Woo TGIF, friends! I can't believe we leave for Walt Disney World in less than a week! We're battling some mild colds in our house right now though so we'll be trying to make a speedy recovery this weekend and just prep for our trip. We have a little bit more shopping and a lot of packing to do!
Today though I've been inspired recently by one of my very good friends who just gave birth to her baby girl and have been reminded of my time of being in the hospital and giving birth. I had no idea you could come home with so many "goodies" from the hospital! I've got to say, all the stuff I took home with me was such a big help in the first month of being a new mom. I wanted to share a little bit of wisdom with all of you so you can make a quick list on your phones of things to knick from the hospital before you come home with your new bundle of joy!
1. Ice packs - The hospital has convenient crack and shake ice packs that stay cold for about 30 minutes at a time. I used these so much for my tailbone while I was napping. It's not the best thing to keep a cold pack on a sore spot for too long, so it was nice that these "expired" when I fell asleep. Use them for whatever is still sore long after you leave the hospital!
2. Mesh undies - Don't waste your money buying your own...just take a couple weeks worth from the hospital because they're going to get ruined or thrown away anyways. I recommend wearing these for about 2 weeks after giving birth so that you don't ruin any of your good underwear.
3. Oversized pads - I didn't even know they made pads that big but thank goodness they do! Once again...grab enough for a week or two to use at home because before you know it, you won't be bleeding that much. Then you can switch over to normal sized pads until you're in the all clear.
4. Bulb syringes - I fibbed and told our nurse I didn't know where our bulb syringe was so that I could have two at home. We keep one upstairs in Kai's room and one downstairs in his pack and play or I'll throw it in the diaper bag. These things are great for getting water out of their ears and boogers out of their nose.
5. Pacifiers - Ask your nurse for a few pacifiers. Our hospital had the Soothies ones and those are Kai's favorite. I keep them all over the house and trust me, later on when your baby is teething, you'll want as many extras as possible that you can throw in the freezer and keep rotating out. That way you don't have to take their Wubanub away from them...you have temps all over the place!
6. Receiving blankets - These are what the nurses will swaddle your babe in at the hospital. When your baby has more strength and can wiggle around, these blankets won't stay put if you swaddle them in them. So what I'm getting at is don't waste your money or your registry space on buying your own. Take a few of the cute baby feet ones they have at the hospital to bring your baby home in and use them to keep them warm in their car seat. Other than that, they're just going to sit in the closet.
7. Diapers - Take as many diapers as your hospital bags will hold. Newborns go through 10-12 diapers a day...take advantage of as many free ones you can get! Most hospitals have Pampers, which are so great for newborns because it has the wet indicator on the outside.
8. Wash cloths - You can never have too many, in my opinion. I use little wash cloths for everything...spit up incidents, wiping Kai's bum when he has diaper rash, washing my face, cleaning, sweat towel for yoga, etc.
9. Dermaplast - The hospital has lots of cans of this stuff so ask to take a couple home with you. This is the stuff that you spray on your vagina to numb it up after you use the bathroom. I know, I know, gross, TMI, but seriously after you've just given birth, you need relief whenever you can get it. I used this stuff for about two weeks pp.
10. Peri bottle - Another post bathroom use item. I took the one the hospital gave to me home and I really wish I had asked for a second one so that I could have one upstairs and one downstairs. I used this after every bathroom trip for about a month. I tore during my delivery, so I had to have stitches, and I wanted to make sure I was staying as clean as possible down there.
11. Baby hats - The hospitals all give out those cute blue and pink baby hats! Take a bunch, especially in the winter! They are the perfect size for a small newborn head and help with any quick trips in and out of the house.
Anything else I'm missing mamas!? Leave some comments on this post for any other ideas you have for mamas to be who are about to go through labor and delivery soon!
Our postpartum bodies are so different. It amazes me the differences I see and feel. At first, I didn't like it. I knew what I was getting in to but at the same time to see my body so different was hard. My belly was and is still so soft. I actually had slight diastasis recti after giving birth, too. I didn't even know where to start to getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I had gained about 30 lbs during my pregnancy but also was not happy where I was weight-wise before I got pregnant.
