– Ask a Real Mom – The Postpartum Season No One Prepares You For

Our Ask a Real Mom series typically focuses on the fun and exciting aspects of motherhood, like our favorite products, time-tested tips, and must-have toys. However, those first few weeks of motherhood can feel anything but fun and exciting; they’re some of the most challenging and vulnerable days of a woman’s life. The worst part? No one really talks about it.

From the moment I shared my pregnancy with family and friends, people were quick to jump in with advice on things like labor, breastfeeding, and sleep training. But no one warned me about the “fourth trimester:” all the feelings, emotions, and discomfort truly took me by surprise. I had read everything about the newborn days, but I didn’t take myself and healing into consideration.

I’m not going to let that happen to you, mama. Our Real Moms are here to share some of teir postpartum surprises, along with the info, advice, and products that helped get them through the first few weeks of motherhood. Think of this article like a chat with a big sister: we want you to feel as prepared as possible! So pour yourself a decaf coffee, grab your favorite snack, and…

Tears and Baby Blues

1. Cue The Tears and Baby Blues

I was so taken aback by how many tears I shed those first few days, especially the day my milk came in. I cried for so many reasons and then for no reason at all. I remember sitting and just holding my new baby and crying endlessly, not because I was sad but because I was the happiest I had ever been. On the opposite spectrum, I remember sitting and sobbing over being exhausted, the difficulties I faced with breastfeeding, and adjusting to this new mom body.

Real mom Kim said, “The new mom tears hit you out of nowhere; some are happy tears, and some are pain-filled. Allowing yourself to have good cries and remembering that it is all normal helps you deal with the emotions in a healthier way.” 

Some of those ways might be going on daily walks with the baby to get some fresh air, eating healthy foods, and taking postnatal vitamins, and trying to sleep when I could.

While weepiness and the “baby blues,” are common, they can escalate into postpartum depression and anxiety. Don’t wait to reach out to your tribe of family, friends, and medical professionals. Talk with your partner about the possibility of needing professional support before the baby even arrives so that you’re both looking out for signs that it may be time to call.


2. The Breastfeeding Battle

In my head, I pictured this magical moment where my newborn baby would just hop onto my breast, and feeding would be easy and blissful. It was FAR from that. Trying to get my new daughter to latch was honestly so much harder than I could imagine. I had no idea how many factors play a role in having a “successful latch.”

So, what can you do to prepare for breastfeeding challenges? First, the physical: Real Mom Pamela shares that having the Frida Mom Sore Nipple Set and Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads were essential for coping with discomfort and soreness. Next, the emotional: I’m a huge advocate for lactation support groups. Most hospitals offer them! Take advantage of the free support from lactation nurses and other new moms. It was such a blessing for me.

In addition, consider hiring a lactation consultant for one-on-one help. Their presence, support, and professional insight can be incredibly reassuring and comforting–it’s well worth the investment! Ask your hospital or pediatrician for suggestions on where to find lactation support near you.

Post-Delivery Contractions

3. Post-Delivery Contractions (Yes, you read that right)

Probably the MOST shocking feeling was having contractions after the baby was delivered. Why did no one mention these to me? Real mom Jazmin shares that with each baby she had, she was always shocked by how uncomfortable the contractions were. After talking with other moms, I learned that although very painful, they are a good thing. As you breastfeed or pump, your uterus contracts to return to its normal size.

Thankfully, the painful contractions usually only last a week or so. Real mom Cheryl says that adding a few drops of a natural herb called Afterease by Wishgarden made a huge difference in the intensity of the contractions–but ask your doctor first before trying! 

Not being able to sleep when the baby sleeps

4. Not being able to sleep when the baby sleeps

The most comical advice I received was, “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” HOW? I thought that my newborn baby and I would have these magical and cute naps together. But no. I did try my hardest to rest here and there, but I always felt like there were a million things to do while the baby was lying down. Real mom Beka shares that nothing prepared her for the level of exhaustion she had felt as a new mom.

But even though you’re exhausted, the postpartum period can bring intense energy, too. Real mom Madi shares, “No matter how little sleep I had gotten, I had this postpartum adrenaline that kicked in that I couldn’t relax to rest. Instead, I had to check on the baby constantly, fold laundry, and clean bottles. It was like my body knew how to keep going on little to no sleep!”


5. The Pain Down There

If you’re giving birth vaginally, you probably expect to feel a lot of discomfort down below after delivery. Real Mom Quinn recommends picking up a perineal cushion, and Real Moms love the Frida Mom Postpartum Recovery Kit, packed with products designed to clean and comfort those sensitive areas. While some pain is normal, keep communicating with your medical team about ongoing pain and bleeding.

Pelvic floor therapy can be a game-changer when it comes to healing and recovery! Real mom and midwife Ashley recommends pelvic floor therapy for every mom, no matter how your delivery went!


6. Is it hot in here, or is it ALWAYS me?

Oh, the night sweats! Not only was I dealing with emotions, contractions, and body changes, but I also had to deal with hot flashes in the middle of the night. Real mom Dani says she would wake up completely drenched in sweat during one of her night feeds. If this happens to you, don’t be alarmed–it’s normal.

Dani recommends keeping a small bedside fan to keep you cool at night.


7. Falling in love

Meeting the baby you just delivered is unlike any other feeling you’ve ever felt. For me, it was an instantaneous adoration and obsession. I think the shocking part is that you love your little person so much that you just cry and can’t remember what life was like before they got here. The immediate love you feel is overwhelming!

Real mom and grandma Souhila says, “When I first looked into my baby’s eyes, I couldn’t believe that my mom loves me as much as I love this sweet baby.”

family picture
Photo courtesy of Rachel Morgan Photography

I will forever be grateful to my mom, who cared so selflessly for me during those first few weeks of postpartum. She allowed me to feel all my feelings, spoke positivity into my life even though I felt so unsure I was doing anything right, let me sleep, cleaned my house, and taught me how to be a great mom. If you’re anxious about navigating new motherhood with your mom or looking for practical advice on asking for help and setting boundaries, hop over to this post!

A final piece of advice: be open and specific with your spouse about what your needs are and allow him to help. Becoming a parent is a challenge, and nothing about it is textbook. Each delivery, postpartum, and baby are so different, and no one has the same experiences. Don’t be afraid to ask for help during those tough postpartum days.

Stay in the know

Our team at Registry Finder wants to do all we can to keep you in the know of what to expect when you’re expecting. This journey is hard and beautiful, but you got this! Don’t forget to check out our Give It Blog for Postpartum Essentials Every Mom Needs.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. The ideas are ours, but we may be compensated if you make a purchase by clicking on one of the links. Thanks for your support!

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