And now for part three of Lily’s birth story—the first few days with Lillian and living my best postpartum life.
If you did not read part one regarding the day of Lillian Jane’s arrival, or part two with labor and delivery details, feel free to click the links below to read those blog posts.
Part three - the first few days with Lillian and living my best postpartum life.
The first few days of Lillian’s life have been absolutely wonderful. And after experiencing three postpartum periods, I can confidently say that this recovery has been by far my best.
I delivered Lily on January 5 and arrived home with her on Saturday, January 6. It was a perfect first day home. We spent some time outside soaking up some Vitamin D, met Lucy our golden doodle, snuggled with Emma and Cole, and rested. As I mentioned in part two, I even went on a short walk with Lucy to get some fresh air.
On Sunday morning, we woke up early and immediately went in for her first pediatrician appointment. I scheduled the 7:30 am slot to be sure we weren’t in the waiting room with sick kiddos during cold and flu season. When we arrived home we listened to the church sermon and enjoyed some snuggles. My parents took the big kids overnight and for the morning so we could enjoy a low key day with Lily. My friend came over in the afternoon to visit and drop off some gifts, and we relaxed in the evening.
By Monday I was settling into our “new routine” which included an early morning feeding before getting ready for the day, a bit of work for my fitness business (it’s been a record month for the FASTer Way to Fat Loss with 1,608 current clients going through my program), and an afternoon “workout” of low-intensity cardio in between feedings.
This has truly been the best few weeks of my life. Lily is just perfect and SUCH a good baby and I absolutely love the newborn stage.
Here are the steps I’ve taken to ensure I’m able to live my best postpartum life and be the very best mom possible for Lillian Jane in the first few days and weeks of her life.
I’ve focused on whole food nutrition and eating clean (no processed foods).
Eating clean after delivery may sound like common sense, but frankly, after having both Emma and Cole I felt like I had earned a few weeks off from whole food nutrition. After all, I had stayed healthy and fit through 9 months of pregnancy and then pushed a baby out—mama deserved some donuts, right?! However, this time around, I decided to 100% commit to good nutrition after labor and delivery and it’s made a HUGE positive impact on my postpartum recovery. Hours after delivering Lily, I “broke my fast” with some green juice from The Weekly Juicery and oatmeal. No hospital food for me! Constipation had been an issue for me after delivering Emma and Cole, so I wanted to be super proactive this time around. Every time I fed Lily in the hospital and in the first few days after delivery I would drink a huge glass of water and eat an apple (fiber). You could say I was too proactive about preventing constipation because this time I nearly had the opposite issue, haha. I also focused on consuming foods that would naturally increase progesterone. I knew that after labor and delivery my progesterone levels would tank, and I wanted to help balance my hormones and begin the process of preventing the postpartum blues. Estrogen dominance causes headaches, depression, weight gain, and can ultimately lead to cancer so I obviously wanted to address this issue head-on. Overall, I’ve stayed completely committed to perfect nutrition (with the only exception being a couple pastries or treats friends brought to the house when visiting Lily). Eating clean has helped me keep my immune system strong, reduce inflammation, prevent constipation, and balance hormones in these first few days and weeks postpartum.
I’ve taken supplements and avoided pain medication.
After delivering Cole (my second baby) I suffered from full-blown adrenal fatigue. I lacked energy, I dealt with the postpartum blues, my immune system was shot, and I had compromised gut health. This led to 5 or 6 bouts with strep within Cole’s first year of life, food sensitivities, and whole other slew of issues. Thankfully, third time is a charm, and I am older and wiser now and more equipped to prevent postpartum issues. Shortly before I delivered Lily, my friend and client Ali Damron sent me the link to a postpartum supplement to prevent/address adrenal fatigue and prevent the postpartum blues. I purchased the supplement to begin immediately after delivery. I also decided to avoid pain medication like Ibuprofen, which can cause constipation and also act as a blood thinner, which would only delay recovery. Here is a list of supplements I have continued or integrated postpartum. Please note you need to chat with your naturopathic doctor before taking any supplements.
