Our friend Katie Fleming, The Lake Country Doula, partnered with us this week as guest blogger! Out of her postpartum experiences and her lovely quick wit, she has 5 fabulous tips to offer you.
Congratulations! You’ve just had your baby and your sore back and swollen feet are gone for good!
Let’s get real. The immediate postpartum period can leave you feeling both like a goddess and a train wreck in the same 5 minutes. I’ve been blessed with two little ones myself, and here are 5 things I know about postpartum recovery…
5. There’s always something they didn’t tell you.
Our sisters, our friends, our mothers… Maybe they didn’t tell you that your feet can swell even more in the days after childbirth. Maybe they didn’t tell you that yes, you will need to wear a pad thicker than your newborn’s diaper. Or maybe they didn’t tell you your boobs can not only leak, but straight up SPRAY when they are full.
The truth about postpartum recovery is that everyone learns something new about themselves, their body, or how things are different than they expected. We all find out very quickly how important it is to keep an extra shirt handy, for example.
4. Sleep is CRUCIAL!
Life with a newborn is exhausting. They eat all. the. time. About 6 days in when exhaustion really hits, you regret every tantrum that 5-year-old-you threw when you were told to take a nap. Sleep is just that important. Everyone always says “sleep when the baby sleeps” but for those first few days and weeks, that seems impossible. You have a new baby and they need you to stare at their tiny precious eyelids, right? Well, one mother to another, for the sake of your sanity, take a nap! Your body will thank you.
3. You only get the help you ask for.
For the first 2-3 days of your baby’s life, chances are you will be visited a lot. Folks will will come with balloons, flowers, and gifts for the little one. They will want to hold the baby, ask personal questions about your birth, politely ask if you need anything, and then head back to their non-newborn-having lives.
It’s hard to ask for help. Everyone wants to feel like they are on top of things during this challenging time, but I’m here to tell you, that YES, YOU CAN AND SHOULD ask for help. Ask for those dishes to disappear! Ask for a meal! Most people want to help you – sometimes they just need some direction.
2. “Opinions are like….”
You know the saying. There is never a time in a person’s life when they receive more unsolicited advice and opinions than when a baby is born. All of a sudden you will be told things like “breast is best!” or “don’t hold the baby too much or you’ll spoil him!”
Being constantly bombarded by everyone’s opinions can leave you questioning your abilities and your sanity. Remember – just because someone has an opinion doesn’t mean you need to make it yours! Including how you choose to recover from your birth.
1. YOU are important.
I remember being newly postpartum with my first baby. Everything he did was the most important thing in the world to me. He peed? He opened his eyes? He squeaked in his sleep? All important. He might want to nurse in 20 minutes? Important. I better not go enjoy a walk by myself in case he wakes up.
I remember feeling like an alien. It took a long time to feel like a person again. By the time my second came it really clicked. I realized: yes, this baby is very important. But so am I. When my needs for rest, self-care, exercise, food, and social time were met, I could better take care of my family.
Wherever you are on your postpartum journey, YOU ARE IMPORTANT. You are incredible. You are worth it.
If there is ever a moment when you begin to question whether or not you are important, reach out to the No Barriers Birth team. Their postpartum doulas will be there with you every step of the way to:
5. Tell you all the things you want to know
4. Help you get some sleep
3. Give you the help you need
2. Keep their private opinions to themselves
1. Treat you like the VIP that you are!
Katie Fleming is the owner of The Lake Country Doula in Hartland, Wisconsin. She is the mother of Liam (5) and Lyra (4). She enjoys cleaning up the same messes she cleaned up yesterday, making tasty food, and singing songs from Daniel Tiger.