I think the most surprising – and most difficult – part of becoming a new mother for me was the 4th trimester – aka postpartum. I know people’s experience with postpartum recovery rwill greatly vary, mine was more like a strange out of body experience after I had Bennett. I didn’t know what day it was, who I was or what I was supposed to be doing most of the time. (Besides taking care of a baby, of course.) Sleep deprivation on top of a bit of pregnancy brain and no longer being able to recognize my face or my body in the mirror. I was in a complete and total state of no longer feeling like myself.
I actually *hated* the feeling and only realized later that I was dealing with postpartum anxiety. After a few months of motherhood under my belt, my child sleeping through the night, and being able to get back to work, I finally started feeling “normal” again.
Since this was my second go-round with Finn, I was determined to be better prepared for this postpartum recovery stage and hopefully try to avoid the same distressing feeling as the first time. Now two months in, I can honestly say, I feel more like myself, and my recovery has been much faster. (Still waiting for Finn to nail sleeping through the night though…)
To all the mamas out there who are able to breeze through and embrace the postpartum stage, I have mad respect for you. I am just NOT one of those people.
Again, everyone is different and every pregnancy/labor is different, but these are a few of the things that are helping me feel like me again after two months in. Yes, some of them are a little “extra” I’m not going to lie. And I’m definitely not suggesting these things will work for everyone. But I’m hoping that maybe even one thing might be helpful or provide a little escape from postpartum anxiousness! And it goes without saying, always check with your doctor FIRST.
Keep Reading Postpartum Recovery
1. Belly Band
First, this photo is not to brag about my waistline – it’s to share my REAL results from using a belly band postpartum for one month. I have an entire blog post on why I used a belly band with Bennett HERE, and you will see the difference in time worn/results. If this is something you’re interested in doing – definitely read about it first! Some people don’t think this is a necessary step and disapprove of their use in regards to women feeling the pressure to “bounce back.” But for me, feeling secure and literally held back together in the midsection was beyond helpful both mentally and physically and wearing a band was something I was able to do IMMEDIATELY to start feeling more normal.
My only regret the first time around was not wearing it sooner because my band wouldn’t fully wrap around my stomach until a week after getting home from the hospital. This time I was prepared and purchased the band extender. Instead of waiting, I actually packed my band and the extender in my hospital bag and started wearing it right away post-delivery (natural delivery). The hospital nurses were even surprised at how quickly my uterus moved back into place… TMI? I can’t confirm these two things are related, but I like to think they could be.
Again, there are mixed feelings on bands because of the stereotype of bouncing back, but I 100% stand by my decision to use a belly band and the positive effects that I experienced from it.
2. Help at Night
Again, another controversial topic – night nurses. Most people won’t talk about it for whatever reason, but I’m here to tell you that our night nurse is currently saving my sanity. She comes twice a week so that I can get at least two full nights of uninterrupted sleep each week, and those hours of help are a literal lifesaver for me. For reference, she comes from 9pm-6pm Tuesday and Friday.
I’m a person who cannot function properly without sleep, and we lucked out with Bennett who LOVES to sleep like me. He was sleeping through the night consistently by 11 weeks old (bless him), and he still is a nap champion to this day. Finn… not so much. Because of some tummy issues, Finn is currently on hypoallergenic formula which is thinner than other formulas. He ultimately feels hungry faster, so sleeping through the night for him will likely be a longer process.
If you can financially afford help at night with a night nurse, it’s worth looking into to avoid postpartum zombie status. If not, I would fully recommend looking into the Snoo bassinet – they even have a rental program. We are currently testing it out, and I’ll be able to give a full review soon.
3. Compression Therapy / Lymphatic Drainage
So this one is fun and something I had never heard about until recently here locally at The Covery in Baton Rouge. The Ballancer Pro is the “safest and most state of the art compression therapy system based on the principles of manual lymphatic drainage.” Sounds complicated right? But really it’s as easy as hopping into a pair of inflatable pants that give you a gentle – and relaxing – 30+ minute massage.
The lymph nodes are vital in how we drain toxins, excess waste, FLUIDS, and lactic acids. And one of the largest areas of lymph nodes are actually in the midsection – meaning lymphatic drainage is hugely beneficial for POSTPARTUM MOMS to help move excess fluids and waste out of the body. A boost in oxygenated blood to the tissues can also result in improvement in cellulite and skin quality leaving it firmer and more toned. What postpartum mom doesn’t want a little help feeling toner in the midsection?
The Covery offers a package for unlimited services meaning you can hop into one of their compression therapy suits as often as you want. And to make it even better, you can even get a Hydrafacial while wearing the Ballancer Pro suit… which is exactly what I did btw.
The Covery offers both of these treatments, and they are offering a BOGO special on treatments until 5/17/21. MENTION BOGO2021 when booking. (Excludes Hydrafacial)
I’ll tell you about Hydrafacial next.
4. Facials + Light Therapy
One of the things I missed the most during pregnancy (both times) was being able to get professional skin treatments. I usually get a light chemical peel about every 8 weeks. I reduced my skincare routine down to bare bones to make sure I was only using safe ingredients, and the only skin procedure I could get was a basic facial with some derma planing.
