• A is for After-pains

    You just had a baby! Congratulations!

    The contractions and pain should be over, right? Not so fast...

    Afterpains (also known as involution) can be just as painful as when you were in labor.   While your uterus is shrinking back to its normal size, you may feel short, sharp, cramps in your abdomen a couple of days after giving birth, often while nursing. Your uterus is contracting and that helps it expel lochia (discharge of blood, mucus, and uterine tissue) and it helps your uterus get back to the right size. 

    Some first-time moms don't always feel them, but women that have had multiple children are more likely to feel them intensely. The hormone oxytocin, which is released by breastfeedingskin-to-skin contact with your baby and a few other things is what gets your uterus to contract.  Believe it or not, this is a good thing. Your body is going through the healing process, but that doesn't mean its enjoyable! 

    Thankfully, this will hopefully only last 5-7 days.   It feels different for every woman and is often worse with each subsequent pregnancy, but you can absolutely experience some relief. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. 

    If afterpains last longer than a week or you notice increased bleeding, foul smell or anything you feel is "off", contact your doctor or go into the ER.

     


  • Nurturing the Mother

     

    “How is the baby?” 

    That’s one of the first questions that you get asked after giving birth to your baby. But we have to make sure the mother’s experience is acknowledged as well. 

    Moms are in a battle between taking care of themselves and taking care of their baby. Most of the time the baby comes first. Newborns involve so much time and energy that the mother has little to no time to take care of herself. Moms often don’t accept help from others during the postpartum time. It is hard for them to let others take on the load of their home. But mothers need to be nurtured as well. They are healing; physically and emotionally. 

    Moms: Accept the help! Some may feel unworthy and uncomfortable asking for help but this is normal and its okay. It is so important for the mother to be well nourished and rested.

    Here in the United States, we do not practice nurturing the mother like other countries do. In a lot of countries, families and their community come together to give the mother a healing and comforting space during the postpartum period. Time for rest and recovery. 

     

    So how can we help the new mom transition into this world with a new baby?

    What can a new mom do to help the transition go smoothly?

     

    LET THEM REST:

    Most new parents just want to sleep. They are waking at all hours through the night. The mom is probably going on day 2 or 3 of no sleep at all. Moms are usually on an initial high during those first few days home. The first few weeks home are exhausting. Give the mom time to rest. Take the baby out of their sleep space, give them some ear plugs, and let them snooze until baby is ready to feed. 

     

    NOURISH HER:

    Food is medicine!

    Offer water, lots of water! Especially if the mom is planning on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding or not, water is very important for the body to recover. You could offer to make the family dinner, meal prep for them or give them a gift card to a food delivery service! Easily digestible foods are ideal! Don’t forget the good fats!

     

     

    CHORES:

    Let the mother REST. Help her with the laundry. Do the dishes. Walk her dog. Do anything around the house that can help ease her mind. Moms want to attend to the baby's needs. The less things she has to do around the house, the better!

     

     

    ITS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.

    Hormones are so out of whack after having a baby. It takes a while for new moms to feel normal and feel like themselves again. This is all normal. We have to remember that baby blues are a real thing and its completely okay to feel sad and happy within a 30-minute duration. These hormones can make you feel a little crazy! It's okay to cry. It's okay to accept help from others. It's okay to not feel okay. But it is very important that you pay attention to the signs of postpartum depression. If baby blues seem to worsen and last longer than the first few weeks, it's important to ask for help. You are not weak and you are not alone. 

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • Let's talk about sex, [after] baby!

    "Let's talk about all the good things
    And the bad things that may be" -Salt-N-Pepa

     

    We've come a long way in our culture when it comes to talking about hard stuff. But we still have a long way to go. Our society has no problem talking about sex, but we don't talk about sex in the way it should be talked about. We glorify it but when it comes to the hard stuff, we keep our mouths shut. It's hard to talk about the hard stuff when you feel like you're the only one to ever experience it.

