When I was pregnant, I didn’t really think too much about life after baby. Silly or plain stupid? No worries. I think I was both too. C’mon. Women were made for this, right? The labor pains and the strength that comes from within. I can do this. And honestly, I was too in the moment what with my constant and might I add almost painful Braxton Hicks contractions. I was enthralled by all the baby forums and their questions of ‘What do contractions feel like?, Do I have signs of early labor?, What’s lightning crotch?’ I was also kept busy by perusing the internet and reading about women breaking their water while shopping, having their membranes stretched/ripped at their 38 week doctor’s appointment or how they’re already dilated 1.5 cm and effaced whatever percent at their last check up. Like, what?! I felt like I was always behind and no matter how much I read, there was always something else to figure out.
However, here are a few things that I wish I had known when I was pregnant about my body right after baby. In no particular order:
- Your milk coming in. Your milk doesn’t come in right away like a pump at the gas station. It takes about 2 to 3 days. And for that to happen, you have to keep the baby sucking on your once sexy lady bits. You might think nothing is coming out but don’t worry, it is. Babies are born with reserves in their body for 24 hours or was it 48? Anyways, they will not perish of hunger. If you’re going to breastfeed, keep that sucker on your.. sucker and wait for your breasts to swell 3 times the original size. I have a picture of my boobs almost the size of my large head. They were hard and painful, hot to the touch and giving me a fever and chills. Once the milk came out, my sigh of relief was instantaneous. Wow oh wow.
- And while we’re on the boobs, nursing pads are a MUST. I initially bought those organic re-usable cotton ones at Babies ‘R Us and personally, I stopped using them after the first week. You will leak constantly and it will drench through your shirt while you’re taking your 1.5 sleep (if even that long!) until your next pumping session/crying baby/waking up because of your soaked shirt. I used the ones you use once and throw away and they were more practical. Although, I’ve heard of women putting in long pads or newborn diapers in there to save some money. 😀
- Breastfeeding doesn’t ultimately ruin your boobs – pregnancy does. That’s what I think anyway.
- You will bleed for at least a month. Postpartum bleeding is no joke. I was done by my 6-week check up but I know some women can bleed for longer. It’s just annoying at most. And those hospital sized pads you’ll need? No need to buy them in bulk before. The hospital usually provides that for you and you’ll probably only need them for the first 3-5 days.
- And as for sexy time after baby? 😉 Doctors usually say to wait until you get the green light at your 6-week check up and… we did. It was doable (haha) but not very fun for me. I didn’t get an episiotomy but had a 2 degree tear so there were stitches that probably still didn’t dissolve. We waited another week until I felt mentally prepared and it was much better when I wasn’t so worried about the possible pain.
- You’ll be one of the lucky ones if you don’t deal with postpartum hair loss. I’m thankfully not shedding as much anymore but it was really bad starting 3.5 months postpartum. I would be pulling out countless stands as I showered, hair clogged my drains and my strands littered the floors for all to see. I’m now dealing with new funky baby hairs that stick up all over my forehead but I’ll take it over thinning hair any day.
- I still have a light linea nigra on my belly. I’m not too worried about it but I wonder when it’s going to finally let up.
- My skin has surprisingly cleared up and my annoying digestive systems issues have disappeared. I hear that a lot though. I’m assuming that having a baby is like a reset button?
- My body is practically back to pre-pregnancy, give or take 5 pounds, and am able to fit into my size 26 jeans – but it’s still not quite the same. Muscle tone is weak and even though I don’t have loose skin, I feel like I do.
- But all in all, I’m 95% happy with where my body is now. I didn’t think the swollen, bloated look would ever disappear but it eventually did within 5 months or so. As a first time mom, you’re always going to be overly worried about everything but it will get better – I promise. And try not to fret too much about the weight loss. I started losing the extra weight when I stopped worrying about weight loss! Some women are blessed to snap back into shape within a month whereas, some people like might take a bit of time. Take your time because time is so fleeting and worrying about the state of your body will only mount to more stress, hair loss (!) and take away your time from baby and living life. 🙂
Here is a recap of my body changes with pregnancy and postpartum.
3 weeks pregnant. I’ve always had a pooch. 😉
39~40 weeks. A week before I went into labor.
5 months postpartum