Article: Why Women Still Can’t Have It All

If you are a working mom you most likely were sent or saw this article published in The Atlantic: Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.  It has been a hot read with over 75,000 shares on Facebook and was the most trafficked article in history for The Atlantic. There is a reason why this article resonates with so many women, evoking passion and anger about the challenges with trying to “have it all”. The article is long, but a great read.

The author, Anne-Marie Slaughter, asks “Has the older generation of feminists sold younger generation a fiction?”  The answer is yes. The older generation of powerful and strong women have paved the way for young women today to blaze the trail of  upper management and executive leadership, but weren’t explicit that in order to get that you’d have to put family time on the back burner. Many of us who are really ambitious and career oriented struggle with actually saying we want to be home with our kids. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to work, many of us do, we need a balance of both.

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Article: When moms criticize, dads back off of baby care

Do you have a partner who is withdrawn from helping with baby care? If so, you might be to blame. Yes, one more thing to consider when raising your children.

This article on MSNBC states “Moms’ words of criticism or encouragement directly affect how involved their husband or partner becomes in the day-to-day care of their infant, finds a new study published in the June issue of the Journal of Family Psychology. When a mother criticized her partner’s child-care efforts, it often caused him to lose confidence, and even withdraw from caring for the baby. But when a mom praised dad’s efforts, he took a more active parenting role.”

Moms feel pressure when a new baby is born, like the well being of that child is all on them. They are supposed to be the ones to soothe, the only ones to feed and let’s not forget moms have already had 10 months of bonding time with the baby before Dad.

Before our son Archer was born I was given some really great advice: “You will most likely fight like you never have during the first few months of your child’s life. Don’t worry, it’s natural and it’ll go away. Most importantly remember that neither you or your husband really know what will work and what won’t — you are both new at this. So listen to each other and take each other’s opinions seriously.”

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Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads out there!!

Your role in your kid’s life is so important — your dedication to setting the best example and showering your kids with love and kindness will make them great great parents, wives/husbands and friends.

Enjoy the day and be reminded of how important and loved you are.

What To Do If Your Child Is Choking or Not Breathing

It is important to know what to do if your infant begins to choke, especially once you start feeding them solid foods. I found these videos which gave a great overview on how to respond.

Conscious Baby is Choking:

Unconscious Baby is Choking:

Infant CPR — in this video they don’t state it, but when giving CPR to an infant your mouth should cover their mouth and nose.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all those soon-to-be moms and new moms!

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  She didn’t know what kind of mother she would be and now she knows the only kind of mother one can be — full of love, support, admiration and forgiveness for her child.”

Within us all things are possible. We birth the doctors, the teachers, the leaders, the inventors. This world would be nothing without the fruits of our wombs. Enjoy today and revel in how important you are in your kid’s life and in the ecosystem of the world.

xoxo

Attachment Parenting

Today in the news there was controversy over a Time cover photo of a young woman breastfeeding her 4 year old son who was standing on a chair just to reach her breast. That is extreme, but the article was using it as a reference to the philosophy of attachment parenting. I myself believe in attachment parenting and like a lot of what Dr. Sears has recommended (he one of the biggest advocates of attachment parenting). He has come under scrutiny for his extreme beliefes. One example being that co-sleeping with your children isn’t bad and is actually prefered.

I wanted to take the controversy over Dr. Sears out of the equation to really explain what attachment parenting is. There was an article today on Yahoo that listed the 8 basic priciples of attachment parenting from Dr. Mayim Bialik. It’s a quick and accurate summary of attachment parenting:

“So what is attachment parenting really about? Attachment Parenting International (API) identifies AP as guided by eight principles. The practical application varies greatly but it often looks something like this:

1. Birth: Prepare for birth and become educated about natural birth options and their benefits for baby and mother.

2. Breastfeeding/breast milk: A human mother’s milk is the optimal food for human babies, and bottle feeding should mimic as many aspects of breastfeeding as possible.

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Guest Blogger Marylouise: Becoming a Grandmother

As new moms we know how exited our mothers got when they knew we were expecting, but have we checked in since our babies have been born to ask them what’s it’s like?  I asked my mom and here’s what she had to say about becoming a Grandmother:
 
“Everyone always says it is the greatest thing in the world–becoming a grandmother, but it’s one of those things that you hear but don’t understand until it happens to you.  It is still hard to describe but there’s an understanding among other grandparents about how you feel and what you are going through.
 
