The 7 Stages of Breastfeeding No One Warns You About

You’ve decided to breastfeed even before the baby arrives, and so there you are shopping for nursing bras. Everything seems so exciting. You’ve “estimated your size” and feel you’ll have plenty of room once your milk comes in. Life is swell.

Then the baby comes.

After the baby gets here, your milk arrives shortly thereafter — unless it takes a hot minute, which can happen — and then everything is totally different than you imagined.

Here are the seven stages of breastfeeding — the good, the bad, and the ugly — that no one else will tell you about.

The ‘oh crap, my nursing bras are too small!’ stage

You thought you sized correctly but you didn’t, and the bras don’t fit. You can barely squeeze a nipple in that vaguely ’80s bra with unnecessary flowers and other grandmotherly details.

contain yourself in the Band-Aids — I mean, the nursing bras — you bought.

Read More: The 7 Stages of Breastfeeding No One Warns You About

Milk Does a Body Good,

Laura

5 Embarrassing Things That Happen to Your Body During Pregnancy

Everyone talks about all the same parts of pregnancy: feeling the baby move, morning sickness, swollen feet, ultrasound pics, gender-reveal parties or peeing in the middle of the night.

But no one tells you about the embarrassing parts: the giant moles that will grow on you, the hemorrhoids, the mood-changing labia.

Yup, you read that right, and no, I’m not smoking anything funny.

Here are the things that only your very close girlfriends might reveal to you and that pregnancy books will only display in the back of the book (or in small letters).

1. Hemorrhoids the size of a prune or, worse, a golf ball

I remember the day I felt that hemorrhoid. I thought that a part of my colon was dangling from my rear end. That, or I had another anus or a tail. I was pretty sure I was going to die or have a tail for the rest of my life. I’m not talking about a cute, fake Playboy bunny tail — I’m talking about the tail of my intestines.

Read More: 5 Embarrassing Things That Happen to Your Body During Pregnancy

It Can Be SO Gross!

Laura

6 Things I’d Rather Do Than Be Pregnant Again

Pregnancy, for me at least, was hard and sucked. I was hospitalized, sick the majority of the time and barely ate the whole time. It was definitely nothing like the TV shows and movies told me it would be. And you know, those TV pregnancies went by in two episodes. They were quick. Sitcom labor looked like it hurt just a little—about as painful as a splinter removal or ripping off a Band-Aid.

Needless to say, the media lied.

Whenever I get the stomach flu or bad heartburn or anything related to my stomach, I have flashbacks to pregnancy. Puking in a pink bucket. Eating ice cubes for meals. And suddenly wanting my life to end that very minute.

So, thanks, but no thanks. There won’t be a “second act.” One and done. Period.

Here are 6 things I would rather do than be pregnant again!

1. Walk Down the Street Naked

I would rather walk in my nice, quiet neighborhood nude and have people point and say, “Where are her meds?” and show everyone my everything than be pregnant for even one friggin’ day!

Read More: 6 Things I’d Rather Do Than Be Pregnant Again

The 5 Types of Moms Who Take Maternity Leave

Yay! You’re having a baby. Your job threw you a party. Your coworkers said they’d miss you. They all can’t wait to meet your bundle of joy and hear all about your life as a mom … once you come back to work. You’re coming back, right?

You said yes—although perhaps, you might have crossed your fingers behind your back thinking, “We’ll see about that.” Or maybe you squealed earnestly that you couldn’t wait to get back to your best work buds. How could you survive without them? How could you survive without being in your work element?

Whoever you are on the spectrum of moms taking maternity leave, you’ll probably find yourself in one of these well-known types.

1. The Desperate Coworker:

You feel left out as you watch your coworkers post happy hour selfies on social media. You wonder, “Is that an inside joke about the delivery guy?” You call, text and comment, desperately trying to be included at work …. So much so, your coworkers have referred to you as the nagging younger sister.

Read More: The 5 Types of Moms Who Take Maternity Leave

Working Mom Life,

Laura

These 4 Signs Might Mean You Have Postpartum Depression

(PPD) is more common than you’d think. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 to 20 percent of women who give birth have symptoms of it. What’s more, you can begin experiencing PPD up to a year after having a baby, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

But how do you know you have it? While each woman is different, there are consistent themes when it comes to symptoms, say Mary L. Rosser, M.D., Ph.D., director, department of obstetrics and gynecology, Montefiore Health System, and Allison Kurzman, M.D., psychiatrist and clinical instructor of psychiatry at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

You may experience one, a combination of a few, or all of the symptoms, although it varies by individual, according to Rosser and Kurzman. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, those who have experienced depression or bipolar disorder before, have a family history of mental illness, had medical complications during childbirth, or lacked emotional support from a partner, family, or friends during pregnancy could all be at an increased risk.

Read More: These 4 Signs Might Mean You Have Postpartum Depression

Are You Depressed?

Laura

8 Things Your Partner Will Do During Your Labor Instead of Being a Birth Coach

Your partner is so excited about having a baby that, at times, you feel as if they could totally bypass your involvement in the whole baby-making matter, except for the whole labor part (minor detail). Then during the labor, your partner sounds like a sportscaster and posts photos and updates to Facebook the entire time you writhe in pain. You were sort of hoping for a little help with those deep breaths and pushes . . . but sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Read through for eight things your partner will probably do instead of strictly being your birth coach while you’re in labor.

