Now that Jack is almost 14 months old we are thinking about trying for another baby, and I have been remembering what is was like to be pregnant and deliver Jack… I can’t believe I got pregnant with him almost 2 years ago!
Here are some things about my postpartum experience that might be helpful for people expecting their first child (TMI alert though). FYI I had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery with some moderate tearing.
- Having a baby carrier was super helpful since Jack wanted to be held all the time. I loved my moby wrap and beco gemini (both can be organic), and know people who like the k’tan and ergo as well.
- I thought I would feel up for going to work a little 2-3 weeks after delivery, but I was SO wrong! Maybe some people are, but because of the stitches I didn’t feel comfortable sitting without a pillow or something for several weeks. There was also more bleeding than I realized, and that lasted 6 weeks for me. So I would advise you to plan to take at least 6 weeks without needing to go anywhere if possible.
- Stock up on sanitary pads (chlorine-free if possible!) since you can’t wear tampons! I hadn’t even used pads in such a long time, and I forgot they don’t work as well to prevent leaks so I also recommend having dark colored bottoms just in case of leaks. I also had a mattress protector for my bed in case of leaks at night which was a good investment. I got this PVC-free one and it works great.
- Try to learn as much about breastfeeding as possible before birth (check out a LLL meeting!). Most people I know had some trouble with it, so knowing what a tongue tie and lip tie are and what they look like for example can help you in case your doctor doesn’t notice (mine didn’t). If you miss things like that, it can lead to a lot of pain, so it’s better to do anything possible right away to prevent problems. We even paid $300 for a lactation specialist to come to the house on a weekend which I felt guilty about, but it’s way cheaper than a year of formula! Also lanolin was helpful for my nipples. If you’re possibly allergic to wool, you can try hard to get organic lanolin without chemicals added.
- Take tons of pictures! It sounds obvious but it easy to forget, and looking back I wish I had more. I especially wish I took out our nice camera more often and got good quality pictures rather than phone ones. Newborns sleep so much that it’s a great time to get adorable pictures of them sleeping on dad’s chest, on a sheepskin rug, on someone’s arm, with the dog…
- We waited to start cloth diapering for about a week because we were nervous, but I found it way easier than disposables and next time will start right away! Maybe even in the hospital! It also makes the pictures even more adorable.
- I recommend everyone reads up of safe cosleeping, because even if you never plan to, you will likely end up doing it sometime out of exhaustion. It sounds ridiculous but even having to lift your baby and put them in a bedside cosleeper seems like too much effort at 2am when you are exhausted and they fell asleep next to you while eating and you don’t want to risk waking them.
- I also had joint pain off and on for months after delivery, so a heating pad was nice to have for that. I guess all the hormones caused it- it was weird to have this dull pain in my back, knees, and ankles.