Y’all. I had a baby 6 weeks ago. It was intense, made me go a little bit (a lotta bit?) insane, and ended with me meeting the most incredible little human. As is the case with the last two years, the last 6 weeks have somehow passed all too slowly and in the blink of eye all at once.
The baby is great. Like, really great and super cute and has started smiling flirting and and chit chats with us in between feeding frenzies and naps. The self-doubt and anxiety that consumed me the first few weeks made me worry about every little thing with him – especially when it came to breastfeeding – but because I’ve been lucky enough to learn a lot about lactation I was able balance my irrational worries with what I knew to be true and I’m happy to report we are doing great. I even faced down mastitis and lived to tell about it, thanks to an amazing community of friends and my midwife reminding me that mastitis is not a character flaw.
On that note – if you’re a new mama and worried about anything regarding nursing, please reach out to someone who can help you. I promise it’s probably a lot easier to fix than you think. You don’t need to give up if you don’t want to (and if breastfeeding isn’t your thing just because it’s not, that’s totally cool, too!) La Leche League is a great place to start and you can likely find your local chapter by Googling “la leche league” + your city. If they can’t help you, they’ll be able to refer you to someone who can.
6 weeks postpartum can also be the time when your milk production evens out, causing many mamas to worry that their supply isn’t enough, when in reality it’s just perfect for their little babe. Your breasts may feel softer, less full, your letdown less noticeable, all of which are no indication of whether or not you have enough milk. Watch baby’s diaper output – it should be about 4 to 6 wet/dirty diapers per 24-hour period at this point – and growth to know exactly whether baby is getting enough or not.
Physically, I feel good, but things are definitely different this time around. My body didn’t “bounce back” like it did with Adam and it’s clear that to get things to fall back into place, it’s going to take some work. Aside from the aches and pains from co-sleeping (often times with two little monkeys) and holding a baby and sometimes a toddler all day, the hemorrhoids haven’t been much fun; horizontal rest, chugging water like it’s going out of style, and grated potato (hashbrowns, anyone?) on your bum are great for these, according to my midwife. Making sure to nourish my body and get rest when I can has been paramount in feeling good and not losing my shit by lunch time.
From my Instagram post on @mamafilbirth: 6 weeks postpartum 🌿 It may seem like it passed in the blink of an eye – or maybe dragged on forever – but during this period lots of changes are happening for mama and baby 🌿 Aside from your little babe being bigger physically, he is also mentally more developed as well. You may get smiles or giggles, and he will probably also communicate with you a lot – in his own way, of course. You’ll probably notice yourselves settling into a routine (that baby set, of course!) but don’t get too comfortable – things are likely to change several times in the coming months. Lower your expectations, go with the flow, and just follow baby’s lead 🌿 you’ve already survived his first two growth spurts and he’s headed into another one, which usually means non-stop feeding and some fussy days ahead, which are best spent in mama or another caring person’s arms 🌿 6 weeks is also a lot of time for mama to change, too, physically and mentally 🌿 you’re likely feeling pretty well-heeled, though things may still feel “out of place” or like they’re healing, and that’s ok. If you’ve met with your care-provider, maybe you’ve discussed family planning options – of which there are many! – and being intimate with your partner. While the extra assurance that everything is “good to go” is great, remember that you don’t need to rush into anything and should take it slow and enjoy yourself 🌿 your hormones and emotions may still be all over the place and that’s ok. Carving some self-care time each day and trying to rest and nourish yourself well are essential. If you’re struggling and feel like you need help, reach out to someone and get help! Postpartum mood disorders are common and can be fixed with a variety of treatments and you can – and deserve to – feel better 🌿 what other changes did you notice at 6 weeks postpartum?