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3 weeks postpartum, 3 weeks with a newborn, 3 weeks of no sleep and constant baby snuggles … it’s been a crazy, wild 3 weeks but I couldn’t let any more time pass by without diving into all that has been going on over here in the Jackson house.
I think the easiest thing to do is to break it down by week as best as I can remember and answer all of your questions! So, let’s dive in!
Postpartum: Leaving the hospital after 24 hours
We were given the option to leave the hospital early (24 hours after delivery). When the idea was first proposed, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it. I had just seen a blogger friend pass away days after being discharged and I was terrified that something might be overlooked. But at the same time, with it being election day and tension being high, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in the hospital either.
My recovery was going really well and my nurses/doctor were extremely attentive to how I was doing after delivery. My uterus was hardening and moving back into place the way that it should, my swelling was minimal and I wasn’t having any complications in any other area, so I talked to my doctor about it and ultimately determined that the risks of complications were very low, so we left!
I know there were questions about what I asked and how I felt comfortable to leave so soon, so I’ll touch on that briefly!
What questions did you ask?
I wanted to understand the risks, what to look for (bleeding, hemorrhaging, swelling, etc.) and what to do if I feel like something is off. I’m obviously not a doctor, so I’d say if you have specific questions, start with a medical professional. I asked my nurses to show me how to check my uterus to ensure that it was continuing to harden the way that it should. I also had very open conversations with my doctor and nurse team about my fears regarding being a woman of color and the high mortality rate amongst our community during and after childbirth. I was actually really pleased with how much everyone acknowledged this and even before I shared my concerns, I felt like my nurse staff was going above and beyond for me to make sure I was safe and healing appropriately.
I think if I was in a situation where I didn’t feel like I was being listened to or where my concerns were being brushed off, I wouldn’t have been so at ease, but I was really happy with my care and it helped in making that decision.
Leaving the hospital is always a mixture of excitement and nerves. Even with baby #3, that feeling doesn’t go away. Our first week home is a blur. We barely slept, which is to be expected, but I was also in the thick of my postpartum recovery. Many of you have asked “what was it like?” and how did I care for myself (products, etc.):
Postpartum Care – Vaginal Recovery
I had a vaginal birth with no epidural, so right after delivery I felt everything that was going on down there. Extra large maxi pads, peri bottle, ice packs, witch hazel pads and Dermaplast spray was my hourly routine while I was in the hospital. Everything felt on fire down there, so this brought a lot of relief during that first 24 hours. I know a lot of people use these products once they get home too, but honestly for me, within 24 hours I’m okay with just a pad and my peri bottle.
I didn’t remember how much labor takes out of your until we got home and life started moving very slow. I napped as much as I could and really didn’t get dressed beyond a robe until week 2.
My milk came in almost immediately after getting home, which felt like such a blessing, so I was nursing Zoe every 2 hours. At first, I didn’t want to use a bottle until she was 2 weeks old, but we had a few bad latches that really destroyed my chest and I had to pump. It was too painful to breastfeed until my nipples fully healed. I met with a lactation consultant while in the hospital a few times, and she helped me with techniques to help Zoe open her mouth nice a wide. We still had some issues once we got home, but thankfully now (week 3) we’ve figured each other out a little better and are having much better days!
Week 2 looked a lot like Week 1. I started to get more of my energy back and even got dressed a couple times. My bleeding was still going strong, so I continued with wearing Depends and using my peri bottle. Zoe is still getting up every 2-3 hours, so my pump schedule mirrors that as well.
My Elvie pumps arrived this week, so I started using both my Motif Luna pump and the portable, wear in your bra pumps. I ordered more nursing bras, because I realized very quickly that I needed to have a lot of these on hand.
Week 3 has been good for my soul. Early on, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever feel like myself again but I am so glad that I do now. Getting dressed, doing my makeup and getting out of the house are things that I enjoy doing. I try to do at least one of these things 2-3 times a week. It makes such a difference on my mental health when I prioritize myself.
I used to worry about the age gap with my kids, but honestly, it is the best thing about having a newborn right now. They help with everything and are eager to do so.
My bleeding has stopped this week, but I still have occasional discharge, especially when I wear my belly band, so I still wear Depends. Peri bottle isn’t necessary, but I have them by the toilet just in case.
