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On Post-Pregnancy, Post-Breastfeeding Body, Hair, Skin, Oh My!

Nov06

by

Amy,

I need some advice. I secretly am hoping you will say “Oh, don’t worry! You won’t be flat chested forever!” but I get the feeling that it is just wishful thinking and I’ll need some way to cope with all of this.

Since giving birth, I am not happy with my body. I thought it would get better when my daughter weaned a few months ago, but it is worse. I have lifeless looking skin with the acne of a 12 year old, I sweat like a pig, and every deodorant/facesoap on the shelf doesn’t work. My already small breasts are even smaller (though now wider, making it impossible to find a comfortable bra that offers any kind of assistance). I was semi prepared for the massive hair loss early on, but had know idea the hair that grew back would be a completely different type of hair. It looks like I have, ahem, a different type of hair growing out of sections of my head.

My daughter is now 14 months old and she is seriously the most chill baby ever. Since day one she’s been a great sleeper and has been thrilled to tag along to all our events/outings. So, I am not overly worn down, frazzled, or neglecting my “me” needs. But I am totally hating my postpartum body.

I didn’t have an drastic changes to my body. I got lucky with the stretch marks, already had a scar from another operation in the same place as my c-section scar, and never gained much weight thanks to 8 freaking months of puking. I feel guilty complaining and I feel shallow for fixing on these issues. My husband is supportive and thinks, outside of the acne, that I look great. (Clarification: he is supportive of my skin too, but doesn’t lie to me and tell the whiteheads are hot.)

Does this settle down ever? Is this even normal? Do I just need to have a million more babies to get back that amazing hair and skin? Is this a doctor issue or can you recommend some products/bra makers? I give up.

Signed,
At least my pit stains distracts from my breasts

Okay, let’s run through a couple superficial things before getting way existential.

First, everything you’re describing is, in fact, normal. From the actual changes to your (possibly not 100% in proportion) reaction to those changes. Some of the issues (hair, skin, sweat) will probably settle down as they’re likely hormonal in nature; other things are going to be things you’ll need to find a way to embrace and accept as your new normal. I can’t guarantee which issues fall into what category, but I can totally tell you that I have been there with you, staring at the mirror and hating what I saw and wondering what the hell happened, refusing to believe that “YOU HAD A BABY” is what happened, because that implied everything I saw was permanent and unfixable.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

So NEW & REVISED FIRST

Get yourself professionally measured for a bra, if you haven’t already. Get some professional bra-shopping guidance. (Personally I’d recommend Nordstrom or a small local lingerie boutique, if you have one of those. I’d also advise NOT doing it at Victoria’s Secret. I am a different size there than any other place on earth, and have had really hit-or-miss experiences with their measuring services.)

Personal anecdote time! Before having any babies, I was a 32A, about as flat-chested as you get. (I’d even say one side skewed even smaller, to an AA cup.) Throughout my years of pregnancies and breastfeeding and weaning I was all over the size map, and once Ike weaned I decreed to myself that I was now a 34A. Maybe a small B, but the fact that none of my old dresses would zip up farther than mid-rib cage told me the changes had mostly settled in my band size. I was wider, but not “bigger.”

After a couple months in 34A bras, however, my boobs started to ache. To the point that I took pregnancy tests because of the soreness. Then I realized that wow, I spend an awful lot of my time yanking and adjusting my bra. Maybe I’m wearing the wrong size? I pulled out a measuring tape and followed the online instructions for self-measuring. My results were so ridiculously unbelievable to me that I refused to accept them, so I went to Nordstrom for a second opinion.

Her results were the same as mine. I am not 34A, I am a 32C. WHAAAAAATTTTT. “Wider” actually meant “bigger,” even though to my untrained, warped-by-photoshop-and-implant-shaped-cantaloupe-boobs-in-magazines eyes, I never, ever would have put myself in the C-cup range. It’s possible that you’re mashing your new different-shape-but-still-the-same-cup-size boobs into something that just doesn’t fit, and with the correct cup size you might open up a whole new fabulous world of just buying bras off the rack because you’re buying them in the right size. (Unless you’re at VS and trying on one of their smoosh-your-boobs-up-to-your-neck-bone push-up bras. I can’t even breathe in their 32 bands, and my cup size changes based on the bra style.)

