Mom Type Advice on a Monday-5 things I wish I had done differently postpartum.

Last week I offered 11 unsolicited tips for the 3rd trimester-and now I’m not sure why I started there, I guess I will go back to the first tri at some other time but right now I’m covering those first few weeks and months after baby is born. Also affectionately known as the “4th trimester”.
I did actually offer plenty of advice  in my one month postpartum survival guide when I was actually living it, but I have a few more random thoughts today of things I wish I’d known/done diferently now that I’ve had some time to reflect. Today I’m thinking a lot about self-care in the postpartum period.
1.I wish I’d given myself more time to “just be” postpartum. I sort of tried to skip that stage and in the end it wasn’t a good idea.  I wish I hadn’t attempted to jump back into my regular routine so soon. You have the rest of your life to do that, just let it go man. Savour your babymoon! Stay in your PJ’s (if that doesn’t make you feel too schlumpy), take it easy, snuggle your baby.
Just say NO to any obligation that can possibly be delegated. Seriously the world will go on just fine until you are ready to rejoin it. I got really burned out and my baby got RSV when she was 2 weeks old and I’m convinced it is because I didn’t take the time we both needed to just lie low.  We ended up paying for that in a big way and ended up spending way longer inside and isolated in the end. If you lie low for the first 3-6 weeks you will get back to 100% so much faster than if you push yourself. 
2.I totally wish I had taken the advice of pretty much everyone I knew and that I hadn’t stressed so much about weight loss.  Again, rest of your life to worry about that, just eat healthily and get out into the fresh air for some walks with the baby . This will help to clear the cobwebs and keep you cheerful. Just forget about weight loss or fitness for a while!
3. I wish I had bought some good quality,  flattering nursing wear. I know lots of people just wear their maternity clothing when they are recently post partum. I sometimes did too but I don’t care who you are, it’s depressing wearing those clothes when you aren’t pregnant, and you have probably worn them to death by now. Because I was always telling myself that I would not buy anything new and nice until I had lost the baby weight, I would  shove myself into random, cheap, ill-fitting clothing that I found on clearance. This is not a good idea. It makes you feel awkward and unattractive and often just physically uncomfortable and you don’t deserve to feel that way.
It’s important to feel attractive even though your body may not be one you are familiar with for a while. Don’t punish yourself with bad clothing. You just made a human being, you don’t deserve to be punished!
Save up when you are pregnant and plan to buy  a few quality pieces that you can comfortably nurse in and feel stylish at the same time. There is no excuse to wear frumpy nursing shirts with that obvious little flap in front anymore.  There are so many beautiful options out there! Check out this site Milk Bug, the clothes are so beautiful and graceful and they look like they are so comfortable, I would quite happily wear any of those items with no nursing baby in sight! I especially love the judicious use of the draping to skim over any excess tummy situation.

4.I wish I had eaten better. I did for the first month or so, but after a while I got too distracted to do much more than snack erratically. Then I would find myself starving and eat just anything I could get my hands on which was usually junk. While you may be getting a lot of cravings for carbs and sugar, make sure that you are eating good nutritious whole foods.  Get plenty of protein and try hard to limit the sugar and white flour. This takes planning but it is really important.  You need good food to heal and to build a great milk supply. Eating a lot of sugar and white flour will put you at very high risk for thrush and will make you feel sluggish and irritable when you are already having to deal with sleep deprivation and hormonal swings.  Don’t limit the amount of food you are eating but concentrate on making it great quality food. Your body has done a really amazing thing and needs to be treated kindly. Eating good quality food will give you more energy and make you feel good about yourself.  I recommend making big batches of quinoa and adding a variety of veges and feta cheese to it. I like to add chopped cucumber, tomato, green/red/yellow peppers, sometimes grape tomatoes, celery and I sprinkle it with feta cheese.  I usually add some fat free italian dressing  and voila-a really quick, easy, filling, healthy and delicious meal.  Quinoa is a whole protein and it’s a great “base” for just about anything. And DRINK, Drink, DRINK lots and lots of water.
5. I wish I had not suffered with Postpartum Depression for as long as I did.
As you know I have struggled with postpartum depression  and I wish I had taken control of that so much sooner. Please friends, If you are feeling sad, anxious, guilty, agitated, numb, angry, very foggy,frightened,  if you are having insomnia or any kind of scary thoughts PLEASE DO NOT PUT OFF SEEKING HELP.  Feeling sad, teary or overwhelmed is considered normal in the first couple of weeks as hormones adjust but beyond that you may be dealing with something more serious. There is plenty of  very effective help available, if you can’t find the energy or motivation to get it, have a good friend or your partner make appointments and even drive you to them. The least little thing can seem completely overwhelming when you are in the grips of PPD. I wish I had not put off getting help, I really regret the unnecessary misery I put myself and my loved ones through.
OK so those are a few mom related tips from me. Here’s a few bonus tips from a friend who just had a baby. I asked what her must have baby items were and she said:
-miracle swaddling blanket. She said this particular brand are especially effective with longer babies.  I always admire parents who can effectively swaddle their babies. I have a video of me trying to swaddle Benjamin several hours after he was born. It is so funny, I was a zombie! I would like to say I have become better at it since but to be honest, I sort of lost confidence at that point and never tried to master the swaddling thing after that. My friend swears by it and says her kids sleep infinitely better when their crazy arms aren’t flailing around.
-noise machine. I totally concur with this one, not just for baby but for you too. You’re going to want to be taking some daytime naps and having a good white noise machine is a real boon when other people are going about business as usual

-snap and go wheels for the carseat rather than the big bulky travel system. (I could not recommend this more, myself -in fact I have recommended it in the past)
Got any great self-care tips or baby must have’s for “4th trimester”? We want to hear them!

*This was a sponsored post. While I am offered many opportunities to write sponsored posts, I will only accept those that I feel are a good fit for my readers and I can sincerely and genuinely endorse. All comments and opinions are strictly my own. I will always tell you when a post is sponsored.

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Apewad said...

I just typed a longish comment thanking you for your post and your honesty about depression and it got deleted when I tried to post it. So, I'll just say "thanks" and leave it at that. :)

Apewad said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm a long way off from baby #2's arrival but I remember the sweet times I had with D when he was first born and I want to have those again with the next. It's a good reminder to prepare now.
In addition, I appreciate your honesty about suffering depression. I have depression so I thought I was an expert until I hit rock bottom 6 months after D was born. Why I was unable to recognize it, I don't know, but knowing I'm not the only one to have experienced it is always comforting. There are few things as lonely as depression and the hardest time to get help is in the middle of it.

ANH said...

I love reading your mommy posts because:

1. You are a dear, trusted friend.

2. You offer great advice.

3. One day I am going to need this advice.

As a single woman with no children, I don't need to read these posts or anything like this, but as a single woman who plans on having a child one day (hopefully within the next 5 years) I find this information so valuable.

Thank you for always sharing your thoughts and experiences.

Anonymous said...

The clothes, the food and the advice are all great! I am sure there are many young moms out there who will benefit greatly from your sage advice.