You guys have asked me to share an update on my postpartum care, and honestly, I had no idea where to begin. The last several months have been some of the craziest of my life and I feel like I have learned so much about myself during this healing process. Becoming Oliver’s mom has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, but it has also tested me in so many ways: as an individual, as a wife, and as a friend. I guess I’ll just dive into your questions. Hope this helps give some of you some insight into life postpartum. 🙂
Post Partum Depression + Taking Care of Your Mental Health After Having a Baby
How long until your hormones balanced back out?
Oh man, maybe a month? It’s hard to tell but I think by then the baby blues were officially gone and the crying spells stopped. I cried over everything in the beginning: the good and the bad. I’d cry when something made me happy and when I felt overwhelmed. Sometimes I couldn’t control it and would end up laughing through the crying because it would just happen and I didn’t know why and I wasn’t actually sad. The water works would just start flowing.
Did you have postpartum depression?
I don’t think I had postpartum depression but I definitely had the baby blues. You could read more about it my postpartum update HERE, if you like. My emotions were all over the place the first few weeks: crying one minute, laughing the next. Like I said above, sometimes I’d start laughing in the middle of crying because I just had zero control. I think making sure you’re constantly vocalizing your feelings through this physical, emotional and hormonal change is so important. Also, sleep! Try to get as much sleep as you can — I know it sounds difficult with a newborn, but a lot of what I read about postpartum depression was linked back to lack of sleep.
Does it feel odd not having having a human inside you anymore?/Do you miss being pregnant?
It definitely feels odd not being pregnant anymore, but now we get to have little Oliver here with us and that’s the best gift ever. I found myself crying while watching the first episode of Modern Love the other night. The main character was pregnant and it just triggered something in me. I really enjoyed being pregnant and it was something I never thought I’d experience, so it really felt like a special time to me. I didn’t love it that much to get pregnant again right away, because uhh… newborn life is hard. Duh! It was a time where it was kind of only me and Oliver, and that will never happen again. I definitely don’t take that for granted.
How did you cope with self doubt in the early weeks with a newborn?
I really wish I had a good answer for this, but I don’t. I questioned myself A LOT, and thankfully I have a supportive partner that assured me and constantly reminded me it was okay to rest and take our time with figuring this all out. Every baby is so different and you could read a ton of books and websites and forums, and believe me, I did, but there is no perfect answer or one right way to do something. Just know, that if you are questioning anything in any way, you already are doing the right thing, because you care that much. Now I will tell you one thing that I wish I learned earlier on: stop researching everything! It can make you cuckoo. Go with your gut and trust your instincts. Still not sure? Ask a partner, a family member or close friend. Again, every baby is so different and what works for us, may not work for you and vice versa and that’s totally okay.
Making Time For Yourself AfTer Having a Baby
Postpartum fashion? Any outfit ideas for not feeling frumpy after having a baby?
I wore a lot of the same things postpartum that I did when I was pregnant: loose flowy dresses and jumpsuits were great. It took me a while to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans again, which was a little upsetting at times, but again I think it’s about having grace and patience with yourself. You just pushed a baby out after helping it grow and develop for nine months. Take your time. After a week or so, I made it a point to get ready each morning the way I did pre-baby because that just helped me feel like “me”, but do what’s best for you.
How do you make time for yourself?
Like I said above, getting ready each morning is my “me time”. After breakfast we put Oliver down for his morning nap and I take that time to do my hair, put on makeup and get done some work around the house or emails. I use that time to tend to whatever will help me feel like me and have a more productive day. Some of you guys have DMed me about this, and I say use that nap time for whatever you want: working out, reading a book, catching up on a show. You’re important too and you can’t take care of your baby without taking care of yourself. We all need a reminder about that one sometimes, I think. 😉
How did you get in shape after having a baby?
I wouldn’t exactly say I’m in shape now, but I lost some baby weight and am fitting into some pre-pregnancy clothes. I would love to start going back to the gym or wake up an hour earlier before Oliver each day and get back into BBG, but honestly I’d rather sleep these days. Ha! I’ve tried to just watch what I eat and cut out late night snacking. We try to go to the park a lot and walk with Oliver around our neighborhood, so I think being active in any form helps, not just physically but also mentally.
Did you have postpartum hair loss?
YES! And I still do. My hair has been coming out constantly. I feel like I’m always cleaning out my brushes. I started taking these biotin gummies and have continued taking my pre-natal vitamins, but I think I just have to ride it out. Aveda’s Damage Remedy line has been great for keeping the hair I have strong.