After months of poor sleep and now a feisty newborn… my skin was suffering, and it definitely showed in the mirror. Literally. Both of my pregnancies left me with hyperpigmentation/melasma (you can see it on my forehead above), so I was VERY ready to jumpstart my skin with a targeted treatment with a professional. I had gotten a Hydrafacial before, so I knew the benefits of it’s three different steps:
1. cleanse + peel
2. extract + hydrate
3. fuse + protect.
The treatment is also totally customizable depending on your skin needs – and can be adjusted to be safe for breastfeeding mamas.
After my Hydrafacial at The Covery, I also did 20 minutes of their red light therapy for it’s beneficial effects on wrinkles. I’ve also done blue light therapy sessions which can be used for treating and preventing breakouts.
The Covery is offering a BOGO special on treatments until 5/17/21. MENTION BOGO2021 when booking. (Excludes Hydrafacial)
There’s also an easy way to get the benefits of light therapy at home… keep reading.
5. At-Home Skincare Tools
As a new mom, I know it’s not always possible to run out and treat yourself to a facial. But having some go-to skincare tools on-hand is another great option. And luckily, I literally own and have tried most of them already. Here are a few of my favorites that I think are great for a postpartum skin pick-me-up + a way to boost any anti-aging serums you might start using post BFing. These are all great options for new moms who might not have time or the ability to make it to an aesthetician or dermatologist:
Solawave is a new portable skincare tool that combines micro currents, red light therapy and facial/neck massage (hello lymph nodes again). The warming, rotating wand also increases the absorption of skin care products and reduces redness. And all it takes is about 5 minutes. It’s easy to use and provides similar benefits to getting a professional red light therapy session at home – and you can use it every day. USE CODE: KRYSTAL for 20% off.
PMD Clean Pro RQ is a skin tool that I’ve talked about before. Big fan of the PMD brand. It’s primarily a cleansing tool that uses vibrations from the cleansing head that can also be flipped around for a rose quartz facial massage. The perks include different warming massage levels for effective cleansing, lymphatic drainage, product absorption and inflammation reduction. USE CODE: KRYSTAL20 for 20% off sitewide
BeautyBio GloPro is a microneedling derma roller that improves skin texture + product absorption. Continued use of just 60 seconds a day can result in firmer, smoother skin. Trust me, even though the roller looks painful, you literally can’t feel the needles much at all. I actually really enjoy using my GloPro and can always tell a difference in my skin after I use it. USE CODE: SPRINGSKIN for 20% off sitewide
A basic jade roller or rose quartz roller is great for inflammation/lymphatic drainage and is the most affordable option.
6. Skincare Products
I love a good strong retinol and a salicylic acid, so trying to find safe/similar replacements for those ingredients during pregnancy was really difficult. I could 100% tell the difference in my skin after months of not being able to use my normal products and weeks of sleepless nights – my skin actually looked gray. GRAY. I was counting the days until I could use my retinol again. CHECK with your doctor if you are BFing before introducing certain ingredients back into your routine.
Here are a few of the products saving my skin right now:
KateCeuticals – This collection launched while I was pregnant, and I knew it was going to be so good. I literally love every single product so far and use each one daily. And they smell YUMMY, not like a typical anti-aging products. I think I was most excited to see the retinol eye cream because that’s one product I really wanted to start using asap. Those little lines around the eyes are hard to target and are even more pronounced when you’re sleep deprived.
Obagi – I LOVE OBAGI. I’ve been using their tretinoin retinol for years. You will need a doctor to get it, but they have a ton of products that you can get online too. I really like the Blue Brilliance triple acid peel. I’ve used it on both myself and Jordan who literally asks when he can have another “face peel.” It’s the closest I’ve found to a professional light chemical peel you can get at home – highly recommend if you’re a fan of light peels.
7. In-Home Exercise
The odds of you being a new mom and having time to go to a gym… nearly impossible. After Bennett, exercise was the LAST thing on my mind because I had so many newborn things to still figure out.
This time around, I do have a little bit more time on my hands during nap time, so I’ve been working out to online videos and apps. We don’t have an in-home gym, and since I’m just getting started, I look for low impact workouts that I can do with just hand weights or my Bala wristbands/ankle weights.
A few workout resources to try:
The Sweat app has a 7-day free trial.
The obe fitness app offers a free trial for live and in-demand classes.
I’m about to try the Beachbody workout options you can stream on the tv.
I also really want to try the Steezy dance app.
I’m also looking into The Sculpt Society – they have postnatal + dance programs.
8. Equilibria Drops
USE CODE: KRYSTALFAIRCLOTH for 15% off your first order!
9. Take a TRUE Maternity Leave
Not taking a real maternity leave was maybe my biggest mistake the first time around. I tried to get back to work almost immediately instead of taking a true 6-8+ weeks off to focus on me and the baby. It just led to me feeling even more scatterbrained with unanswered emails and late projects to apologize for. Hello anxiety. This time, I decided to STOP working completely to allow myself to slow down. The newborn stage goes by SO FAST.
Out of all of these things being able to take a true break to take care of myself and Finn has turned out to be the ultimate postpartum luxury.
My intention for this post is to help anyone feeling like they’ve lost a part of themselves postpartum. This time is fleeting even though it can seem pretty hopeless at times while trying to figure it all out. And if nothing else, let me tell you if you need to hear it:
YOU’RE DOING AN AMAZING JOB. YOU WILL SLEEP AGAIN. YOU’RE AN AWESOME MOM.
YOU HAVE SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE.
Feel free to reach out to me directly with questions about any of the above points – firstname.lastname@example.org.