I thought I was prepared for my postpartum journey, until I was in the midst of it and struggling. I survived (somehow) and thought I was prepared for my second journey. But even then, I made some BIG mistakes that caused me some physical and mental damage. So here is everything what I wish I knew about postpartum.
Warning, some of these might shock you as they are not the typical “I bled much more” or “the pain was more than I thought”. Here I am, real and raw, so enjoy!
*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Your Phone is your Worst Enemy
I can’t even count the number of times I have went to lay down for a nap, only to remember that I needed to check something or text someone back. I grab my phone, and voila, 20 minutes are over, and my kiddos are awake. Nap time was not accomplished, queue the annoyed and exhausted mom sigh.
Your phone can be your best friend in certain situations, but postpartum, it will do you more evil than good. You need your sleep, and the only way to get that is when your baby sleeps.
So, stop grabbing your phone every time you lay down, no matter if you want to watch your favorite show or catch up on some Instagram. If you have the self-control to not grab your phone when it’s lying beside you, kudos to you.
Fact is, most of us quickly need to check the weather, or wonder if so and so posted on their stories recently. Put your deceiving phone away!
Leaving it in the kitchen or somewhere far away always did the trick for me. Or even doing a phone detox, as in leaving your phone in the drawer for a those first few days postpartum may be the answer to cure your eye bags.
Danger! Wet Nursing Pads!
If you are planning on breastfeeding (or not) your breasts will leak milk. Some women leak more, some less, but especially in the first few months you may be leaking a considerable amount.
Trust me, you do not want to be caught at the grocery store with wet circles around your breasts. Been there, done that, do not recommend! So, make sure to grab a big box of nursing pads, or my all-time favorite reusable pads and wear them constantly.
However, don’t be the ultra-frugal woman who only changes them once or twice a day. You may leak more than you think.
As soon as your nursing pads get wet or soaked change them, as yeast loves to grow and develop in moist and damp areas.
Having thrush on your nipples makes breastfeeding insanely painful and is extremely hard to get rid of. So, preventing them in the first place is key. Lesson learned: change your nursing pads regularly!
You may Bleed for a Long Time
I know, I know, I said I wouldn’t talk about this, but the amount of supplies I needed was the thing that shocked me and what I wish I knew about postpartum.
You can expect to bleed for around 4-6 weeks, some women bleed even longer. So, you will need a lot of hygienic supplies.
For the first weeks I absolutely recommend women’s diapers. They are a life saver! No needing to wash your underwear or bedsheets because you had an explosion. Disgusting word to use, I know, however it’s what best describes those middle of the night “accidents”.
For the following weeks regularly use pads (tampons are not recommended) to stay clean.
Imagine having your period for a few weeks straight, you will need a lot of pads. Way more than you think. So, grab a few more packs than you think you need.
Always say “Yes”
Having a baby is not easy, and whether it’s your first or your sixth, you will be overwhelmed, lacking sleep, and full of raging hormones.
When people ask if you need help, fight all your instincts to say no and accept the offer. Even if they hold your babe for half an hour for you to take a shower or a nap, or bring by a homemade meal, anything helps.
With my first I felt guilty for accepting help and wanted to do it all myself. However, it was insanely hard and lead to me crying and feeling overwhelmed for months.
With my second I changed my point of view and gladly accepted any form of help. From them doing my laundry or even just bringing by dinner. When I look back, it is the reason why I was able to recover so much quicker than with my first.
Prebuy all the Essentials
Try to have prebought everything you may need in those first few weeks to make your life easier. This could be household essentials such as toilet paper, toothpaste, or even medical supplies such as hemorrhoid cream, gripe water and vitamin D for baby.
Here is a handy list of postpartum recovery essentials you will most likely need!
My poor husband had to drive to the store nearly every day because I did not have the essentials for baby and me ready. So, make sure to have your postpartum kit ready and everything bought before baby gets here.
Be Aware of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is more common than you think, as 1 in 8 women will experience postpartum depression after birth, a statistic that I wish I knew about postpartum.
Postpartum depression is sneaky, it can catch you off guard and you may realize you have it way too late, making finding help even harder. However, being aware of the symptoms and signs can make a huge difference in preventing and getting help when needed.
