parenting · postpartum

Make the most of your Postpartum Time : Week 2

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Time already feels like it is moving by too fast! This week I was able to get back to some of those ‘To-Do’s’ I had put off and add a few more things into my routine.

  1. Thank you notes
  2. Birth Announcements!
    • This is a fun one. The hospital where I delivered has an in-house photographer, so we were able to have the pictures taken within the first couple days of our daughter’s life. I had packed a special outfit, and they came out great!
    • I ordered the actual announcements from Minted Birth Announcements at Minted– they make it so easy to create a cute layout, and to have all the envelopes pre-printed with addresses for delivery, saving me precious time!B
  3. Walking
    • After a New England winter, any sign of Spring is so welcome and enjoyable. We had a couple of warm days this week and I took advantage by getting out for walks with the stroller. Baby was pretty bundled up and shielded from the sun, but the fresh air does us all good! My son has also been loving playing outside after being cooped up all winter, so walking (or even bringing the strider bike and helmet along) is an easy activity we can all do together.
  4. Pumping
    • After spending the first week focused on ensuring my baby was getting enough milk and gaining weight, this week I started pumping.
    • I pump for two reasons – (1) I will be going back to work (sooner than I would like) and need to get started storing some milk away. (2) Pumping can help to increase or keep up supply.
    • Pumping while breastfeeding full-time is a lot of work. This milk is “extra” – over and beyond what baby needs, so there won’t be much milk per pumping session, which can be discouraging but is totally normal.
    • Pumping in addition to breastfeeding can help increase supply as it fully drains the milk from your breasts and signals to your body to make more.
    • There are a few things I try to do to be sure I’m getting the most out of my pumping – after baby feeds I pump. I get very little milk, (~0.5oz total) but its more about completely emptying my breasts.
    • Sometimes I will pump and nurse simultaneously so both breasts are engaged at the same time, then I still have the baby switch over to that side after the pumping is done. This results in a little bit more milk to store, but I have to admit I don’t love doing this. It just kind of ruins the nice, calm nursing session for my babe, but is sometimes necessary.
    • One thing about the pump itself, having the correct size shields can make a difference. If you’re going to put in all this work pumping, you want to yield the best result possible, right? So its worth checking that your shield is pulling in the right amount of your nipple and aureola to maximize effectiveness. I actually use two different sizes, as one of my nipples is slightly smaller than the other!
Medela Guide to Breast Shield Sizing

I can’t really talk about pumping or milk supply and not mention drinking water! This is a big focus for me every day because I know how important it is. The issue is not that your supply will be affected (you will continue to produce milk until you are significantly dehydrated), the issue is that you will suffer. Your body will take care of the baby first, making sure the baby and breast milk is taken care of, but you may be left dehydrated and symptoms include tiredness, lack of energy, moodiness, headaches, etc – not what we need with a newborn!

I consistently see the recommendation of about 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce of water per pound of your weight. So if you weigh 140 lbs, this would be 70-105 oz of water per day. Of course we do get water from other sources (coffee, tea, juice, vegetables we eat, etc) so you could figure at least 10% of your targeted consumption will come from what you are eating.

Keep in mind that water intake varies per individual and your needs may be more or less than the recommendation given. Best advice is drink to thirst and check your urine color to determine the right amount for you.

I like to make a pitcher of infused water every few days to supplement my plain old filtered water. This just helps to keep it interesting and tasty. This week I was doing lemon and strawberry.

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