Postpartum Advice From a Mom of Twelve

Whether you’re expecting your second baby or your seventh, I’m a firm believer in a “babymoon,” a time when the world slows down and you enjoy getting to know your newborn baby. The postpartum period is complicated by shifting hormones and sleep deprivation, so a bit of planning ahead can help smooth the way.

Here are a few words of advice from someone who’s done the postpartum thing twelve times:

Don’t get dressed for two weeks. The minute you get dressed everyone thinks, “Oh, she’s back in the game.” Stay in your nightgown and robe, it will give a reminder to them (and you) that this isn’t life as usual.

Use paper goods for meals for a week or two. Even if you have well-trained helpers in the kitchen, using paper plates and cups for a while will take the pressure off in the kitchen.

Use disposable diapers for the toddler for a while. If you’re a cloth diaper fan, that’s great, but give yourself a laundry break for a while and put the older baby in disposables. Cloth diaper the newborn if you wish, but a few days in disposables won’t hurt the older child and it will simplify your life.

Stay home. Again, if people see you out and about they’ll assume that you’re 100% and ready to start teaching Sunday School again. You might want to go for a ride to get out of the house, but please, if at all possible, don’t go grocery shopping!

Put your feet up. Rest on the couch, put up the foot on the recliner, lay down in bed. You can still get some things done while you recline, like reading aloud and checking math or just watching a movie.

Rest as much as possible the first three weeks. If you rest at the beginning, you’ll be better off in the long run. Give your body time to heal. If you do too much at first, you’ll pay for it later. Trust me.

Simplify life. Drop activities, lay out of co-op classes for a semester. Don’t let your newborn live in a car seat because of older children’s activities. It’s okay to have a stay-home season. You may not be able to get out of everything, but I bet your husband can help you find ways to cut way back on activities.

Have some gifts and new toys ready for older children, along with some new movies or special snacks. This is a celebration, so….celebrate!

Get bendable straws and favorite drinks to keep by your side at all times.

Understand that every baby is different. Your feeding relationship may or may not go smoothly, even if you’re an experienced mom. You and your baby will find your way, but don’t be hard on yourself or frustrated with your baby if it takes a while.

Have a couple of soft and stretchy non-maternity outfits ready to wear postpartum. Just the mental idea that they are “regular” clothes will cheer you up.

Take the baby to church in the car seat.  It lessens the chance of people asking to hold the baby. If someone asks to hold the baby and you don’t want them to, tell them your husband said it’s flu season (or chickenpox season or whatever season it truly is) and you and he don’t want the baby passed around. Mentioning the husband helps. Stand firm and say no. I caved one time and my 9-day-old baby got passed around to several people and ended up in the emergency room three days later with a fever.

Some of these ideas may not apply to you, so take what you can use and leave the rest.

As a younger mom with fewer children I got up and around earlier, but looking back that wasn’t always the best thing in the end. Some postpartum seasons were easier than others, depending on the circumstances of the birth and the amount of help afterwards.

Whatever the case, enjoy your babymoon and these fleeting moments with a sweet newborn!

What advice do you have?  Please leave a comment!

Tips From a Mom of 12

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You'll love this free guide with simple secrets from a Mom of 12. You won't feel "less than" with these tips, you'll be encouraged!

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18 thoughts on “Postpartum Advice From a Mom of Twelve”

  1. I’m sure many of you already know this, but just because a woman is young and slender does not mean she is going to recover from birth easily! I had a terrible time recovering from the births of all four of my kids. I had my babies between the ages of 20 and 26. I had dangerous bleeding episodes during the first two weeks with my first three. I was terribly weak. I had little muscle support and had prolapse problems since after my first child. It was a terrible experience being weak and needy (though I rarely asked for help- we just suffered at home with our lives falling apart) for months after becoming pregnant and many months after giving birth. I have tried everything, herb and diet and excersize wise. As it stands I am unable even to t-tapp unless I am taking my alfalfa and rhodiola rosea. The t-tapp half frogs and organs in place saved my life! It is beautiful not to be able to feel my organs squishing around, swelling up, and being terribly painful. I can’t feel anything at all!

    A friend of ours who has 15 children still recovers from birth more quickly and thoroughly than I ever did. God bless her- I love big families. But my husband and I are tired of the intense suffering and are finished having children. I have not shared even a fraction of the details (heart trouble, dangerously low blood pressure, severe deficiencies despite good food and supplements, pica). So one more bit of advice- please don’t judge other families for not having “enough” children if you are of the “quiver full” mindset. There are enough broken hearts in the world!

    Grateful today for stability and happiness, and our four beautiful blessings from God.

  2. We lived in China for a couple of years and mom and baby stay home for the first month! After that time they have a 30 day party and invite friends and family over. If I’m blessed with another baby I think I am deffinitely taking your advice. It is better for everyone if Mom is well rested and feeling well.

