25 Things I Didn’t Know Happened After Giving Birth

Nine months I spend preparing myself for the day of giving birth. I was mentally and physically ready (Although, I thought I was. But that topic deserves another post) I went to centering pregnancy, took breathing technique lessons and read about hypnobirthing. The big day of giving birth came and after a sixteen-hour rollercoaster of emotions and pain, my baby was out. I survived the most anticipated day. I knew it was going to be hard, painful and intense and I thought that was it. I finally made it to my last chapter of the childbirth lessons book. But, it turned out that a lot of things happen before you even leave the hospital that I didn’t learn in class, and no one ever mentioned. I’m going to share those things with you. Not to scare you, but to prepare you. Here they are: 

  1. As soon as my baby was out and on my chest, I felt overwhelmed. Tired of pushing and not understanding what was happening.
  2. The umbilical cord was still attached to the baby and placenta. The cord feels very warm and weird.
  3. I immediately lose my heavy pregnant belly, but I still looked like when I was 20 weeks pregnant.
  4. The black line which divides the belly decided to stay with me. I have read that it might stay for some indefinite time. I still have it after 15 weeks PP.
  5. After the nurses and doctors have seen me naked and vulnerable, I lost all the modesty. I wasn’t ashamed of anything anymore.
  6. As soon as the baby is out (actually since the pushing part begins) I started to lose blood. A lot! The bleeding doesn’t stop up until six weeks PP. Some women are lucky and bleed less, some other bleed longer. But you will bleed for sure.
  7. The first time walking from the hospital bed to the shower feels painful and shaky. It might be only five steps but it can feel like hundred meters.
  8. Showering feels actually very good. It might be painful to shower standing. You can ask your partner or a nurse to bring you a chair and put some towels to sit on.
  9. The first-time peeing. Not only pee but also blood and a lot of other weird looking stinky fluid comes out of your precious body. It doesn’t hurt, and the water just comes out without needing to put any pressure. But it can be surprising to see where all those fluids come from. At home, it might be more convenient to pee in the shower and clean yourself with water afterward.
  10. The first-time pooping is scary. The muscles are very sore and because of the pushing work, you will lose sensibility on your back door. This causes that you won’t really feel that you are pooping but you are actually doing it. This sensation (or lack of) can last a couple of days or even weeks. My tip: eat a lot of fiber in order to have a good digestion. And not have any constipation problem.
  11. You won’t be able to control your farts. So yes, the farts will come out without you even noticing. Only the smell will betray you. The smell is worse than when you have a heavy stomach disease. I guess the smell is a combination of blood, poop and your body recovering. This situation can last for weeks. At some point, you will get used to it and let the gas out without apologies.
  12. Sitting down on the bed or on a chair is very painful. If you had an episiotomy it’s going to be even more painful. The pain might take days or even weeks to go away completely.
  13. A couple of hours after giving birth, a nurse will help you to hand express milk for your baby. Because you don’t have any modesty you just let her hand press your tender breasts.
  14. Breastfeeding might be painful in the beginning. You can have blisters and it can get bloody. Everyone will tell you to just hang in there and you will like to punch everyone in the face. But the pain will go away indeed. My tip: shower with warm water and massage your breasts. Before wearing your bra put some Lanolin on your nipples. If you still have a lot of pain, try a nipple shield.
  15. The first days PP you will still feel little contractions every time you are breastfeeding. This is because the uterus is slowly shrinking back down to its pre-birth size.
  16. Breastfeeding is exhausting. The first days, you will need to feed your baby every three to four hours. This is in order to get your production going on. You wake up often because newborns normally sleep just a little. If you are lucky, your baby will sleep longer at night for a couple of days on. I wasn’t so lucky and my baby woke up every three hours (day and night!) to eat until she was around twelve weeks old.
  17. The lack of sleep and the hormones will make you think that you are crazy. You might wake up in the middle of the night and not remember if you already fed your baby or just dreamed it.
  18. Some nights you might be so tired you’ll consider letting your baby cry a little bit longer to wake up feeling like the worst mother in the world. Just remember it’s not you. It’s the lack of sleep talking. Consider asking for help so that you can catch up some sleep during the day.
  19. You will get hot. Not the good looking hot, but the one that makes you wake up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat.
  20. Your breast might leak while you are sleeping. Since you are already in a pool of sweat why not add more liquids to it, right?
  21. You won’t be able to sleep on your stomach for a couple of days or weeks PP. If (like me) this is what you miss the most while you’re being heavily pregnant, I have bad news. The first days PP it’s very painful to sleep on the stomach due to the engorged breasts. If you continue breastfeeding it stays uncomfortable to sleep on the stomach.
  22. If you got an episiotomy, around the fourth day PP, the stitches will hurt a lot. More than the days before. So much that you will wake up crying thinking that you can’t deal with this anymore. As soon as the stitches start healing they pull the skin together and this feels like a burning sensation. This pain will eventually go away. Make sure you put cold compresses and leave your wound aired.
  23. You might miss your pregnant belly and won’t be able to make the link to the baby and the missing the belly.
  24. You might not miss your pregnant belly and be the happiest person again. And that is totally fine. (My case 😉 )
  25. You might feel depressed and find this is too much for you to handle. This is totally normal. Try to recognize these feelings and ask for professional help.

