Recognizing​ Postpartum Warnings

This has not been an easy post to write. I have wrestled with how to present this for almost two weeks now. This is such a sensitive topic that so few ever share about, being so raw and honest is hard especially about something so personal and tender. I was not so eager to share my story and struggled to find a way to share about a topic that I find to be SO important for new mothers, and even second or third timers. Most of the focus is on pregnancy and birth (and understandably so, it’s a major transitional event that happens to your body), that we almost never hear people talk about what the transition can actually be like once the excitement and the rush of a new baby is over. All the guests and visitors stop coming and reality sets in; negative feelings, depression, irritability, guilt, hopelessness…You feel like a bad parent like something’s wrong with you. You wonder what is happening, but everyone always tells you “It’s the best thing you’ll ever do!” So, of course, you better not screw it up! Every other new mother has always had smiles and perfect faces, never looking tired or miserable.  It may leave you wondering “What is wrong with me?!” “What am I doing differently?!” (because we all know the mom has complete control over a brand new baby, herself, sleeping perfectly, and everything that could possibly influence her emotions and baby! *Insert eye roll emoji here…)
So here it is! The best I could do to share information about the postpartum traumatic experience without bleeding my guts out… (inhale)

Recognizing the signs of postpartum complications is an important part of preparing for your new baby. We all think that we have to take birthing classes to be prepared and have everything in just the right spot, but the untold truth is that there is So much more to bringing home your new baby than just prepping for birth. Yes, this is a big part of it, and yes, birthing classes can help a great deal, but let’s not forget the importance of recognizing postpartum symptoms.

There are three different categories in the area of Postpartum Depression.
1. Baby Blues
Baby Blues is the most common and recognizable symptom of Post Pardom Depression. People may take this to mean depression is the biggest sign, and yes, that is one of them but, there are many other symptoms.

I think it may be important to state here that the Baby Blues is not a character flaw or a weakness. It can simply be a complication of giving birth. It does not mean you are incapable or failing. It simply means you had a baby and are experiencing side effects and may need some help. 

Other Symptoms of Baby Blues are:
Mood Swings, Anxiety, Sadness, Irritability, Feeling overwhelmed, Crying, Reduced Concentration, Appetite Problems, and Trouble Sleeping.
If you are experiencing these things more than normal, it might be a good idea to mention this to your healthcare provider.

In talking to a postpartum doula, a trained professional who assists new parents with the transition of becoming new parents, she said this about Baby Blues:
“Lots of new mothers experience what is known as the “baby blues” in the first couple of weeks postpartum (key phrase-lots of new mothers experience…).  This is perfectly normal and is caused by the extreme shift in hormones after giving birth, and milk production beginning. Baby blues should subside after a couple of weeks at most. Encapsulating your Placenta and taking it as a multivitamin can greatly assist in this. It may gross you out but if it helps you keep your sanity, it is worth the grossness and the money.” (Amen!)
I did not do this my first time and I actually Really regret this. There are a lot of other benefits to having this saved, it can help with cramps, menopause, and hormonal migraines. I even got my husband to take some. (I’ll talk more about this towards the end.) I lovingly refer to my stash as my “happy pill”, I take it and within 15 minutes I feel great and happy!

2. Post-Partum Depression
Some may think this is the same thing as the Baby Blues, but there are differences. The symptoms that are the same or similar usually are somewhat more severe.
Depression or severe Mood Swings, Excessive Crying, Difficulty Bonding with baby, Withdrawing from family and friends, Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual, Inability to sleep or sleeping too much, Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy, Reduced interest and pleasure in activities once enjoyed, Intense irrealities and anger, Fear that you’re not a good mother, Feelings of worthlessness, Shame, Guilt, or inadequacy, Diminished ability to think clearly or concentrate or make decisions, Severe anxiety and panic attacks, Thoughts of harming self or baby, Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

adult art conceptual dark
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Here is a more extensive list of the Signs of Postpartum Depression:
1. Negative feelings
depression,
irritability
guilt
misery
self-consciousness
hopelessness
long-lasting
worsens over time with new moms
unable to focus on joys and positivity associated with motherhood

2. Anxiousness
linger aspect of PPD
worry about things you have no control over
more noticeable in women who were not that way before
hostility towards your baby
Shunning new baby
feeling trapped by responsibilities

3. Extreme guilt for hostility or sadness
Often leaves new mothers feeling unworthiness of being a mom and unable to care for this new life or the other responsibilities they had beforehand

4. Exhaustion
no surprise moms feel exhausted and irritable. Most are motivated by the joy of being a new mom and bonding with their new babies.
lack motivation and can’t see the Joy in motherhood.