Another option that I have not tried but have been super-tempted by is the Jockey Fit Kit, which really focuses on the different SHAPES natural boobs come in to determine the best bra size for you. (Has anyone tried this? What did you think??)

Even if your professional bra fitting DOES determine that you’ve gone down a cup size, finding and wearing the correct size will make you feel so, so much better. I’m wearing a basic one from freaking TARGET right now and it’s great. No yanking and repositioning or sliding/digging straps. Everything is smooth and nice-looking under my clothes. Sure, I could stand in front of the mirror and fuss over how my boobs are lower and farther apart and don’t they look hotter if I just lift them and do *this,* but screw that. They fed my kids and now they’re mine and I like ‘em. My husband is a really big fan too, and I personally trust his judgment in this department.

Okay, SECOND. Skin and Hair.

(Disclaimer: since you didn’t mention your specific skin/hair type in your letter, I usually consider said lack of details to be a “tell” that the letter-writer has identified with me and considers us similar. As such, my answers are about my hair/skin type but I try to be more general wherever possible. In addition, I would very much welcome and invite commenters to share what has worked for their hair/skin types during this postpartum phase.)

The hair regrowth will chill out. It does kinda grow back in as wispy baby fly-aways, but with a little more length it will settle down and blend in. You’re probably stuck in the middle of the “baby bangs” transitional period right now and it is not fun. But it is temporary. Here’s a couple tips for getting them to lay flat:

1) After applying hand cream, gently smooth your hands over your hair. (You can do this multiple times a day.)

2) Spritz some spray shine (I like Bed Head’s) into your palms and do the same move as with the moisturizer. The spray shine will add a little weight/grit to the flyaways and help them blend in. Applying it to your hands vs. spraying on your head directly allows you to target certain areas and won’t leave your roots greasy.

3) Once the new hair is a few inches long, use a smoothing/glossing cream (I like Fekkai’s).

4) A couple times a week, indulge in a hair/scalp treatment. You can make these at home, customized to your hair type. Think mayo, mashed avocado, eggs, baking soda, etc. You didn’t describe your hair type so I’ll leave it open for you to Google; alternatively you could try a ready-made one from Lush. I LOVE the “Roots” treatment for fine/thin hair in particular. Lots of volume and shine and my hair is growing in much stronger.

Now. Skin.

My advice for skin-in-hormonal-crisis is still basically the same after all these years. Back away from the harsh scrubs and drying acne treatments and strive for a balanced, gentle routine.

1) Pick a face wash for ALL SKIN TYPES. Nothing with grit or scrubby things — those can actually CAUSE whiteheads by leaving tiny little tears in your skin’s surface. I recommend (in order) Purity by Philosophy, Fresh Farmacy by LUSH, or the original Liquid Neutrogena cleanser.

2) Pick a moisturizer for YOUR SKIN TYPE. And remember that hormonal acne and blemishes do NOT automatically make your skin type “oily.” You should only use products labeled for “oily” skin if you can actually blot off oil from your skin several times a day. So a few hours after your morning cleansing/make-up application, look at your t-zone. Is it super shiny with an oily sheen? If you use a blotting paper does it absorb a significant amount of oil? If so, YES, your skin is oily. But for many of us, even with zits and blackheads and visible pores, we actually fall more into the category of combination-to-normal. (Because “normal” is NOT the same as “perfect and flawless!” Normal just means…human. Skin. The good and the bad.)

For breakout-prone skin of all types, however, I still think there’s no better option than Philosophy’s Hope In a Bottle moisturizer, but it’s gotten ridiculously hard to find. If you can find some, BUY IT. BUY TWO. I’ve gotten annoyed with not being able to consistently find it (and have had baaaaaad luck buying online from places other than Sephora or Ulta — I’ve gotten expired products), so I’ve joined the Lush hive mind and use their moisturizer for combo skin. (Imperialis.)

