference. Every body is different, every baby is different, and recovery can take less time or longer for different individuals.
Things I love postpartum:
- Medela nipple shells
- Motherlove nipple cream
- Blanqi nursing leggings and nursing tanks
- post baby girdle
- Isagenix (not mentioned about but love this nutritious shake and have one for breakfast every day —for almost 2 years now!)
- Target nursing tanks —I live in these!
- Placenta encapsulation (I definitely feel these helped regulate my mood/hormones, increase milk supply, and get uterus to shrink faster —see my link from when I used them with Liam)