 

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Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

This list is made out of my postpartum experience. Remember that this is different for every woman. Don’t be freaked out by my list, but be prepared for some heavy days full of discomfort and pain. After the pain is gone and you can fully enjoy your new family it will feel like it was all worth it.

With Love,

Alisson

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The Benefits​ of Sensory Play

As soon as babies are born, their curiosity starts developing. Every little thing a baby is exposed to is an amazing thing to be explored. With their eyes, ears, mouths, noses, and fingers. There are activities that help develop the senses of a baby. Stimulating a baby is therefore very important. Early stimulation can help improve attention span, memory, curiosity, and nervous system development. The first year of a child is the time when the brain grows the fastest that it ever will.

There are a lot of games and ways you can stimulate your child. You can do it at home or you can join baby lessons where you will learn how to play with your baby. A famous class it’s called Baby Sensory. This programme was founded by UK’s leading parenting expert Dr. Lin Day. The course offers a complete approach to learning and sensory development from birth to 13 months. It is designed to stimulate and educate a child during the first year of life.

During the classes, parents are provided with ideas for creative play, massage, tummy time, and movement in simple ways that can be easily repeated at home. All of the activities are accompanied by music and sensory signing to help develop early speech and language skills. A sensory environment rich in sights, sounds, smells, and textures promote brain growth, increases the capacity for intellectual development and forms the foundation for all future learning. Every week the activities are different. There’s always something new and exciting to look forward to.

This summer I joined the Baby Sensory lessons in Amersfoort. The class is held by Linda Veldman in the south of the city. The lessons start always with a beautiful song called ‘Say hello to the sun’ and follow with different activities. Linda is very sweet and good with parents and babies. The lessons take one hour. During this time, we play, we sing and we discover new sensations. My fifteen-week baby doesn’t make it, to be awake and alert the whole class. At some point during the class, she will feed or nap. And that is ok. Every lesson she is more awake and eager to learn. These classes have helped me to learn how to play with my baby. It also helps me to feel more confident and happy as a parent.

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Father and daughter during a car washing time.

You can join Baby Sensory lessons too! Check here to see where is the closest location to you. If you live in Amersfoort, there are two locations. In de Leusderkwartier and in Vathorst. You can contact Linda for more information at amersfoort@babysensory.nl

With Love,
Alisson

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30+ Shops To Buy Organic Clothes For Babies and Children

As soon as I discovered I was pregnant, my search for sustainable baby clothes started. I want my baby to wear natural fibers and pieces that are made for children, not ‘by’ children. Here is a list of brands that I have gathered so far:

4 Natural Kids
Handmade organic cotton baby products.

Amy and Ivor
Vegetable leather mocassins for babies.

Baby Verhip
Sets of 100% organic cotton. GOTS certified. Comfortable for babies and practical for parents.

Bamboom
Bamboo Baby bedding and fashion. Dutch design. 100% produced in Italy.

Carlijn Q
Organic apparel for kids. Run by a Dutch momboss from Rotterdam.

Dilling
Bio wool clothes for babies and children. Wool regulates your child’s body temperature throughout the year and also reduces the risk of grabbing a cold. Dilling offers organic baby underwear in different designs and colors.

Picture: https://www.kleinebaasjes.nl

Disana
Bio and fair trade certified brand for babies, kids, and home. Made in Germany.

Engel Naturtextilien
Organic underwear and clothes. Made in Germany.

Fresk
100% organic cotton and fair baby and kids clothes. Fresk designs garments to make life cheerful and colorful.

Gray Label
Organic apparel for the little minimalist. From newborn to 10 years old. 100% organic fabrics.

Hulaaloop
Rental clothes for babies and kids. Amsterdam based. Circular economy. Run by mompreneurs Emma and Puck

Iek & Jet
Organic baby and kidswear brand. From size 56 to size 116. Run by Iek and Jet. They design and produce the collections themselves, using organic fabrics.

Picture: https://nixnut.nl

Igi Natur
Organic Baby Clothes from 0 to 6 years.

Imps & Elfs
Organic apparel and lifestyle brand. For babies and kids. Dutch Design.

Kidscase
Freestyle, versatile, fair and organic. Amsterdam-based baby and children’s clothing brand for up to 10 years.

Kindzoblij
Fairtrade children’s clothes. From size 50 to 152.

Kleine Baasjes 
Organic and sustainable baby and kids wear. Handmade in The Netherlands

Mini Rodini
Spanish based brand. Cool and organic clothes for kids. Member of the fair wear foundation.

Picture: https://www.shopsaar.nl

Nixnut 
Fairtrade baby brand from The Netherlands. Organic and soft materials. Natural colors and comfortable fittings for newborns and kids up to 4 years.