3) Use a treatment mask 3x/week. HERE is where you bust out the big guns — NOT on your 2/x day routine. Consider it your “me” time and slather on some good mud and other crap. (Do it at the same time as your hair mask! Soak your feet in some epsom salts! Take a bubble bath!)  Let it dry, wash off with your gentle cleanser and then immediately moisturize to keep your skin from overcompensating with more oil production. I like Ahava’s Purifying Mud Mask, Philosophy’s Microdelivery line and just about ANY of the Lush Fresh Face Masks. (I buy so many Lush products these days that I get the masks for free by bring back empty pots of everything else.)

One thing about the masks: You may notice more blemishes at first. I don’t claim to understand skincare science but it seems like these heavy-duty penetrating masks/peels can bring all the crap that’s deep in your pores up to the surface where it wreaks a little bit of last-ditch havoc. After a week or two, you should definitely notice an improvement. After two weeks, if your skin STILL seems “worse,” that means you’re probably using something that’s too harsh and drying and should step down to something gentler, or only use it to target certain areas. (I love Lush’s Cupcake mask for clearing out blackheads in my t-zone, for example, but if I use it on my whole face my skin completely freaks out.)

Sweating

As for the sweating issue, try Certain Dri. If that doesn’t work, see a dermatologist for something prescription strength. However, this one might eventually resolve itself in time. But Certain Dri is the BOMB for heavy sweaters.

Self-Image

Okay. Whew. Now that we’ve barreled through the practical stuff, let’s talk about the glaring self-image problems you’ve got going on here. Please please please — from someone older and saggier and stretch-markier — don’t waste another minute hating your body. Don’t let that hate poison your mind, mood, outlook, sex life, conversations with your husband, your friends, any of it. Because that’s what that sort of hate does. I know, because I’ve been there and done that. Even before babies! When I was young and hot and smooth! But you know, my thighs could’ve been smaller and my boobs could have been bigger and I didn’t like my moles or my thin lips or or or. (Oh LULZ, gurl.)

I’m 35 now, I have cellulite and a non-defined jawline and extra marked-up skin around my stomach that kinda rolls up around my waistband when I sit down and it’s not going away (unless I have surgery). I have lines around my eyes and look absolutely haggard without makeup. I can blame pregnancy for the stomach thing and age for most of the other stuff and I can’t even imagine still caring about crap like thin lips and moles that aren’t cancer. But I will never be younger than I am right now. I will probably never be hotter than I am right now. Hell, even if I got a tummy tuck and lost 15 pounds….I would still be older and WHO KNOWS what’s going to start sagging/wrinkling/spreading out next.

So carpe diem. I wore a bikini at the beach this summer and even DARED to take my cover-up off when going in the ocean, revealing my absolutely not-perfect beach body to like, air and other people. Today I’m going to do my hair and makeup later to the best of my meager ability and put on some pants that fit (even if they are a bigger size than I wore once upon a time) and hopefully create some new smile lines during my time with my family. Maybe later I’ll send a naughty photo of my boobs to my husband’s phone, like the Kids Today, or something.

It took me a long, long time to get to this point of acceptance with my age and body. I wish I’d gotten here sooner, instead of spending years feeling badly about it all and trying to cover up, fix, improve (with varying, mostly-unimpressive results). I hope you can find a way to join me here too, sooner rather than later. Because I bet you are smoking hot, lady. Own it. Love it.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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33 Responses to “On Post-Pregnancy, Post-Breastfeeding Body, Hair, Skin, Oh My!”

  1. aly Nov 06 at 3:44 pm Reply Reply

    also, if i may? i struggled mightily with this after two kids– and i found something on line that said it takes TWO YEARS for your body to readjust from all the pregnancy/hormone CRAZEE that you put it through. so be kind to yourself. your body just did something amazing and miraculous and it needs time to heal, as does your mind.  relax and be kind. it always gets better.

