I really love this photo and I'm sure only 4 people will be reading this blog, but in case my amazing OBGYN stumbles across it, I have covered her face with an eye patch as I have not got her permission to use her photo - if you're looking for recommendations email me - she's the best!
Take naked pictures because your body is about to go to war with an 8 pound meatloaf.
I was pregnant with Will and commented to the receptionist at my dental office that the worst part was having strangers constantly want to tell me about their birthing stories. My grievance is, under normal circumstances you don’t talk to randoms about your vagina so why was it OK to talk to a pregnant woman about your vagina?
The receptionist laughed and explained that she totally understood and then launched into a VERY GRAPHIC story about 3rd degree tearing (for the newbies, that’s when you split hole to hole).
So if you’re pregnant and reading this, I don’t want to scare you but I want you to be prepared for possible (not definite) things that might happen before/after you deliver the baby. Since I don’t want to be an asshole, I’m going to also tell you what worked for me (yes, in this case I am admitting this as actual advice!)
Problem: Stretch Marks
I made it to 35 weeks without any stretch marks. I kept showing off. I woke up on the first day of my 36th week and it looked like Wolverine had won an argument with the lower portion of my stomach…also, I didn’t know you could get stretch marks on your back, but I found out!
Solution: Not giving a fuck!
I know there are creams and stuff you can rub on them but from what I’ve heard, they don’t do much. Luckily I have a lot of confidence (bordering on vapid narcissism) and I will share it with you! Seriously, you just had a baby – embrace your new body, you grew a human, and you’re amazing!
There is a scene in The Simpsons where Marge teaches Lisa how to quilt. After a while, Lisa shows Marge how she’s developed a “sewing” finger but pushing the needle against it and the needle not pricking through her sewing callous. That’s what needs to happen to your nipples.
I sat with a lactation consultant 3 weeks after Will was born, with blood stains on my bra as my nipples were bleeding. I remember laughing like an insane person when she said, “Don’t worry about the blood, it won’t hurt him if he drinks some during feedings” – Umm, bitch that was NOT my main concern, my concern was the blood pouring out of my nipples!
She explained an improper latch was causing him to not properly suck my nipple which caused them to crack and have craters (it looked like water blisters on the ends of my poor sad nipples).
Solution? I have three tips for you here!
First, while pregnant go braless as MUCH AS POSSIBLE. You can’t take your bra off once you start lactating because you need breast pads to soak up the milk (the best ones are the Lansinoh pads, they are individually wrapped and large so you can keep some all over the place for emergencies!
The best nursing bras, if you have insanely massive boobs are Bravado bras, they are not sexy but shockingly milk pouring out of your nips isn’t the sexiest thing either!)
Second, get your ass to a lactation consultant NOW. As soon as you feel even the slightest pain in your nipples RUN with the baby as if you are being chased. I made it worse for myself by letting Will go an entire week and a half with his stupid latch. There are websites and hints that will help you but a lactation consultant will weigh the baby first and then watch you feed to make sure you are doing everything properly and they are actually eating.
Third, if you can’t get to a lactation consultant right away, there are a few things you’re going to need to help your poor nipples until then. There are nipple shields from Medela that are exactly what they sound like. Do not buy any other brand except Medela shields. Buy more than one pack because you’re going to have to sterilize these and you need to have them ready to go at all times. They sit on top of your nipple and help serve as a buffer. You are not supposed to use these long term as they might confuse the baby and the baby doesn’t get as much milk but they will help you until you can see a consultant.
How to help your nipples when you’re not feeding? DONUTS! There is nipple cream for this issue and conveniently, breast milk also helps heal them. I would rub some milk and some of the cream on my nipples and then to avoid friction make a donut. Take a tissue, roll it up (like a joint…) and bring the ends together, then place that around your nipple. It ensures your bra won’t touch your nipples, irritating them further and rubbing off the cream.
There are not a lot of medications you shouldn’t take when you’re breastfeeding, which makes it tons of fun when it feels like someone took a baseball bat that was on fire to your breasts and you have a 104 degree fever!
Mastitis ties into the nipple issues because if the baby isn’t latching properly he might not be draining all the milk in your breast which might lead to a blocked milk duct. Mastitis can also happen because of an infection sometimes tied to your cracked bleeding nipples.
You’ll know you have mastitis and not the flu because you will feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, you will have an insane fever and most importantly (and painfully) your breasts will feel hot to the touch and like they are on fire.
Owing to this delightful ailment my breasts are 2 completely different sizes. I had mastitis in my right breast with Will at 6 months.
After it was over, righty became tighty and lefty became loosey. Will breastfed until 10 months but since only one side was producing milk, my right breast is 2 cup sizes smaller than my left (permanently!).
Solution: Get to your Doctor immediately if you have even the smallest worry you have mastitis!
They can prescribe antibiotics that will help clear it up pretty quickly.
I was dreaming I was back in Panama. I could feel the sand in my toes. I felt the warmth on my face. I could feel the salt water on my skin. Wait, that’s not saltwater…oh God, there is milk everywhere!!!
As I mentioned in my other post, I tried to pump all the time so I could sleep and someone else could feed Will. That was a STUPID move. Your breasts will produce milk at the speed they think the baby is drinking it. I would feed Will and then pump constantly so I tricked my body into thinking I was feeding twins.
I went to sleep one night and had covered half our bed in breastmilk in a mere 3 hour gap. The milk had soaked through my breastpads, bra, t-shirt, and onto the sheets. Also, it smelled exactly how you assume drying out milk would smell. I will never forget Paul turning to me and asking why our room smelled like cheese?