  3. This is SUCH good advice. I’m currently at 4 weeks postpartum with my 8th baby- and though I am a firm believer of resting well, I still need reminding to not jump back into life too quickly. Thank-you for this Charlotte! Great site- I’ll be back and am really interested in learning more about T-Tapp.

  4. Plan some meals and treats ahead. Make two at a time (same mess, a little extra work): one you eat today (pre-baby) and the other you freeze (for your family after the new baby arrives).

  5. Great advice, Charlotte! I really wish I had known those first two tips (stay in nightgown and use paper goods). Oh, well.
    It turned out great this time that my eighth baby was born at the beginning of June. We stopped school a week before and will start again next week. So, I’ve had 11 weeks of wonderful focus and bonding before I’m back to it with homeschooling!
    –Gena at ichoosejoy.org

  6. Great advice for this mommy who is 2 weeks postpartum from baby #3. This is the first time I am purposely taking a “babymoon” and your article helped relieve some of the guilt feelings that can creep up. Thanks Charlotte for re-affirming that I’m doing the right thing for baby, me, and the whole family!

  7. Oh my! I wish I had known this when I had my babies … With my first, there wasn’t too much pressure, but I put so much pressure on myself to get up and out and about with my 2nd baby.

    I also spoke with my mum and aunt about this and they TOTALLY agree with your advice …

    I’m looking forward to sharing this with many pregnant mama’s 🙂

  8. Fabulous advice, Charlotte. Took me 6 children before I stopped trying to be “Super-mom” after a baby. Recovery is so much quicker when I rest for the first 3 weeks!

    One other tip (from a mom of 10) for the taking a new baby to church is to put baby in a front carrier (the more complicated the better). This keeps baby where he wants to be against you, usually sleeping, but it is awkward to take him out and that discourages the requests to hold the baby, while still affording people a peek of the new little one.

  9. Fabulous advice Charlotte thank you for sharing. This advice is a definate jewel. I have 5 kids and hope to have more. I have to rest as much as I can cause the second I look well my hubby stops helping and expects me to be at 100 percent and has no idea. I’m definately going to use this advice next time! : ) Your family is beautiful

  10. I’m so in agreement. I finally did a babymoon with baby #7 about 5 weeks ago. Stayed in pajamas for two weeks! I certainly got more help this time around. (Of course, it was partially because I had to, due to my first C-section. LOL) It helps to be lax for awhile and not have usual high standards.

  11. I agree with everything and simply add: sleep, sleep sleep! And if you need 4 weeks, 6 weeks, or even 3 months or more for recovery, no guilt! I had postpartum with my first and it was easy for my husband to see it was related also to sleep deprivation. He’s now very protective of my rest and sleep – even more so than I am :). I’m at 9, with 8 at home. Those first few weeks are priceless.

  12. Hi Charolette!
    I just now came across your blog and am loving it! If The Lord blesses we would like a large family too, right now we are at the end of pregnancy number two. I discovered T-Tapp shortly before we became pregnant and haven’t felt comfortable really running through my paces with it. How soon after delivery would you recommend starting back (I have the basic workout plus)? Should I omit or delay some of the exercises longer than others? I loved breastfedding my first born, did you see any supply problems when you exercised with any of your babies? Sorry for the quiz but other than walking I didn’t exercise much after my first. I really want to keep my body fit and healthy for my current and future babies but I don’t want to damage it in pursuit of that goal!
    Thank you for your time and the encouragement you supply on your blog!

    1. Charlotte Siems

      Hi Diana–and congratulations on the impending birth of your new baby! You’d definitely want to have your caregiver’s permission to begin exercise. You’ll be busy with a brand new baby, so start back up with Instructional #1, but take it slow. You might only get through 5 minutes the first time and that’s okay. Work up to it. You’d be surprised what a few weeks will do for your strength and stamina. After you’re able to get through the Instructional, you can move to the Basic Workout Plus. This 15-minute workout is perfect for busy moms! Even then, if you can only fit in 10 minutes, so be it. Listen to your body. Some is better than none! I wouldn’t worry about your milk supply. Exercise is so good for your body, your circulation, etc. Just don’t overdo and get exhausted–THAT can work against you!

  13. If it’s not absolutely necessary, don’t have people staying with you that you don’t feel comfortable around. We had people staying with us when our first baby was born. One was a family member and another was a friend. We lived in a small apartment, and they slept in the two rooms that weren’t occupied by baby, husband and I.
    In their defense, they hadn’t planned to stay that long with us and our son arrived three weeks early, so it was a bit of an emergency, but it was hard and it took me a while to feel at home with my new baby when they finally found places to move into and family visits (we lived in a different country) finally left.

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