What to expect at 0-4 weeks postpartum

This post is very overdue, as honestly I did not know whether anyone would want to read our post birth updates, but then I realised that I write here as much for my own memories as for anyone else and I would like to remember each milestone since my sweet little baby girl came earth side.

Plus it is Maternal Mental Health week and I think it's important to get a sense of how varied normal birth and experiences of motherhood can be. Nothing else is as much of a rollercoaster ride as motherhood and you can feel elated, exhausted, frustrated, proud and tearful all in one day.

I felt like we were waiting ages for our little one to make her way into the world but when she did make her grand appearance in our dining room, (which you can read about here), time went into overdrive. Our lives were suddenly consumed by our precious daughter and we really wanted to enjoy our time as a family of three before the Carnivore had to return to work.

We treated his two weeks paternity as an unofficial baby moon, opting to order a fridge full of yummy food, including cheese, chocolate and treats. It almost felt like Christmas again as we stocked up on all of our favourite treats. Well, we (I) earned it, right? We also planned some lovely but low key things to do, from enjoying the sunny weather in the garden with friends, to popping out for a nice lunch or two.

I then had my mum around for two weeks after the Carnivore went back to work to help and spend some time with us (well mainly her new granddaughter, who she was smitten with from day one). It was a lovely but quite busy time and now it feels a bit fuzzy round the edges. That'll be the sleep deprivation.

Full disclosure, I did put myself under enormous pressure to do quite a lot in this time when I should have been recovering and resting. There were days when I felt quite stressed getting out of the house with a brand new baby who wanted to cluster feed 24 hours a day but then I felt bad telling people that I needed space when they were so excited about our new arrival. I also tend to get serious cabin fever staying in so lurched from feeling like I needed to get out to being plain exhausted some days.

My Recovery

I had the active home birth I really wanted, which I worked hard for and was lucky to achieve, although that in no way means it was easy. Perhaps there is a misconception that having a home birth must mean there is no work involved but it's a big myth. Labour is called labour for a reason, I guess.

I had no pain relief, barely even a toot of gas and air, so it was very errr, intense but even though I had stitches and was tired, I found the experience as relaxed as it can be and liked that I was alert and in control. I remained very active and let gravity do its work, which helped make it relatively quick for a first labour at eight hours long. I also drank raspberry leaf tea from 37 weeks, which I felt helped make my contractions more effective.

Afterwards I was sore, as it felt like my whole body had ran a marathon and lifted 10 x my body weight for several hours. In fact I approached birth like it was a marathon and had lots of lucuzade and sugary mints to give me energy. After I was taking a mixture of paracetamol and ibuprofen for the first couple of days and was glad I'd made some padsicles, which were maternity pads soaked in witch hazel, lavender essential oil and chilled in the freezer. They were really cooling and helped with swelling. I also used epsom salts, witch hazel and lavender oil in the bath.

After the first few days when I felt like I was waddling a bit, things started to settle and I was up walking about straight away

My Body

Learning to breastfeed was an eye opener, as I went through the toe curling early days of cracked nipples, my milk coming in and then thrush in my breasts, which was very painful. We were fortunate that we both took to it quite naturally, though, and I found my milk came in quite quickly.

This was partly due to the earth's supply of oats I was eating, the Carnivore keeping me well fed and hydrated when I was pinned to the sofa, and because I opted to have my placenta encapsulated. I'll dedicate a whole post to this but I found it kept my energy levels high and I didn't get massive mood or energy swings. Even if it was a placebo, it worked for me.

Every new mum wonders what they'll be left looking like post baby and its especially challenging if like me you suffer with body dysmorphia. For as long as I remember I've had a skewed view of my body, often thinking it looks much larger than I am told it does. This also deserves a whole post of its own as being pregnant and then postpartum has a huge impact on body image.

As I kept active and ate (quite) well during pregnancy I thought I'd kept the weight gain to a minimum but once Florence Ophelia was earth side, that once pert round bump becomes a saggy pouch. I was not prepared to still look pregnant for quite a while after giving birth but I had to remember it takes just as long to lose it as it took to gain it.

My mood

Considering I suffered with pregnancy anxiety and stress, I didn't know if I would be more susceptible to post natal depression but I actually felt remarkably good and well post birth. I felt like I could take on the world after bringing my girl into the world on my own and think most women get a rush of endorphins post birth.