5. Panic attacks
rapid heartbeat
Sweating
nausea
or fainting

6. Appetite changes
constant worry, anxiety, guilt is enough to leave most moms feeling nauseated fatigued, migraine headaches, suffer from loss of appetites or stress eating and severer stomach pains and digestive problems.

7. Lack of Sex drive
due to weight gain, bloating, body image issues. Let’s face it; the extreme fatigue and physical attention required to carry, breastfeed, rock, soothe, and diaper your new baby won’t put you in the mood.  However, if this lasts past a few months of getting used to new motherhood, you may be suffering from PPD.

8. Worsening depression
each case is characterized by feelings and actions that are out of character for that particular woman.
loss of motivation
hostility
Guilt
the extreme hopelessness that remains constant and gets worse over time.

Increase in Omega-3 levels may help lower risk of PPD

Please note that experiencing any of these does not define you or your parenting skills. No one should think you are less than you are by admitting you have had thoughts of harming yourself, baby, or thoughts of suicide. If they do, they are not the right person to talk to and I encourage you to keep searching for the right one until you find someone who will help you. And if someone has thought ill of you, I apologize.

3. Postpartum Psychosis
I had personally never heard or knew some of these were possible. If you or someone you know is suffering from Postpartum Psychosis, please get help as soon as possible.
Confusion and disorientation, Obsessive thoughts about your baby, Hallucinations and Delusions, Sleep disturbances, Paranoia, Attempts to harm self or baby.

When to see a Dr.
It’s important to call your doctor as soon as possible if the signs and symptoms of depression have any of these features:
Don’t fade after two weeks
Are getting worse
Make it hard for you to care for your baby
Make it hard to complete everyday tasks
Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

If feelings of depression occur after the birth of your baby, don’t’ feel reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. It does not mean you have failed or are a bad mother. It simply means you had a baby and have a lot of hormonal changes going on in your body right now. Many people suffer from this and never get help. These first few months of your baby’s life should be joyful and enjoyable, experiencing these symptoms make it hard to do so. Please don’t miss out on making beautiful memories.

There is one other type of Postpartum I would like to mention, Postpartum Trauma. I may have made up this category. But I still think it is something worth mentioning. Honestly, there may be a better name for it and it may be a real thing, I just can’t think of it right now! Experiencing Trauma during labor can have a large impact on your postpartum recovery (in my opinion). It can inhibit bonding with your baby and make the thought of ever having a baby again terrifying, or even the thought of having sex seem impossible. When you have a birth plan and it goes awry in any way, the effects can be long lasting even after all symptoms seem to be gone. Processing those emotions with a safe person can help provide healing.

One final thought I would like to leave you with is this; even less talked about is the fact that men can also suffer from postpartum complications the can experience a number of these same complications as the mothers do. They may be traumatized by seeing someone they love in pain, they can feel helpless and like they can’t Do anything, which is a big deal for a man. A man can also experience trauma by seeing a baby come out of a place he associates with pleasure and enjoyment. He may find it difficult to be intimate. It can be hard for a man to body with a baby as it is but they can even have a harder time bonding if they experience trauma in some other form of the process.

And on a happier note! Restoration and healing can be possible for anyone who may have experienced a traumatic birth, or postpartum complications. My first birth and postpartum experience with my daughter was not all sunshine and roses, and now that she is almost three years old, we have been able to slowly build a healthier, happier relationship by building different ways to bond with each other. The process has been slow and there is still healing to take place, but I am continuing to see our relationship grow and become a blessing every day! After the birth of my son, I now have a more positive outlook on birthing and post birth and even hope to become a birthing doula someday because I want to experience the magic of births and help give others positive experiences. If you have experienced any of these, just know there is hope for healing and you are not alone. I speak as one who has been down both roads, I know the pain and the joy of giving life. I have seen my experiences help others avoid pitfalls and provide a person who understands.

(exhale..)fullsizeoutput_1a1

11 ​Natural Labor Tips

“You’re pregnant! Yay, and you want to have it naturally? Home birth or hospital?”
The questions are never more invasive, nonstop, and annoying than when you’re pregnant (perhaps getting married is second).

I wanted to hide from the WORLD towards the end of my last trimester, even more so when I would tell people I was having my baby naturally… at home.

And for some reason, everyone feels the need to tell you their horror stories about their births! WHY would you DO That? Having a baby is scary enough. Having a baby naturally can be terrifying! All the thoughts run through your head; What if that happens to me?  How do I cope with transition? What do I do if its too much? How do I lower the pain level? What if I change my mind? In the Middle of LABOR??

