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Postpartum: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Having survived my first day alone with a 3 year old and a newborn, I am–if not settling into–at least, accepting my new normal. 

Here are some highlights from my first two weeks:

Husband:  Aside from being the best birth partner on the planet, Scott played host to our visitors, cleaned house, had special daddy/daughter dates with Norah, brought me 156 million cups of Mother’s Milk Tea, made delicious breakfasts, and was the all-around hero of the story.

Family:  My family is incredible.  They have fed me, cleaned my house, and picked up strange items I needed at obscure places (my mom went all over Greenville searching for myrrh, no-sugar added coconut water, and vegetarian capsules).  And check out the wonderful cloth wipes my mother-in-law sewed.  Yes, she embroidered “Cedar” on them.  I bet I have the only personalized bum wipes in town. 


Friends:  I knew my friends were wonderful but wow!  First, this food chain idea is the EVER.  Period.  We’ve been supplied with a delicious meal every night–beginning with mom bringing our traditional Sunday feast over after the birth.  I’ve had friends drive 45 minutes to an hour to bring a meal!  It has blown me away.  And Cassandra drove from the far side of the world to give me a day-after acupuncture treatment!  Spoiled.  Utterly spoiled.  And Scott keeps saying, “Wow, you have great friends!”  Yes.  Yes, I do.

Placenta:  When Carey heard I had more bleeding than expected, she swooped into action to arrange for my placenta to be encapsulated by our friend Crystal.  I had wanted to do this but felt I would be too busy with my “galactagogue plan” to take time to do it myself.  The placenta is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and hormones that can assist the body in recovering.  And many people believe that it can prevent or lessen the effects of postpartum depression.  In some studies, it has shown an 86% success rate in increasing milk supply.  So bring on the placenta. 


Diapers:  Having never cloth diapered a newborn (we started late with Norah), I have been pleasantly surprised at how smoothly that has gone.  She hasn’t worn any disposables.  I was worried the meconium would stain.  It didn’t.  I had two grassy green stains (from the chlorophyll supplement I’m taking) that disappeared after I put the dipes in the sun for a few hours.  Magic.   

Breastfeeding:  This one is a day-by-day.  I had breast reduction surgery 12 years ago.  There have been days I supplement an ounce or so with donated breastmilk based on signs from Cedar and her weight.  I’m using a syringe and feeding her with it while she is latched and actively nursing.  I prefer this method to the SNS.  I weigh her almost daily with the same scale we used at birth.  I definitely have more milk than I did with Norah.  It takes two weeks for domperidone to reach maximum effectiveness so I’m hopeful my supply will continue to increase.  I increased my domperidone dosage from 90mg/day to 120mg/day this week.  Unfortunately, the domperidone causes horrible headaches and the only thing that helps is a cup of coffee.  Do I give my child caffeine so that I can continue to make milk?  Yep.  I’ve been reading that the headaches fade with time.  So we’re still in a wait-and-see place.  But I’m hopeful.  And regardless, I know I’ve done everything I could.  I feel really positive. 

Babywearing:  Hoorah for wearing babies!  Cedar loves being worn.  So far, the Maya ring sling and the Moby wrap have been her favorites.  I didn’t expect to use the ring sling much since I prefer wraps.  I would have gotten a prettier sling.  I’m disappointed that she doesn’t like the My BabyNest.  But that is why I have so many products–she might like it next week…

In other news, I’ve been pooped on 4 times and peed on 3 times.  I’ve realized I need more nursing tanks.  I spend most of my day nursing.  I’m writing this blog entry with a sleeping baby snuggled to my chest in a Moby wrap.  I love it.

9 responses »

  1. Cedar’s butt wipes are so fun! We haven’t had much luck with cloth diapering yet. The prefolds I bought, which were supposed to fit a newborn, are very bulky on her, so we’re using disposables until she gets just a little bigger. What kind of diapers are you using right now?