1. Be a sportscaster.

Your partner is probably going to be on their phone texting the play-by-play of your labor: OK folks, she’s about 3 centimeters dilated. Doctor thinks things are progressing well. But suddenly (fumble!) labor slows down. Doc says we may have to take next steps.

You’re probably going to sit there waiting for them to come do all that fun breathing and supportive stuff you saw in the birth class videos, but instead, it’s more like a round table of NFL chat.

Read More: 8 Things Your Partner Will Do During Your Labor Instead of Being a Birth Coach

Can’t Help Him/Herself,

Laura

What to Expect a Day, Week, and Month After Having a C-Section

When I had my C-section after 24 hours of labor and four-plus hours of pushing, I was terrified and had no idea what to expect. So I know first-hand that whether you choose to have a Cesarean or you end up needing one due to complications, it’s comforting to be armed with as much info as possible regarding the recovery process.

You may not be able to move much. If you had an epidural for the procedure and it was left in place, you’ll have limited activity, says Clark Johnson, M.D., an obstetrician at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. It’s usually taken out the first day post-op, though, so you should regain mobility pretty soon.

You could be in a ton of pain, or it might not be so bad. This will vary based on numerous factors, says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. These include: your own general health before the surgery, whether or not you were in labor beforehand, and whether or not the C-section was scheduled or an emergency one. You’ll be given pain meds every four to eight hours, depending on your level of discomfort, says Melissa Walsh M.D., ob-gyn attending physician, department of obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health in the Montefiore Health System.

Read More:What to Expect a Day, Week, and Month After Having a C-Section

It Takes Time to Heal:

Laura

6 Things That Will Happen INSTEAD of Your Birth Plan

You are seriously invested in having a beautiful birth! You read every baby, pregnancy, and birthing book that exists on the planet and know what your mucous plug does and how Braxton Hicks feel. By the end of your pregnancy, you could have coached the birthing class yourself and sometimes, you were the teacher’s pet. You told yourself you wouldn’t be afraid and could manage the pain. You were most articulate though with your birthing plan. You handwrote two copies to give to the nurses, who when you handed it to them, looked at you like you were not in labor, but indeed, smoking crack, as they walk away from you knowing your birth plan is simply another piece of paper!

No matter how you envision your birth plan going, here are a few things that will happen instead of that glorious experience you concocted!

1. Your Partner Will Fall Asleep at the Wheel 

Instead of being at your side cooing sweet nothings, counting as you breathe and reminding you “You can do it!” about halfway in, your partner will fall asleep. Your sweet vision of being some superbirthing duo falls to pieces in just three hours or less. You consider stabbing him or her in that peaceful slumber.

Or worse . . .

Read More: 6 Things That Will Happen INSTEAD of Your Birth Plan

Plans Always Fall Through,

Laura

That Bulge Above Your Belly Button Might Not Be a Food Baby, After All

Imagine this scenario: You’re a few months post-pregnancy when—bam!—you notice a bulge above your belly button. WTF is going on? Did your baby leave something behind? Nope. You might have something called diastasis recti.

What Is Diastasis Recti, Exactly?
“The condition happens when your abdominal rectus muscles separate and the tissue between the muscles thins,” says Melissa Walsh, M.D., ob-gyn, attending physician in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health at Montefiore Health System. While you may or may not notice a bulge above your belly button, there’s another test for diastasis recti: If you attempt to do a standard situp and place your fingers between your abdominal muscles, and feel at least two fingers (or two centimeters) difference between them, you could have this issue. The (sort of) good news is that although diastasis recti can be uncomfortable (sometimes causing lower back pain), it’s more of a cosmetic issue than a medical one.

Read More: That Bulge Above Your Belly Button Might Not Be a Food Baby, After All

Is it a Food Baby? Or Not?

Laura

It’s Actually Possible to Vomit With Class When You’re Pregnant

There’s nothing like a little (or a lot) of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy to make you feel absolutely gross and not “prepared” for the public. I mean, vomiting and nausea in pregnancy can come on at any time and without warning. Don’t be surprised if you’re happily eating a delicious meal only to find yourself ready to upchuck two minutes later without any notice. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself puking at work, on your front lawn, or on the side of the road like a drunk, except you’re not drunk — you’re just pregnant.

Here’s how to vomit with class and style during pregnancy in a way that will allow you to keep your dignity still. Well, some of it at the very least!

Mommy’s Little Puke Bag

Find a nice brown paper bag or make it more sturdy actually — get a plastic one! Then, label it: Mommy’s Little Puke Bag. Even if you’re not a mom yet, you’re on your way. Carry this elegant bag with you right next to your purse, work bag, or gym bag. It’s a bag with personality and personalization! You can carry it in style and when it’s time to puke, promptly use it. At the very least, you won’t spew all over and your company will appreciate your attempts to keep it all “in.”

Read More: It’s Actually Possible to Vomit With Class When You’re Pregnant

Carry That Puke Bag!

Laura