A Little Postpartum Surprise: Afterpains!
|Nursing often triggers afterpains in the first few days after birth, particularly when you have had more than one child.|
Postpartum afterpains. What are they?
I remember a friend of mine who was having her fourth baby around the time I had my first baby talking about something I had never heard of before: Afterpains.
She said that they were worse than labor and one of the reasons she thought she would stop with four kids!
"What the heck are afterpains?!" I thought.
To tell the truth, I didn't even have them at all with my first baby. But my friend was right- afterpains, or the postpartum cramping you experience after the baby comes, do tend to get a little more intense with each subsequent pregnancy.
Often women don't notice afterpains after their first baby, but they do notice them if they have more children than one. The uterine cramping that occurs, especially when nursing and your body naturally clamps down with the flow of oxytocin, can be difficult to deal with.
You may have noticed, but I am on the far end of the crunchy spectrum. I won't get into my crunchy "accomplishments," but I will admit that there is a familiar scene played out in my home after I have a baby.
"GIVE ME THE ALEVE! And don't give me that LOOK!!!" (Hubby disapproves of pain relief of the unnatural sort. But he is not allowed to mention it after I have a baby.)
In fact, after my fourth they were so strong that I was scared to nurse. This made me really sad actually, because I am so grateful to be able to breastfeed my babies and I didn't want to avoid it like the plague.
Ladies- I don't think you should have to suffer postpartum or fear nursing your sweet baby. Here are some things I wish I had known about to help deal with the postpartum cramping. Hope it helps you.
Many thanks to the smart ladies on the Mama Birth Facebook page!
~Practicing your relaxation exercises again
~Earth Mama Angel Baby Comfort Tea
~Skullcap and cramp bark tincture
~Hot stone massage (A+ for the midwife that does that!)
~Tylenol with Codine, Motrin, Aleve, Advil, Motrin, etc (check with your care provider for something that is safe while nursing.)
~Hot water bottle or heated rice packs (on the abdomen)
~Hot tea with milk
~Stool softeners (I don't know if this helps with the cramping, but it can make you less fearful of the first bowel movement, especially if you had any tearing.)
There is some good news too. Afterpains usually last only a few days, and definitely not longer than two weeks. They also give you a really good excuse to relax and let other people take care of you for a little while. Word on the street is that after 5 or 6 babies they don't get any worse either! So, no need to limit your family size on account of these!
Good luck ladies, and enjoy your babymoon.
(And feel free to add more suggestions~)