Have you ever heard a mom say, “No one told me my body would go through this after having a baby!” If you have asked yourself this question, you are not alone my friend. There are so many things that just aren’t talked about for whatever reason. After having our first child, my sister-in-law was at the top of my recent calls list every day. She was 4 kids up on me, and my lifeline!
Let me elaborate a bit more, before sharing with you, 11 things no one tells you about post pregnancy.
With social media being blasted in our faces every day, it’s really easy to get caught up in the perfect post-pregnancy pictures. You know what I’m talking about – those pictures where a new mama seems to have it all together. Her hair and makeup are perfect, everyone is smiling, and I’m pretty sure those are her normal jeans she is wearing. But don’t be fooled, she probably has a hair tie holding her jean button together, has drank 3 cups of coffee because she is exhausted, and may have cabbage leaves on her girls because they are so engorged.
Having a baby does things to your body that are insane. And if you talk to most moms, they will tell you, “No one ever told me about this.” So, mama, I write this post not to scare you. But to let you know – if you experience these things, you are not alone. It is all part of the beautiful cycle that is so worth our precious babes.
11 Things No One Tells You About Post Pregnancy
1. Your normal clothes won’t fit right away – even yoga pants
Maybe I was the only clueless new mom on the planet, but I had bought a size small outfit to wear home after having my first. Sure, they were yoga pants and a lose shirt – but I was certain I would be able to fit into them. I vividly remember going into the bathroom and being so shocked by how pregnant I still looked. Now, 3 kids in, I know it is so normal! Embrace the 5-month looking bump you may go home with and size up your take home outfit. It’s ok!!
2. Your nipples will go through severe pain when you first start nursing
Ok I must say, my sister-in-law did warn me about this, but I had no idea how bad it would hurt! Literally, it may feel like razor blades are cutting you, and it is indeed completely normal. It does not last long, and they will become tough as nails very soon, but it is a rough start. Just clinch your fists, hold your breath, and get through the pain – it does pass pretty quickly.
3. Embrace those granny panties
FGirl – go buy yourself the most comfortable granny panties you can find because they will become your best friend that first week. Don’t feel like you need to be cute – be comfortable.
4. Buy comfortable nursing bras with no underwires for those first couple of weeks
It can be painful when your milk comes in, and an underwire bra will be really uncomfortable. I bought these for my last post-partum journey and I loved them so much.
5. You may have to supplement with formula until your milk comes in
I know this might be super controversial for some, so just skip over this if you are passionate about not using formula at any time. However, if you are open to the idea, let me explain my reasoning. When we brought our first child home from the hospital, my milk hadn’t come in yet. By 12am she was screaming uncontrollably. She would attach to me, but seemed to just get mad because she wasn’t getting anything.
We finally caved and gave her a formula bottle and she chugged it (literally). Poor girl was just so hungry, and the colostrum wasn’t satisfying her anymore. My milk came in that next day, so we only had to supplement a few bottles.
I suggest just having a small pack of formula on hand in case you need to use it.
Ok – I could write an entire blog post on engorgement, because it has been, by far, my hardest post-partum experience with all 3 children. I produce a lot of milk. I mean, A LOT.
The first 2 weeks that my milk comes in are shear misery. I can hardly lift my arms past my shoulders, I put cabbage leaves on all day, I wear nursing bras one size up. I honestly do all of the things. (Please do not be scared by this, because I know this is not the case for all moms. I am just sharing my experience).
I wish I could tell you the trick to making it easier, but I never found one. You honestly just have to work through it and give your body time to adjust to supply and demand. Do not over pump because your body will keep producing that same amount of milk. I recommend self-expressing to give yourself some relief. You want to be careful not to get so engorged that you clog a milk duct, which could lead to mastitis.
Milk engorgement has been known to last up to 2 weeks. Hang in there if you feel engorged, it will pass, I promise. But, when you are going through it, my best advice is to be really in tune with your body, and find your rhythm with how much to relieve while the supply balances out.
Also, if you find that your baby is having a hard time attaching because you are so full, self- express or pump a little out, and then try nursing again.
7. Let your body rest
When you leave the hospital, you’ll be instructed to be very careful and let your body rest. This is easier said than done, especially if you already have little ones at home that need you. With my third child, I felt great leaving the hospital and jumped into full mom mode when I got home. My body felt it, quick. I remember being in the kitchen and feeling blood gushing out. I thought it was a fluke thing, but it wasn’t. It kept happening. I finally went to my doctor and we did an ultrasound to make sure there wasn’t anything major going on. Everything looked good which meant I simply wasn’t letting my body heal. As hard as it was, I went on light bedrest for 3 solid days and the bleeding stopped. Crazy, right?!
When they tell you to take it easy when you go home, listen!! It really is so important, and if you don’t, your body will let you know.
8. If you’re nursing, stay away from gassy foods
With my first baby, I had no idea there were certain foods I needed to stay clear from. I remember Brylee screaming one night, clearly in pain. After some research and another phone call to my sister-in-law, I realized she was having stomach pains from the broccoli and cauliflower I had for dinner. My best advice is, if you are going to eat these foods, eat them earlier on in the day to see how your baby responds to them.
9. Don’t be timid to call your doctor if something isn’t right
Your body has gone through a lot of changes and if you’re feeling like something just isn’t right – you’re having some symptoms that don’t make sense, call your doctor! You are not being a bother, it’s what they are there for.
10. It’s okay to not be okay
Your hormones may be all over the place after baby. Post-partum depression is a very real thing, and if you think you are dealing with this, please seek help. There are some amazing resources available to help you through this season.
If you find that you are just very emotional and you don’t know why – please know this is very normal too. Your body has gone through a lot, and it absolutely affects your hormones. And then add on the lack of sleep, and all of the aftermath your body goes through – yes, you might be emotional and cry! I promise it will get easier, you will find your rhythm, and the hormones will start to balance out.
11. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I’m purposely writing this one after #10. It is so important to let others help you during this season. Let your neighbors make you meals, take advantage of those that offer to take your other kids for a couple of hours, let your family do your laundry for you.
I’m going to be honest, asking for help is really hard for me. I hate feeling like I am inconveniencing anyone. I would rather push through something than feel like someone is going out of their way for me. (Crazy, I know – but I’m sure I’m not the only one who deals with this).
But, once I let someone help me, I realize how incredibly helpful it is, and I am so thankful! lf someone is offering help, it’s because they genuinely want to help you. Let them!!
I hope you find this post helpful. Please remember, each mama has their own post-partum story and journey. You might not experience any of these things above, or you might have a completely different experience. That’s ok! This post was meant to simply share my experience and let you know, if you go through something similar, it is totally normal!