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When you become pregnant, all you think about is how amazing it will be to cuddle your little one.
Postpartum recovery is usually the furthest thing from your mind (unless you’ve done it before).
It is also rarely talked about as the focus is how/when birth will happen. New moms often feel as if they are thrown out on their own when the 4th trimester is really when new moms need help and support the most. Here is a list of what I wish I knew about postpartum recovery before giving birth:
How long does postpartum recovery last?
It will all depend on each woman how long their postpartum recovery lasts. Typically physical healing takes between 6-8 weeks, but mental recovery can take a lot longer. It also depends on what kind of birth you had. Sometimes healing from emotional trauma attached to your birth can take much longer than physical healing.
It’s okay to find a counselor or therapist to talk to if you find that the baby blues seem to be dragging on. Talking about what went wrong during your birth or leading up to your birth, even disappointments about what you expected vs what happened can be helpful in helping you to heal emotionally.
How long after birth is considered postpartum?
There are many different opinions on what “postpartum” means. Some view it as only 12 weeks after giving birth, while others think it is a year. Others claim that postpartum is any time after giving birth, even years after, can be considered postpartum.
Why is postpartum so hard?
Giving birth is probably one of the hardest things you will ever do. Your body is trying to go back to normal, your hormones are all out of whack, and you are exhausted from taking care of a little baby 24/7. Postpartum recovery is hard for any mom–new or OG!
How can I make my postpartum recovery better?
Rest when you can, eat healthy food, practice self-care, and relax. Postpartum recovery is hard and will take time, but remember, you grew a baby for nine months, you are allowed to take plenty of time to recover!
What I Wish I Knew About Postpartum Recovery
Here are a few things I wish I knew about postpartum recovery before I gave birth.
You will be in a lot of pain
You mostly think about labor and delivery as painful, but your postpartum recovery is just as painful. You might tear, which only adds to the pain. Don’t expect to be pain-free until at least 4-6 weeks. If you have a c-section, your pain could last 8 weeks or more as your body needs time to heal from major abdominal surgery. Even if your body feels good after a few weeks, you can prolong your healing by jumping back into regular activities too quickly.
Exhaustion takes on a whole new level
They always tell you that you will never sleep again after giving birth, but in some ways it’s true. You will sleep, but not as soundly. Every sigh, coo, breathe of the baby will have you popping up to stare at them. Your motherhood instincts kick in and it’s one of those things that is hard to explain until you experience it. You will have a whole new type of exhaustion, one you have never experienced before. Not only will you have to get up every 2 or so hours all throughout the night, but you will also be taking care of a baby around the clock too. It is utterly tiring and demanding. But so beautiful at the same time.
You might not connect with your baby right away
Sometimes you won’t connect with your little one as soon as you hold them after giving birth. It can take time before you feel that connection. It doesn’t mean you are a terrible mom or there is something wrong with you. Giving birth is not always picture-perfect as the movies portray. If you don’t connect right away, don’t worry; it will come.
When my 2nd daughter was born, I didn’t instantly feel connected to her. I had a 2nd c-section, my doctor didn’t deliver her and my mom wasn’t there. I didn’t think about how all those factors affected how I felt about my birth. It had nothing to do with the baby, but it hindered me from having those initial warm and fuzzy feelings towards her.
Mesh undeware is your new BAE
After you have a baby, you will bleed heavily for a while. In the midst of caring for a new baby and healing your body, you will want to be comfortable. The mesh underwear they provide in the hospital are lightweight and the best thing you can put on your body during the postpartum period. Snag as many as you can before you leave the hospital and order more once you are home. Trust me on this one!!
Prepare a postpartum kit
Before you go to the hospital, prepare a postpartum kit. Fill a basket with items you’ll need and want during these next few weeks. Some items to include in your kit are the following: ● Haaka● Postpartum diapers ● Hemorrhoid cream ● Witch hazel pads ● Padsicles ● Snacks ● Essential Oils ● Massage gun ● Heating pad
Put in anything and everything you think you’ll need to recover. You can even include a few self-care items if you want. This will help you easily find everything you need as it will all be in one place.
You won’t want many visitors
You might imagine filling your house with baby gifts and balloons from all the visitors that come. But the truth is, you are exhausted and probably not looking or feeling your best. You probably don’t want many visitors, if any at all. And that is perfectly okay. Everyone will understand and will come whenever you are ready. Be prepared to tell people no and to stick to what you need versus what they want to do. You are in charge, and you have to do what is best for you first.
You might still look pregnant when you leave the hospital
It took 9 months to grow the baby, so losing the baby weight will take time. Don’t get sucked into the comparison game of others you knew who snapped back immediately. Focus on healing your body and then you can shift your focus to what you want your postpartum body to look like.
Breastfeeding might be hard
Breastfeeding may be something that you’ve always envisioned doing. But it can be hard. Baby might have trouble latching. You may not produce much milk. Your nipples may go flat and you may need to use a nipple shield at each feeding (this was me with my first baby). Or breastfeeding may not be what you envisioned and your mental health suffers.
Remember, a fed baby is best. Breastfeeding is the best option IF you can do it. If you can’t physically breastfeed or it’s ruining your mental health, then do what’s best for you and baby. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
You might feel depressed
Postpartum depression is real. So many women experience it, but often feel guilty about their feelings and suffer silently. Don’t be alarmed if you
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