It never ceases to amaze me how easily someone can fall into postpartum depression after or even during pregnancy! Your hormones are wacko, life has never been tougher, and crying becomes part of your normal day.
Knowing the signs and symptoms and how to get help early on is what helped me catch postpartum depression before it ever fully took control of my life, and I am so thankful for that.
Not sure what to look out for? Here is a blog post on the signs and symptoms as well as some postpartum depression risk factors you should be aware of!
Your “Colicky” Baby may have a Different Problem
When my second baby was born, I was quickly introduced into the world of colicky babies. She seemed to always be uncomfortable, screaming for at least 4-6 hours a day.
Everybody just called her a “colicky baby”, and I accepted my fate.
However, about 4 weeks in and I had lost my mind, I couldn’t keep living like this, so I googled up some research articles and read. And then I tried everything in the book. Probiotic drops seemed to help a bit; gripe water also helped but only momentarily.
I scheduled my appointment with my chiropractor per usual and mentioned my struggle with her fussiness. She mentioned it is often something much greater than stomach problems and I brought her in the next day. Sure enough, her neck and spine were out of alignment and that was causing her a great deal of pain.
During the birthing process, a baby’s neck and body need to twist and turn in certain ways to come through the birthing canal. That and the fact that they are top heavy at first can really do a lot of damage to their spinal system.
After her first two treatments my daughter was completely better, and she was like a changed baby. I just wish I knew that a screaming baby does not always mean they are colicky, but that sometimes, something greater is at play. A huge lifesaver that I wish I knew about postpartum life!
Lots (and Lots) of Newborn Diapers
I made this mistake with my first child, and as if I didn’t learn, with my second. I had a small stash of newborn and size 1 diapers ready during pregnancy. However, it is crazy and ridiculous to me how often you change a baby’s diaper!
You will be changing your baby around every 2-3 hours during the day, averaging to about 10 diaper changes per day. Take that times 1 month, and you have got yourself around 300 diapers. The newborn stage lasts 3 months…. you get the idea!
Babies need lots and lots of diapers, and I feel like you can never have enough! So, make sure to grab a few boxes when they’re on sale and stock up, diapers are something you do not want to run out of!
Little tip… lots of people plan on having just one child and are selling partial to complete boxes of diapers they baby grew out of for a steal on Facebook marketplace!
If you aren’t cloth diapering yet, I’m sure this last calculation is scaring you from disposable diapers, and I can’t blame you! I cloth diaper and find it so convenient and simple! Here is an article if you are interested in learning more about cloth diapering.
Most Babies Like to Bathe
Bathing to a baby is a calming and relaxing experience. It reminds them of their time in the womb, surrounded by warm liquid, splashing here and there.
You read this and try to bathe your baby, only to find them screaming nonstop and you nervously scrambling to wash, dry, and dress them. And while some babies do not enjoy taking a bath, this number is a lot smaller than you think.
My first baby screamed the first few times, and I was saddened by the fact that she did not like to bathe (whereas I am a bath lover!) Then my wise mother told me the bath might be too hot, babies cannot take the same heat as adults.
So, I made sure to get the perfect temperature for my bath the next time and was met with a completely Zen baby relaxing in the tub.
So, if your baby is screaming, the water may be too hot or too cold and a simple fix is all you need to make bath time relaxing!
Never Let Baby Get Overtired!
An overtired baby is never good news. They aren’t calm, are screaming their heads off, and can’t seem to find the strength to calm down and sleep.
I see overtiredness as my worst enemy when it comes to babies. Their little bodies get tired so quickly, and if you miss that critical time window of sleep you will find yourself trying to calm a screaming baby shortly after. Little tip of what I wish I knew about postpartum.
That was my struggle the first three weeks with my first, until I learned her sleep ques and was able to put her to bed before she became overtired. Best rewarding 10 minutes googling “baby newborn sleep ques” that’s for sure!
And that’s a wrap on what I wish I knew about postpartum! (well, for now)
I have another list brewing in my head that I may share on the blog soon, so make sure to check back frequently!
Until next time,