How long did it take for your body to feel “normal” again?
I feel like I didn’t feel 100% until around 6 weeks. That’s when I really felt healed and more comfortable exerting myself. It’s different for everyone, so just try to listen to your body. My hospital bag post mentions some of my must have items for postpartum. You can check it out HERE, for all the items that accelerated my healing process.
Did you have any stretch marks?
Surprisingly, I didn’t. I thought I would because some people in my family experienced them through their pregnancies, but I used Burt’s Bees belly oil and belly butter every night. Some nights I was so tired and didn’t want to lotion up, ha! but I’m glad I did. 🙂 Stretch marks or not, be proud of your body — its so amazing what we’re able to do.
How To Keep Your Relationship Alive After Having a Baby
How do you balance life with a newborn and time as a married couple?
Between running a business, taking care of a baby and trying to pay attention to your own needs, balancing a marriage could be hard. Let me rephrase that: it is hard. I think the first month or so was tough. We became each other’s rocks and support systems, but at the same time making actual quality time for each other and bonding was difficult. We were so tired and by the time we put Oliver to sleep each evening we were ready to sleep too. Good news is — that didn’t last long! We found a groove, got into a good routine and now we find time for each other through little coffee dates while Oliver is napping and each evening when we put him to sleep, it’s our time to be together. I think it’s important to remember you’re a couple first. Your love is why this cute little babe is here to begin with, so it’s important to nurture it. We always feel better when we spend time together and chat about the day, cuddle up on the couch or enjoy a special meal together.
What has been the hardest adjustment since becoming a parent?
Kind of like I mentioned above, just juggling everything has been a huge transition. Personally I’m someone who doesn’t like to ask for help, which is silly, I know, but there comes a point where you can’t do everything on your own. For me, that means if I’m overwhelmed and need five minutes to catch my breath, I ask Rob for it now rather than trying to push through the whole day and crashing at the end of the night. Also, remembering that I am still me, and that I don’t need to be a certain type of mom to be a good mom to Oliver has been very helpful. Rob has been great with reminding me that its totally fine if I have a different approach to something with Oliver than I may have been traditionally taught. That has definitely made me feel more confident in my parenting and happier with myself as a mom and individual. I’m still me, but now we have Ollie and that’s amazing and I don’t need to fit into anyone’s mold of what a mom should be like.
Does sex after childbirth exist? How long until you could be intimate again after childbirth and Is it awful?
Hahah! My parents and in-laws read this blog, so I’ll keep this brief… Sex does exist after childbirth and it may seem scary at first but don’t worry you will heal from childbirth and you will feel amazing and sex will be amazing again too! If you have trouble healing or if something doesn’t feel right, don’t be ashamed or hard on yourself. Pelvic floor therapy is so common after childbirth and should be spoken about more. Ask your OB for some reccs!
The Early Weeks with a Newborn
Are you breastfeeding or formula feeding?
We are formula feeding. After a ton of research and figuring out what agrees with Oliver the best, we landed on HiPP HA. It is a hypoallergenic formula with clean ingredients. It is a partially hydrolyzed formula, which is easier on Oliver’s stomach and typically easier for babies with reflux. We order it online HERE. We plan on continuing with this even through feeding him solids.
How did you do with visitors after Oliver was born?
I just didn’t have visitors. It might have been selfish but I read so much about postpartum depression and I was so nervous to feel overwhelmed, that I did everything I could to set myself up for a comfortable environment when Oliver was born. I asked family to not visit for a while so that Rob and I could settle into a good routine with Oliver ourselves before people came. Everyone is so different, but for us this was the best thing. It gave us the time to just relax in bed, the three of us, and figure out what worked best as a new family.
How long did it take for you to create a daily routine and a sleep routine?
We did it almost immediately. Having Oliver on a routine gave us all a bit of sanity in some very sleep deprived days. I think it might have been a little difficult in the beginning, but it has paid off now at 4 months. Oliver knows what to expect each day and so do we. You could read a bit about his 3 month schedule HERE.
When did you start taking Oliver out?
We took Oliver out a little after a week old. I was going stir crazy in the house and I needed some socialization. Ha! It wasn’t flu season so we felt ok taking him out. Everyone told me I was crazy, or that I was nuts for bringing Oliver out and exposing him to so many people and places so early. I think it has done more good than harm and now Oliver enjoys being out with us. He’s used to the carseat and car rides and it’s been really healthy for all of us to get out and enjoy our favorite places together. Again, just do what’s best for you and your baby. You’ll know what feels right.
*For more baby posts, check out these posts HERE.