The first three days after you give birth: it’s an amazing time – nothing compares to holding your beautiful baby in your arms and marveling at just how perfect your little bundle is.
Some weird stuff also happens in the first three days after birth that through me totally off guard – namely, postpartum pain (which frankly, just sucks). Here is what I wish I knew before it happened – and how to ease it.
Your breasts may hurt (badly) – and may look pretty lopsided
I knew that my milk was going to come in – what I didn’t know is was that my boobs would feel like they were ON FIRE, feel like rocks and how lopsided they were going to look – one nipple pointed up, the other pointed down… and both were leaking. What a welcome to motherhood!
Breastfeeding – while tricky at times – shouldn’t hurt. A warm compress pressed against your breasts and feeding on demand will help soothe that pain. For more info, if you’re feeling pain while feeding, you can find out more about why it’s happening here.
You keep getting contractions… even after you’ve given birth
You get through labor – it hurts – and you’re so so glad it’s finally over. Then… you feel that pang again – another contraction – what?! It’s not much fun and I thought I had gotten all of that over with… which was not the case at all.
No need to stress – it’s your uterus contracting back down to it’s normal size (it’s called involution, FYI). It’s totally okay to take over the counter pain relief, like ibuprofen – and a hot water bottle or heat pack might help too.
The baby blues can hit, even though things feel perfect
‘Baby Blues’ – it’s when your mood going up and down. One minutes you’re teary and irritated, and then you’re filled with awe, wondering – how did I make something so incredible beautiful? This might catch you off guard. After all – you’ve just had a baby and it’s one of the most amazing times ever!
So – why? Simple answer: hormones. If this happens to you, know you aren’t alone, and an estimated whooping 80% of women feel baby blues (which often kicks in around day 3). Be kind to yourself, and if the feeling of sadness doesn’t ease up reach out for help from your doctor.
It may burn when you pee, and sting when you sit.
Yeah okay, you’d probably expect your perineal area to hurt after you’ve given birth. It’s super common – particularly if you’ve torn or grazed – but not super fun, and how much it hurts to pee may have caught you off guard. No fretting – there are some super simple solutions!
The stinging pain sucks – but tipping water (or spraying water) while you’re going to the toilet is a game changer. I totally recommend taking a spray bottle in your hospital bag for this reason alone. If you don’t need it, awesome. But, if you are one of the women who has needed stitches or similar, you’ll be feeling so grateful at the time. A postpartum sitz bath is also a great choice.
You should also speak to your physician about taking Ural.
If things are hurting when you’re trying to sit down, sitting on a donut pillow is the best option you have if it’s hurting too much to sit in the early days, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Here you go, your new best friend:
Your c – section scar might get really, really itchy too, if you had a c section. Annoying, but normal.
You’re terrified to poop
Toilet talk is gross (better get used to it now though, when your babe turns into a toddler prepare for them to talk all things poo), and opening your bowels after having a baby is terrifying. Things don’t feel amazing as they are. It’s nerve wracking.
You will survive your first post labor poop – but the way to make it easier is to avoid being constipated because it’ll make an already crappy (pun intended) situation even worse.
To do this, load up on fibre dense foods, and if you haven’t been able to go, tell your care provider. Don’t stress – they hear about poo all the time (as a care provider, I promise you that your poop doesn’t embarrass me – I just want to help you).