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Looking back, I was woefully unprepared for my postpartum recovery with my daughter back in 2017. She was my first baby, and I kind of figured that there wasn’t much point in doing that much research about postpartum life because I thought it was primarily something you learned at the moment.
And to be honest, there was a big part of me that so was so terrified of labor and delivery and what life would be like after my baby was born that I didn’t want to know more. (You can read all about my fears of labor and delivery here.) I didn’t want to hear other people’s horror stories of labor, newborn life or what the healing process was like. So, if you’re in this camp, I totally get it.
However, I think that these 10 things would have been great to have
As you read this list, please keep in mind that I’m not trying to scare you, but more give you a heads up so that you won’t be as freaked out as I was when they happened to me!
10 Things About Postpartum Recovery
1. When your milk comes in, it might feel like your boobs got into a car wreck.
My mother-in-law mentioned to me in passing that when your milk comes in, I was definitely gonna feel it. But let me tell you, the heaviness and pain that I felt, woah.
It literally felt like my boobs were bruised or beat up by something. I always thought that your milk would just be there, not physically come in like a freight train and feel like an elephant sitting on your chest.
The pain definitely subsides, but it’s good to know what the pain is if you experience it.
(Also, you may want to invest in some breast pads because it is super easy to leak in those early days as your body is adjusting to having milk. Check out all the options on Amazon here.)
2. Disposable underwear, Tucks, Dermoplast
and Perineal Irrigation Bottles may just be your best friend.
In the hospital post-delivery, they’ll likely give you some version of mesh underwear and an industrial pad. While this was fine in the hospital, I quickly discovered that for me, disposable underwear was the best, most comfortable solution for me. It kept things feeling secure, I could add an additional pad inside when there was a lot of bleeding, and I could throw the whole thing away.
Tucks Pads and Dermoplast are both great products for taking the burn out of your healing girly bits. The Tucks Pads are cooling (and also great for hemorrhoids, which we’ll be talking about next). Dermoplast is a numbing spray. Together, they’re the dream team.
The irrigation bottles will help you essentially spray clean water down there to help you keep everything clean. In the early days, you’re definitely NOT going to want to put toilet paper anywhere close, so the water bottles help to rinse it all away.
Shop all the essentials here:
3. Post-pregnancy hemorrhoids are totally a thing.
Before my postpartum recovery, I had no idea what hemorrhoids were, lead alone had I ever experienced them. I’m not going to go into detail about what they are here, but suffice it to say…
Remember those Tucks Pads from above? Yep, they’re great for hemorrhoids, too.
If you’re curious and want to learn more, this is a pretty detailed article with tips and tricks for getting through it.
4. You may lose some of your hair.
You guys, I swear that I’m NOT vain. I hardly ever actually “do” my hair and I go without makeup often (even when going out of the house).
But when I started to lose hair when my baby was around six months old, I felt so incredibly shaken. Not a single person in my personal life had warned me that you could lose hair postpartum. Most of the moms I knew said they’d never heard of such a thing.
However, I started to notice that every day I was shedding a large amount of my hair. Eventually, I felt like I looked like Gollum from Lord Of The Rings – where he’s got those few stringy hairs – and I opted to chop my hair off.
Eventually, I found enough research online in articles like this one, that I stopped worrying quite so much. The reason that it happens because while you’re pregnant, you don’t lose as many hairs as you would normally. Once you deliver, however, your hair returns to normal, so you start shedding like crazy!
5. You’ll quickly learn how big your support system is.
Before our baby was born, everyone kept talking about how they were going to babysit for us and how much they couldn’t wait for our baby to be born. My husband and I were sure that we’d have plenty of help with our baby and we felt good that we’d have a support system right from the get-go.
After the baby was born, we quickly learned that we were pretty much on our own.
People are always quick to say how much they are going to do when your baby is born, but take it with a grain of salt!
While it would have been nice to have more help from loved ones, my husband and I grew as a couple and as parents as we navigated newborn life as partners.
6. The number of outfits that you, your partner and baby go through will astound you.
No matter how perfect your little angel is, chances are you will eventually experience a diaper blowout or a spit-up that covers you and everything around you.
There were days when Graci was tiny that we went through SO MUCH laundry. Just know that eventually it will get better!
7. Taking care of your house and normal errands become far more difficult.
In the early days of us having Graci, my husband and I needed a couple of things from the grocery store. I can’t remember what the items were, or what specifically was happening with Graci that day, but we ended up using Prime Now to have the items delivered to us.
And it was such a relief.
When you’re in the newborn stage, do yourself a favor and sign-up for something like Amazon Fresh or order your groceries online and pick them up at the store (Walmart, Fred Meyer, Smith’s and more now have this service).
If ever there was a time to splurge on
8. Emotions will run super high!
My mom spent the first few days of my daughter’s life at our home. The night before she had to leave, I cried.
When my daughter was diagnosed with jaundice at her first pediatric appointment, I cried.
Every night when I finally got to go to sleep, I wanted to cry. I literally was dreading the adrenaline kick of being woken up a couple of hours later in the middle of the night.
While emotions running high are quite normal post-baby, please be sure to talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling. Postpartum depression and anxiety are very real and nothing to be ashamed of. Please ask for help.
9. It takes a
while for your body to stop looking pregnant.
When you leave the hospital, you’re not going to be suddenly back to your pre-pregnancy size.
In fact, your stomach is still going to look… pregnant.
Try to be kind with yourself and patient!
10. Breastfeeding and/or pumping may end up being a difficult journey.
When I went into the hospital to have my baby, I was sure that I’d be breastfeeding.
Fast forward to the hours post-delivery and we weren’t able to get her to latch, I was so scared that she was starving, the hospital didn’t have any breast pumps available and they wanted me to hand-express colostrum and give it to her via syringe.
Let’s just say that we didn’t get off to the best start when it came to breastfeeding. In the weeks following her birth, I pumped all that I could and tried to supplement her formula intake. After a month, she became formula fed only.
It wasn’t what I had originally
Try to keep in mind that your breastfeeding journey may not go as planned, and that’s okay. Be kind to yourself as you figure out what is best for you and your little one.
If you’ve had a baby before, what do you wish that you’d known about postpartum recovery? And if you’ve not had a baby, what tip above was most shocking? Let me know below!