I cannot believe it, but this weekend Abigail turned 6 weeks old, which means 6 weeks ago I gave birth, in our home, to our favorite little human. Man alive – time flies! Now that I’m more or less out of the haze of those first few weeks and we’re finding our routine and rhythm, I am beginning to move into the fourth trimester of pregnancy, the first few months of postpartum living. It’s that time where I’m definitely not pregnant but also no where near back to “normal,” body-wise or life-wise, nor will I ever be because I have a new normal now! But I thought I’d reflect on what I’m doing now to help me live well day to day. So…
What I’ve been doing to help promote recover/live well in my first 6 weeks postpartum:
Weekly Chiropractor Visits: I am so grateful for the team at Human Potential 360! They have been awesome pre-pregnancy, during my pregnancy and now postpartum as my body, while definitely not pregnant anymore, is also definitely not like how it used to be! I have far less muscle tone (which is okay and to be expected!), I’ve been sitting more, and I find myself in twisted and hunched positions more often due to breastfeeding. Even when I’m trying to be mindful, there are certain muscle groups (like my traps, my neck, etc) that are overused and lots that are currently underused, so treatments have been so helpful to re-align my body. Plus, Dr. Travis and Dr. Sohan are treating Abigail too, and I love seeing the results of her getting adjusted too (like improved mood and relaxation and less constipation!).
And this is awesome news: if you’re local and want to have a FREE assessment for both you and your kids aged 18 and under, give these guys a call and book in for Saturday, December 9th in Inglewood with a non-perishable food donation! Call: (403) 460-6090 and take advantage of this awesome offer while also giving food to those in need at The Alex.
Socially – Trying Not to Overdo It: This is in relation to learning to do less instead of more, as I’m finding that multiple visits or several plans/outings in a day really takes it out on Abby! At first it was me who felt fatigued from doing too much, but I’m seeing now that at only 6 weeks old, if we do too much in a day Abigail will be more fussy at night and you can tell she gets overtired. One to two events/meetings/outings in a day is plenty, and I need to throw a rest day with no plans in there every few days.
(Even some of the tiring things are the best things, like going out for errands and then our last midwife appointment – so bittersweet to be discharged! I’m going to miss this team and so appreciate everything they’ve done for Mikey, Abigail and I! Here Chandra is weighing Abby at our last appointment this past Wednesday; she clocked in at 9.1 lbs at 5.5 weeks!)
Treating Myself Well: One or two coffees at home a day, a bit of TV here and there, walks with Abby in the baby carrier, phone calls to family to stay in touch, visits with friends, reading my Bible (this has fallen by the wayside too much for me!), eating nourishing foods plus homemade cookies and lots of baby cuddles… All these things are part of how I’m taking care of myself as I learn to navigate this new phase!
I loved this checklist after seeing it on Kylie’s post about her postpartum journey – so I’m sharing her list! The addition at the bottom is hers but I would agree about getting outside! I am definitely getting out for walks almost daily with Abby in the carrier, but I’m also being mindful of how far I go when I feel my prolapse kick in – see a few points below for more on that!
What I make sure to do daily includes:
- Getting dressed daily. Yep! Jeans, a regular shirt, etc. Nothing wrong with PJ’s but it makes me feel put together, ready for a walk, ready for a trip to the store, and ready for the day ahead!
- Floss twice, brush at least once a day with CuraSil tooth gel and rinsing with the oral care rinse.
CuraSil is a new-to-me brand of toothpaste that you can buy in BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan (for a list of where specifically, check them out here!) and also order online (and you can check out their Facebook page here). I was thrilled when CuraSil reached out to me because, to be honest, in those first few days after having Abigail, I literally forgot to brush my teeth; I couldn’t believe something so simple could get away from me so easily! CuraSil sent these products before Abigail was born (in full disclosure for free and in exchange for an honest product review), but I started using them after she was here – and I haven’t looked back! Here’s the main reason – CuraSil contains Nano-Silver, Therapeutic Grade Peppermint Oil and Xylitol (a natural sugar that’s good for your teeth!) and provides a healthy mouth without any chemicals, abrasives or other harmful ingredients. I also love that CuraSil products are all natural, so they are safe for the whole family. Eventually, when Abby is old enough to have her teeth brushed, I know that it will be a safe option for her because kids typically have a hard time not swallowing toothpaste and this will take the worry out of a daily routine (because did you know there are disclaimers on toothpastes about swallowing even a pea sized amount because of the toxins? Yep!).