  2. SarahB Nov 06 at 4:06 pm Reply Reply

    I was just thinking something similar to what aly said.

    It took a full six months after weaning for my body to feel somewhat “settled” back into itself.  There are still differences, but that hormonal shifting and all that goes with it takes awhile.

  3. LMo Nov 06 at 4:30 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks, Amy. My BFF is going through this right now, and it breaks my heart! I want her to enjoy and focus on her little miracle, and all she can think about is losing the last 5 pounds of pregnancy weight–and she’s only 6 weeks post-partum!! I’ll be sharing your article with her. Unfortunately, her critical attitude is starting to impact the way I feel about my body, and it’s just no good for either of us.

  4. Ck Nov 06 at 4:53 pm Reply Reply

    I know OP said she’s… smaller… but a word of warning for anyone getting a bra fitting who thinks they are a C or more – Do NOT go to your local department store to confirm your ‘real’ size. I thought I was a D, maybe a DD. And the store sizer confirmed it (on more than one occasion). But something still didn’t feel right. I went to a specialty bra store and discovered I was an H cup! Department stores don’t generally carry bigger that a DDD and they’re not going to tell you that you’re bigger than that because they want to sell you their products. Just a word of advice for larger women seeing this. Wearing the correctly sized H has made a HUGE difference in how I feel both mentally and physically. 

    (Oh, and the hair thing does calm down after a while. But like most postpartum/new baby things, it feels like it lasts FOREVER. Hang in there! It gets better!)

  5. Sam Nov 06 at 5:08 pm Reply Reply

    The sweating and hair problem settled down for me about 4 months after weaning so you could be almost there!

    As for the rest….I don’t know. I wish I could be me more like Amy. Everyone says ‘stretch marks will fade’ and my husband really thought he’d be able to see my boobs again after weaning but…I just can’t. I can’t stand how my breasts look and they don’t feel the same plus my stretch marks still look as fresh as ever and my son is almost 3. Hopefully with time as all these wonderful ladies said it will get better. 

    • JenVegas Nov 06 at 6:37 pm Reply Reply

      You are not alone. My son turns 3 in a month and I’m still not entirely comfortable with my “post-partum” body. My husband is super frustrated but at the same time can’t bring himself to discuss “lady problems.” Eye. Roll. Just trying to power through what is a weirdly low self-esteem moment of time. Trying to focus on being a good, healthy mom NOT obsessed with body image…trying….trying…trying..

  6. Laura Nov 06 at 5:11 pm Reply Reply

    You know I’m so tired of hearing about crap on the news and this letter just made me smile – real problems people!

    Regarding the body image thing, I decided my pre-kids style of tailored clothes from Banana Republic was contributing to the problem. They didn’t wear well on the new body. So now I have embraced a whole new style, I happen to find many (but not all!) of Chico’s clothes to be perfect for me and yes, I’m the youngest shopper in there by 30 years usually.

    Watch a few episodes of “What Not To Wear” and you’ll be embracing a new style too!

  7. Meghan Nov 06 at 5:13 pm Reply Reply

    I do think my boobs perked back up about a year after breastfeeding (and I breastfed twins so these got a serious workout)… and then I got pregnant again so now they have REALLY REALLY perked up – I’m enjoying them while they last :-)

  8. Sabrina Nov 06 at 5:26 pm Reply Reply

    Totally agree on the Nordstrom thing– they have every size ever and will definitely fit you properly.

    My two cents on deodorant:  I used certain dri for a few years (I have been a serious sweat-er since my teens) and it made me SO ITCHY.  I have been using Clinical Strength Dove or Secret deodorant for three or four years and they work 95% as well but no itchiness.  

    Finally, don’t forget your diet can play a role in all the skin craziness too.  Avoiding sugar, refined carbs (I know so mean), eating lots of greens, drinking lots of water and taking fish oil can all help with hormonal skin stuff.  