Solution: I have two tips here…
The first cure to engorgement is to empty your breasts so they return to normal size. Make sure you have a good breast pump (again, I love my Medela, but see what you like). To prevent it from happening again, I stopped pumping like a lunatic and would feed Will only when he wanted to eat. This helped my breasts supply only what was in demand.
Another helpful cure is cabbage. Put the cabbage in the fridge and then lay the leaves on your breasts inside your bra. It feels glorious! It was totally worth it, even though I had to listen to Paul make idiotic salad jokes for a solid week.
Remember that song My Neck, My Back, My Pussy and My Crack? Well, the song was about someone licking those but for my purposes, these are other places besides your boobs you’re going to feel pain.
Problem: Your neck, back and body
Your whole body might be sore as you sort of stretch out to have the kid, so your muscles are trying to mend. In addition to this, you spend a lot of time breastfeeding. I suggest you always ensure you have a nursing pillow handy. I bought 3, one for the bedroom, one for the den and one for my Mom’s place. I also got one of those back pillows with the arms to lean against.
Solution: Get comfy!
You want to make sure when you’re feeding the baby you’re comfortable first. When it’s screaming, your first instinct will just be to get the nipple into his mouth, DON’T! First, get comfy and completely supported, and then feed him. If you have medical coverage, it’s also a great idea to get a massage in. They will accommodate your lactating breasts with a towel and be gentle in that area if you give them a heads-up.
Problem: Your Crack
I have rewritten this section 6 times and while I have very little shame in my game my butt crack is the line in the sand (or ass) I don’t think I can cross.
Solution: Without getting into specifics about the problem…
My only tip here is to make sure you eat A LOT of fibre and under no circumstance should you EVER push/bear down when you are trying to poo after you’ve had the baby. I will leave it at that!
A few more things to note…
Breastfeeding is the lazy ladies diet (my favourite). Depending how much your baby is eating you can burn between 300-800 calories a day by DOING NOTHING! A month after I had William I was lighter than I was BEFORE I was pregnant. You know those Michelle Obama upper-arms? For a solid month I had those! I’ve had salami arms my whole life, it was like magic!
It is NOT easier if you’ve already been pregnant once!
My pregnancy with William was glorious. I had the cutest bump and I was like a sexual panther with my shiny black hair and glowing skin. I felt incredible for nine months and I would irritatingly say things like “I LOVE being pregnant!” I assumed (like a moron), my pregnancy with Evan would be the same.
It was not.
I was sick (a lot), I got these weird spots on my already sad boobs (which still haven’t faded away), and then came the post-partum fun…I was one of the few women who experiences morning sickness symptoms AFTER delivering! When you’re breastfeeding your body releases oxytocin and a small group of women experience nausea when this happens, somehow in-between Will and Evan I had joined this group.
In addition to that, I also experienced insane hair-loss and realized that my diet plan, which had worked so well with Will was NO LONGER working. My body was NOT bouncing back, it was firmly keeping those arms in cured-meat territory. Evan also does not share Will's gentle temperament (he's more me, Will is more Paul), so he LOVED grabbing fistfuls of my hair (which I constantly boasted I would always keep long!) and tearing it out. Evan is lucky he's cute, I thought of that as I chopped 12 inches off my hair (sadly).
The Baby has it worse with their body issues…
If you’re pregnant and you want to give yourself anxiety, download the Wonder Week app. With William, I kept track of every upcoming scheduled Wonder Week and Growth Spurt. William was a wonderful sleeper and like clockwork, every time he was due for either of these, his sleep would suffer so I knew it was coming.
Evan, a shitty sleeper to begin with made this exercise pointless.
Paul and I liked to mess with my Mom when she would ask what Will’s name was going to be when I was pregnant. We switched between YOLO and Danior (which is Gypsy for “born with teeth”) – Danior should have been Evan’s name. Evan has been teething HIS ENTIRE LIFE.
On Monday I went to pick his screeching ass up from his crib at 3am and realized (only after I put him on our white bed sheets) that there was blood pouring from his mouth owing to teething.
To differentiate the hell that is a baby’s life their first year:
Wonder Week is your baby’s brain growing and becoming cognizant of things they didn’t notice before. This new awareness sometimes scares them or pisses them off, and makes them unable to sleep and super needy. They can last from a few days, to a few weeks. They happen at five weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks, 19 weeks, 26 weeks, 29 weeks, 37 weeks, 46 weeks, 55 weeks, 64 weeks, 75 weeks and sometimes occasionally into childhood (or even adulthood).
Growth Spurts are exactly what they sound like. Your little monkey is going to grow super rapidly during one of these and to keep up with the spurt they may want to nurse for HOURS on end without stopping. These usually happen at around two weeks, three weeks, six weeks, three months, and six months.
Sleep Regressions are my favourite! As your baby grows and learns new things, they might want to practice them when they should be sleeping. These are especially fun because they tend to happen right when you think your baby might finally stop sucking at sleep. These happen at four months, nine months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months.
Teething is the last shitty part of a baby’s first year, and while I can tell you when the teeth are scheduled to pop, I can attest to the timeline here being loose. I can also tell you that the symptoms of teething show up WAY before the tooth does (excessive drool, tugging on their ears, anger, swollen gums, difficulty sleeping). Teeth come in at 4-7 months, 8-12 months, 9-16 months 16-23 months and so on…They normally come in without you noticing it, until their razor sharp front-teeth clamp down on your nipple in an attempt to severe it and swallow it whole.
Now stop reading, you’ve got some nude photos to pose for!