As a first time mom, I wanted to do everything PERFECT. I researched EVERYTHING.
My child, never ate anything that wasn't organic. I steamed his carrots, and froze them into cute little trays. I never let him eat anything that had fallen on the floor. I took weekly pictures, documented every milestone, and shared way too many pictures. I was so proud I created this little perfect human!
Now, don't get me wrong. I love my second child to the moon and back! She is the sweetest, chubbiest, cutest little cherub! Things are different though...
I thought of this specifically last week. My son dropped a bunch of "puffs" (those little air filled snacks that don't really have any nutritional benefit) on the floor. My little lady scooted right over and began eating them all up. I just laughed and watched her. Kid one... I would have picked them all up and thrown them away. Kid two... eat away sweetheart! This is our house right...
I still feed her mostly organic food, but I buy a lot of it... I do get pictures of her monthly milestones. We haven't had a professional picture in awhile though...
There are benefits though to this that comes with more than one child. I am much more comfortable nursing her in public. I was much more self conscious with my first. I covered during my 6 week postpartum exam... I mean COME ON they were there when I had him!?
The biggest thing I have realized is I have relaxed as a mother. I am starting to understand what is really important. Maybe I am just losing time to care so much about the little things.
Don't get me wrong, it is not all sprinkles and rainbows around here. Like today... nap time was torture. I can rarely get the toddler down anymore. I took away his new tent and "threw it away." Not my proudest moment. Not getting sleep and trying to get my children to sleep is in my opinion the hardest part of parenting!
Moral of the story: We are all just doing our best. We all mother differently and that is what is beautiful! I have learned so much from my experienced mother friends and hope I can pass along some tiny pearls of wisdom to those mothers in need.
Some days I feel like I have it all together, then the next day my son cracks raw eggs, colors on the walls, and takes off his diaper during his nap... Trust me, when I see you on the struggle bus I will be there to help! please do the same for me. This IS my circus and these ARE my monkeys!
Women have so much to think about during pregnancy. We spend so much time planning the perfect birth, nursery, shower etc. We often forget about the fourth trimester!
The fourth trimester is a time that describes the first three months of a babies life. When I had my first squish, I remember someone saying to me that my little guy looked like a little frog. He was all squished up laying on my chest. He loved this position. I wondered why that was?
Babies love their mamas! We are all they know! Our smell, the sound of our voice, the warmth of our skin, and the sound of our heart beat can often times instantly calm our babies! These little babes don't know they are even born! They want and need us.
This time can often be challenging. As mothers now, we are changing. We are exhausted, healing, learning how to breastfeed and just adjusting to new life with our new baby. I want to share some easy tips to survive the fourth trimester.
It is easiest to try and think about what a baby experienced in the womb and try to recreate it! They spent their whole lives inside of our womb and that is all they know! By using our common sense we can often times meet their needs.
- The placenta was constantly feeding your little one in the womb. They never felt hunger before. Feed your baby! Feeding on demand lets your little one know you are there for them. Don't worry about a time clock and how long it has been since their last feeding. Nursing them not only relieves their hunger but it comforts them as well.
- Our womb is a noisy place! The sounds of our digestion, heartbeat and muffled sounds soothes baby. putting on a sound machine, fan or running water helps recreate this noise and can soothe them.
- Babies are constantly lulled by our daily movement in the womb. by carrying our baby, or baby wearing, we are recreating this movement they are used to. it can help them fall asleep as well!
- Our babes are used to constantly hearing the sound of our heart beat! doing skin to skin with mom or dad can calm them by this sound they are so used to being comforted by. Not to mention it releases oxytocin, helping us bond!
- Baby is used to hearing us and others talking. talking, singing and laughter can soothe our babies and let them know we are near.
- Our baby has never felt cold before! they are most comforted being warm.
6. Closed Quarters
- Baby is constantly snuggled up tight in our womb. recreate this by arm swaddling, baby wearing, and keeping close.
I hope these tips help you survive the fourth trimester. This time of life is so sweet. The days are long, but the years are short. Cherish every moment, every snuggle, every late night feeding. All too soon they grow up and you find yourself missing these moments. Breath them in, remember their littleness. We are so blessed to be called to be mamas.
