A few weeks ago I shared what my new body reality was – from the waist down. Continuing on, today I’m talking about my body after baby – from the waist up, and the weird and wonderful changes I have experienced! As I said before – my post-partum body is definitely a new body that I am having to adjust to. I was told that now that I’ve had a baby, I will ALWAYS be post-partum and that is definitely something to consider when getting back into exercising safely. I’ll talk more about that in a future blog post.
I had a baby in the height of summer, and it was hot. SO HOT. I was a sweaty mess anyway, and then you go and add on the post-partum sweats. Again, no one really mentioned the excessive sweating to me – but I was waking up in absolute pools of it. Night time was the worst! I was constantly thirsty and was drinking over 3L of water a day to try and stay hydrated. Breastfeeding makes you thirsty, and then you add on the massive sweats that your body goes into – I’ve never been that thirsty in my life. When you put down a waterproof mattress protector (in case your waters break in bed) don’t go whipping that thing off just because your baby is earth side now… keep it on the bed to protect your mattress from the sweat!
Oh…I have never thought about my boobs quite so much as I have in the past four months!
There are lots of horror stories about cracked and bleeding nipples, and the struggles you can have breastfeeding. I am super SUPER lucky that I never had any problems with breastfeeding (and I know that this is rare) – it still wasn’t easy from the get-go but Stella and I worked at it and thankfully everything was all good. One thing that really helped me was going to a breastfeeding class that was put on by a lactation consultant at the hospital before Stella was born – it meant I knew what kind of latch I needed her to get from day one. I also asked for help while I was at the Birthing Centre – I constantly asked them to check my latch to make sure it was correct.
I used Rite Aid Hydrogel Breast Disks each night to cool and soothe, and for the first couple of weeks every time I experienced the let down I would literally curl my toes with the sharp pain. This DOES go away, you just have to suck in a breath and within 30 seconds everything feels fine…and after the first initial weeks your boobs do get used to it too. When your milk comes in, you have engorgement to deal with too – I found that a super hot shower and hand expressing helped a lot, as well as massaging them hard with a face cloth. Mastitis is a very real threat, so you really have to look after yourself a lot!
It’s really unsexy but yes, you leak. I leaked a lot. I still do. Breastpads – especially at night – were necessary for me!
Shape wise, they are still bigger than normal and encased in the most unsexy maternity bras. I can’t fit any of my sports bras. One day I’ll wear underwire again…. haha!
But saying all that – I do love being able to breastfeed Stella.
Constantly lifting a baby is heavy work – and I reckon my biceps are the most toned part of my body because of it! Stella is now around 7kgs and I am carrying her and lifting her ALL the time. It’s nice to know I am getting a wee bit of a workout at some point!
However, with all the lifting (and pushing myself up off the ground with a baby in one arm) I noticed my wrists were getting really sore. You forget that you still have a lot of the relaxin hormone in your body, and so you do need to take extra care not to overstretch certain areas. I took it easy on my left hand for a week and it came back to normal luckily.
My hands also broke out in ring rash when I tried to put my wedding and engagement rings back on. I’ve read this is quite common post-pregnancy too, and so I used this method to clean my rings completely. I am also using Frankie Apothecary Kawakawa Balm to try and heal up the rash.
A weird thing happened during pregnancy where my ribcage expanded – and it feels like it’s going to stay that way forever now. My back and ribs feel wider (as do my hips) and clothing is tighter across that area. My back also takes a beating with the constant bending and lifting – I’m super conscious of it and always try and bend my knees, and push with my legs and glutes when standing up…but I certainly have more aches and pains in my back and shoulders than I used to.
Around 10 weeks post-partum my hair started falling out, like REALLY falling out – and 6 weeks later, I am still shedding. It’s actually disgusting how much hair I lose in the shower and when brushing my hair each morning – handfuls upon handfuls end up in the sink or my hairbrush. Apparently, you don’t lose much hair while you are pregnant (which is why your hair is super lush) – but I really wasn’t prepared for just how MUCH hair I am losing now. I keep expecting to see huge bald patches on my head. I find hair everywhere around my house, all over my clothes constantly, and all over my daughter too! Google tells me the hair loss can take anywhere from 6 weeks to A YEAR before it stops. I seriously hope it’s sooner rather than later…I am sick of vacuuming!
Ahhh, the heart. It’s so cliche but SO true – your heart explodes the minute that teeny tiny babe gets put in your arms. Both Jason and I regularly talk about how we didn’t know we had this kind of extreme love in us, it’s all encompassing and just engulfs you. My heart is SO full having Stella as part of our little family, she brings more joy to our days than I could have imagined. I love watching my husband with her, and our wider family – there is just SO much love and nothing can beat it. She’s honestly the best thing ever and we can’t get enough of her! Gush gush gush – babies aye? They really do get ya!
What parts of your body changed after pregnancy? Is there any part of your body changing that you did or would struggle to deal with? I feel that I have accepted the changes better than I thought I was going to!