I’ve heard some rough descriptions of what â€˜things’ feel like after childbirth, and I’ll admit, I was either very well prepared, very lucky or it just wasn’t as bad as I expected. True, I felt like I was walking around with a golf ball lodged in my you know what for a few days, and I had a little grazing (thank you EPI-NO) which caused things to sting a bit when I peed, but other than that it wasn’t all that bad.
I had a herb bath the next day, using Lavender, Calendula (Marigold), Rosemary Leaves and fresh garlic in a muslin cloth and soaking in that for a while, and I think that had a big impact on the healing process. I also pretty much stopped bleeding four days later. Of course, I then walked around Frome for six hours carrying Ameli, and when I got in the shower on Saturday, I had this sudden gush of blood and clots â€“ note to self… there’s a reason they say take it easy!
The first couple of days you usually produce a substance called colostrum, which has loads of antibodies and good stuff for the baby. Within a few days (it took two for me) the milk â€˜comes in’ and a whole new world of adventure begins! Many women really struggle with breastfeeding, so I’m not going to make light of it, it is hard work, and takes a lot more effort and dedication than mixing a bottle of formula does. The baby also has to eat a lot more frequently because breastmilk is digested faster than formula is, so when a new mom tells you that having a baby is a full time job, she’s not kidding â€“ in a 24 hour period, I can easily spend 7 hours with Ameli latched on. Throw in nappy changes and you’re looking at an 8 hour day, for a whole lot less pay! (The only real â€˜pay’ is that breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories per day, so you’re literally being a couch potato and burning the same calories as you would have done ice skating 9 miles in an hour [or running 5 miles in the same time]) Here’s a tip they don’t tell you if you go in for a caesarean or anything similar â€“ babies that latch on to the breast within the first hour have much less problems breastfeeding than those that don’t.Â Something in the reflexes of that first hour makes the baby most susceptible to a decent latch, and they lose that after the first hour. Oh, and where pain medication has been used, babies may struggle to latch on during that hour too, as they are still â€˜out of it’ from the meds.
Anyway, back to me â€“ my milk came in on day two, and I’m pleased to say that contrary to family history, I had no problem with supply. My mom had planned on bringing some medicine with from South Africa that increases milk supply, but had forgotten in the end. It’s just as well, because I’d have preferred not to â€“ anyway, there are plenty of natural things you can take to increase breast milk, such as blessed thistle, nettle and fenugreek, which I’ve done once to great effect. I have been quite lucky. In the first two weeks I’ve not had any nipple pain, or other breast related issues.
I have lost 12kg since the day I went in to labour. Of course, about 9 of those were gone by the time I went to sleep, but the further 3 would be compliments of those 500 calories per day, I assume. I’m really looking forward to getting back in to yoga though, and a couple of other exercises, but I’m abiding by the four week rule, specifically since my club won’t let me exercise till four weeks have passed. I am looking forward to getting some blood pumping through my system again though!
Two things changed immediately after giving birth. Firstly, my PSD pretty much disappeared, and I was able to get up out of bed like a normal person, rather than doing a humpty dumpty rolling impression, and my appetite returned to normal. Before pregnancy, I loved meat, fish and green vegetables, and I do again now, but during pregnancy I couldn’t stomach any of it! A salad would make me gag, fish turned my stomach, and so on, but not any more! I have my favourite foods back, thank heavens!
The major thing that people complain about during the first weeks or months of their new baby’ s life is the tiredness. Although I agree the constant late feeds is exhausting, I must admit that there has been some relief for me from the almost hourly trips to the loo. At least I now get to sleep up to four or five straight hours sometimes. It’s been a great relief.
So what else has changed? Well, I don’t go out any less than I used to, and I don’t see my friends any less than I have in the past. I still have internet time, and writing time. Sometimes things take a whole lot longer to do than they used to, because I have to put them aside to feed Ameli, but for the most part â€“ I’d say things are more or less the same. It is still my life, but now, with child.