After you give birth, you will bleed, like having a heavy period. This is called lochia. In the hours following the birth be prepared for "gushes" of blood. You may bleed more or even pass small blood clots when breastfeeding. Breastfeeding encourages your uterus to contract and will increase blood flow. Use pads only, no tampons, and maybe even an incontinence pad or baby diaper for the first day or two. Have a variety of supplies ready at your house. This may last anywhere from 2-6 weeks, slowly decreasing over time. This is your body's way of cleansing the uterus out, eliminating unused tissues and blood to prepare for the next baby. Mine went on for about 4 weeks.
After about 6 weeks, your doctor or midwife will give you the "OK" to have sex again. Although they say it's OK, and your husband is excited about it, you may not be. That is perfectly normal! I remember a friend telling me that her and husband couldn't wait until the 6 weeks were up, and I'm thinking, "Really? Sex is the last thing on my mind. What is wrong with me - it's been over 6 weeks!?" I love my husband now more then ever. He has been incredibly understanding and helpful. I still find him sexy and attractive. I love when he rubs my back and feet, but I don't want my breasts touched, and my mind is always on Nolan, even when he is asleep and in the other room. When I brought this up to my midwife, she laughed. She told me that so few people bring this up to her because they don't want to admit something is wrong with them. She reassured me that this was normal and this my body's way of bonding with our new baby, focusing on him and actually preventing a new pregnancy from happening too soon. Unfortunately, when women have back-to-back pregnancies, the body does not have time to properly regenerate all the cells and nutrients for the second baby. It can also slow down milk production, which the first baby is dependant on. Lack of sex drive in the first 3-6 months post-partum is not only normal, is is instinctual.
Remember, sex can be painful at first, your breasts might leak milk and breastfeeding is NOT birth control.
My period did not resume until almost 1 year post-partum. It might have been coincidental, but that was around the time when Nolan started eating more solids and breastfed less for food and more for comfort. I felt comfortable with the fact that if I did become pregnant at this time, my body was ready for it. Everything happens for a reason, even if we are not aware of the reasons.
It is important for women to explain these changes to their husbands. Many men do not know and when new mothers don't know either they succumb to a self-diagnosis of "port-partum depression", etc. Explain to your man this is normal, and try to find other ways to be alone and intimate.
- Right after birth for a for months, I sweated alot, and had hot flashes! And, not just because of the Florida summer! Some nights I woke up drenched in sweat. This is related to hormonal changes and the bodies way of eliminating excess fluids.
- Don't be concerned if your hair is falling out. Again, this is due to hormonal changes. Because your body is sending all the essential nutrients to the breastmilk for baby, and your hair is not that important, it can fall out. Because I have long hair, it seemed more obvious to me! Be sure to increase your intake of essential fatty acids (EFA's) and nutrient-dense foods (fruits and veggies).
- Breastfeeding makes you incredibly thirsty - drink alot of water!