    I’m 39 weeks pregnant with my second and soooo looking forward to going through all that fun stuff again. Or not :)

  9. Susan Y Nov 06 at 5:51 pm Reply Reply

    I hear this! I’m 10 months post partum with my second baby and the ol’ bod is not great – though let’s be real, it never really was (oh well). I’m going through the hair thing right now and I just found a decent product for those little stick up hairs – 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair. It’s not too expensive and you just spritz it on and blow dry or if you are supreme lazy like me, just comb through and let it air dry. What’s helped me most this time around is scheduling in exercise. I know that’s not a fun answer but it helps me beat the blues and while I’ve seen progress in the body department, if it weren’t mentally helpful I wouldn’t really bother.  

  10. carolyn Nov 06 at 6:26 pm Reply Reply

    I hadn’t even weaned yet before I thought it would be a great idea to go ahead and get pregnant again, so at this point I have no idea which of my skin/hair woes are postpartum/weaning and which are new pregnancy.  ;)  

    That said, my skin has been all kinds of messed up and I had really good luck with the Paula’s Choice skin care line.  I basically called up the expert hotline listed on their website and said, “help, I’m 36 and pregnant and have never used a skin routine in my life and I’m overwhelmed and my face looks like ass” and the nice lady sent me a bunch of samples that really did help.  Their line is fragrance-free and non animal-tested, too, which is a plus.

  11. Amber Nov 06 at 6:36 pm Reply Reply

    Ugh, YES! My second is 13 months and I’m still breast feeding and waiting to see how the breasts turn out. The baby bangs are obnoxious and hilarious looking.

    BUT, my skin is awesome, thanks to beautypedia.com. My skin was always oily and acne-prone, but post-partum it was super dry and with lots of acne. So gross. But after I read the “expert advice” on that site and chose products they recommended, I couldn’t be happier. I use CeraVe hydrating cleanser, Derma E Soothing Toner with pycnogenol, Clean & Clear oil absorbing treatment, and Neutrogena healthy skin anti-wrinkle cream. More products than I have ever used at once, but so worth it. Good luck finding what works for you!

  12. Oh Crap Nov 06 at 6:43 pm Reply Reply

    On the skin issues: I used philosophy products for six months on Amy’s advice but they were no good for me. Cystic acne and just generally unhappy skin and burning sensations. I’ve finally settled into the best skin care regimen for me:

    - Fresh soy facial cleanser: awesome because I can wash off eye make up with it. Philosophy cleanser burned my eyes
    - jurlique herbal night renewal cream for face and fresh black tea eye treatment for eyes but I only put these on in the morning. IMPORTANT: jurlique is in a glass jar and I firmly believe that switching from creams in plastic containers to creams in glass have caused the 180 improvement in my skin. If bpa and other chemicals can leach into beverages and foods, they can certainly leach into other things, right? Jurlique has a strong scent of roses but I was told that it contains rose oil or water which is supposedly good for your skin, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought such a strongly scented product.

    I don’t bother with any creams at night because I’m prone to breakouts. My skin has gone from 1 clear week a month at best to 1 breakout every other month since I stopped using plastic containered creams and stopped applying cream 2x daily. Oh and I use a foundation with SPF.

    I’m four months postpartum. Good luck!

  13. Jay Nov 06 at 6:50 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you Amy for all the positive thoughts – it is so refreshing to read appreciation for “real” bodies and what happens.

    On skin issues, I have to say that after trying all the products, I finally just took myself to a dermatologist and got a prescription for a drug that controls my hormonal acne.  I now have the best skin of my life, consistently.  My only regret is continuing to play product roulette much longer than I should have.  So, if you had hormonal acne before kids, and still have it after, a dermatologist might be what you need (although trips to Lush and Sephora are certainly more fun)!

  14. Becky Nov 06 at 7:53 pm Reply Reply

    And remember to exercise which can cure all of these! !!