You can learn this and SO MUCH MORE by taking a birth boot camp class. Visit www.birthbootcamp.com to find an instructor in your area. We also offer online classes you can take from the comfort of your own home! Visit siouxfallsbirth.com to learn more about me and the classes I offer in the sioux falls, sd area!
It seems that everyone has advice for pregnant women. Even with all this advice, there are still a few things no one talks about...
My, there are emotions…
It is very common around day three postpartum, to start feeling more emotional. Hormones are all over the place, trying to get back to normal. Day three is also when your milk comes in typically. You also may wake up drenched in sweat. 1
Know that being teary can be normal. Baby blues affect about 70% of moms. This usually is mild and goes away within a few weeks after birth.
Some moms will experiences more severe symptoms of depression, known as postpartum depression. Rarely, postpartum psychosis can occur as well. Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or weakness in mom. 2
Prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms. It is important to contact your care provider if you are feeling you may be developing postpartum depression
You feel gross…
Yes, everyone should feel like a queen! You just managed to BIRTH A HUMAN, with your body! I still can’t get over that. It is amazing. But… after birth we are squishy. I felt like the Pillsbury dough boy, for real. Nothing fits either. I wore a lot of yoga pants and leggings during the first month postpartum.
Anecdotal evidence shows that belly bands or belly binding can be helpful to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape. The idea is that binding your belly can help your abdominal muscles and organs get back to their normal size. 3
Exercise is the only proven way to help get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Be aware that it takes time for your abdominal muscles to recover. Until then, avoid planks and crunches. Diastasis recti can occur during pregnancy and these exercises can make it worse.
Give yourself some grace. You did just birth your baby! Take time to recover, start slow and listen to your body.
You are leaking…
It takes time for the wound where your placenta was to heal. Lochia, or postpartum bleeding, will occur for 3-6 weeks for most moms. This is the lining of your uterus shedding after birth. The bleeding will be heavy at first and then start to slow. 4
If you have bleeding that soaks a pad in 15 minutes or less call your doctor immediately. If the bleeding starts getting heavier, it can signify you are doing too much. This can be your bodies way of telling you to slow down and rest.
Not only do you grow your baby, AND birth your baby, you can FEED your baby... with your body. AGAIN, blows my mind. Your initial milk is called colostrum. This thick, yellow milk is low in fat, high in carbohydrates, protein and antibodies. It is easy for babies to digest and is the perfect food for them. The first day of birth, baby’s stomach is the size of a marble. They do not need a lot! 5
Around day three your mature milk will come in. When this happens, engorgement, or full uncomfortable breasts, can occur. This usually goes away within 18-24 hours. Your breasts will adjust over time, making the right amount of milk for your baby. If you are having prolonged or very painful engorgement seek help from a lactation consultant or care provider. 6
When you have a letdown, or when the milk is being expressed, it will happen on both breasts. This can be messy if you aren’t prepared. In the beginning the Haakaa pump can be very helpful. It is a silicone breast pump that catches the let down on one side while you are breastfeeding on the other. This milk can be stored and frozen so the milk isn’t wasted! 7
Once your supply regulates and hopefully you aren’t leaking quite as much, my favorite breast pads are Bamboobies. They are made out of bamboo so they are very soft. They are washable so you don’t have to waste so many throw away pads! 8
Dad likely needs attention too…
Yes, dad probably wants some love. Refer back to #2 and #3… It really isn’t the most attractive feeling. It often takes six weeks to recover physically. Your cervix needs to shrink back down and go back in the right position. While you are still bleeding postpartum, that means you have an open wound basically where your placenta was. Give yourself time to heal. Sometimes mom is ready by six weeks, sometimes she isn’t ready until six months. Everything is normal, and it is okay!
Know that you ovulate before your menstrual cycle returns. You can get pregnant soon after having a baby even if you are exclusively breastfeeding! Having open communication is key to finding the right time to resume sexual activity.
the postpartum period isn’t always glamorous. It is though, such a beautiful time to make memories with your new family. Take time to relax and enjoy your new baby. Give yourself grace and patience. You will never be the same again. We are given the gift to be mamas to our little babes. They are only little for a little while.
The best way to prepare for your pregnancy, birth and postpartum is to educate yourself! Sign up for one of my classes today! siouxfallsbirth.com
Paige Goldade - A Birth Boot Camp Instructor living and loving in South Dakota. She is a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers. She works as a childbirth educator and Board Certified Registered Nurse.