I am in the early stages of being a grandmother; grandsons are 9 months and 5 months old, but I already think my grandsons are the cutest and smartest children ever born!  I see the way other grandparents look and feel about their grandchildren and they feel and think the same way.  How can we each have the smartest and most beautiful babies?
 
Something I enjoy already is the acceptance (by one grandson) that I am fine and interesting the way I am.  He is old enough to be observant and curious and he loves finding the brown spots on my skin, feeling out the wrinkles, and he doesn’t care that I have rolls or flabbiness around my mid section.  For him, grandma is a place to explore, climb on, and relax on.
 
Finally, the best thing for me is to see a child grow and develop, almost like a plant growing or a flower blooming.  As a grandmother I can afford to sit back and relax and observe.  I am not caught up in the daily worries of getting to work, making sure there is food and clean clothes for everyone, and I don’t have to always wonder whether I am doing the right thing in raising my child.  As a grandmother I realize that each child is born with a set of dispositions and tendencies and it is a marvel to see how these unfold.  The challenge is always how to cope with certain personalities and how to enhance or encourage the child to develop into a happy, well rounded, secure child.
 
I am so excited about this adventure!”
 
With Mother’s Day coming up, it might be fun to ask your mom what it feels like to be a grandparent. Great Mother’s Day brunch conversation topic!
 
 
Marylouise with her grandchildren, Archer 3 weeks old and Christopher 5 months old.

Working Moms: Pumping at Work

When you head back to work on your first day, you’ll likely have one extra bag with you — a bag with your breastpump! You arrive thinking all you need is your equipment, ice pack and storage bags or bottles. Think again! Here is a list of what to pack in your breast pump bag from someone who more than once was caught without something I needed:

  1. Breastpump and accessories: this seems obvious but make sure to double check that you have everything before you leave for work
  2. Paper towels: there will be all sorts of drips and drops that you’ll want to catch so they don’t mess up your clothes
  3. Cleaning wipes: medela sells some breastpump “quick clean” wipes for your equipment. A must if you don’t have a sink where you pump
  4. A sharpie! Important if you are pumping into bags or containers that you will store, make sure to date each one.
  5. Frozen ice pack: don’t forget to put in the freezer the night before! No one wants to put their breastmilk in the work refrigerator.
  6. Nursing cover or shall: on a normal day you won’t need this, but those few times you have to pump on the go (yes, I have pumped while driving in the car on the way to a meeting) you’ll wish you had it
  7. Extra breast milk storage bags: just incase you have to stay longer than you thought, you want extra storage containers on hand
  8. Hands free nursing bra: you’ll be upset if you forget this! The nursing bra is essential for a productive or at least entertaining pumping session (you can use your hands to check email, read, make calls, etc…)

Here are other tips in terms of making time for pumping at work:

  1. Schedule time on your calendar to pump. That way no one will book meetings back to back and not allow you a 30 minute break to pump.
  2. In a long meeting, don’t be shy to speak up and say you need a 15 minute break. People who know you ‘re pumping will respect it and for those who don’t, everyone appreciates a break in a several hour meeting.
  3. Plan ahead. This is the single biggest bit of advice. Look at your calendar to know when you will pump based on your schedule. Sometimes you’ll need to pump 45 minutes earlier than you would have because of meetings.

I am quite busy at work and usually have several meetings a day, sometimes all day meetings. I have always found time to pump you just have to plan ahead and make it a priority. One more thing to manage I know, but totally worth it.

Happy pumping!

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Working Moms: Traveling With Breastmilk

For many working moms, our jobs include travel. That can be quite difficult when you’re nursing and need to pump every 4 hours. That plane flight cross country that’s 5 and half hours long, plus 30 minutes to pre board and 30 minutes to deplane, that’s almost 7 hours. When to pump? Where to pump? Where to store the milk?

