A Fit Pregnancy- All your breastfeeding/postpartum questions answered!

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I have been totally surprised by the number of questions I've gotten about breastfeeding and postpartum life. It caught me off-guard at first, but honestly, I feel like there is so much info available about pregnancy but not nearly enough for everything that comes after. So I decided to take all your questions and answer them here based on my experience. 

If there's anything else you wanna know that I don't get to hear, comment below or shoot me an e-mail or DM!

Postpartum Life

How was the transition from 1 to 2 kids? How has Hudson handled it?

Some parts have been easy and others have been crazy! Hudson is really excited about the baby but he doesn't know how to not be wild around her so we have to watch them close because he's a bit rough sometimes. I left the baby and him in my room and went to grab something in the kitchen and came back and he was trying to poke her in the eye. I've tried setting some rules with him and it's helped. 

He's also thrown a lot more tantrums and has gotten into a lot of attention seeking behaviors. It's really hard because I have to be careful about what and how I react so as not to encourage it. Being tired and stressed I sometimes lose it but we're doing our best.

For me...it's been kind tough. It takes forever to get anything done or go anywhere and I'm a person who loves getting things done quickly and efficiently. That doesn't happen with two kids. It's an adjustment I'm sure we'll get the hang of though. 

Did you wear a belly band or corset? 

Yes, I wore the belly bandit (shown on my discounts page) after both of my pregnancies for ~5-6 weeks. I really believe it helps your abs close a bit if you have separation and having that support for your abs and back early after pregnancy was huge for me! I felt sooooo much better and less sore on the days that I wore it vs. the ones where I didn't.

How much weight did you gain and how has weight loss gone?

I gained 35lbs during my pregnancy. When I got home from the hospital I was down 15lbs. Since then things have gone up and down weight-wise, however, I'm also tracking body fat percentage and lean body mass. While my weight has shifted down and up my body fat has been consistently decreasing and lean body mass consistently increasing (especially since I started working out again). 

Breastfeeding seems to make me hold only weight so I'm sure I'll see a big shift after I stop.

How was it getting back to workouts since you worked out through your whole pregnancy?

Honestly, I expected to be in better shape than I was ha ha. You don't realize how much pregnancy forces you to slow down and affects the range of motion you're capable of. When I started easing back into workouts exercises felt kind of foreign going through normal range of motion but after a week or so it started feeling better. I have dealt with aches and pains from excessively loose joints so just be very aware of your form because things wont firm back up from all those pregnancy hormones until you're done breastfeeding.

You had SPD (symphysis pubis disfunction) during pregnancy, did that go away after you had the baby?

I expected that it would, but it actually stuck around for a few weeks postpartum. I ended up scheduling an appointment with my PT for one final adjustment about 4 weeks postpartum and that finally took care of it! Don't suffer with SPD, find someone who can do adjustments that you can trust and get those hips put back where they belong!

How soon after delivery did you start working out?

I started real workouts at 5 weeks postpartum. I didn't have the official sign off from my doctor but I was feeling good and ready. I took it easy starting with walking on the treadmill, doing a program to help rehab separated abs and pelvic floor, and then started a little modified BBG. You'll be able to feel if you're doing something your body isn't ready for or doing too much. I started lifting again after my 6 week checkup with the blessing of my doctor.

Is the second pregnancy/postpartum period easier on your emotions?

I didn't suffer with postpartum depression or anxiety with either of my babies so I'm unable to speak to that. However, because I kind of knew what to expect with baby number 2 I felt better prepared going into postpartum life. I've made sure I've had things planned to keep us busy and look forward to so that I don't feel down or trapped. 

After Hudson I was really down about my body. I really wasn't prepared to see myself so physically different. This time I was more aware of what bodies look like after babies and I know that it took me 9 months-1 year to feel like myself again so I helped me accept this place I'm in a little better.

Did you get stretch marks and what did you do during pregnancy to prevent them?

With my first I used body butter from The Body Shop and Bio Oil everyday on my stomach, hips, and boobs. I only got stretch marks on my hips and one little one on my low belly in the final week. This pregnancy I used Palmers belly butter and Bio Oil daily.  They all healed and faded to white as I lost weight and toned up.

I carried Olivia much much lower and ended up with maybe 4 smallish stretch marks on my low belly that appeared in the final couple weeks. Those are white with a hint of purple. The old stretch marks on my hips re-stretched and are red again. I'm sure they'll heal and fade again.

How do you find time for you and your husband to work out with two kids?

This is something we're still figuring out. Right now since I'm not back at work yet, the mister just hits the gym every morning during the week and I'm home with the kids. On Mondays and Thursdays and Fridays I'm working out at home doing BBG and my diastasis/pelvic floor rehab workouts and walking on the treadmill. Tuesdays and Wednesdays Nana or Grandma take the kids for a few hours and I workout and go to appointments, etc. On the weekend Aaron and I tag team it and take turns going to the gym while the other is home with kids.

Once I go back to work everything will change again. I think we'll end up having Aaron hit the gym early while I get ready and get kids ready for the day at home. Then I'll go into work early and go to our onsite gym before work or over lunch. We'll just have to see how things play out but that's my plan for now!

Did you tear during labor?

Not this time! I was really grateful for that. Especially considering I only pushed for 30 seconds and she was here!