    The reality is, postpartum sex is rarely talked about. Mostly because its unpredictable and experiences vary. It can be scary to talk about, but it needs to be talked about. 

    Most people get the go-ahead to have sexual intercourse at their six-week postpartum appointment but that doesn't mean you have to go home and jump into bed. It is OK to wait however long you need. Communicating with your partner about your needs is important and you should never feel pressured to resume sexual activity before you're ready.

    There are a lot of reasons why you may want to wait (i.e. still sore, fear, constantly nursing, body image, etc.) and all of those should be acknowledged and respected.

    Not feeling ready to have sex right now certainly doesn't mean you will never be ready. If you are ever concerned that your sex drive is low or if sex is painful, talk with your care provider. 

    Postpartum sex can be uncomfortable at first, but it should not be painful. A lot of things can contribute to that, such as tears in the perineum or cesarean scar still healing and vaginal dryness (normal after having a baby - lube is your friend!). If you are desiring sex with your partner but its slightly uncomfortable, foreplay can be very helpful. Your vagina is likely to be dry because of hormone shifts so jumping right into having sex might be more challenging than it was prior to giving birth.

    When it comes to thinking about having sex with your partner, its normal for the desire to not be there right away.

    It is normal to feel:

    -"Touched out": being your child's care provider all day long, having them constantly on you and eating from you can do a number on your sex drive.

    -Self-conscious: Your body just did something huge! You grew and pushed out or were cut open to bring a baby (or two, three, four...) into the world. With all of that happening, your body, no doubt, experienced a lot of physical changes. It is common to not feel comfortable in your new body and to not feel like yourself, let alone comfortable enough to have sex. Doing one thing every day that makes you feel special or like yourself can help with this. 

    -Tired: Obviously!

    -Confused: Feeling confused is normal. You might feel the emotional desire to have sex with your partner but physically your body doesn't want to cooperate. Feeling like you "should want to" is also common; again, it's OK to not want to.  

     

    It can be a confusing and difficult thing to navigate. Feeling pressured to resume sexual activity, whether from yourself, friends or your partner is never helpful. In fact, it may make you want to do it (pun intended) even less. 

    Keep the communication lines with your partner and care provider open. Talk about how you and your body are feeling and know that what you are feeling is normal (communicating the normality of this to your partner can be helpful as well). And don't start having sex until you feel both emotionally and physically ready. It can be emotionally damaging to start again before you are ready. 

    When you are ready to have sex again, have grace for yourself and remind yourself that this may be a different experience than you have had before. Sex after kids can be very enjoyable, but you may not enjoy the same things and positions as you have in the past - and that’s OK! Foreplay can help, as well as lubrication. Try new things and have fun. And remember, asking to move or stop is perfectly acceptable in any sexual experience.  Communicate, communicate, communicate! 


  • Pregnancy and Postpartum Fashion Staples

    During pregnancy and postpartum, your body changes so much and keeping up with all of that change can be hard on the wallet and sometimes your self-esteem. 

    First, let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong with rocking some sweats and a t-shirt for life. That is awesome and comfort is important.

    But after hearing from so many people say that they don't "feel like themselves" and that they would like options of what to wear, we thought we'd lay out a few of our tried and true fashion hacks and tricks to make your clothes last while helping you have a versatile and functioning wardrobe. 

    1. Shrugs, Cardigans and Sweaters

    You could wear the same black tank top and a different shrug every day of the week and look completely different! It's amazing what a nice print or color can do for your outfit. The best part? You can use them as wardrobe staples even after you are no longer in the early postpartum period.

     

    2. Accessories 

    Earrings, necklaces, hats, scarves, bracelets, oh my! Switching it up with accessories can be such a fun way to add some color and personality into your wardrobe. If you're feeling frumpy, throw your hair up in a messy bun and put on a scarf and some earrings! You'll instantly feel more put together.

