As we are preparing for motherhood we usually only prepare for the things that our baby needs and we overlook how to prepare for motherhood or the things that are happening to our bodies.
There are a few things I want you as a new mother to be prepared for in your postpartum journey after you’ve given birth to your precious little one, because a lot of us mother are coming out of the delivery room blindsided and not knowing what to expect.
So there are some physical changes you might want to be aware of:
After you have given birth you will bleed for approx. 3-6 weeks postpartum, so you want to have maxi pads on hand to be prepared. The bleeding should lighten over time, so take it easy for a while and stay hydrated!
Your breast may leak once the milk is coming in and as you are breastfeeding. Don’t worry! Once your milk supply is established and more regulated over the next couple of months it will adjust, but until then breast pads may be your best friends.
*Please note that leaking/not leaking is not an indicative of milk supply, so don’t worry if yours don’t leak.*
Your body is ridding itself from excess fluids from your pregnancy you may notice that you are sweating like you just ran a marathon. Don’t worry, this is also only temporary and usually lasts several days to one week after birth.
Hair Loss :
Lots of women complain about the mass amount of hair they are shedding during postpartum, usually starting anywhere after 3 months of childbirth and tapering off after the first year postpartum. Don’t worry, you won’t be going bald and it is certainly normal as your body’s hormones return to normal.
The contractions, may just resemble menstrual cramps, they help prevent excessive bleeding by compressing the blood vessels in the uterus. Afterpains are common during breast-feeding, due to the release of oxytocin.
You can experience contractions up to 6 weeks postpartum because your uterus is working on returning to pre-pregnancy size.
Mood changes and maternal mental health disorders:
Childbirth triggers a lot of powerful emotions, also the change of hormones in your body throughout pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum can impact your mood and feelings. Please check out my maternal mental health blog for more awareness and keep communication to family, friends and your doula open.
Something else that is still misunderstood by many new moms after childbirth is that your pregnancy belly won’t just disappear after you have given birth. So please don’t pack your pre-pregnancy clothes to wear home from the hospital because it will take some time for your body to adjust to not carrying a baby anymore.
Not to worry, there may be lots of changes during your journey but now is the time to be gentle on yourself. Embrace being a mother and rest as much as you can to recover.
I also have some top tips to make your postpartum journey easier:
Stock up your house with healthy foods, snacks and meal planning! Also stash snacks and a filled water bottle everywhere you will be feeding your little one. You will spend some time in those spots so make sure you’re comfortable and need to stay hydrated and fed.
Ask for help! Yes, I know it is hard and there is a lot of stigma on how women “should do it all”, but in reality you should be resting, healing and bonding with your baby. Please don’t feel guilty about taking help and resting.
It’s okay to say no! Don’t be afraid of offending anyone, like mentioned above healing and bonding should be the only thing on your agenda after you’ve had your baby.
Sleep when baby sleeps! You probably have heard this one a dozen of times, but with night feedings and recovering you should be resting. I know we keep hearing this over and over again… trust us on this 🙂
Take time for yourself! This one is a hard one, I know. But remember you can’t pour from an empty cup and need recharging too.
- Realize that being a mother is your new normal and your life has been redefined. Don’t stress about it but enjoy this time as much as you can. Embrace the changes and leave unrealistic demands of todays society behind.
- Hire a doula! She can help you in many ways from tidying up the house to watching the baby while you have a bath – possibilities are endless just look at all the things I mentioned above!
Stay tuned for my upcoming blog “What to expect from Postpartum if you had a c-section” and the blog for the “Postpartum Must-Have list”!
Lots of love from your Doula, Denise