Lila and I have survived a full six weeks, and as much as I have loved almost every minute, I have also missed sharing my journey on my little corner of the internet. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew my blogging would be impacted, and I honestly didn’t want to create a postpartum plan, since I already knew that the majority of those plans go out the proverbial window. So while I can’t say with certainty how much or how frequently I will be able to keep sharing updates, I do want to take a stab at some semi-regular updates. I figured a 6 weeks postpartum update would be a good place to start!
So here is a recap of how our first few weeks have been.
6 Weeks PostPartum Update
Week One: We spent about 48 hours in the hospital, and ran for the exit doors as soon it was an option. I left the hospital fairly tired, very sore, and moving incredibly slowly. Our first week home was pretty much dedicated to adjusting to life as a family of four, breast feeding, and trying to get in as much sleep as possible. Lila has always been an easy going baby, but she had her nights and days somewhat reversed in the beginning. We spent a couple of days making sure the curtains were open and Lila was getting outside during the day to help get things on the right track. She caught on fast, and we were getting stretches of about 3 hours at night once she hit her birth weight. I only woke her up at night for about four days before I gave in and just enjoyed those sacred 3 hours.
Related Post: Our Birth Story
Week Two: After Lila was able to differentiate night and day, our quality of life was MUCH better. I started to feel 85% human, and was able to include daily stroller walks this week. Initially, we were walking for 15 minutes, and slowly built up to 30 minutes a day. We also started to get into a bit of a routine this week, recognizing that Lila could only stay awake for about 45-60 minutes at a time, and she was taking 90-120 min naps. Having a flexible routine made getting outside at least once a day much more realistic, especially since Henry was still home. I could get in a mix of solo and stroller walks, and I was getting stretches of 3 to 4 hours of sleep at night. Things felt pretty nice if I’m completely honest.
Week Three: This was the week that Henry went back to work. Fortunately for me, Henry works a very flexible schedule, and most days he is only away from home for a couple of hours at a time. Having a partner who is able to be home, handle cleaning and meals, and make sure I have ample snacks has been a life saver. Henry going back to work did mean that there were some days that I was juggling school pick ups for our second grader, which ends up being about an hour ordeal. I was still able to prioritize walking twice a day for 30-40 minutes, especially since Lila has been great at stroller naps so far. We were still getting 3 to 4 stretches of sleep at night, and nursing was starting to feel less hard. I scheduled a visit from a lactation consultant this week to see if there was anything I could do to help Lila nurse a little more efficiently, since she seemed to be eating about 90% of her waking hours. She basically reassured me that Lila was nursing appropriately, and helped us fine tune our latch.
Week Four: We started introducing a bottle this week, since we noticed that Lila’s last nursing session of the day (around 10pm) was also her least efficient. On nights where she was more awake and focused on feeding, she slept a good chunk afterwards. But nights where she was more drowsy were a bigger struggle. Since we always planned on pumping and bottle-feeding when I go back to work, we decided to introduce the bottle with her last feeding. We learned that she had an easier time drinking a bottle, drank and consistent amount of milk, and gave us a good stretch of 4-5 hours of sleep afterwards. I wasn’t upset at all.
I also had an appointment with my physical therapist this week, and she gave me the green light to start resuming physical exercise. In combination with the extra sleep, I felt good enough to increase the walking to about 45 minutes, and started adding in some easy body weight strength and core workouts from GlowBody PT. I honestly would have loved to head straight to CrossFit this week, but I just didn’t trust that my body was ready for that intensity. I went on my first postpartum “run” this week. I walked 10 minutes, then did 2 minute walk/run intervals for 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute walk. I felt a little instability in my core, but I had no pain, leaking, or any other concerning symptom. And it felt amazing to move just a little faster than my regular walks.
Week Five: This week wasn’t significantly different from week four. I was walking outside twice a day for about 45 minutes. I incorporated the body weight strength and core workouts four days a week, and decreased one of my walks from 45 minutes to 20 minutes on days where I had a strength workout. Those days I usually walked 45 minutes in the morning, and then used a 20 minute walk as a warm up before my workout in the afternoon. Also included about 2 run/walk intervals this week. The workouts were more challenging than I anticipated, but I was really enjoying moving my body. Lila was drinking a little more during her 10pm bottle feedings, and we were getting stretches of 4-6 hours of sleep at night, and I was relishing in every minute of extra sleep.