    3. Maternity Jeans

    Having a few nice pairs of maternity jeans can help you feel like you still while your body changes. Do you have a favorite pair of pre-pregnancy jeans? Take the time to look for a pair of maternity jeans that remind you of them! We really recommend not trying to rush and trying to fit into your pre-pregnancy pants right after your baby arrives. The stretchy band can feel really nice on your postpartum stomach and you'll still look great. 

    4. Dresses

    If you like dressing up, finding a few dresses that you love that will be nursing friendly (if you're planning on nursing) can be a wonderful thing to have. The maxi dress style is great because it can grow and shrink with you. 

    5. Layering 

    Buy a few cute tank tops and shirts that you can layer. Your body temperature is likely to go up and down. The shirts with side ruching are great for pregnancy and postpartum, allowing for growth and shrinking without looking to small or large. 

     

    There are many small things you can do but finding pieces that really feel like you will be so helpful in transitioning with some of the changes happening with your body. Find accessories that you can wear during all seasons and have fun with it. It's ok to rock the sweats and yoga pants but having options can be so nice. 


  • When Pooping is Crappy

    We all know the feeling of having a bowel movement after an unhealthy, too much dairy, fried foods and not enough water kind of week. We've all had a poo where we've had to breathe through it, am I right? Then there are the "I can't be more than five seconds from the bathroom" kind of poops - you know what I'm talking about. We've all been there. 

    But pooping after having a baby is a whole different experience. And people don't talk about it, so we are.

    It's completely normal to have a hard time going number two after the baby arrives. Even if you are normally pretty regular, it can take a day or so to get back into your rhythm. 

    There are a few different reasons that can contribute to a difficult time going poop after giving birth:

    1. Your bowels can be sluggish after having a baby

    It can take a day or two for you to feel the desire to poop after a vaginal delivery and sometimes three after a cesarean. Muscles have been stretched all over, medicine may have been given and your body has just gone through something huge. It will take time for everything to get back to "normal". Keep in communication with your provider and the nurses at the hospital about it and be sure to express any concern if you feel its taking too long.

    2. Constipation

     Constipation after giving birth is EXTREMELY common but it can definitely make it harder (pun intended) to go. 

    Water, fiber and light walking are your friends to help prevent and help alleviate some constipation, but don't be afraid to ask your provider if stool softeners or laxatives might be the right choice for you - they can be a HUGE help!

    3. Hemorrhoids

    Need I say more? Hemorrhoids can appear anytime during your pregnancy and during labor and delivery and pooping can feel like you're poop is shaped like a medieval weapon. Alleviating constipation (see #2) and treating your hemorrhoids with whatever your doctor recommends prior to going number two can be very helpful.

    4. FEAR

    This is a big one. You might be afraid to poop and we totally get that. It's scary! You just had a baby and things are different "down there". It's possible you tore or had an episiotomy and had stitches put in and you're afraid to tear the stitches or hurt yourself more. And if you had a cesarean, you might be afraid to do something to your sutures that would be painful and postpone healing. These are all common, normal fears. And they are valid. However, most of these are very unlikely to happen. But we know that doesn't make this any less scary and difficult. 

     

    Here's what else you CAN do:

    -If you can, have someone with you (not actually IN the bathroom, unless you want that) so you have moral support and someone to hold the baby because it may take awhile.

    -Don't put it off: Waiting because you're afraid will only make it harder. Literally.

    -Talk with your doctor about all of your concerns and fears. If you feel like things aren't right, talk with them. If you're still struggling days later, call again or go in.  They are there to help you and have heard it all before, so there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. 

    RELAX: This is one of the most important things to remember. Try your best to remain calm while going to the bathroom. Tension and fear can make it harder to go and can make it hurt more. If you're relaxed, chances are it will hurt less. Take a book in the bathroom with you, light a candle or watch something on YouTube if that will help you. Be kind and understanding to yourself and don't be afraid to phone a friend that has, most likely, been "there" before.



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