Not having any drugs meant I was completely with it and could marvel at what had just happened. When my milk came in I had a hormonal surge and that combined with the soreness and zero sleep resulted in some tearful sobbing. I also found lack of sleep led to some pretty bizarre hallucinations at night and it occasionally played havoc with my anxiety levels but mostly I felt in control and happy.

As for the little lady…


Florence Ophelia weighed 8lbs at birth. Considering days before they had said they were expecting a 9lber, I was somewhat relieved. They don't measure them now so we didn't get to find out her height until much later.


Ha! If you count feeding around the clock and staying up all night a routine. Our little Milkivore decided it was much too comfortable to sleep on us and than the eleventy billion sleeping places we had bought. It was quite a shock that first night when we popped her down on the mattress in her co-sleeper and she went ballistic. The naivety of new parents eh!


When sleeping on us, she slept like an angel, so we had to sleep in shifts and enlist grandparents to cuddle in the morning to give us some respite for the first two weeks. After a couple of weeks we started trying different things to encourage her to lay in her cosleeper and moses basket. Warming the sheets, making them smell of us, we tried it all. Her little arms would wave around in the empty space like she wanted to be back in the safe cocoon of my tummy. Eventually we tried a swaddle and things improved.


Our little Milkivore fed very regularly, at least every two hours day and night, although her longest sleep was between 5am and 10am, so I used that time to catch up on my sleep a bit.

Playing and development 

I didn't expect much in the way of interaction in the early days but the snoozy cuddles more than made up for it. By two weeks in we bought some black and white cards with shapes and animals on to give her something to look up at, which she seemed fascinated by. By three to four weeks we were having regular tummy time of upto five minutes and laying underneath her play gym,


As often happens, Florence Ophelia lost 10% of her body weight in the first ten days but then steadily put it back on but it was slow progress. The poor little thing had horrendous reflux and was obviously in pain a lot and bringing her milk back up. I visited the doctor at four weeks as I knew something wasn't right and was prescribed Gaviscon mixed into some breast milk,  which helped a lot.

I could not help but keep marveling at this little magical being in those first days and weeks. Months of wondering what she would look like answered at last. I would stare at her sleeping and keep saying over and over, I cannot believe she is here. I told her she was the most beautiful thing I'd seen and well fell deeper in love each day.

Adapting to being parents

It was amazing to see the Carnivore also go from being smitten to falling properly in love. They don't get the 9 months of bonding time during pregnancy in the same way women do, but seeing this tiny newborn baby in his big arms made me love him even more. We even managed to snatch bits of time for ourselves between the feeds and rocking, which helped keep us strong in those early days, although there was the odd sleep deprived jibe at each other. I felt like I was supposed to automatically know all the answers, which was sometimes tough.

All in all those first four weeks are such a time of change, magic, exhaustion and a bit of a whirlwind all told. Midwife appointments, health visitors, family and friends visiting and the three of you getting to know each other. There is no wonder it can feel overwhelming but even amidst the sleep deprivation, nothing can beat the utter amazement every time you snuggle your newborn and smell their sweet crown. When people say it goes fast, it is an understatement. Soak it all up, the good, the bad and the ugly, because those early days go by in a blink.

How did you cope in the first few weeks of parenthood? How did it affect your relationship with your other half?


  1. It's definitely a lot to take in being a first time mum! I'm so pleased you had the home birth you wanted, and that breastfeeding came naturally after a few (figurative) teething problems! #itsok

    1. Thank you, I was relieved too. There's not much that can parallel it is there? It's amazing we come our relatively unscathed!

  2. Great Post. It's definitely a surreal time just after having a baby! Feels like a life time at the moment but wow it goes too fast

    1. Surreal is a great description of it. It's such a whirlwind, there's no wonder many of us feel a bit zombified through it.

  3. I love that you'll celebrated the first two weeks when your other half had paternity leave - that sounds so lovely, eating treats and enjoying friends and family time. Such a refreshing thing to do, as most mums (rightly so - each pregnancy and childbirth experience is different) are too knackered or too in pain (like me) or too stressed (also me) to do anything other than feed and change baby. Lovely post, thanks for sharing it with #itsok


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