I was cleared to work out after my 6 week postpartum appointment but didn't even know where to start. I felt so loose, weak, and my tailbone was still pretty bruised. I also didn't want to make my diastasic recti worse. Plus, what mama has time to workout!? I was excited at the prospect of "getting my body back" but was also overwhelmed. I decided to make a small plan for myself though that started me out really slow and see how it went.
I slowly got back in to being physical and made it a point to make time for myself to workout. There was plenty of ups and downs at the beginning and I would go through periods where I wouldn't work out for weeks. But after my bout of PPD, I knew I needed to change something. I knew I needed to get healthy not just for Kai, but for myself. I lost a significant amount of weight when I was struggling with PPD and it was not healthy at all. After getting the help I needed, I tried to look at the silver lining of it all that I had lost a good amount of weight and the number was almost where I wanted it to be. I would never encourage anyone to lose weight by not eating and letting anxiety run their life though. It made EVERYTHING worse. So please mamas, if this is something you are struggling with please seek the help that you need. No shame. I'm here. Your doctor is here. Whoever, you need, please turn to them.
From there though I realized I needed to appreciate myself so much more. I stopped working out to lose weight and instead started working out because my beautiful body deserves to move and be loved. By changing this mind set and doing workouts that I truly enjoy, it changed everything. I love working out now. I'm disappointed when I miss a workout. I crave it now. I'm so proud of myself when I look in the mirror and see how far I've come. To me it's a moot point but I know numbers are easier to grasp for some so here it is...I've lost all 30 lbs of my baby weight plus another 10 lbs to get myself back to where I've been wanting to be for a long time. All my clothes fit again...even things that didn't fit prior to my pregnancy. But mostly, I feel good and to me that's what's most important about beginning my fitness journey.
So I wanted to share with you all how I got back in to a good fitness regimen after having Kai all the way through up to where I am at now.
*Week 1 meaning from the time I started working out again, not postpartum weeks. I wanted to state this in weeks of the journey, not postpartum because we are all ready to begin working out again at different times in our postpartum journey.
I go to yoga on Sundays and Thursdays and go running on Mondays. Monday and Thursdays are my work from home days, so going to workout is the perfect way for me to get out of the house for those days. I am currently still on the 1 mile run and 2 moderate level yoga classes phase of this journey. I was actually up to running 2 miles once a week, but after my dad passed away, I just wasn't getting my workouts in. As much as I want to believe I can run further than that, it's important that I don't rush that part of exercising. When you give birth, your pelvic floor becomes very very weak and your hips/back are very out of whack. If I miss too many runs, I back to track to 1 mile again. My philosophy is 3 weeks at a time. After 3 weeks of being consistent with a workout, I feel that I can bump it up to the next level. This has been a nice steady incline of workouts for myself to where I'm not overdoing it but at the same time not staying stagnant for too long. I was very active when I was younger and can tend to push myself too hard sometimes so it has been very hard not to do that now. It's so important though to give yourself grace and time to get back to where you want to be from a physical standpoint though...you did give birth to a human after all! Our bodies need a lot of time to heal. Exercising can actually help with this but overdoing it with exercise can make things much worse. It's about finding that balance and I believe the schedule up above was perfect for me in finding that balance. Like I've said, I feel better than ever these days! I feel good from the inside out and feel like I look it too whenever I look at myself in the mirror. So I encourage all of you to find that schedule that works for you, too. Know that it does take some sacrifice, but it's worth it. It makes me sad to give up my Sunday mornings snuggling Kai and reading to him before his morning nap to go to yoga, but at the same time I need that time for me. It makes me sad to not have dinner with Kai and Caleb after work on Thursday nights, especially because I have to go in to the office on Fridays, but I know I need that break to go to yoga for my own sanity. I do have mom guilt for even taking 3 hours a week for myself to do these workouts, but it's only 3 hours. Kai will be ok and I'm better for it. So mamas, pick out some time for yourself, do what you enjoy, and start slow! If you have any questions or need any advice or motivation I am always here for you!