Because it’s natural, this also means you don’t get the foam from brand-name toothpastes that we sometimes associate with that “clean” feeling – but it doesn’t taste sugary either! The secret is their patented Nano Silver particles not only target and kill bacteria they promote natural healing and maintain a healthy oral environment, and this is something my father-in-law can vouch for too as a retired dentist. He loves Xylitol and Colloidal Silver in products, and when I excitedly told him about this natural product available in Canada, he asked to try some, and they sent him a sample free of charge! His verdict? “Solid product that leaves my teeth feeling clean all day until I wake up in the morning.” I would love it if there was a whitening aspect too, but in terms of cleanliness I’ve found my new toothpaste!
(a real life picture of my real postpartum body! – sometimes I lean on the sink, walk around the house, take food out of the fridge, or smile at Abby as I’m brushing!)
I’m making sure to floss twice daily because if your toothpaste is working for you, it’s the flossing you should do more often as it really gets the bacteria out – as my father-in-law says, if you have to choose between floss or toothpaste on a deserted island, choose floss! But especially when you’re using a natural and effective toothpaste like CuraSil. It took me a while to get used to because your mouth isn’t flooded with that fresh, foamy feeling, but now I can’t use anything else!
- Trying to go to bed when Abby does – she has her best chunk of sleep when she first goes down around 10 pm.
- Eat nourishing food. I eat quick and easy to make meals, and as long as there is plenty of fat, some protein, carbs and something green, I’m happy and feel filled up! This is a non-negotiable for me as it makes me feel great and lets me know I am nourishing Abigail, too. 🙂
- Walk outside, especially if the weather is nice!
- Daily supplements, which include:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E (my varicose veins basically disappeared after birth! But this is to help them out and I figured I might as well finish the bottle)
- Prenatals (to be continued for as long as I’m breastfeeding)
- Omega 3’s (fish oil – for brain health and because I rarely eat fish!)
- Collagen (I add a scoop to my coffee in the morning, it’s tasteless, and I blend it up! I produced so much naturally while pregnant that I thought I’d continue to supplement and keep it going – can’t hurt the nails and hair, right?) 🙂
- 1 Ener-C pack mixed with my water (just to fight off colds! Poor Abby got one last week, but this is basically a bunch of vitamins and minerals and is heavy on the vitamin C!)
Seeing a Pelvic Floor Specialist: This has been on my list once I was a few weeks postpartum, and I finally booked my appointment and went just last week. I shared a bit on my Instagram and Facebook stories/page and thought I’d repost the video here (sorry for the vertical nature of the video but it films that way for Instagram!). I saw Christine at Peak Health & Performance and already learned a lot – I’ll let the video explain initially what I learned but am excited to be sharing more about my journey in terms of my pelvic floor and core health as I seek to restore those to their full strength.
No Guilt! No Comparisons! This one is easier said than done, but as I watch my friends who had babies around the same time as me back in the gym, working out or going for long walks, I can’t help but think about my own fitness and journey. When I feel like I “should” be there with them, I remember that our birth stories are different – some had c-sections, vaginal births, interventions or not, etc and that will affect how we all heal! I am learning to trust the process, trust my body, and rest in the fact that my purpose and focus now is to bond with, nurse, and love Abigail and our family of three and allow my body to heal. After all, I did push a baby out of my body and carry her for 9 months before that! This is the fourth trimester and as much as I’ve used exercise as self-care in the past, I now have to remember that “slow is fast” and allow that to come back in time. So I’m focusing more on healthy, nutritious meals that make my body feel good as well as keeping my calories up with the foods that sound good (sometimes there’s a difference, sometimes not!) to keep my milk supply up. I’m not tracking calories or macros, steps or movement, but focusing on this new phase of life and accepting exactly where I’m at without the need to defend or justify myself. Many have asked if I’m back in the gym yet, but the answer is no! And I don’t need to feel bad about that. It’s a process, and I’m actually enjoying the process of embracing this postpartum phase without apology. 🙂
I’m sure there’s more, but this happy but fatigued mama is about out of brain juice. 😉 I’m super grateful for a solid helper and husband and dad in Mikey, a great online community of mamas on Instagram and Facebook, and our support network here in Calgary – they are all what’s making this transition the best it can be!
So grateful for this chance to share our journey in this space! What’s new with you guys? I’d love to hear more about your lives so leave me a comment below! Until then, live well & be well,