    Ivey likes the Moby Wrap and ring sling too. She did NOT like the hotsling though. We haven’t quite worked out nursing in the carriers yet, so I’m looking forward to that. (I might need you to run through the nursing in the Moby instructions for me one more time!) I’m glad breastfeeding is going better for you this time. We have been pooped on too (although mostly spit up on), but at least the newborn breastmilk poo doesn’t stink 🙂

  2. Wow Julie, you are doing so amazing!! Congrats on the sucess with you milk supply! I hope I get the chance to see you soon, and meet Cedar! Oh and did I tell you that I never found my car keys that day? We ended up having to have it towed several days later and have new keys made and programmed! 😉

  3. Thanks Emily! Sorry about those car keys. They will surely turn up one day…

    Jenny, I’m using an assortment of diapers–fitteds, covers, and AIO’s. I’ve found the newborn inserts for the bumGenius 3.0s are the perfect insert for my tiny newborn covers.

    Nursing in the ring sling has been the easiest to do with this newborn. The wrap works fine, as well, but takes longer to get adjusted. So it probably wouldn’t be my first choice for nursing on the go with a newborn. A well-placed rolled up prefold under breast or behind baby can help the process in both carriers.

  4. You are an amazing mom! Way to go with your commitment to babywearing. The Moby Wrap is my favorite baby carrier with my 2 month old son. I love having him snuggled high on my chest.

  5. Have you tried the nursing tanks from Target? They’re cheap and work very well. They’re not as soft as the glamourmom ones, but they’re like 20 dollars cheaper. Happy Babymoon!!

  6. Hooray for babywearing!!
    You should try a Baby K’tan. It’s like a My Baby Nest but is a little modified and better. When I tried My Baby Nest I didn’t like it.
    The Baby K’tan is a different fabric so it’s softer and more comfortable than the My Baby Nest in my opinion. the loops are a lot wider so there is way more support and my baby loved to snuggle into it. also, the loops are connected so it’s easier to put on and you won’t lose one.

  7. Kelly (Matthews) Columbus

    Julie, what a beautiful website. Your photos and posts are so honest, I really enjoyed reading them. Congratulations on the recent birth of Cedar! I know how tough nursing can be… I struggled with my milk supply with both of my boys. Thankfully with my daughter (she is 8 mths) I worked with a LC before and after she was born and with a lot of determination and the help of herbs I have been able to successfully breastfeed her… which is a wonderful blessing. I am so glad to see how well you and Scott are doing!

  8. Hi Julie,
    My mom found your blog searching for Absolute Yin Meridian. She’s a massage therapist and will be at my house helping me for 2 weeks after our second baby’s birth in October. I’m a BFAR mom, too, so I love your Glactagogue Plan! I’m going through all the same steps you did in the weeks leading up to our second baby’s birth. After our first baby was born (in a month she’ll be 2) I wasn’t as prepared as I am this time. But like your first, was a great comfort nurser, and although I weaned when I got pregnant (she was 16 months) she still nurses her dolly and teddy bears daily. (P.S. Love that you threw a party when you said good-bye to formula. I felt like that too!)

    Just wanted to tell you about a great book I recently read called Mother Food. You can find it on Amazon . com It talkes about food traditions around the world that increase low milk supply, colic, and allergy. I’d say that most of the info is about low supply.

    Best to you in these crucial few weeks of establishing the best milk supply possible!

  9. Emily,

    I love Mother Food! It is a great book with some wonderful ideas for lactogenic recipes. Your story sounds much like mine. I’m so happy I nursed my first (until I was pregnant, too!) even without a full supply.

    This time around, I feel so much more prepared. And the supply seems to have increased some this week. Cedar has been gaining about an ounce and a half each day. I’m supplementing with around 4-5 ounces of donated breastmilk each day. Still hopeful that I can keep on increasing. My current daily regimen:

    120mg domperidone, 2 droppers of black cohosh, 1 dropper of motherwort, 3 bags of mother’s milk tea with oatstraw and nettles, 2 droppers rescue remedy, 8 droppers of fenugreek, 4 droppers of goat’s rue, 3 capsules blessed thistle, 2 capsules of alfalfa . Plus some horribly nasty chinese formula my acupuncturist gave me.

    Feel free to email me (j_byers[at]bellsouth[dot]net) if you have any questions or need to think through some steps! Good luck!!


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