No matter how much you try to mentally prepare for a baby, you just can’t. Because you can’t physically prepare yourself – I mean, I wish you could. Like wouldn’t it be great if we could bank our sleep? Oh man, I’d be totally fine cause we all know I used to sleep 10-12 hours 😉
There are 3 areas of post-partum pregnancy that I have tips for all you new mama’s out there or soon-to-be mama’s. These tips are purely based on my experience and I thought it would help if I shared what worked and didn’t for me – cause we all know, knowledge is power!
- Hormones are No Joke. OK. I’m going to be honest, I really wasn’t super emotional or hormonal during my pregnancy. So I thought, I won’t have any hormones act up post pregnancy. Boy was I wrong <insert shocked face>. My ladies, here’s what happened: days 3-4 post delivery, I was THE most emotional human being on the planet. And not for any apparent reason. Here’s an example: We went to Chick-fil-a after one of my appointments and as we were walking out, one of the employees said, ‘Merry Christmas’. And as we walked outside, I started bawling (like historical) and Chuck was like, ‘Babe, what’s wrong?!’ And I said, ‘I haven’t been able to wish anyone Merry Christmas yet because we’ve been so busy giving birth to Charlie.’ ……I mean…..<face palm>. But seriously, those are the type of situations that will make you cry like crazy. Beyond the emotional aspects from hormones, you will also have night sweats for a few weeks (maybe less depending on your body). And it’s because your body is coming off all of the hormones. So my soon-to-be mama’s, be prepared for that.
- You do What Works Best for You. Prior to giving birth, I had zero POV regarding breastfeeding. The only perspective I had was that I wanted to breastfeed Charlie if I could. When you’re in the hospital, post delivery, the lactation specialists will come and speak with you. The advice I received was to breastfeed (no pumping) for the first month. They also recommended I breastfeed for at least 6 months. A few days after I gave birth, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) which can be pretty scary cause you can have seizures or a stroke if it gets too hight. The docs take it pretty seriously so I was admitted to the hospital twice within 2 weeks post delivery. Definitely not fun with a newborn. My doctor told me, ‘Lauren, you need to get some sleep to help lower your blood pressure on top of the blood pressure medicine.’ (Like it’s easy to sleep with a newborn!) He told me I should pump. And I thought, well the lactation specialist told me not to pump for a good month. So here is when he gave me THE BEST ADVICE I ever received – he told me, ‘Listen, you gotta do what’s best for you. There is so much pressure put on new mom’s which can create such anxiety. You gotta do what works best for you and your baby. Pumping still gives your baby your milk, so do it! And if you need to supplement with formula – it’s OK.’ Talk about a load lifted off my shoulders!! The minute we left, Chuck got my pump all situated, i.e. cleaned everything and set it all up for me, and from that point on, I solely pumped. Charlie was so little and breastfeeding for 90 minutes at a time (talk about exhausting!) and I never knew how much I was giving him. So pumping worked best for us. We also took even more pressure off and started supplementing with formula since I wasn’t producing enough milk for him. He’s the sweetest, happiest little boy who is gaining weight beautifully. So to me, this is all a win. AND it created such contentment for me as his mama (plus it helped regulate my blood pressure because I wasn’t so stressed about it). The moral of the story is – YOU DO YOU! Sometimes you have to make your own decisions that are best for you and your family.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help. Alright ya’ll – we all know that with precious newborns come lack of sleep because they need to feed often (and everything is so new that a new parents you may be constantly checking on baby frequently – at least we did :)). But when I was pregnant, I kept trying to mentally prepare myself for the lack of sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and would tell myself, remember this feeling cause it will happen for an unknown length of time. But once Charlie was here, the lack of sleep hit me like a ton of bricks. So by the end of the first 2 weeks of Charlie’s life, I started solely pumping which helped tremendously because Chuck could help me feed him during the night so I could sleep. Then during the day, we would ask my parents to come watch Charlie for a few hours so we could take a nap and not feel like a zombie. One thing I realized after giving birth was, Ask for help! When your family is around, ask them if they can help you out. Getting naps during the day saved our butts so we weren’t SO exhausted.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions on pregnancy post-partum, please feel free to leave a comment and ask! I’m an open book.