So why would anyone choose to do this? Well, here are my reasons:
I decided to have a natural labor because I wanted to not be in a hospital and the only other option in my area was at home, there were no birthing centers near me at the time.  My biggest concern was for privacy, I didn’t want to hear anyone else, I didn’t want people walking in I didn’t know and trying to talk to me, checking on me, messing with me. I wanted to be alone with my husband and my midwife. My other reason was the paranoia that if they took my baby out of my room, for whatever reason, what if I got the wrong one back?! (realistic, maybe not. But you can’t count those fears out in such a situation, they play a role and can make the experience more stressful.) I also thought I could handle the pain. So my husband and I agreed and went for it (it was also a lot cheaper and would be completely paid for before baby was even born which was a big plus you don’t get with hospitals). I did have my hospital birth plan written out in case of transfer, everything was ready and prepped in case the need should arise. But, my first birth went well and there were no complications and no minor issues for baby or myself. We left the house with our baby later that same night (my midwife had a friend who would let people have babies at her house if they didnt want to have it at their own, so home birth, just not at my own home!). Was it easy? No! It’s pushing another human out of your body! BUT It Is DOABLE! Women have been doing it for Centuries without pain meds or hospitals. For me, these reasons were more important than being in pain for a few hours. And even though I left scarred, I did it again for the second one because those desires outweighed the pain, and I’m so glad I did it again because not only did I have a better experience, I even recommend it!

Now there needs to be something said about having a baby naturally in a hospital as well. This can very much so be done with the right communication and team, some people just feel safer having babies in a hospital and there is nothing wrong with that.
There is nothing wrong with whatever way you actually have your baby. The important thing is that you and your baby are ok.
What you should do is discuss with your partner what you are both comfortable with and make your plans from there.

So what are my tips for having a baby naturally?
When having a baby naturally at home:

  1. Take a birthing class so you and your partner are familiar with what may happen. If you can’t take one, you can find some useful things on youtube. You might even want to do both.
  2. Don’t assume everything will go a certain way based off of your mom’s births.
  3. Learn how to breathe and take it slow. Labor is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t try and make the baby come faster and wear yourself out.
  4. Talk through the birth and what role you want your partner to play before it starts.
  5. Learn to BREATHE! and RELAX in between contractions.
  6. Realize that it may not go according to plan and be prepared mentally and physically for things changing.
  7. Do not get dehydrated. Assign someone to water you. Seriously, you can forget.
  8. Eat Comfort Food! You’ve gotta eat something so you might as well enjoy it!
  9. Have something to look forward to right after! I wanted gluten! (I can’t eat gluten while pregnant so my first thing was bread! In the form of a hamburger! It was So Good! Also note, some hospitals do not allow you to eat during labor so be sure to ask what their policy is.)
  10. Understand how you think and respond to pain.
  11. It Will End. At one point the pain will stop.

These are just some tips and things to think about. Be sure to visit this blog by Liesel, a labor and delivery nurse to find out more useful tips and information. There are a lot of good lists of things to pack and what to expect.

baby birth born care
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Baby Shower Gift Guide

BABIES!!! The excitement, the anticipation. All the tiny things, tiny shoes, tiny socks, tiny hats and tiny nose! Is there anything quite like the excitement of a tiny baby soon to be coming, especially when it’s not yours?

And now, the ultimate question: “What gift should I bring to the shower?!”

For those of you to yet have a baby or this is a first-time mom, it can be a daunting list of gifts and items to go through and weed out what would be the right gift, a useful gift, something that’s actually helpful and needed. With all the new cool gadgets out there that one simply must have in order to be a “good parent”, how does one not go broke? How do you not spend a fortune on a baby shower gift that ends up not being used or really liked by the baby?

Well, here is my list of the most useful, most bang for your buck, most versatile gifts that are good for first-time moms or even second-time moms that are great ideas for a baby shower gift.
Let me know what you would want or think should be added to the list in the comments below! I love hearing your thoughts!

popcorn containers in shallow focus photography
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These are in no particular order:

Humidifiersare great gifts. When your baby has a stuffed nose and can’t sleep, nobody’s sleeping well that night! Humidifiers help keep the baby’s nose moist and keep everything from drying out and making it harder to breathe. These can be so helpful but often seem to be forgotten at a shower. Today you can find ones that have multiple functions such as a nightlight, noise maker. I personally love one item that has several functions; not only do they save space and money ( in some cases) but when you need to childproof and you don’t have a lot of high counter space, only needing to move one thing is so helpful!

URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser Aroma Essential Oil Cool Mist Humidifier with Adjustable Mist Mode,Waterless Auto Shut-off and 7 Color LED Lights Changing for Home Office Baby

Carriers are catching on more and more, but still need some reminder of the significance and importance they can play in those first few months. Both of my little ones wanted to be held most of the time (some may say you’re spoiling your baby, but I say you’re spoiling yourself!) The kind of carrier depends on the desire of the mama and baby, so my personal recommendation is a ring sling because you can carry in Any position in those. You can do front, back, hip, in or out. Any position you or baby may want.

4 in 1 Baby Wrap Carrier and Ring Sling by Kids N’ Such | Charcoal Gray Cotton | Use as a Postpartum Belt and Nursing Cover with Free Carrying Pouch | Best Baby Shower Gift for Boys or Girls

Swaddles are an excellent choice not only for babies that love to be a burrito but also because they can have many functions. they can be a swaddle, a nursing cover, a thin blanket when there’s still a light chill, car seat cover, bedtime blanket when baby gets bigger, they can even be worn by mama in some cases.

aden + anais Silky Soft Swaddle Baby Blanket, Viscose Bamboo Muslin, Large 47 X 47 inch, 3 Pack, Indigo, Blue

Monitors are not really a forgotten gift in today’s society, safety, and constant supervision can be the number 1 item of concern for a new parent. I never had one because my babies slept in the same room as myself for… a long time due to circumstances. If I did need one though, my husband and I would use our phone by calling each other, muting the one we kept with us and having both set on speaker. it worked great!

Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor – Track Your Infant’s Heart Rate & Oxygen Levels. Or a WiFi Camera, LeFun Wireless Surveillance Camera IP Camera Nanny Cam with Pan Tilt Zoom Motion Detect Two Way Audio Night Vision Remote Control 2.4G WiFi for Baby Monitor

Diaper Pale with a lid. Need I say more?!

Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Assembled Diaper Pail with Odor Lock Technology & 1 Full Size Refill, White (1 Pail and 1 Refill per Unit)

Pack & Play are great for lots of different reasons. You don’t have to worry about bumper pads on the crib! They go where you go and it’s one less unfamiliar thing for a baby in a new environment.

Baby Trend Nursery Center, Tanzania

Backseat mirrors are a wonderful invention. Before having one, I never knew how long my baby slept in the car which would always throw me off. I felt So much better when I could see my little ones face!

Baby Car Mirror for Back Seat | View Rear Facing Infant in Backseat | Securely Fasten With Double Strap | Pivot Joint to Easily Adjust to Desired Viewing Angle …

First Aid Kits are a great gift. Having a smaller one that is already packed and can be kept in the diaper bag was my favorite. One less thing to think about and make sure we had as we were walking out the door.

Small Travel First Aid Kit - Mom’s Compact Emergency Essentials for Home, Car, Backpack, Hiking, Purse, Diaper Bag, Sports & Baby Shower Gift, Latex-Free Supplies (Kid Joy)

Gift Cards are on my list of recommended gifts because ther ewill always be something on the registry that wans’t purchased that the parents really want or something after the bhaby is born they realize would wokr great for their new family, so gift cars can be a great gift, espicially if they have a big wish list item. if several people gave gift cards, then they could put it towards that bigger wish!

Something for Mom. All this preparation and focus on mom can leave mom feeling like the star of the show, but not very thought of.scinted candles to make her feel like shes been pampered at the spa when she has a moment to herself, her favorite coffee, favorite resterant for a night out with the girls.


 

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Top 10 Baby Items for Small Budgets

Now that my little ones are past the 6 months stages and closing in on a year old, I have finally put together my top 10 baby items wish list I wish I had from the start. I felt like I had to have Everything to bring my first baby home. There were so many things out there that I was told were necessary that I felt overwhelmed (to say the least) and wondered how would we do this as a newly married, broke, couple?! And everything was So Expensive! I didn’t get everything I wanted or thought I Had to have and yet, my baby was fine and we somehow got through those first few months.