These are all questions I had to figure out on my first business trip to Denver when Archer was just 4 months old. I was nursing and was going to be gone for 2 days and 1 night. The good news is the flight is only 2.5 hours long so I didn’t have to get too crazy with pumping on the plane… or so I thought. (stay tuned)

The way there was quite simple. I pumped right before I left and had my breast pump with me as a carry on. Included in my breast pump bag was the frozen ice pack that came with my Medela pump. Security was fine with it because it was frozen solid. Once I landed I headed to the airport bathroom, washed my hands, found a stall and pumped for 10-15 minutes. The ice pack was still pretty cold so I easily stored the milk in my little portable cooler. Pumping in an airport bathroom is less than glamorous — they actually had shut of my side of the restroom for cleaning while I was in it and all you could hear was the cleaning person mopping and my pump going “urr urr urrr urr”. Hilarious. Oh well, assume she figured out what I was doing in a stall for that long with that humming sound.

Once I arrived at my hotel I asked for a freezer/refridge. They had one available for $10 a day and had it delivered to my room. Most hotels have fridges or freezers you can have brought to your room. I was able to store all my milk in it over the next few days.

While at the conference there were no private rooms, so during lunch and the afternoon break I would head to the ladies restroom, pick a stall and pump! More bathroom pumping, not idea, but you got to do what you got to do. Stored it in my portable cooler until I could get to the hotel.

Next morning was full of the same, but then when it was time to leave I had to pack up all 30oz I had packed, keep it cool during the last few hours of the conference AND have it cool and safe through airport security.

This is where things got funny. I had brought 2 ziplock freezer bags with me. I filled them with the bags of breast milk, then went to the ice machine to fill up each bag with ice. The breatmillk was surrounded in ice so I figured I could at least keep it cool until I went through security at the airport.

Almost made it… security pulled me over for a few reasons:

  1. My ice pack had partially defrosted . Since it wasn’t frozen solid they weren’t going to let me take it through.
  2. My breastmilk had to be inspected, but both machines to check the breastmilk were broken.
  3. The ice I had around the breastmilk had partially melted so there was liquid in the bags.

Long story short, they poured out any water from the melting ice and they made me open every single breatsmilk bag so they could test it with a vapor strip (two breastmilk bags had burst and were now wasted) —  all of this was in front of the entire security line! It was quite embarassing, but I made it home with 20-25oz of breastmilk so it was worth it.

Lessons from this experience:

  1. make sure your ice pack is frozen solid when you go through security and pour out any liquid from melted ice. Ice though is ok.
  2. make sure to tightly seal any milk bags so they don’t leak, seems obvious, but check each one to be sure.
  3. make sure to head to the airport early! I was held up in security so long that I didn’t have time to pump before my flight, so I ended up having to pump on the plane. Just imagine standing in a small, windowless plane bathroom for 15 minutes while everyone outside wonders what you’re doing in there for so long. I was so over it all by that time I just didn’t care.
  4. bring a few large size ziplock bags. You’ll need this to hold any ice for the trip back

What we mother’s do to protect the liquid gold we produce. Of course now I have no future plans to travel without a baby, but if you have to travel it can be done.

Happy Travels!

When Two Become Three: Marriage After Baby

I know every relationship is different and all couples react differently to changes in their life, but one thing that seems to be common for new parents is arrival of new arguments and disagreements with the arrival of a baby.

Donavan and I never argued more than the first 2 months of Archer’s life. We were both so protective of him and both thought we were right, even though I did all the research, Donavan had his own ideas of how things should be done. We also were both operating on little sleep and since we both were home all day we were around each other 24 hours a day, 6 days a week, couped up in our condo. That is enough to drive any couple nuts. On top of that there is little to no intimacy during the first 6 weeks, doctors orders, so connecting as a couple sexually is also not an option to help regain that spark.

After weeks of almost daily arguing, we just looked at each other and said this has got to stop. We must start working together and being supportive. We both wanted what was right for little Archer and neither of us really knew if we were right. I am not sure how we turned it around in a matter of one conversation, but I think we both just realized arguing wasn’t going to help anything and we were just tired of it. We missed our lovey dovey snugglefest relationship.

We just communicated how we felt. I felt like he was questioning my mothering. Did he think I was a good mom? And he felt like I was over reacting and not listening to him. After discussing we both realized that we were overly sensitive — he thought I was an amazing mother and I thought he was right more than he was wrong (not easy for me to admit).