  15. My Kids Mom Nov 06 at 8:02 pm Reply Reply

    I so hated my post partum body that I thought I’d go against a life’s opinion and get surgery. When I weaned, my temporarily H sized boobs deflated, overnight, back to a B cup. Except all the skin was still there like an empty water balloon. I really was freaking. I told myself I’d give myself one year to decide about surgery and meanwhile I got professional help (Nordstroms) and new sexy (non-breastfeeding styled) bras. A year later I was ok. I can name a lot of body parts that I’d like to change, but nothing so serious that I can’t live with it.

    And don’t get too comfortable with clear skin (which will come back gradually too.) Menopause (and peri-) is as tough on your face as puberty. The things they don’t tell us….

  16. Cait Nov 07 at 8:27 am Reply Reply

    Thanks Amy! I was literally just about to write you with a skin question but I think this covers it. OP, bodies are hard, no matter what you shape, size or relative squishyness level may be. It’s un-pc but try to take comfort in the fact that your baby thinks you’re beautiful and obviously your husband does to! I know when I’m feeling especially gross nothing works better then putting on a low cut top and making my DH not pay attention to what I’m saying for a while. Be a little daring and show off whatever feature you know drives him nuts. (seriously I’m usually feeling bad about my middle but all he can focus on are the boobs and the teenage boy whaaaatttt?? face it makes everything better almost everytime)

  17. Kendra Nov 07 at 8:33 am Reply Reply

    Completely agree with Amy’s Nordstrom’s recommendation! I feel so better now that my flatter, wider boobs are in the right size bra (34DD?!?!) than the 34C I was trying to make work. My clothes are much smoother and look nicer than before. Crazy how a bad bra can throw off your whole outfit.

    Also, I have had acne my whole life but nothing as crazy as it has been lately. When I had my daughter my skin was the most gorgeous it had ever been so when I got pregnant again this past summer I was hoping for the same but from the start my skin was a mess. Then I ended up having a miscarriage and to add insult to injury my face has been an out of control disaster since it happened and my scalp has been so itchy I want to claw my skin off my head. Oh nad I have 5 pounds to lose too. Thanks a lot Mother Nature! About a month ago I decided to ditch all of the harsh chemicals and put nothing but Lush products on my face and head. What a difference already! My skin and scalp is slowly balancing and getting better. If you go into a Lush store, they can give you some recommendations based on your skin type of what will work best. I also use Aztec Secrets, Bentonite Clay mask about twice a week. You can find it on Amazon and wow, it has really helped reduce the blotchy redness all over my face.

    Hope this helps a little. Big hugs to you and just know that you are not alone!

  18. Hannah Nov 07 at 9:55 am Reply Reply

    I, too, have had awesome results with Paula’s Choice, and wholeheartedly second the recommendation to try her products.  I can also recommend going to a specialty shop for a bra fitting.  I have had bad luck with department stores (I’m a 34 F), and once I got fitted, found that I could order most stuff online.  

    Above all, though, just be kind to yourself.  Having a body is tough – it’s not always going to do what you want it to do or look how you want it to look, and you just have to be nice to it.  My daughter’s almost 4, and although I’ve mostly gotten back to my pre-baby weight, my body is just not the same shape/size any more.  Take a deep breath, poke that belly a couple of times (I used to draw silly faces on it in eyeliner) and breathe.  

  19. Erin Nov 07 at 11:26 am Reply Reply

    I’m 31 weeks pregnant, so this is all very useful for me (or will be in the next couple of months/years)!

    Just wanted to chime in that I love Philosophy products, too, and order mine from QVC. Yes, really. They carry everything, and often in “supersized” versions that are ultimately much cheaper (per ounce) than what you can get at Sephora, etc. (A shipment of two GIANT bottles of Purity came yesterday–64 total ounces for $90 including shipping, and they offer “easy pay” which means I get charged $30/month for 3 months. Those bottles will last me almost 2 years. Yes, really.)

