Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Everywhere you browse there are pregnancy apps, blogs, and social media packed with allllll things pregnancy. Long live the ‘bumpdates’ circulating the Internet featuring the size of your baby in comparison to fruit you’ve never heard of. Those are my favorite.
But wait… what happens to all of the adorable, convenient, digestible, and fun content for parents after baby arrives?
Feel like you’re super prepared for pregnancy but not for what comes after? You are in good company. Here are the 4 big things I wish I knew before baby (among maybe 10289178273 other things):
1. That gorgeous nursery you meticulously designed will become no man’s land. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room sharing with your baby for a while. Room sharing has been shown reduce the risk of SIDS as well as facilitate a healthy breastfeeding journey. It actually is pretty convenient considering your babe will want to eat A LOT when they’re little, whether by breast or bottle. Get the most out of your efforts in creating that bomb nursery by hosting tummy and playtime there, as well as the occasional daytime nap. This helps develop a positive association with your baby and her room.
2. Your baby will sleep approximately 16 hours a day...but only for short stretches at a time. About 1 to 2 hour spurts at a time. Ouch, that hurts. But that’s OK, that is completely normal and biologically appropriate. For those first few weeks, your job is to soothe that baby and make sure she gets as much snooze time as possible. Do whatever it takes to crush those Zzz’s. You spoil that sweet little babe with snuggles as much as your heart desires because creating bad habits at this age isn’t a thing! After about 6 weeks or so, you’ll start to see longer stretches of sleep.
3. You should put the gym membership on hold. Because exercise is going to have to wait. I don’t mean low impact things like walking or stretching; I’m talking running, lifting, or getting back to that HIIT class only a few weeks after childbirth. Hold on a minute you over-achiever! Trust me, I understand your hankering for a sweat session to make you feel normal or just wanting to do something for yourself after baby arrives. But just pause. I’m about to get real here: please, please, please consider that many of your muscles and ligaments have been stretched, nerves may be damaged, the abdominal wall muscles have likely separated, the pelvic floor musculature has been under immense pressure from carrying your sweet baby for 9 months, oh--and not to mention you had a freaking baby! That stuff is heavy, am I right? Regardless of how fit you were before you got pregnant, how active you were during pregnancy, or how your pregnancy was, give yourself a break and take it easy for Pete’s sake! Before trying to get that bod back at the Crossfit gym, thank your body for the ultimate miracle and put your dang feet up!
4. You don’t have to have to just ‘deal’ with feeling like crap after giving birth. New Moms are often bombarded with statements like “You’ll never sleep again”, or “It will never be the same down there” after baby. Can people just buzz off already? Look. Yes, things will be different, but you are no sacrificial lamb. Chronic sleep deprivation, peeing each time you laugh or having painful sex are not burdens you have to bear just because you had kids. Nope. While these things are totally common, you do not have to ‘just deal’ with them and suck it up. You also are NOT a bad mom if you feel anxious or depressed after giving birth. So here’s what you do: Discuss in detail your post-partum body and emotions with your OB. There are dozens of solutions to these problems. Yoga, post-partum doulas, sleep consultants, supplements, and medications are a short list of options. For issues such as low back pain, pain during intercourse, incontinence, organ prolapse, and diastasis recti, your MD can write you a Pelvic Floor Physical or Occupational Therapy script to address and resolve these issues. France refers the majority of post-partum Moms to Pelvic Floor specialists as a standard of care. Au revoir, crappy post-partum feels!
The post-partum journey may not be glamorous, but it is beautiful and something worth sharing.
If you want to be prepared for the newborn sleep game and avoid rustling through the boatloads of books, blogs, and opinions out there, my pregnancy/newborn package is designed to walk you through each stage and avoiding ever needing to 'sleep train'!