Noeser
Children’s clothes from organic cotton. GOTS certified. Dutch brand.

Popupshop
Organic basics for kids

Saar
100% fair & organic handmade fashion. GOTS certified. Run by Saar based in Arnhem.

Picture: https://www.noeser.eu/nl

WEBSHOPS WITH DIFFERENT BRANDS:

Daily Brat
Organic apparel and lifestyle items for your little one. Shipping worldwide from Amsterdam.

Faam
Antwerp based multi-brand web/shop with eco, fair and sustainable fashion for men, women, baby, and kids.

Goodmorning Sunshine
Online kids boutique. From 0 to 14 years old.

Greenjump
Biologic and fair-trade online store. More than 2000 products from brands where beautiful and convenient is just as important as sustainable and fair production.

Lidor
Online store for Babies and children. 

Little King Arthur
Online concept store. From 0 to 7 years old. With organic unique brands. Run by mothers Nicole and Marilyn. Made in The Netherlands.

Petozzi
Online store for Babies and children. 

Purestarters
Fair and pure clothes for children.

Waschbaer
Eco webshop for the whole family.

CUSTOME MADE:

A Gift
Handmade children clothes. Using GOTS certified fabrics. Run by Astrid.

Kaatje Pluk
Unique and original baby clothes and accessories. Organic cotton fabrics available. Run by Karen.  

XOOZ
High-quality Handmade Goods. Play and chill in style.

With Love,
Alisson

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Another Dutchie Thing: Geboortekaartjes

Geboortekaartjes. A Dutch tradition of which I thought it was weird and unnecessary. A waste of paper. I even made fun of it on this blog post, I’m sorry. I could never understand or care about this ‘sending cards’. I didn’t grow up with that. Even when I was pregnant in The Netherlands and I actually had to start thinking of this, I was against it.
But one day, when I was six months pregnant, my partner and I visited my mother-in-law for a coffee. Chatting with her I found out that she collected all the birth cards she ever received from her friends and family, included her first two grandchildren. ‘how can I miss a card from Luna?’ Not only her collection was important, also the tradition of presenting the baby with a postcard is very important, she told me. It’s also a nice way to keep contact with family members you otherwise don’t have contact with at all.

It was after that visit that I decided to join the tradition of sending birth cards. One thing I was clear about, it needed to be simple and super easy to do. That is when I found Hip Design.

Hip Design has different categories with hundreds of different cards. It also has the possibility of uploading your own design. From the category ‘geboortekaartjes’, my partner and I decided to go for a minimalistic card for baby Luna. We chose a simple template and we adjusted the colors, the font, and the size. On this website, it’s very easy to edit the cards. User friendly approved. When we finished our first draft we ordered a ‘proefdruk’. We received that with samples of colors for the envelopes and the kind of papers for the card.

After some corrections, we were happy with the end result.

This is how our card looks like:

Baby Birth Announcement
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

We opt to send it in a lilac envelope. Once Luna was born, my partner took care of all the arrangements and sent the cards to his (our) family. I took advantage and also sent some cards to my friends in Germany. Unfortunately, the delivery service to Colombia is really bad. Otherwise, I would have sent some to my family as well.

Even before we sent Luna’s birth cards, we received a lot of cards from family and friends expressing their congratulations. This felt very special. I have to admit that I liked to receive beautiful messages in the form of cards. I’m glad I joined the tradition.

How did you like this tradition? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,
Alisson

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Greentom – A Baby Stroller Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles

Looking for the right stroller can be very tiring while pregnant. There are so many different types, models, and colors. On top of that, every brand claims to make the best stroller ever. During my search, the only thing I was clear about, is that I wanted a stroller as sustainable as possible. In my research, I found a Dutch company that makes green strollers in a circular way: Greentom. The designer Bart Bost is the man behind Greentom. He makes strollers from almost one hundred percent recycled materials. Their mission is to design, develop and produce smart and sustainable products that make the world a little bit greener. For their strollers, they use recycled plastic bottles. This helps because the waste does not end up in our rivers, oceans, on our beaches or in landfills. At the end of its lifecycle, all of the Greentom products can be reused or recycled.

I wanted to give it a try and got the Carrycot model in color beige, with the frame in white. As soon as I got it, my husband and I were curious about it and started putting it together. The stroller was to ensemble very quick and easy. It feels lightweight and rides very smooth. I like it that the stroller grows up with the baby. When the Carrycot gets too small (or de the baby too big), I can use the reversible version. The frame stays the same, you only need to get the extra reversible or the classic chassis. These you can use the rest of the stroller time.

Greentom is the proof that circular products can be beautiful and timeless. You can use smart, cool and functional green products and make a difference.

I took my Carrycot stroller for a test ride. I can’t wait to start using it for real when the baby is born!

Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

Discover more about the world of Greentom here: https://www.greentom.com/nl/

With Love,
Alisson

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