I never really bought into the idea of a “fourth trimester” of pregnancy, but now that I have a three-month-old I really see how those first three months postpartum can feel a lot like a continuation of everything you went through in the nine months before. Obviously you aren’t pregnant anymore, but your body is still going through a ton of changes and every day there’s something new, either with you or this new little human.
Here's a look at those first few months for us:
My heartburn went away within a day of Sophie being born. My skin also started clearing up right away.
I had seriously crazy night sweats for at least a month. I would wake up completely drenched and have to change clothes.
When I was pregnant, I started having low back and hip pain (mostly on the left side). After Sophie was born, the pain was on the right side and got so bad that I was limping around and at one point couldn't even walk. I started seeing a chiropractor and after about a month the pain went away and my hips started feeling normal again. She said it was probably from the relaxin, which is the hormone that gets released to loosen up your ligaments in preparation for birth.
My stomach was super squishy and it turns out that I had some ab separation. I felt like I had lost every bit of ab strength and it felt so weird. It's gotten a bit better but I actually probably need to see a physical therapist to fix it.
Right before Christmas I wound up with a slight case of mastitis, which was kind of scary--I had a really high fever and body aches and chills. I totally thought I was getting the flu, but luckily my midwife wrote me a prescription for antibiotics and it cleared right up.
At right about 3 months postpartum my hair has started falling out in pretty sizeable clumps.
I finally had my cold turkey sandwich (along with a spicy tuna roll) for breakfast in the hospital after Sophie was born (she was born at 5:30 AM).
I've been so focused on producing enough milk for Sophie that I haven't really been counting calories or anything, although I am starting to try to cut out treats and processed snacks. I was absolutely starving the first few weeks of nursing, and there are still days where I feel like I could eat everything in my kitchen, but for the most part my day looks like this:
Oatmeal for breakfast, then a latte after I've pumped some milk.
String cheese, hard-boiled eggs, or veggies with Ranch as a snack.
A big salad with turkey or a turkey wrap/sandwich for lunch.
One of these no-bake lactation bites as a snack.
Meat and veggies, maybe some rice for dinner.
Usually some cookies, chocolate chips, or something else sweet (this is what I'm slowly cutting down on).
Overall I'm trying to make healthy choices when I can and be kind to myself when I'm craving something or feeling insatiable--breastfeeding is no joke! I still have 15-20 pounds to lose to get to my pre-pregnancy weight but I'm trying to take my time with it so I don't screw up my supply, as frustrating as that can be sometimes.
I drink a ton of water—I’m always thirsty.
While I was pregnant I was eating a lot more gluten than usual and it wasn’t bothering me like it used to. I thought after the baby came my stomach might start bugging me again but it hasn’t, so I’ve been enjoying the occasional burger with a bun or toast, etc. I don’t really understand it but I’m all about it.
I tried to go on a run about 4 weeks pospartum and it wasn't super successful--I felt really weak and I was still in a lot of pain, so I decided to wait until my 6 week check up to start exercising agin. I did do a 30-40 second plank every day and some push-ups here and there, but otherwise I tried to rest. It was really hard for me to be so inactive, even when I was recovering from the birth.
Now I run 2-3 times a week with Ender, and we walk 30-40 minutes a day.
I try to take at least 1 barre class a week, sometimes 2. My friend Mary (who owns the studio where I teach) will occasionally come in one day during the week and watch Sophie so I can take a lunchtime class, which is so nice.
I'd like to join the YMCA but the branch nearest me doesn't have childwatch, which is really my biggest need right now. I've been doing a lot of at-home stuff like squats and lunges, and this spring we're planning to buy a few things to set up a little at-home gym in our garage.
New Rituals/About Our "Schedule:"
I take a shower every night before bed. It's not much, but it's kind of my "me time" that I can count on every day no matter what.
I started pumping a few weeks after Sophie was born so Rob could give her a bedtime bottle and I could go to sleep earlier. I chose a pump (the Freemie Freedom pump) through my insurance because some people in a Facebook group I'm part of mentioned that they liked it and for a couple months I thought I liked it too, having nothing to compare it to. But after a while I realized it wasn't the best--it leaked all the time, it was slow and loud, and because it goes inside your bra, you can't see how much you're pumping, which wouldn't be an issue but if it's not on perfectly it just doesn't work, so a lot of the time I'd be "pumping" for half an hour and take it out to find absolutely no milk. (I may or may not have cried over this in the past.)
Lansinoh sent me their SmartPump to try (you'll see a sponsored post on my Instagram feed about it soon), and it has been a game-changer. I used to think I could only pump 2-4 ounces a day because I was feeding Sophie so much, but now I still feed her on demand and manage to pump 8-10 ounces in a day (usually over 3 pumping sessions). It's enough for a nighttime bottle and a few ounces for the freezer.
I'm exclusively breastfeeding Sophie and it's going pretty well! I had to use a nipple shield for a long time because she wasn't latching without it. For a while I wanted to drop it but she would get really frustrated when I tried to get her to latch without it, so after a while (and some encouragement from friends who also had to use the shield in the past) I decided to just commit to using it and letting her tell me when she was done with it. Right around 3 months she started latching on her own and now we rarely use the shield--it's been really nice to know I can feed her when I'm out and about and not have to dig through my bag or worry about packing one more thing.
When we first came home from the hospital Sophie was sleeping great, and we'd sometimes have to wake her up to eat. She was hungry every 2-3 hours, so we had the crib next to our bed and I'd get her up and go to the nursery to feed her. Then she stopped sleeping in the crib even for 20 minutes, so for most of December and January we had to basically take turns holding her, which was brutal. We got a different bassinet with a newborn insert (this one) and she liked it a lot more--it didn't happen overnight but eventually she started sleeping longer stretches (2-3 hours for sure, sometimes 5-6). I think it was a combination of the new bassinet and just letting her take her time. Easier said than done, I know, but I think time was a big factor.
I'm hoping to start a real bedtime routine with Sophie soon, where we actually put her down in the crib and let her fall asleep on her own, but for now I nurse her until she dozes off and we put her in the Rock N Play and watch TV together for a while before I hit the hay and Rob stays up a few more hours before giving her a bottle and putting her to bed in the bedside bassinet. She sleeps from 9 or 10 PM, has her bottle between 11:30 and 12:30, then sleeps again until 6 or 7 AM, although last week she was getting me up to nurse a lot more than usual through the night.
Sophie naps pretty regularly and I'm starting to think about getting her on a daily schedule, but I'm still not sure. For some reason this whole eat-wake-sleep thing really stresses me out so we're still just kind of feeding her and playing with her and letting her sleep whenever. I'd love to hear any of your experiences or methods if you have them!
Lifesavers/Tips and Tricks/Products We Love:
We have an Amazon subscription for diapers, wipes, toilet paper, dog food, and paper towels. We also get espresso delivered every month from Four Barrel Coffee. We used InstaCart (that's a referral link that'll give you $10 off your first order) to deliver groceries a few times when Rob first went back to work and I wasn't sure how to navigate the grocery store on my own with the baby. It is really nice to never have to worry about picking up the things we get delivered from Amazon though, especially since they're the things we go through most regularly. And it's amazing always having really fresh coffee.
My friend Teri sent us a package with some baby stuff from BeautyCounter, and Sophie absolutely loves this baby balm after a bath. It's so cute.
I think that's it for now! If you have questions let me know! I've had some people request a breastfeeding post, so I'd love to hear questions about that or any more specific ideas for other motherhood/baby posts. I love sharing this stuff and I love hearing from you too, so please feel free to chime in with some of your own experiences!
This post contains affiliate links.