The only thing I want you all to know and remember is, please do not workout prior to your doctor or midwife clearing you for it after giving birth. It is very important to rest those first 6 to 8 weeks or longer if recommended by your doctor or if you just simply need it yourself.
The journey of postpartum life is a long and messy one. I spoke up and told the hard truth about a lot of what happens during this time in our life in my The Things No One Wants to Talk About post and like I said in that post, it all slowly gets better. There are some great things I learned to have on hand though to help things a long, and I wanted to share them with all of you today! I used all these things multiple times a day and they all helped so much. I was pretty much pain free from day one with the exception of my tailbone and back...so I think that's saying a lot about this little list!
Pads, pads, pads
Well my first tip is take as many from the hospital with you as you can. Start out with the big diapers they give you there for about a week or two. Then start using these number 5 maxi pads. You can slowly work your way down to panty liners after a few weeks. It's good to have a stock of a bunch of different kinds because 1, you won't have time to go to the store in those first few weeks to grab more and this way you don't have to send anyone else out to get them for you. And 2, you can make a bunch of padsicles to help you heal and find some relief even quicker.
Hemorrhoid Cream + Wipes
Hemorrhoids are a real thing after labor. I luckily didn't get them while I was pregnant but oh my goodness postpartum life was awful. I thought to get cream before I went in to labor just in case I needed it and I'm so glad I did because I used it all the time. I also ended up getting some of these Tucks medicated cooling pads and they really helped, as well. I suggest having both in your medicine cabinet at all times because you never know when they're going to flair up.
You may be thinking well duh, I'm going to go through 100 of these day with my baby but what I mean is have some for you too! Steal a pack from baby's room and stash them in your bathroom. Toilet paper can be rough when you're as sensitive as we are after giving birth so baby wipes are a great alternative to making sure you stay clean down there plus don't irritate things further.
Ice EVERYTHING! Your back, your vagina, your butt, your shoulders, whatever you need to feel better. I personally just took a bunch of extra ice packs from the hospital but if for some reason you can't take them with you or better yet if you have a home birth, I suggest stocking up on these reusable ice packs from Amazon! Just pop them in the freezer and rotate them as need. I iced my tailbone so much for the first couple of months because it was so badly bruised from delivery. I'm telling you...throw one on whatever hurts during a nursing session or a nap and you'll heal so much quicker.
Diffuse them, put a small amount in your sitz bath, use them on your padsicles. Essential oils are multi-use and last for such a long time. Lavender and Tea Tree oils both have extraordinary healing properties in them. They soothe and taking swelling away immensely, so I highly recommend grabbing these two before baby comes.
Nipple balm or cream is a huge help in the first couple weeks and even periodically after if you plan on breast feeding. I still use mine from time to time now at 9 months postpartum when I'm feeling a little sore! I'm a big fan of the Honest Company nipple balm because it doesn't stain my clothes. I used the Lansinoh nipple cream at first and it stained some of my clothes without me realizing it! It did help me feel better though but I was very bummed that some of my favorite lounge clothes got ruined from it.
Usually the hospital will provide you a peribottle but just in case you don't get one from the hospital or your doctor after giving birth you can buy them for real cheap on Amazon. It's good to have one in every bathroom that you use, too, so I recommend grabbing a few. Just fill the whole thing up with luke warm water and spray on your vagina/perineal after going to the bathroom to keep yourself clean. This really helps with stopping anything from getting infected, especially if you had to get stitches like me. I stopped using mine after about 6 weeks.
Even if you're not hurting and you'e not against taking pain reliever, I recommend taking a couple of ibuprofen 3 times a day and slowly working your way down to not taking any over the first 4 to 6 weeks. Always check with your doctor but I was told by the hospital staff and my doctors that ibuprofen is safe to take while nursing. Not only does ibuprofen help all the pain but it really helps with swelling. By taking some when I woke up, after lunch, and before bed, I was able to stay on top of my pain pretty much all the time. We all have that one thing that just really won't get better after deliver (for me it was my tailbone), so plenty of ibuprofen helps to keep those things somewhat at bay.
