I wish someone had told me just how leaky postpartum was. Now, I know we talk about this in the Bradley™ classes we teach because it was such a shock to me after the birth of our first Sweet Pea.
Quite frankly, I don’t remember hearing about all the different ways things drip out of you after you birth your baby when we were Bradley™ students (and, twice!! Two teachers and no mention of this). I wonder if you, like me, just think that postpartum is going to be sparkly and magical because the pregnancy is over and you are holding your baby.
Well, I'll admit, there is some magic - I don't want to be a complete Sour Susie. Here is the Reality Check, though: along with the magical parts, postpartum is *really* drippy. Think leaky faucets on steroids...
First of all, you are holding this beautiful, squishy baby that is too cute for words. For me, every time I locked eyes with them, my heart melted. It made me cry every.single.time. Add in the roller coaster of postpartum hormones and you might be crying at just about everything else, too.
You aren’t feeling in love with your baby? That is okay. You are still a good mom. Keep reading. Especially the part at the end of this post.
Secondly, did anyone tell you that your breasts might look like shiny hard melons ready to pop? No, seriously…"hard, shiny, so taut you can bounce a quarter off of them" uncomfortable. My husband could always tell when my milk came in. Even if you are not going to breastfeed, you may want to have a strategy because the body will keep making milk until it gets the message that no one is emptying the breast. Now, if you are going to breastfeed, rest assured that for most women, once the body figures out the supply and demand cycle, the engorgement goes away (check out THIS tip to help with engorgement). While you will feel full-ish when your breasts produce milk between feedings, the bursting sensation eases off and you find a “new normal”, and probably some new nursing bras that are 1 to 2 sizes bigger than your pre-pregnancy size.
The third faucet that turns on and doesn’t turn off for a few weeks is the one connected to your uterus. The joy you had about being excused from a monthly cycle for ten months comes raging back for typically 4-6 weeks postpartum. I was so irritated that no one thought to mention this to me back when I was pregnant the first time. Literally NO ONE told me that I was going to have a menstrual-like flow for six weeks. Don’t you think that would be kind of important to mention to first time moms????
So here it is – laid out for you – the BIG secrets that should not *EVER* be secrets, because becoming a mother is a big enough adjustment to make without the leaky surprises. Now, there are things you can do to mitigate all this leakage. Here are some ideas for you in regards to those three secrets that I just busted open for you. (For more of my postpartum tips, see the links listed at the end of the post)
Get lots of rest. Literally stay in bed for three days, skin-to-skin with your baby and let everyone else treat you like the Queen of Sheba. If someone can’t handle seeing you (almost) naked, then they shouldn’t be coming over to visit. After that, continue to sleep – our workbook says that you should take three 1-hour naps every day. When you are rested, everything takes on a different meaning than when you are exhausted and sleep-deprived. Keep taking naps until you are feeling more like “you” and less like this crazy person who showed up with the postpartum hormones. You might also consider a postpartum doula to help with the basics so you can rest.
Get yourself some amazing nursing pads. My favorites are the reusable pads that my friend Shannon makes (click HERE to see them). You can also purchase some neat products from maternity and mommy stores. HERE is my friend Talisha, owner of Modern Mommy Boutique, sharing some of the different products on the market that are designed to ease engorgement and pamper your hard-working breasts.
The best remedy I know of is to take your placenta pills. WHAT? Did you just retch a little? That’s okay – I did, too, the first time I heard someone talk about it. Seriously, though, in my control group of four term pregnancies, the best recovery and the shortest lochia (fancy technical name for the bloody mess) was with Otter, because I had her placenta encapsulated. I was done with the bleeding by four weeks postpartum, and the flow was significantly lower while it lasted. A.Ma.Zing. It was so nice not to feel like Carrie every time I moved.
Again, I have to recommend my friend Shannon – she also makes amazing postpartum pads. You can see them HERE. If you are going to be bleeding like crazy, then you might as well be as comfortable as possible.
Now, back to that item of, “What if I am not feeling in love with my baby?” Sometimes, things happen that have no bearing on you as a person or a mother. It is a fact that some women will experience some degree of postpartum mood disorder. It could be the blues that last for a couple of weeks, maybe you are experiencing depression, or maybe you are tumbling into postpartum psychosis. You can answer THESE questions and talk to your care provider about the results. Also at that page is a link to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) – you can print, complete and take with you when you see your care provider.
Wherever you fall on the scale, help is out there and it is available. Please do not hide in shame from your family and friends. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU ARE STILL A GOOD PERSON. You are a good person who is having an adjustment; still a good person nonetheless. This having a baby and becoming a mother thing is an initiation…and we are just not prepared for it in our culture anymore.
Talk therapy is the least invasive and the least likely to affect your milk supply if you are breastfeeding. Here are some resources if you are local to the Chandler, AZ area where we teach. If you are not local, scroll down for some online resources and a link to support group listings in the USA and Canada.
Blossoming Moms Breastfeeding + Postpartum Support Group • Every Wednesday morning • Time: 11:00 AM
Pregnant moms are welcome too!
Blossom Birth and Wellness Center
2928 N 16th Place, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Facilitator: Michelle Hottya818-606-5687
Dignity Health Postpartum Adjustment Support Group • Wednesdays • Time: 1:00 - 2:30 pm
For pregnant and new mothers who are experiencing depression and adjustment challenges, the number one complication of childbirth. Come learn coping mechanisms and how to ask for help in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.
Registration is not required. Childcare is provided during the group sessions for for babies and toddlers. You are welcome to bring your significant other or support person. Support group does not meet the week of July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s
Rome Towers: 1760 E Pecos Rd., Ste. 235, Gilbert, AZ 85295
Postpartum Progress Group Therapy • Wednesdays • Time: 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Supporting moms from bump to breast & beyond. All meetings led by Dr. Cara English, MA, LAC, DBH. Group therapy may not be the best option for all moms. Dr. English will administer a brief phone assessment to determine if group therapy will be helpful for you, or if other types of treatment would be more beneficial. The assessment will be scheduled prior to your first group. Cost: $30/session Call (480) 442-8491 for more info. AZ Breastfeeding Center, 4703 S. Lakeshore Dr, Tempe, 85282.
Do you need support outside of the Phoenix, Arizona area?
Check out these options, and remember, you do not have to suffer alone. Reach out – I hope you will be overwhelmed by the compassion and acceptance of the women who have gone before you and are living testimonies to the fact that there is a “Climb Out Of The Darkness”.
Postpartum Progress – Online Support Forum
Postpartum Support – Resource list for USA and Canada
#PPD Chat Support
About ##PPD Chat on Twitter
My Postpartum Voice
Is there something you discovered on your own about postpartum that you wish someone had told you?? What was that?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.
MORE ABOUT POSTPARTUM ON SPB:
Postpartum Ideas to manage sleep, feeding, feelings about your birth, siblings, and pets
Postpartum Strategies - adjusting to life with a newborn
Postpartum Doulas - what they do and how to hire one
Postpartum Kit - essentials for a more pleasant postpartum experience
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.