Time flies when you are having fun. Your baby is already one month old, and there are some new and exciting events every day. You are still tired – something that isn’t likely to change in forthcoming months. Within your 5 weeks postpartum phase, you might still experience occasional discomfort, as your body is not completely back to normal.
Still, you should feel much better than you did in those first weeks, and some women even go back to work at this time. At this point you will probably feel able to live normal life – to go out more often, to do house chores and to return to some kind of daily routine. Hopefully, your baby will agree with your plans which are set to conquer the 5 weeks postpartum phase of your life.
Pain should be gone by now. If you’ve had cesarean section, you might experience some discomfort around the scar, but you should also be able to function without pain.
Your energy level should be much higher, although you are probably exhausted from night feeding, changing diapers, etc. Those mothers who are still on a maternity leave will probably have enough time and energy to take care about themselves and their babies. They can now enjoy this period at 5 weeks postpartum more than women who’ve already returned to work.
If you are one of the latter, you might experience fatigue, breast discomfort, back pain, etc. These symptoms will probably affect your work performance. You might also feel incompetent or unable to focus. It is important to realize that your life situation has changed – you cannot do it all, especially at this point, when your baby is completely helpless and needs your attention.
A magical wand that would make your day longer does not exist; however, there are some tricks that could help you get through the day easier:
- Face the cruel fact – you cannot do it all. At this point, you will not be able to work long hours (neither you will want to), and you probably won’t be able to be as productive as you were before. Ideally, you’ve already discussed this with your employer, and he or she is completely understanding and willing to adapt. If this is not the case, try to delegate more work, and ask for help. Surely, some of your colleagues are also planning maternity leaves, and they will need a friend after the delivery as well.
- Be productive. That does not mean you shouldn’t rest – but when you work, do your best to stay focused on the task and to finish it. If you skip visits to Facebook or Twitter, you will finish more work in less time.
- Be kind to yourself. Eat well, and take as much time as you need to rest. Let your partner finish most of the house work, so that you have more time for sleep and relaxation.
If you are breastfeeding, you’ve probably established a pattern by now, and although your breasts are still engorged, they will start feeling better. However, if you develop a fever, and your breasts become red and tender, you might have an infection called mastitis and you will probably need antibiotics. You need to see your doctor, as this problem is not likely to go away by itself.
For most of the women, these are the happy days. However, not every moment is happy and careless – you are probably tired and have a variety of daily concerns that bother you. Still, if you feel well and strong most of the time – everything is as it should be.
At 5 weeks postpartum, you are well aware if you have postpartum depression. If you’ve been following the advices from your doctor, you probably feel better already. However, if you symptoms are still very intense, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor again, or even ask for other opinion. It is very important that you get better as soon as possible, for your and your baby’s sake.
Partner relationship can suffer in the postpartum period, as both, you and your partner have numerous new feelings, experiences and concerns. You’ve developed one way of functioning before the baby, but this is not going to work now that you are much busier and have new things to think about. You might start fighting more than usual, or you might just feel unable to communicate. These are all temporary phases – but in order to maintain you relationship, you must try to communicate and solve some issues that can be detrimental for your love and appreciation for each other. Here are some topics you need to discuss:
- Household chores – You have less time and energy to dedicate to chores, yet they become more important than ever. There is more laundry, more cleaning, plus feeding and changing the baby… The important thing is to be aware of all these new duties, and to dedicate some time to the planning and organization. Maybe your partner was quite lazy when it comes to house work before the delivery, but he will have to change. There are certain things you are not supposed to do yet, such as anything that requires climbing the ladders, and he will have to be the one to finish those tasks. As for the other things – if you prefer to cook, you do it, but your partner will clean after the dinner. You will have too much to do one way or another, but you can at least make this situation more bearable.
- Sex – Some couples have sex just few weeks after the delivery. Some need more time to become intimate again. Some women need to wait because of large tearing, or some other complications. Your partner probably won’t be too happy about it, but it is important to manage this situation so that he does not feel rejected. Explain how you feel, and do some things that will make your partner feel desirable (a passionate kiss or some light fondling should do it).
- Couple time – This is the time for you two, and you two only. It was hard enough to organize this kind of time before the baby, but now it can become quite a mission. But it’s worth it! If you are not yet comfortable leaving your baby with grandparents or babysitter, choose the time when your baby sleeps peacefully, sit on the couch, prepare some wine, and have a conversation. Or just fondle. It is important that this time is just for the two of you – nobody else is allowed to interfere.
- Grandparents, aunts, uncles… – are not supposed to bulge in any time they want to see the baby. You and your partner need to have “the talk” with your families, and explain to them that, while they are welcome to visit, they should make a call first. Your rest and your couple time are more important – don’t hesitate to tell your parents or in-laws that it is inconvenient time for the visit.
- Money – Having a baby can be quite expensive. And you cannot work as much at the moment, so your income could be lower. While this is a real problem, it isn’t something that cannot be overcome by you. It, especially, is not a great reason to fight. Planning is crucial, but so is communication – make some priorities and stick to them. If you cannot go on a fancy holiday, make some cheaper plans. Surf the internet and find the cheaper options of what you need. Stay realistic, and you will find a way to manage finances.
At this time, you might start a diet. Be careful not to deprive yourself of all the healthy nutrients you need. The ideal diet is slow (we know you don’t like it) and produces long-term results. You need all food groups, carbs included, so don’t choose any of those fancy you-eat-all-but-one-thing diets. Also, make sure to take enough proteins, as they will keep you satiated.
You can include some intense workouts at this point. Try the exercises that involve the entire body, and don’t be afraid of making your heart work faster. However, if you don’t feel up to it, make some modifications. The important thing is that you know and respect your limitations. Work out six days a week if you can, but only for 30 minutes. It is better than to work out intensively but only two or three days.
One month after the delivery you are probably capable to face the real life. Your daily schedule now incorporates meeting the friends, walks and maybe even going to work. But stay cautious – you still need good food, good rest, and help from your loved ones. Make the best of these first weeks of your baby’s life, as they will not come back. Use this time to focus on yourself and your needs. Sleep, enjoy your hobbies and find time to communicate with your partner. Every good thing you do for yourself will reflect positively on your baby as well.