5 Things That Made Me Feel a Little More Normal Postpartum
Willow Pump: A pricey purchase considering I could have gotten a breast pump free from my insurance, but weighing the pros and cons of each, I am so glad I decided to get them. They are totally cordless, much quieter than a normal breast pump, the milk bags are inside the pump, and it fits inside your bra. While they aren’t covered by insurance yet, you can see if your insurance will reimburse you for them. Additionally you are able to purchase them using FSA or HSA debit card. So in actuality there are a few options for you so that you can avoid footing the bill. Full disclosure, their ads and sponsors make it look like you can’t tell that you’re wearing anything in your bra, but it is very evident when I’m using mine. I have taken mine on the go with me, but still prefer to pump in private.
A short, thin, cotton robe: If you’re planning to breastfeed, a robe is key. In my experience, all of those super cute nursing tops weren’t super practical and at times I wondered ‘Did the designer of this ever try breastfeeding with this on?’ If I’m at home it’s pretty much a given that I’m wearing a robe. Although, I didn’t want to feel like I was wearing pajamas all day, so I always have bottoms on. The robe I opted for was black and thin and not a giant blanket. TBH it feels more like dress and I can easily breastfeed all day (so helpful for those early days when it feels like that’s all you’re doing!) without frustration, or swap it out for a top when we want to quickly leave the house.
A 20 minute hot shower every single day: If there’s one thing you should prioritize over sleep when your baby is sleeping, it should be a long shower. There was a noticeable difference in my mood on the days that I showered vs. the few days that I decided I was too exhausted to take one. Also the shower significantly helped with breastfeeding discomfort when my supply was being established.
Healthy hand held foods: For the first few weeks, I pretty much ate every single meal with Isla in my arms. Whether I didn’t want to put her down to eat, or I literally couldn’t, for two weeks I didn’t even think to use a fork. But even though I wasn't eating in my normal seat at the table, I was still consuming handheld versions of what I would normally eat. By continuing to consume the whole foods that I normally eat, I was able to continue to fuel myself for breastfeeding, changes in hormones, and metabolism as my body made it's way back to its pre-baby self. I’m heading to a breastfeeding nutrition event this week and am excited to see what handheld foods they suggest! I’m always looking to learn new nutrition information and it will be fun to connect with other mamas and mamas to be! Which brings me to my next point...
Me time: This one was hard for me at first and I had total guilt over wanting time away from her. Until one day, I asked for help. My husband took Isla upstairs and I had two hours to myself downstairs. Free from soothing, rocking, giving, and pumping. I of course spent that time googling things about my baby (Best pumping schedules, Why is my baby taking short naps?, What are those tiny white dots on her nose?, etc.)... BUT it was still my time. And I found that after two hours of me time, I was able to attend to her needs even more (and I literally missed her…). I wasn’t so exhausted that I was missing her cues and I genuinely wanted to read books and do tummy time and sing silly songs. I was able to actually be present and not just go through the motions.
I’m only five weeks into postpartum life and I’m just starting to want to venture out and spend some time alone, sans babe and sans husband. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so prioritize YOU the second that you can or that you feel comfortable. And ask for help… even when you don’t want to.