Here is the belly band I wear. I only wear it an hour a day, about 2-3 days a week. My kids wear them more than me right now haha! They think it will give them a 6-pack (insert eye roll LOL). I honestly didn’t feel comfortable enough on my stomach to wear this band until week 3. I tried it week 1-2 and it was too much, I was still healing.
Postpartum Feeding: Breastfeeding vs. Pumping
Right now I am pumping 95% of the time. I’ve been asked about my decision to pump vs. nurse a few times, so I thought I’d share. I love being able to use all of the help in our house. Our kids are older and are so so excited to help with their baby sister, and my husband wants to help too. Having bottles ready allows me the flexibility to take a shower, leave the house, do things that make me feel like “me” so that I don’t lose myself in motherhood/newborn life.
Breast pumps: Elvie + Motif Luna
- Convenience – unbeatable!
- Fits into your bra – will be bulky, but that’s okay for me.
- Switches up the suctions, frequency and mode to simulate how an infant would feed (I do this manually with my other pump)
- Keeps track of when you pumped
- Data does not always report correctly in the app – it’s a little annoying to have to adjust the ounces each time. It is incorrect for me more than it is correct.
- Suction is not great at times – I have to pause, readjust and then resume. Make sure you have a great bra, with lots of stretch (but still will hold the pumps close to your chest – I use this one).
- Need to still use my regular pump at least 1-2 times per day to avoid getting backed up with milk
- Great suction
- Empties me out
- Chargeable base so you can be mobile
- Must wear pumping bra (even with bra, pumps stick out)
- Cords that get in the way
Overall, I love both of my pumps. I will say that I could not see myself owning one without the other. I need the flexibility of the Elvie, but acknowledge that it’s not always enough to get all of my milk out at times (not always). Having my Motif readily available has helped keep my milk flowing and ensure I prevent clogged milked ducts as much as possible. I will say that if you are able to get a great suction or if you have time to pump longer to empty out, the Elvie would likely be a good choice for you by itself. I try to keep my pump sessions to 15 minutes.
I should also note, I keep a Hakaa in our diaper bag, just in case we are out and I need to release some milk real quick in the car or something. It has come in handy multiple times so far! I’m so glad I have it.
Postpartum Supplements + Diet
I am still taking my prenatal vitamins, per recommendation of my doctor. I also take Natal Nourish by Organic Olivia, which I used during my entire pregnancy as well. I have started to incorporate collagen more into my diet, although I have been bad about making my smoothies as of late.
My diet continues to be just eating healthy, balanced meals as often as possible. It helps that we don’t keep snacks in the house right now, so if I get the munchies, there’s really only mixed nuts, oatmeal or fruit for me to snack on (really boring, but it helps). I definitely allow myself to indulge when I feel like it, but in the back of my mind I try to remind myself, I’ll eventually want to get back in shape and need to start changing my eating habits. I completely indulged during pregnancy … salads … we didn’t know her LOL
So far I’ve lost nearly all of my baby weight. I attribute this 100% to breastfeeding, drinking lots of water and losing water weight. The number on the scale doesn’t mean much to me, so I try not to stress on that or talk about it much on here. It’s not healthy. I do have fitness goals and I know what I need to do diet and exercise wise to get back to “fit me” … but I’m taking my time. I intermittent fast and follow a great workout program, but to be honest, I’m not ready to care about any of that right now. In due time, for sure!
Thank you for reading!
I hope that covers everything! I’ll do another check-in at 6 weeks postpartum. Overall, things are going really well. I feel good, I’m getting sleep when I can and my body is healing. The best thing I’ve done for myself this postpartum is REST. It’s hard, but I’ve tried to prioritize it and speak up when I feel overwhelmed or like I’m not getting enough support for the men in my house (they are awesome but sometimes I have to let them know that I need more help).
I know so many of you have little ones on the way! Congratulations! My best advice is to always advocate for yourself, speak up if something doesn’t feel right and once baby is here … ENJOY THE MOMENT! It all goes by so fast.
XO – Steph
A Dallas-based blog featuring Fashion, Beauty, Travel and Motherhood by Steph Taylor Jackson.