Week Six: I don’t want to jinx anything, but we had our first “through the night” stretch of sleep during week six. My husband gave Lila her 10pm bottle, and she slept until about 5 minutes before 6am. As someone who was in the habit of 5am wake ups throughout pregnancy, this felt HUGE. I increased my running intervals to 5-10 minutes of running with 2-4 minutes of walking, and was doing about 60 minutes total. This week I got in about 3-4 runs, and made sure to run only every other day at most. The rest of the week, I got in my 1-2 walks every day and 4 days of strength workouts. I got in my first CrossFit WOD this, and even though I complained the ENTIRE time, it was really nice to have a barbell back in my hands (with very light weight on it). Things were definitely feeling like I was in more of a consistent routine.
As much as I am a big fan of routine and consistency, I knew that postpartum life was going to be unpredictable. And I wasn’t incorrect. There have been many days that I have intended to do a few things, and have realized that the entire has taken place and I never got to them. Here are a few things that have factored into my ability to workout and run on a day to day basis.
- Sleep – Obviously the amount and quality of the sleep I am getting has been extremely variable. Some days the longer chunks of night sleep feel restful and adequate for almost normal life. Other days, even though I’m only getting up once in the night, I feel DRAINED. I’ve recognized that about every 3-4 days, I feel like I just need to catch up and get some extra rest. So I do. As long as I am recognizing my need for an extra nap on those days, things have felt great. When I’ve made the mistake of trying to ignore that need for a little more rest, I’ve found myself cranky and feeling overwhelmed.
- Appointments – Dear Lord, I thought I had a lot of appointments to get to when I was pregnant. However, I am regularly juggling newborn well visit appointments, chiropractor appointments for Lila and I, my own appointments like physical therapy, and other things that have come up ad hoc (like a recent trip to the doctor for my 8 year old). I think I have about 2 appointments per week on average, and trying to work these in between breast feeding and naps means that days with some sort of an appointment are much busier than others. And sometimes this means dropping a walk or a workout because I just don’t have time to get it all in, and that’s fine.
- Henry’s schedule – Henry’s work schedule is also pretty variable. He’s able to drop our son off at school every day, which is a huge blessing. But about 2-3 times per week (on average), he’s not able to pick him up. The 20 minute (one way) drive, plus actually sitting in the pick up line, and coordinating all of it with a newborn in tow has required a good amount of mental gymnastics. And like anything else, it eats into any time I might have to get in a run or workout. But it’s also a time for me to listen to a podcast and maybe pick up a coffee and catch up with my 8 year old. So it’s definitely not something I’ve minded working in.
- Visitors – Any new mom will tell you there’s no shortage of people who want to see the baby. And I am a fairly introverted human being, so while I love seeing my friends and family, it can also be a little tiring. On the other end of the spectrum, when we’ve had family guests who have stayed overnight, sometimes they are able to watch the monitor while Lila naps so that I can run outside if Henry is working. Or they might be able to pick up Enrique from school if he needs to be picked up, so sometimes that’s given me more flexibility.
I’m sure there are lots of other things that have impacted my ability to start working out again, slowly, but these are the big ones that have come to mind.
Outside of adjusting to being a new mom again, and starting to squeeze in a little physical activity, we’ve had some fun stuff happening around here.
We celebrated my favorite holiday, Halloween, as a family of four. We took both kids to a pumpkin patch for the obligatory pumpkin picture, got some decorations put up around the house, and went trick or treating with a family that has a son Enrique’s age. We were also able to make it to a friends pumpkin carving party for a few hours, which was so much fun.
Lila and I made it out to one of Enrique’s baseball games. He was so excited to show all of his baseball teammates his new baby sister, and Lila spent the game snuggled up napping in a baby carrier. Overall, we’ve had a great 6 weeks of life with Lila. There’s been plenty of late nights, lots of dirty diapers, more Amazon packages than I can count, but having her in our lives has been amazing. I’m looking forward to sharing more of our journey more consistently over the next couple of months!