Later once Archer got a bit older, the disagreements were a lot fewer but they were different. More about one of us feeling like we were doing more than the other. Like washing bottles vs. washing cloths vs. picking up toys etc… Our solution was to delegate tasks so each of us had things we were responsible for — this method has worked well for us. I also happen to have a super helpful and supportive husband so I didn’t have to deal with feeling like I do everything and he does nothing. Many of the moms in my mommy and me group discussed how their husbands wouldn’t do anything unless they asked, they didn’t want to have to ask, they just wanted their husbands to see what needed to be done and do it. The solution was to devise a chore list so each person has their chores every day and that way things get taken care of without one person always directing the other. Seems like an easy solution if you have a partner willing to do half the work.

In general, don’t worry if you argue a ton in the first few months. You will get passed it and all will return to normal once you figure out your rhythm with this new person as part of your life. Make sure to find time as a couple, say thank you and flirt with each other. We still send silly flirtatious text message, pinch each other’s butts and tell each other how much we appreciate the family we have created. [getting your sex life back also helps :)]

Here is a great article with more structured and differentiated advice: The Marriage Factor

Maternity Leave: What It’s Really Like

For most of us, maternity leave is the first time in a long time where we wouldn’t be working for an extended period of time. For me there wasn’t a time I didn’t work — since college I had a job and I never took more than 1 week between jobs. Vacations here and there sure, but not 3 months of no work. Of course I had all sorts of plans for maternity leave… finish scrap books from vacations past, clean out my closet, try those brunch spots I never seem to make it to. Ya right. As you know or will soon find out, if you have any time you’re bathing, eating or getting some much needed rest. And then If you have a few extra minutes outside of taking care of your basic needs, you are so freaking tired and worn out that all you want to do is lay on the couch and veg out.

You will live in PJs. You will not wear makeup. You will live in flip flops and tennis shoes. You will look in the mirror and think, “Wow I look 10 years younger than I feel”.

Then as your baby grows and starts sleeping longer and longer stretches (maybe 4 hours) giving you some well deserved reprieve you finally find some energy to start the baby book, or write thank you cards or maybe even get your nails/toes done and put something on other than sweats. You start really enjoying your new life hanging out with your baby, going to the grocery store mid-day during the week when no one else is there and never sitting in traffic because you can make your own schedule. You become very busy taking care of the little one while doing whatever side or house projects you have lined up.
This is the time to get out and start exercising, taking mini trips with your baby to meet family or just to getaway. Trust me, once work starts up again there will be no time to work out (without sacrificing time with your baby or sacrificing sleep) and weekend travel you want to spend with your baby not in a car or plane.
If you have high hopes for a productive maternity leave don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get anything done but take care of your baby, that is all you need to do. Cherish every moment because before you know it you’ll only be seeing your baby mornings and evenings during the week and you’ll wish you had days full of staring at each other just watching them grow.

Transition from Breast to Bottle

For those of us who plan to return to work and who are breastfeeding, we will need to make sure our babies can feed heartily from a bottle before we return back to work. That means getting our little bundles of joy to not only accept a silicone nipple over our luscious nipples, but we also have to get them to accept being fed by someone other than us. This isn’t always easy, depends on the baby really. Some have no problem while others protest. Archer was somewhere in the middle.

Experts say that breastfed babies shouldn’t be introduced to a bottle before 4 or 6 weeks or until baby has established a proper latch. Once you introduce the bottle to the baby, you should give the baby a bottle (of breastmilk) once every few days to help baby practice and learn. I delayed giving a bottle until around 8 weeks. Mainly because I was too lazy to start the whole process and I also was emotionally adjusting to the first man-made object being put in my babies mouth. Dramatic maybe, but you just wait and see how you feel.

Here are tips that I read about and what ended up working for us:

  • Don’t try to introduce the bottle when your baby is really hungry. This might be contrary to what you might think, but hungry babies has less patience to figure out a new way to get their food. Try to introduce the bottle at the tail end of a feeding session or an hour earlier than the baby would normally eat. We did this and found a lot of success by offering the bottle after I breastfed Archer on one breast, giving the bottle for the second half of his feeding.
  • The books say have someone other than you needs to give the baby the bottle. Father, grandmother, caregiver, etc… We tried that several times, but Archer wouldn’t take the bottle from Donavan. So I ended up feeding him his first bottle after breastfeeding him a bit and he took it from me. After just a few minutes of him taking the bottle from me, I had Donavan come over and take over the rest of the feeding. It worked! Archer from then on took a bottle from Donavan.
  • The position baby is held in matters. Some must be in same position and place in the house where you breastfeed, others need opposite. Archer always is placed in his boppy lounger to eat.
  • Use nipples that resemble the real thing. choose a nipple that has a wide base and have low flow (small hole). We used Dr. Browns wide neck bottles and loved them. Some people find that they leak, but we didn’t have that issue.
  • To get baby to latch on to rubber nipple use the same techniques of rubbing their lips and letting a few drops of milk drip onto their mouth. Your baby should open wide and try to latch just like on the breast.
  • Make sure milk in the bottle is room temperature or warm and warm nipple under faucet. This really helped us at first with Archer, much easier to get him to feed when the milk wasn’t cold and the nipple warm.

Once Archer started taking the bottle from Donavan we were set and I was relieved. For every caregiver that now needs to give Archer a bottle, we always make sure Donavan or I are there to help with the transition. Once Archer takes a bottle from someone one time he has no issue doing it again, just at first it might be a little difficult.

Hope you found this helpful! Share your stories on what worked for you or what challenges you had.

 

Working Moms: Going Back to Work

Going back to work after maternity leave is a transition. Some moms look forward to getting back in the swing of things and getting a break from ‘baby world’ and others — like myself — there isn’t any longing to return to work. I knew it was inevitable that I’d have to face the transition back to the daily grind, but for good reason I managed to keep these thoughts out of my head during maternity leave.

Then… all too soon… it’s the call or email from your boss. “We look forward to seeing you on Monday!” You spend the next few days mentally preparing for taking back work responsibilities and trying on all your clothes to see what actually fits (not too much).

Sunday night comes and you’re in tears. Monday morning comes and you’re in tears. You arrive at work, everyone is so happy to see you, but you’re just fighting back tears every time they ask you about the baby.

It’s a big transition. Expect tears, expect fear and anxiety, and of course expect a little guilt. Maybe you’ll be lucky and will not have any of this — I wish that for you! — but the majority of moms I’ve spoken to do. I had all these feelings and really wondered if we should make a drastic life change (i.e. move somewhere cheaper) so I could stop working and be home with Archer. We are very lucky that Donavan’s job allows him to work from home and take care of Archer. I know not every family is able to have a stay at home parent, but no matter your daycare situation you still will miss your baby, wondering if what you’re doing is right and wish you had more time at home.

I was so desperate to spend more time with Archer after the first few weeks of going back to work that I came up with some ways to spend more time with him, even if it was just 15 more minutes in the morning, it was worth it. Here’s what we did to help with my transition back:

  1. Frequent picture text messages
  2. Calls mid day to check in
  3. Shortened hours for the first few weeks (left a little later for work and promptly headed home at 5:15 or 5:30 to get another hour and a half with him before bed).
  4. Lunch visits once or twice a week (Donavan would bring Archer to the office for a lunch date)
  5. Videos saved on my phone to view when I needed a pick me up
  6. On my way home from work, mentally transition off of business Lizzie to mommy, by singing his favorite song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Sounds weird to sing this in the car by myself, but I needed something to get me out of my traditional work role. It’s a mental shift that takes some practice.

If you have an at home Nanny all of this is doable. If you have daycare, you should still be able to get a phone call check in and at least one picture text message during the day. If you work close by, you should be able to go in for lunch once a week. (my sister does this with her son) Tell them you need it for the first few weeks to help you with the transition. If they refuse… maybe that’s a sign of needed a new daycare!

Now I’ve been back at work for 2 months and I am over any anxiety, fear or major guilt. Now I do have a different type of guilt, guild that I enjoy work and don’t miss being home. But I remind myself that I am doing what’s best for my family and I work hard to spend as much time I can with him. While I’m not there all day, I am there when he wakes up and to put him down for the night.

I’ve spoken to other Moms who have quit their jobs to stay home and almost all say “The grass is always greener.” You have to make the best decision for you, but I will tell you wait a few weeks before making any big changes. Try these tips and it will get easier. You’ll be surprised how quickly you fall back into a pattern. I don’t know if that is good or not, but if you have to work then know it gets easier with each week that goes by. It’s important that your boss and caregiver are flexible and supportive. The number one reason women quit promising careers is because their bosses are inflexible — don’t be one of those bosses — and I hope you don’t have one of those bosses. I had a conversation with my a week in and asked him to be patient with me as I transition back to full time work. He was supportive and even suggested bringing him in the office for lunches. You may be surprised what they offer if they know you are struggling a bit.

