It has come to my attention that, despite our society’s willingness to post everything from their bowel movements to details of their sex life on social media, we are surprisingly ignorant about some of the realities of life right after having a baby.
So, hopefully this will help clear some of the confusion. This is not in any way an effort to scare people off from having a baby, quite the opposite actually. I believe that when people are informed, the fear is removed, and clear thinking can come into play.
So here it is:
Top 10 things that you don’t know (and should) about your body after baby:
1. You won’t lose that bump for weeks, possibly months. I wrote more about that HERE.
2. Your boobs will not ever be the same. They can still be nice, don’t worry, but they won’t ever look exactly like they did before. Same with your body. You can get abs back, and have toned legs, and a perky butt and defined arms. It’s possible. Don’t gain more than you need to during pregnancy and your body will recover naturally, on it’s own, with moderate excercise, especially if you breastfeed. But it will be a little different here and there.
3. Speaking of boobs, somewhere between day 2 and 7ish your milk will come in. At this point your breasts become something you have never known before. It’s not uncommon to grow 3-4 sizes overnight, resulting in rock-hard painful impostors prominently stationed like torpedoes on your chest. They will take over your armpit and collarbone areas. And no, men, you can’t touch them. They hurt, so don’t even try. This only lasts for about 2 days at which point your body will adjust it’s production based on how much your baby needs, and they will return to a more humanlike form. Apply coconut oil before bed each night to help avoid stretch marks during this time!
3. Your stretch marks will fade. I know they are bright purple now, but with time, they will become a more skin-tone color. Try applying coconut oil to help them fade. Also, some girls never get any. My dad calls my mom’s her “battle scars”…that’s a good man.
4. Breastfeeding BURNS CALORIES. I found that I needed an extra 800 calories/day when I was nursing my boys because they are so big. An average sized baby will take 500/day from you, which is more likely what my newest little one will do. Oh, and I don’t care what every single breastfeeding website says. Your nipples will hurt for a few days/weeks. Even if you have a correct latch. Bleeding, however, is not normal and could be the result of improper latch, infection or thrush.
5. Your feet and hands will grow. My feet are a half size bigger now than when I got pregnant with Henry and I had to have my wedding ring resized a 1/4 size.
6. In the days after you give birth, you will wear a diaper, or at least a pad the size of Texas. This is not for going to the bathroom, but because you will bleed a lot after you give birth, for about a week or two. Never have I felt the devotion and love of my husband as much as when he is helping me change my diaper.
7. Yes, your parts will go back to normal. While you can’t have intercourse for about four weeks after giving birth, once you are healed your sex life can resume as normal. Plus, there are lots of other things you can do to retain physical intimacy with your partner in the meantime…talk to your midwife or doctor. Your sex life does not have to be completely put on hold for a month just because you have just had a baby.
8. Your hair will change. Normal things to experience are straight hair turning curly, curly to straight, loss of hair or sprouts of new growth. My hair changed color. It got a bit lighter/blonder after Henry. You could actually see the line of growth as if I had had it colored the day I got pregnant!
9. Yes, you can get pregnant right after you have a baby, even if your period hasn’t returned, and even if you are nursing. My former midwife had a friend who got pregnant with triplets 3 months after having her baby. TRIPLETS. I mean, c’mon.
10. It is absolutely, without a doubt, completely worth every bit of it. These are all temporary or mild inconveniences. I can’t properly put into words exactly why, but having children is the most incredible thing you will ever do. I’m not sure this can be fully understood until you experience it for yourself. Also, the intimacy and closeness that my husband and I experienced by going through pregnancy and childbirth together is indescribable. The days following the birth of one of our children are some of our most cherished and precious memories.
So don’t be afraid, be informed. It’s amazing.
live well. be well.