Juice Plus (fruit and veggie blend for important micronutrients)
Red Raspberry (to help uterus contract quickly and stop postpartum bleeding as soon as possible after delivery)
Iron (when applicable—when my tongue is super pale I know I need to supplement)
Vitamin D (when applicable. I try to get outside daily for Vitamin D but when I am deficient, I supplement. I try not to have too much Vitamin D versus Magnesium because then I deal with the symptoms of magnesium deficiency (i.e. headaches)
Magnesium spray before bed, and a supplement when my blood pressure was high.
Vitamin K (K1 and K2 for blood clotting and other benefits to speed up recovery)
Postpartum supplement (to prevent/address adrenal fatigue and prevent the postpartum blues)
Probiotic (to promote good gut health which is vital during postpartum healing)
I’ve resumed my normal “workout” routine quickly. (I’m going to ruffle some feathers with this one.)
Let’s address the obvious as we get started—the generic recommendation is to wait until the 6-week postpartum check-up before resuming “exercise.” This “rule” is preached to every woman … from those who had an emergency C-Section (which is a major surgery), to those who had an uneventful vaginal delivery. As you may guess, I don’t follow this “rule,” and frankly, I’ve been criticized for this. I took a walk with Lucy the day after Lily was born and I was back in the gym for low intensity cardio 1 week postpartum. Several Instagram or Facebook ladies would add comments on my gym photos stating that I was “the exception to the rule” or that I should not promote activity so soon after delivery, or that other women were going to compare their postpartum recovery to mine and become discouraged. Here’s the deal—I don’t wait to be the “exception” and frankly, I think we will laugh at the 6-week rule for women with a smooth and uneventful vaginal delivery years from now. In many cases, promoting a sedentary lifestyle for 6 weeks postpartum is causing more harm than good. I believe that movement (low intensity cardio or low impact exercise) as soon as possible after delivery speeds up recovery, helps to prevent the baby blues, and should be considered a normal and beneficial aspect of postpartum recovery. My personal strategy was to start with short walks outside followed by a transition to low intensity cardio on machines, and then low impact workout moves (i.e. push-ups). Obviously, I would not engage in or promote anything that would slow down wound healing or postpartum recovery. Many doctors and midwives will say that if your postpartum bleeding gets heavier or comes back, you’re doing “too much.” While I do not believe this is untrue, I find that exercise does NOT cause my postpartum bleeding to get heavier, re-start, or continue beyond the typical timeframe. In fact, through my three postpartum journeys, changes in my postpartum bleeding is more related to cluster feedings, medications like blood thinners, or the natural processes of uterine contractions throughout the healing process. For me, postpartum bleeding tends to ebb and flow for the first few/several weeks, and is not negatively impacted by low intensity cardio, including short walks. I have not resumed intense workouts, nor will I for a few more weeks. However, my low impact and low intensity workouts have been a vital part of my postpartum recovery and I am so grateful for my opportunity to hit the gym each day.
I’ve been drinking tea… and lots of it.
Birds and Bees Teas have been a huge part of my prenatal and postpartum health and wellness. During pregnancy I drank “peaceful pregnancy” and “ripe and ready” tea, and I am now drinking “family immunity” daily. My friend and client, Jen, owns Birds and Bees Teas and she’s been an amazing resource for me through my postpartum recovery.
I can’t help but follow up the workout tip with my thoughts on rest. Brandon can attest to the fact that I’ve rested more during this postpartum recovery than my previous two. In fact, I’m in bed for no less than 10 hours per day between overnight sleep and naps. Not only am I working hard to prevent or address adrenal fatigue and keep my immune system strong, I’m relaxing during the day and enjoying as many newborn snuggles as possible. I’ve been more present with Lily during these first days and I could not be happier. Because I delivered Lily during cold and flu season, I’ve been out very few times. We’ve had several visitors, but I’ve scheduled no more than one visitor per day to be sure that Lily and I don’t get worn out.
One of the reasons I love the newborn stage and the first few weeks so much is because I recover very quickly after labor and delivery. I share these tips and my postpartum journey simply to INSPIRE you. I hope sharing both my fit pregnancy and postpartum journey has been helpful. As always, consult with your doctor or midwife before beginning any prenatal or postnatal fitness routine and be certain to listen to your body. Every woman is different and every pregnancy is different.
I want YOU to enjoy your best postpartum life so you can look back on the first few days with your newborn with nothing but fond memories.
Photo below is two weeks postpartum.