    Anyway–Amy, I discovered that QVC has Hope in a Bottle, too! Check it out: http://www.qvc.com/philosophy-hope-in-a-bottle-moisturizer,-2-oz-Search-Results.product.A323520.html?sc=A323520-SRCH&cm_sp=VIEWPOSITION-_-1-_-A323520&catentryImage=http://images-p.qvc.com/is/image/a/20/a323520.001?$uslarge$

  20. Andrea Nov 07 at 11:43 am Reply Reply

    I have a 6 month old and am on my 3rd ride on the postpartum train and can sympathize!

    I found Neutrogena products really help my terrible skin CALM DOWN from the hormonal freak out of pregnancy and postpartum. Also, they are affordable, which, lets be honest, with three kids, that is the main thing. Definitely go treat yourself to a professional bra fitting. Having the girls properly supported and contained does wonders!

    Finally, I just want to say that it does get better. But, you must tell yourself you are beautiful. Find your favorite feature and focus on it. Say you are beautiful. Out loud. Mean it – and make sure your daughter hears you. She knows you are beautiful, and people probably tell her she looks like her momma. Acknowledge this! Do this for you, but also for her.

    Oh, and manicures. A manicure always makes me unreasonably happy for at least a week. =)

  21. Bria Nov 07 at 12:57 pm Reply Reply

    I really needed those last few paragraphs. Thanks Amy!

  22. Kristin Nov 07 at 2:40 pm Reply Reply

    I needed those last few paragraphs too. I might be a little misty after reading them (maybe because I am prego again and those hormones have gone zooming). Thank you for reminding us to not only be kind to ourselves but proud of what our bodies have done and become.

  23. Cara Nov 07 at 3:01 pm Reply Reply

    I think Amy’s right and you’ve just got to give things a little time. Your new normal really isn’t apparent until after the hormones truly settle. But – if they don’t or if you really think things are outside the norm, talk to your doctor. Pregnancy and childbirth can do a number in your system and sometimes things linger. I was diagnosed with an infection in my uterine lining three freaking years later. I had dismissed the early symptoms as just pregnancy leftovers and I’m not sure we would ever have figured it out but for a good doctor who asked for more specifics.

  24. Amelia Nov 07 at 3:09 pm Reply Reply

    I would recommend starting a fitness routine to help with the body image.  I do Baby Boot Camp (it’s a national franchise and you can take baby in the stroller, but the workouts are much tougher than Stroller Strides) and I can tell you that just being physically fit has done wonders for my self esteem post-baby.  I wear the same size I always have, but I am STRONG now.  Plus, a supportive group of women all traveling motherhood together?  Priceless.

  25. Hope Nov 07 at 8:59 pm Reply Reply

    All of Amy’s advice is spot on! 

    A couple more things that I might add… Get some clothes that flatter and fit your new body. It’s so tempting to say “I’ll just lose that last 15 pounds and then I’ll go shopping.” But it’s depressing as all hell to wear the same, saggy pair of Old Navy jeans every day. I may or may not be speaking from experience here. ;) If you’re still losing weight, buy clothes that are on the cheaper side. Or go to the other extreme and buy some really nice pieces that will be worth having taken in. But don’t stop shopping just because you don’t like how your body is doing!

    One of the reasons that pregnancy skin looks so fantastic is that you have all sorts of extra blood flowing around you. So, getting your blood flowing will help! I’m partial to jogging, but any aerobic exercise will do the trick.

    My one big indulgence (besides cute clothes that I hope to someday size down from!) is getting my hair cut and colored at a nice salon. My hair started falling out in clumps about a month after I stopped breastfeeding. My stylist was able to give it some nice layers. You can’t even tell that I have about 2/3s as much hair as I used to.

    But, yeah, the biggest thing is really learning to love your new self. :)

  26. Autumn Nov 08 at 12:15 am Reply Reply

    Aren’t hormones fun!