At the end of all this I asked myself, If I could stay home would I? I am not sure I would, I might prefer to work 3 or 4 days a week instead of 5 but in the end, I am proud to be a working Mom and to teach my son that his Mom is a hard working and successful woman — women can be mommies, wives and executives. That has to count for something!

Here I am getting ready in the morning with Archer. I spend as much time with him as I can, even if that means doing my makeup with one hand!

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Hair Loss, Your Baby and You

When it comes to hair, there are a lot of questions — Will my baby be born with hair? What color will it be? Will it fall out? Will my (mom) hair fall out? When the babies hair comes back in will it be the same?  — and there really are no answers. You won’t know for months how everything will pan out.

Some babies lose their hair around 3 or 4 months, but can happen up to 6 months of age. The drop in hormones in a babies system usually is the cause of the hair shedding and within a few weeks you’ll notice peach fuzz coming in of the  hair they’ll keep.

Mom also loses hair around month 4 after giving birth. Again, this is caused by a drop of hormones. Eventually I’m told hair thickness returns. I have very thin hair to start with and additionally during my pregnancy suffered from hair loss. My OB said that some women experience hair loss during pregnancy, but most experience thicker than average hair while expecting. I was not so lucky. Tben around 4 months postpartum my hair started to really fall out. Now it’s thinner than ever and I just hope it’ll grow back when my  hormones level off. We’ll see. Unlike baby hair loss, almost all moms will experience a shedding of hair around 3-4 months.

Archer lost his hair around 3 months. I remember picking him up from his bassinet one morning and it looked like a cat had slept in his bed! It was that much hair all over the sheet. There’s nothing you can do about it and usually there’s nothing wrong. If you see red patches, bumps, bald spots vs. overall hair shedding talk to your pediatrician. Now at four and a half months his hair is really coming back in. He was born with wheat colored hair and now it’s coming quite blonde!

Again it’s those darn hormones that cause this, but rest assured both you and baby should have your manes back in no time!

Weight Loss Postpartum

During my pregnancy I purposely tried not to gain too much weight — I didn’t want to have to deal with losing it later! Still after only gaining 30 lbs I still have 10 lbs. to lose 5 months later. If you’re breast feeding it helps you lose weight faster than if you don’t. Some people are lucky and end up losing all their post baby weight within the first 3-4 months just from breast feeding – you need up to 500 extra calories a day.

I haven’t been so lucky and found that I have been even hungrier than when I was pregnant. At just 5 weeks postpartum I tried to go running. Big mistake. I ended up tweaking my ankle and knee. Your ligaments loosen while you’re pregnant (to allow for child birth) and mine hadn’t firmed up yet. In the end I injured my leg and just finished with physical therapy. Don’t rush back into working out! start with walking and slowly work back into your normal exercise routine. It’s also important to note that if you exercise too much you can build up lactic acid in your muscles that can be transfer into your breast milk and cause your baby to reject it. Another reason to take it easier and focus on being healthy and raising a happy loved baby.

The purpose of this post is to tell you not to worry! In time I am told all will go back, or mostly go back, and more importantly if you’re breast feeding you need to eat a healthy balanced diet — not a low fat diet. Babies brains are over 60% fat so eat some good healthy fats and help it develop!

Sex Postpartum

This was the one thing no one told me — sex will hurt for months after you give birth. What?! I thought a regular vaginal birth wasn’t crippling. Guess again.

I am sure people’s experiences are different and whether you tore or not during delivery will have a lot to do with it — I did a bit so maybe that’s why sex was so painful at first — but the standard 6 weeks the doctor says you need to heal and therefore can’t have sex doesn’t come close to how much time it takes to really heal.

I’ve surveyed 3 other friends and they all say it took them months, some up to 6 months postpartum, for sex to become pleasurable again. For me it took just over 3 months for sex not to be painful and about 4 months for it to be pleasurable. I was so worried that it’d never feel good again, thank goodness the pain has stopped and it has become pleasurable. I will say it still isn’t the same as before. I also hear from a few friends that it really isn’t the same ever again, but I’m sure that is a case by case… or at least I hope so.