I had a second degree tear with Hudson, but it healed surprisingly fast. Like I said earlier I was in the hospital with a uterine infection 1 week postpartum with him and they had to do full pelvic exams etc. and I was terrified it would be super painful, but everything had already pretty much healed by that point. 

Breastfeeding

What's the hardest part of breastfeeding?

There are two parts to this answer for me. 

The first week is MISERABLE. Your nipples hurt because they're getting used to the stress of feeding, you're learning how to latch your baby (every baby is kind different), before your milk comes in the baby is pissed. It's hard and stressful and I hate it. I highly recommend Lansinoh soothie pads during that first week for sore nipples After 7 days the pain subsides and your milk is in and things get easier. 

I also have really flat nipples which makes babies really mad when they're trying to latch. I tried a few things with Olivia to get around that but ended up settling on a nipple shield. It sucks having to always feed with a shield but it's what works for us. I had to order a 19mm size on amazon because the ones in the stores are too large for me. So to keep things convenient I just stuff it into my bra or nursing tank so I always have it with me.

What did you do when your baby cluster feeds and you run out of milk?

My babies always start clustering in the first few days after birth before I have any milk. They're hungry, crying, and it's heartbreaking/frustrating and you want to give them a bottle so so bad! If that's where you're at, tough it out. Keep trying to feed them even though you're not producing because that stimulation from breastfeeding will trigger your body to start making food for that hungry baby. If you supplement with a bottle at this point it could delay milk coming in and possibly production as well. I supplemented my first because he was a terrible breastfeeder and tried just pumping, I never developed a milk supply that could sustain him.

Where do you find good breastfeeding clothes?

Postpartum clothing is tricky! I'm actually working on a post about this that will be coming shortly! 

I will say that, for me, I found it easiest to just wear nursing tanks with a t-shirt on top. That way you can just pull the t-shirt up, drop the top of the tank, and then your belly is still covered and the t-shirt actually kinda keeps your boob a bit more covered so it's discrete. I tried using covers and all that nonsense with Hudson but I've decided I'm just not okay with trying to cover up while breastfeeding. It's inconvenient, hot, makes the baby mad, and just not for me.

Are you following a feeding schedule or sleep training?

Kind of...I try to feed her every 3 hours during the day and then every 2 hours after 6pm to make sure she's nice and full for bedtime. At night I'm usually completely empty so I'll feed her one bottle of formula to top her off which usually helps her sleep longer stretches.

I did the same thing with Hudson and he ended up sleeping through the night by 12 weeks. I'm praying Olivia does the same! 

How are you macro counting to lose weight while breastfeeding but maintaining your milk supply?

I use an online nutrition coach (avatarnutrition.com) to calculate my macro targets. I started macro counting for fat lost 2 days postpartum. In order to make sure my milk came in and I could maintain my supply, I have been taking the macro targets from the nutrition coaching service and adding a breastfeeding offset of 300-400 calories evenly split across fat, carbs, and protein. 

Also, I did my first two weeks on the slowest fat loss setting to make sure I was getting enough food as my supply developed. I then switched to the moderate fat loss setting with my breastfeeding adjustment and saw no change in my supply.

What pump do you use and would you recommend it?

A good pump makes a huge difference! With Hudson I used a really terrible Ameda pump. I ended up exclusively pumping with him after a uterine infection that hospitalized me 1 week postpartum for 4 days. I had to pump and dump a lot of milk, supplement him with formula, and it was just a mess. It resulted in him refusing to breastfeed. So...crappy pump and exclusively pumping was awful.

With that history, I did a lot of research on pumps this time around to make sure I had something good! After reading lots of reviews and info I settled on the Spectra Baby S2 pump. I bought mine on Amazon, but before ordering sent the link to my insurance to make sure they'd cover it. I bought it and submitted the receipt to them and was fully reimbursed.

It's an amazing pump! It has so many more settings to adjust how it pumps and it has a night light that doesn't wake up my husband or blind me and the baby so I turn it on during our night feeds. The only thing that I don't like about it is it doesn't have the option to run on batteries and has to be plugged in. I bought a $8 car adapter (also on amazon) for it though so now I'm totally portable.

Do you have a good milk supply? Do you supplement at all?

I'm not one of those mama's that has a never ending supply, I'm pretty limited. The most I've ever pumped (total from both breasts) was after baby slept a long stretch and was still asleep and I was engorged, I got 6 oz.

Most nights Olivia will want to eat every 2 hours in the evenings and my boobs end up totally empty. When that happens I give her formula until she's full for our final feeding of the night.

How long do you plan to breastfeed?

This is a controversial topic but I think every woman has to do what is best for them and their life. I pumped everything I had and supplemented Hudson as needed until he was 12 weeks and I went back to work.

With Olivia I plan to wean her onto full formula at 12 weeks as well. I know a lot of women who can reduce feedings to just morning and evening and their supply handles that but because my supply isn't super abundant, milk production stops for me as soon as I start trying to reduce the number of feedings in a day. I could pump at work but I'd rather not spend that time at work pumping so I can get home sooner and actually spend that time with my kids.

How did you get Olivia to take a bottle/pacifier?

I know the nurses tell you not to because of nipple confusion, but I still gave both kiddos a pacifier within the first couple days of birth. I think doing this and then introducing the bottle around 1 week helps them not get that boob or bust attitude.