Another goodie you can grab from the hospital but I actually got one more can even after. After you do the peribottle after going to the bathroom, spray some of this down below for some added relief in those first couple of weeks. It acts as a fast acting pain reliever. I used it after every bathroom trip for the first two weeks postpartum and it provided so much relief.
Oh friends, this post has taken me a long time to write. I've sat down to try to write it multiple times and always stop for some reason or another. Sometimes it feels like a rant, sometimes I just can't convey how I really feel. Regardless though, it's something I've wanted to discuss with all of you for a long time now. Before I start though I want to say one thing, in no way shape or form will any negativity, shaming, or pure meanness be tolerated in this discussion. All comments must be approved before they are published on this blog. So if you have nothing nice to say then please don't even bother. Same goes for all social media and e-mail. You will promptly be removed from this discussion and any future Tiny Talks. Thank you!
Mom shaming is a real thing. It's awful and truly sad that it happens. Before I became a mom, I know I would judge. Heck from time to time I still do, but since becoming a mom I will never ever vocalize it because I know how much it hurts. As a mom, we're all just doing our best but many times it's not seen that way. It saddens me when someone tells a mom that they're not doing it right because they may do things differently than someone else. This is the number one factor of where I see mom shaming come in to play. We all have different styles of raising our babies and to me that's the awesome thing about parenthood. I 100% understand about being passionate about something, for me, those things tend to be baby wearing, breastfeeding, Babywise, and vaccinations. If you want my personal views on these topics then let's chat on the side, but I mention them because I fully appreciate the differences of opinions surrounding these topics. Just because some mamas are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum of where I am on these things doesn't mean they're bad moms in my opinion. I know for a fact they believe what they believe and do what they do out of the goodness of their hearts for their children, and for that I applaud them. I wish so many others felt the same though. Why is it that we feel the need to be mean and degrade each other for a difference of opinion?
The hardest part about mom shaming is that it sticks with you, at least it does with me. I have very distinct memories of other women making me feel incredibly inferior for things such as Babywise and breastfeeding. It was to the point one time where I actually questioned if I was a good mom? I'm sure some of you have been to that point, too in your motherhood journey. Isn't it the absolute worst feeling? You go from sad to mad. I've gotten so heated over these shaming incidents, it's crazy how much time and energy is wasted on it. The worst part about it too is that it's so hard to just shake it off. I define myself as a mom and to be basically told I'm bad at it just shakes me to my core. But in the end, who cares what that person thinks, right? We just have to look at our babies to see the proof of how amazing we are at this motherhood thing.
So the next time you run in to an incident that breaks your heart, go snuggle your heart on the outside and remember you're the perfect mom. I am so proud to be a part of this tribe and thank you all so much for being a part of it with me. Every single one of you are the best mom ever and don't ever let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Let's all band together here and help bring awareness and stop the shame! A few things I personally like to do on the daily to bring positivity to this mama tribe is:
Join in on this weeks Tiny Talk on Instagram Live tomorrow night (11/6) at 7PM CST! I can't wait to chat more about this with all of you tomorrow night!
Childbirth is messy, really really messy but at the same time it is the most beautiful experience of your life. I've had so many women tell me how scared they are of labor and delivery and my response is always to remember that it is just one day. Yes it's hard and painful, but it's a good pain. There's a point to it and it's not hurting you. The pain of the contractions are a wonderful thing because with each one you are closer to meeting your baby. There's a lot of intense things that happen before, during, and after labor that so many women just keep to themselves or say to other moms "you know what I mean." While this may not be appropriate dinner table talk, I want you to know it's ok to talk about it. It's ok to say out loud, I tore, I have hemorrhoids, I was a gusher.. I'm always here to be honest with you guys, so here it is, all of that happened to me. I personally wish that I had found other blog posts that were brutally honest about childbirth before I gave birth to Kai. I'm not here to scare you but it does happen but you know what else? You heal! You really really do. The human body is extraordinary, especially women's bodies! Sorry guys, but it's true. Women are far superior in every way. I read a hilarious quote at the very beginning of my pregnancy and it was, "There's a reason God decided women would give birth and not men." We're so strong, stronger than you can ever imagine yourself and I promise you can do it. We are meant to do this and it's all so wonderful.