This is my wish list for parents-to-be on a budget, what you have to have to bring a baby home according to what I and my husband chose to do as parents:

  1. A car seat. You may think that’s a no brainer, but they won’t let you take that baby home if you don’t have it with you, so go ahead and just put it in the car as soon as you get it. And that will also help you get used to it being there. The reality didn’t really sink in for me until I saw that car seat back there that we were really about to have a baby.
  2. Bassenets that fold up when not in use are great for small spaces. I co-splet with my babies (gasp, shock, how could I, I know. I trusted myself as I am a light sleeper and was very aware of my child who actually slept on top of me. I became very accustomed to not moving while sleeping during pregnancy and with winter, I knew my baby would stay warm so I felt safe enough to do this. I do not recommend this with everyone. You know how you sleep and what you need.
  3. Diaper Bag. Now get this, those cute little back packs from Wal-Mart, those make great diaper bags. I like the idea of a back pack because it has more than one use once you don’t need one any more, which for me, I stop using a diaper bag around 7-8 months because I don’t like carrying around a lot of stuff (I’m kinda a minimalist. Well not kinda, I am a minimalist, or at least as much as you can be with kids!).
  4. Diapers/ Wipes and a trash can with a lid! ‘Cause them things stink! Even breastfed babies poop will smell bad in a few days. Is the trash can lid necessary, yes and no. It is very helpful though!
    This might be another no brainer, but if you’re budgeting, add it on there! ‘Cause those things add up. I chose to do cloth diapers which saved us a lot of money. In part of my research, I found that you can spend almost $3,000 on just diapers alone by the time your baby is two and half. I cloth diapered two kids at once for $200, that includes cloth wipes too (I will be uploading a video on how I do my diapers.)
  5. Clothes. Again, you have to budget for these if you’re not having a shower or you aren’t getting much. But you really don’t need that many clothes. They grow out of them so fast and you will do laundry often enough that if you had only 12-14 items in each months sizes then you should have enough. you won’t change their clothes twice a day every day so that is why I say that number, pajamas maybe 4. Just think how often you will be doing laundry and plan for that many days with at least 3-4 extra changes. I felt like I had to have a lot of clothes. I found that I tend to go back to my favorite ones and not touch others, so I can get away with less clothes.

    close up of pink indoors
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  6. Sling. I would definitely chose a sling over any other baby wearing device out there.  My reason, you can carry in almost any position. My first baby wanted to be held by only me for the first 5-6 months. I wore her a lot, like a lot, a lot! My second baby is a hip baby! A sling can be worn on the front, back side. Baby facing in, out or lying down. Definitely recommend a sling.
  7. Nursing cover! I breast fed my babies, and there were times people wondered what I was doing and would lift up the cover… to the embarrassment of us both. It happened at my friends wedding. In line for food. In front of almost EVERYONE. I switched to a different cover after that! (Links will be included below)
  8. Sports bras and nursing pads were my best friend! I never found nursing bras to be comfortable for me, I found the ease of sports bras to be more functional for me. Moment of reality: your boobs will constantly be fluctuating in shape and size. The sports bra allows for no gapping, hooks to come undone, or spillage. You simply lift up the bottom of the bra, and tuck everything back in once you’re done.
  9. A Stroller. This is at the bottom of the list because you can get away without having one, but they are very helpful if you do have one and want to go for walks and get out of the house.
  10. Bottles and pump. If you’re breast feeding, you can get away with as little as 4-5 bottles for date nights or baby sitters. I used a new tooth brush to clean mine and it worked pretty well. As for a pump, there are some very small inexpensive manual pumps which work and can be small enough to fit in your diaper bag.

This is my list of top 10 items you really should try to have for your first baby for the first 6 months. Once that mile marker is reached, there are definitely other items you will need but those are for another list.

shoes child clothing pregnancy
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Links for all my favorite items are included below:
Let’s remember that we can all act like adults and even though we may not agree with everything above, there is no need for negative comments. I would like to know if there are any other items you would think are necessary for new parents on a budget, so please leave all positive comments below!

A great place to hava regisry is Babylist.com. I was very satified with it!
2. Bed/Bassinet Pack N Plays work well instead of buy a crib and then if you go on vacation you can take baby bed with you!Smart and Simple Playard – Ridgedale
3. Diaper Bag BackpackLeaper Casual Style Lightweight Canvas Laptop Bag Cute School Backpack Shoulder Bag Pencil Case 3PCS Set (Water Blue)
4. Diapers and WipesPampers Baby Wipes Sensitive 6X Pop-Top Packs, 336 CountPampers Swaddlers Disposable Diapers Newborn Size N (<10 lb), 128 Count, GIANT
5. Clothes
6. Slings Moby Sling
7. Nursing covers like these work great for multipurpose Hicoco baby car seat cover, nursing covers breastfeeding cover carseat canopy (feather)
8. If you don’t have some, find a cheap pair or two.
1. and 9. Stroller and CarseatEvenflo Vive Travel System with Embrace, Spearmint Spree
10. BottlesDr. Brown's Original Bottle, 8 ounce, 4-Pack
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