My biggest takeaway for five weeks postpartum is that you can never have enough burp cloths and that pretty much anything in arm’s distance can serve as a burp cloth. I feel like I spend all day covered in spit up and so does Finn. I use everything from blankets to paper towels and wipes to outfits I’ve just taken off of him or the clothes I’m wearing to wipe up spit up. Last week I woke up and couldn’t even run a brush through a section of my hair…you guessed it! Dried spit up. 🙂
Luckily, Finn is a “happy spitter” which is mostly a laundry problem so I’ll just keep on rocking the just spit up on look for a while longer! (The amount I care these days about running an errand with some dried spit up on my shirt is none.)
In the meantime, I’m going to keep reassuring myself that some of what I’m feeding him is actually staying in him. Most things I’ve read say that it seems like much more milk coming up than really is. Let’s hope that’s true!
Fourth Trimester: Five Weeks Postpartum
Body changes: things are about the same as my four week update in regards to weight and overall body composition. This week marked the first time I put on a bathing suit since having Finn. Most of my tops don’t fit right now so I got this suit at Target before coming down to Florida. Overall, I felt okay in a bathing suit. The skin on my stomach is looser than it was before and I still have the dark line down my stomach that I got during pregnancy. I’m at peace with my postpartum body and not in a rush to change it. My body performed a freaking miracle in growing Finn and I think it’s amazing all that it’s still doing to nourish him.
Breastfeeding: I feel that we’re finally in a good groove and breastfeeding is feeling much easier overall. Finn has started to space out his feedings a bit so instead of 8-12 feedings a day, we’re more in the range of 7-9. It has been a welcome change of pace. I’m still feeding on demand and that’s working well for us. I have not pumped yet so we’ve been exclusively feeding from the breast.
Sleep: Finn and I have a nice little routine going. I feed him right before bed (anytime between 9:30-10:30 p.m.) and he goes to sleep right after. He usually gives me a 4-6 hour stretch and we feed again around 3-4 a.m. He gives me another stretch until somewhere between 7-8 a.m. I cannot complain. My little guy is really, really helping me out when it comes to sleep. I am very grateful.
- Night sweats. Are gone!!!!
- Bleeding. Same as last week. Improving but intermittent light spotting.
- C-section recovery. Prior to five weeks postpartum, I wondered if I would ever feel normal again. It’s honestly like a switch went off and I have experienced a HUGE improvement in my pain. I feel so much more like myself. I’m still feeling soreness in my abdomen…it’s sort of like feeling when your ab muscles are really sore from a hard workout and anything that stretches it feels weird and a little painful. Example: lying on my stomach propped on my elbows. I also know that I need to start gently stretching those muscles to get them to loosen up a bit. The pain around my incision is finally gone but it is numb and puffy. I said this last week but at the six week mark I’m going to start some scar therapy to try to prevent adhesions and a build up of scar tissue. Just waiting to get the all-clear from my doctor to begin that.
- Appetite. Eating has been much better this week with my parents feeding me home cooked dinners every night. It’s been such a godsend.
- Upper back pain. Is just not nice at all. I’m scheduling quite a bit of bodywork when I get back to Charlotte.
Emotional well-being: it has been the best thing ever to be with my family in Florida. I can’t even tell you how nice it’s been to not only have their companionship and support but also to have a change of scenery. I was feeling very trapped in my house in Charlotte and I am so happy to be out of my house and in a different environment. I had spent so many hours in my den that I think I was going to go looney tunes if I didn’t get out of there.
Also, one can never complain about being at the beach. There is something so calming about the ocean air and it’s been good for both me and Finn. If Finn gets wound up he will almost always instantly calm if I take him outside onto the balcony or to walk around. We spend a ton of time on the balcony with my grandmother and I’m doing a lot of feeds out there. Even if you’re at home, I highly recommend some outdoor breastfeeding if you have a good setup for it. It’s literally a breath of fresh air! We’ve been getting in some hangout time on the beach both during the day under the umbrella and in the evenings on walks.
I’m soaking up this time with my family before I have to return to Charlotte. It’s an incredibly special opportunity for me to be with my grandmother and I feel grateful to share some of these sweet newborn days with her.
Motherhood: separate from emotional well-being but related is adjusting to motherhood. As you all know and warned me about, the newborn stage is hard. Really freaking hard. BUT…I finally feel like I’m really getting my “mom” feet under me and I’m starting to feel more confident about my ability to be a mom. Finn and I are finding our groove and are better understanding each other. I am feeling more of the “motherly intuition” and am better able to read his cues and anticipate his needs.
I’m beginning to really enjoy taking care of him now (not that I didn’t love and want to take care of him before but I just felt SO lost and unsure of what I was doing) and I’m finding the days (most of them, not all…we struggle…) to be more rewarding. I really love hanging out with him and I let him sleep on me as much as possible. I love holding him and snuggling with him.
There’s honestly nothing else I can imagine doing right now other than spending as much time as I can with Finn and taking care of him.
Work: this seems like a good segue into work. Obviously, I’ve been keeping up with blogging because a) I want to document this time in our lives and b) it’s a revenue stream that I can keep going from home and I need that since I’m self-employed. I went into maternity leave with no plan for returning back to work because I had no idea when I would feel ready or how my life/perspective would change after Finn was born. All I can say right now is that I’m glad that I gave myself a lot of flexibility around that because I can’t imagine trying to go back to work at six weeks. I think I’ll definitely lean more towards 12-16 if not longer. I’m also focusing more on long-term projects that I can do online and from home.
Workouts/activity: I haven’t done much since I’ve been in Florida. Every evening after dinner I go for a walk but usually nothing longer than 15-30 minutes. One day I went to the gym and did 20 minutes of incline treadmill walking and some light upper body stuff. I’ve mostly been taking it really easy. Kinda feels like the right pace of life at the beach.
Despite this, I arrive at the end of each day absolutely exhausted and barely able to hold my eyes open at the end of the night. My grandmother pointed out that I’m doing a ton of work in taking care of Finn and feeding him so much and that I’m up and down constantly tending to his needs. She’s right and us new moms need to cut ourselves some slack. We are doing a ton!
My dad says just wait until he’s two years old and I won’t sit down for years. Haha.
I see my doctor next week for my six week postpartum visit. We’ll see what he says about resuming more activity.
How long was your maternity leave? Did anything change for you in regards to your outlook on work after baby?
Any spit up hacks/tips?