Belly Itching + Stretch Marks
My bump was itching so bad the last couple weeks of my pregnancy. I remember being so miserable and nothing would help. Our skin gets stretched so far to make room for these little nuggets that it's just bound to happen. I got some pretty gnarly stretch marks at the very end but I've been using the Honest Company Belly Balm and it has worked wonders to lighten them up. You can't even see them anymore! The itching goes away too about a week after giving birth. I still had a little bit of it right after but that's because your skin is snapping back to normal. Seriously, our bodies are amazing.
Losing the Plug
If you're pregnant and getting close to the end, there's going to be a lot of talk about losing your mucus plug. It's gross yes, but it happens when you go to the bathroom. I lost mine all at once when my water broke. You flush it down the toilet and that's that. I've heard that some women can lose it early and some can lose it a little bit here and there. Whatever it may be, you just wash it away and know that pretty soon it's going to be baby time! See? Always a positive outcome even with the gross stuff.
Only about 10% of women's water break before labor starts. I am proud to say I am in that 10%! I was terrified that this would happen to me at work and that I would be a gusher. Well I was a gusher but thankfully it happened in the comfort of my own home. I definitely would have been embarrassed if I was out in public and especially if it was somewhere like work where I would have to see these people again! However, if it does happen, who cares, especially if you're just out and about! You'll never see those people again and you have much more to think about than what people think of you wetting your pants ha! To ease your comfort though, most women really do start to have contractions first and a lot of times your doctor or midwife will have to break your water for you. So either way, know you are not alone. It also may be a slow trickle or you might just start gushing water like I did. For me the beginning sensation started while I was laying in bed. It woke me up in the morning actually. I felt this purging sensation down in my vagina and thought "hm, that feels weird" and got up to go to the bathroom. Then whoosh it all started coming out. Whatever it may be, just carry a towel around with you until you get in to your hospital bed if it breaks before you get to the hospital. Just remember that once in breaks, you're guaranteed to meet your babe in the next 24 hours!
Pain of Contractions
At first, they really don't hurt. They're just weird. Before I went in to labor I remember scouring the internet for what they feel like because I just needed to know and I could never find anything that truly described them. So here it is. For me, they were a strong tightening of my lower abdomen and I felt a lot of pressure pushing down in to my vagina. That's it. None of this intense sharp cramping that you picture or anything like that. The most uncomfortable part and I imagine painful part is that the pressure gets more and more as you dilate. I opted to receive an epidural when I was 5 cm dilated and that is when the pressure was becoming very uncomfortable. After I got the epidural though, they didn't hurt at all!
I had a second degree tear with Kai. I tore externally and internally and had to receive stitches. Thanks to the epidural though I didn't feel the tearing happening or the stitching happening. I heard it though. It was a series of pops and all I could think was yep there it goes...but hey then my baby was born! They put your little bundle on your chest and your doctor takes care of you and you seriously don't even notice. Afterwards, you're sore but I imagine all women are even if you don't tear! You just gave birth to a human after all. Just use the ice packs the hospital gives you and when you get home start using the padsicles you prepared. Here's the recipe for the ones I made. They seriously do wonders and I healed so quickly thanks to them! Also use the peribottle that the hospital gives you after every bathroom visit to keep yourself clean down there. The stitches just dissolve in your body so nothing falls out or anything crazy like that. At your 6 week postpartum appointment with your doctor or midwife, they will check it and make sure you are all good and I promise you will be. Just rest, take ibuprofen, and ice when you can!