Since I had a natural birth I didn’t associate that area of my body with pleasure, it felt like a big wound, so it took some time before I was even in the right mindset. If your husband is like mine then he’ll be ready for you on the first day past 6 weeks. Tread lightly! Use lubrication! Go slow! And it’s ok to stop the whole thing if it’s just too painful, don’t feel bad, you just had a baby! Maybe it is nature’s way to make sure you don’t get pregnant again too fast. Ha.

For Mom: Lily Pads

For everyday I use Medela nursing pads, they seem to be the best of the disposable variety. But when you can’t are aren’t wearing a bra, swimming for example, you can use these Silicone Nursing pads. They’re sticky on one side and smooth on the other, pretty much not visible through a thin layer of clothing without a bra. They put pressure on the nipple so leaking is reduced and if you do leak a bit it holds the milk. Just wash with a gentle soap after each use.

Amazon.com: LPS-Large: Baby.

For Mom: Bliss Nursing Soft Cup Bra

Once your milk regulates and settles, around 2 months, it’s time to go bra shopping again. I really wanted a nursing bra that gave support and also looked good under clothes. This Bliss nursing bra is my all time favorite! It has no underwire, which you’re no supposed to use while nursing, gives support and lift! It also has easy one handed clips that make it super quick to feed and put everything back. It actually looks kinda sexy on too which is an added bonus. 🙂

Amazon.com: Bliss Nursing Soft Cup Bra: Clothing.

For Mom: Bravado! Body Silk Seamless Nursing Soft Cup Bra

A comfortable bra is always important, especially when your bust size will change after birth a few times and especially since you’ll be accessing your breasts several times a day if you’re nursing. I tried a few bras, this one I loved for the first month or so after Archer was born. It is super comfortable and is made completely of a spandex-like material so it can grow as your breasts grow — as they will once your milk comes in — and until it levels out a few months after birth.

I am about a 34D so it didn’t give me enough support to wear as an everyday out of the house bra, but it was sure my go to bra for everyday around the house.

Amazon.com: Bravado! Body Silk Seamless Nursing Soft Cup Bra: Clothing.

For Mom: Bio-Oil, 2-Ounce Bottle

A friend recommended this stuff to me to prevent stretch marks and I loved it! It smells nice and soaks into the skin, it won’t leave you an oily mess once rubbed in. I didn’t get one stretch mark so not sure how much of that was my genes vs. this stuff, but I definitely will be using it for my next pregnancy.

It’s used to help heal wounds and lessen the appearance of scars, makes sense how it’d help a growing belly’s skin!

Amazon.com: Bio-Oil, 2-Ounce Bottle: Beauty.

Hormones, they will mess you up.

We all know the stories about pregnant women being weepy and emotional, but few people talk about the emotional state women are in postpartum. Hormones are a powerful thing and after you give birth you will be feeling all sorts of emotions for the weeks and months following.

I for example was high as a kite, talking non-stop, for the two days after I gave birth to Archer. I had a natural no-pain medication delivery so I think my endorphins kicked in and had me amped up! On the 2nd morning we were escorted to our car to leave and I began to cry. Archer in my arms, my husband getting the car seat ready, I just cried. And I continued to cry all the way home. I just couldn’t believe he was ours, we just got to take him home. I kept thinking about all the people out there who don’t have the means or care we do taking home little babies. It just overwhelmed me and I worried for every baby that left the hospital with a less than fit parent. I don’t have any clue why I felt this way. Maybe because I saw how vulnerable Archer was and how easily we just left with him, but the more I’ve learned the nore I realize it was most likely my hormones that were causing the extreme emotional worry. For the two weeks after delivery I was definitely more sensitive and cried on a whim here and there. I didn’t feel depressed, but over random things I’d just cry — happy or sad things would make me emotional.

For up to a year after you have a baby your hormones are in swing. When your menstrual cycle comes back there are more hormonal changes that kick in. So don’t be surprised if you’re a bit weepy for the weeks following your delivery. Postpartum blues are normal. What’s not normal are thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby or extreme anxiety or depression. If you have any inkling that you might be suffering from Postpartum Depression call your doctor. It occurs in 10-20% of women and can kick in after a few months.

Learn more and get help: http://www.postpartum.net/