Peeing Your Pants
So I haven't ever really experienced this but it definitely does happen to a lot of women so if you're in this bucket, you're seriously not alone! I had a friend tell me one day during her pregnancy she had pee running down her leg and we just laughed about it because who cares, it happens to the best of us! Just wear a pad around if you feel your pelvic floor weakening. Do some kegels when you can it'll get stronger over time. There's so much weight baring down and then during delivery your pushing so hard, your bound to mess it up. But just like everything else, it really does get better over time. I still wear a pad when I workout just in case. No shame mamas!
Pooping on the Table
I have no idea if this happened to me. It might have? I don't know and you know why? Because for 1 you can't see, 2 you can't feel it, and 3 the nurses just clean it up for you or it just drops right in to the bag at the end of the table. Trust me, a lot is coming out of you other than stools so seriously don't concern yourself with any of it. Just concentrate on your pushing your babe out...that's all that matters!
The First Postpartum Bowel Movement + Hemorrhoids
Ok sorry ladies but this one hurts. Like a fricken mother f*****. I'm not trying to scare anyone but oh my goodness this is probably the only thing I'm dreading with future babies. But like I've been stressing over and over again it all gets better over time. To help with all of this do sitz baths with either the contraption they give you at the hospital or just sit in your bath tub. I opted for the bath tub because I had a very bruised tailbone after giving birth. I would fill it with a little bit of water and a few drops of tea tree oil and just sit for about 10 to 15 min. It was a nice break and time to myself actually. Also use baby wipes (I'm sure you have plenty) to wipe yourself after going as toilet paper can be a little rough and really irritate hemorrhoids. Preparation H, those padiscles, and stool softeners will help them heal, too. This was honestly the most uncomfortable part for me and I definitely got frustrated that this part of postpartum took so long to go away and I actually still struggle with this now 5 months postpartum but you just learn to deal. Some days it hurts still but most days it doesn't. Once again...time is your best friend with all this healing.
Post delivery will feel like a very heavy period. You'll need to wear a pad 24/7 and yes I really do recommend just wearing the granny panty mesh underwear from the hospital for the first 2 weeks. I felt like I was wearing a diaper most of the time but it was better than ruining clothes, sheets, or the couch. The bleeding gets better each week and mine was completely gone by 4 weeks.
I didn't get this one too bad either, thank goodness but I know it does happen. At the hospital I was told at the beginning to wipe my nipples with a warm cloth after each feeding and let them air dry. Then apply some nipple cream. I started out using the Lansinoh nipple cream and it did help but it stained my clothes! So be careful ladies, it's like grease so if you wash and dry your clothes you'll never get those stains out. I switched to using the Honest Nipple Balm and it's been amazing. You don't really need it after about week 2 but every once in awhile I'll apply a little because they can get sore from pumping.
Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression, + Postpartum Psychosis
So of all the things us mamas experience after birth, this topic is definitely one of the most serious and important ones. Our emotional and mental health is so important and it is extremely rocked after giving birth...hell it's even messed with during pregnancy...hello crazy pregnancy hormones! It is completely normal to experience baby blues after giving birth. Some moms feel it right away and it sets in later for others. Our hormones are going haywire to get back to normal or to stabilize for breastfeeding. However, if it's been months and you still can't stop crying, have severe anxiety, or if it's more on the extreme side where you are hallucinating, have thoughts of harming yourself or others, and aren't able to complete any of your normal daily tasks then I encourage you with my whole heart to call your doctor. There is no shame in any of this. It happens to all of us, myself included. After I went back to work I found it very hard to cope with my feelings, I struggled to be productive, and my anxiety was through the roof. I couldn't deal with small things or big things and thanks to my sister in law and one of my best friends I went to my doctor. I am proud to say I am doing so much better these days and I'm able to go through life now with a much clearer head. The thing is, it's not our fault that we feel this way. Thanks to all that we went through and are still going through our bodies just can't regulate its hormones without some help. It's all a part of motherhood and if you need the help of talking to someone or medication then please seek it out, it will help you to kick ass at life even more.
That about covers it. If I've forgotten anything or if you mamas have any other questions or advice for me and other moms please leave me a comment below! Hooray for the mess of being moms! It's a beautiful thing ;)
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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