    Speaking of hormones, were you on hormonal contraceptives (the pill, etc) for awhile prior to becoming pregnant?  If so, your body could be struggling even more to find where the new “normal” is.  Or were you on the pill for so long that you forgot about all the stuff that disappeared when you started taking the “magic pill”  I was on the pill for 10 years prior to my planned conception/pregnancy, and those couple of hormonally unregulated months were a not fun flash back to my late teens/early 20s skin.  For me the magic pill did more than magically keep away the babies. . .  I went back on it when my daughter was a year old.  The only “natural” periods I”ve had in 12 years ware the few I had between going off the pill and getting pregnant.  

    Something else to consider.  Because your amazing body just is not Giselle’s (sorry, it’s a bummer for most of us:)), and you grew a whole new person inside of you.  That’s Awesome!

  27. Christen Nov 08 at 3:01 pm Reply Reply

    No kids here, but fertility treatments/extra hormones seem to have jacked up my skin.  A trip to my esthetician for a facial and a consultation on the changes in my skin helped tremendously!  It may seem like a crazy indulgence (time and money wise) but could be worth it.  Don’t get suckered into buying products on the spot, though.  See how your skin reacts/settles down and then buy if you love it.

    And Amalah is right – Your skin will push all the crap to the surface in a big purge and then should start to clear up again.  

    Hang in there!  And congratulatons on the baby!

  28. Monica Nov 08 at 9:40 pm Reply Reply

    Adding my $0.02 about post-partum acne, since the OP mentioned whiteheads specifically: I had terrible acne while I was pregnant, and it seemed to get VERY BRIEFLY better and then much worse again after delivery. Lots of whiteheads, big ones. I went to see a dermatologist and found out I’d picked up a staph infection in my skin while in the hospital for delivery. Topical antibiotic cleared it up, and since it was topical it didn’t interfere with breastfeeding or affect my baby. (I know the OP’s baby has weaned, but in case anyone else is wondering – ask for the topical!)

  29. Helen Nov 08 at 11:46 pm Reply Reply

    I’ve really noticed, on other women more than myself, how we bounce back after pregnancy. You see each other at the mommy & me group or whatever, and you are just used to how your friend looks. And then post-baby life takes over and you go in different directions, but at some point down the line you run into each other again at the supermarket and you’re blow away by how fabulous your friend looks! I mean, not only is her hair styled and she is no longer looking deathly tired, but there’s something less definable, too – just an overall sense that childbirth puts strain on us, and it shows, and then we recover. I’ve seen this time and time again. So don’t panic it really does get better.

  30. Jr Nov 10 at 5:31 pm Reply Reply

    I have quasi curly hair, so I always have trouble with frizzies (and it gets worse post baby).  My hairdresser taught me to put a little smoothing cream on an old toothbrush and “comb” down the fly aways with that.  It works pretty well.  She also recommends grapeseed oil for a inexpensive leave in moisturizer.  

  31. J Nov 13 at 12:59 pm Reply Reply

    My daughter is 4 1/2 months old and also very chill- my body is in *pretty* good shape because I crossfitted throughout my pregnancy and have kept going, although not nearly as much as I was before I was trying to balance a tiny sidekick and a full-time job.

    It is incredibly hard to watch everything swell and grow and sag, especially when you are still working hard at diet and exercise, but I try to remind myself that my daughter is watching me and will love/hate her body the same way I do. I grew up always feeling like I wasn’t smart enough, pretty enough, if only I was five inches taller and my legs were longer and… you get it from outside and inside, I remember so many people making fun of me for my weight and now I can’t believe I ever felt FAT for weighing 110 pounds. Bottom line, I don’t want my daughter to grow up feeling like if only her boobs were like this, THEN she would be good enough. So I focus on how lucky I am to be so healthy and to have a healthy, growing baby because more than anything else I want her to be happy and confident, and I want that to stick with her through middle school and high school, puberty, weight gain, weight loss, awkward years, college, everything- the power to be happy with herself. That is what I want to model for my daughter.

  32. Anya Nov 13 at 8:42 pm Reply Reply

    RE bra fitting, please try this website before going to Nordstroms:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/wiki/fit_guide

    Even some Nordstroms fitters still mistakenly use the old +4 rule and will put you in the wrong size.  However, once you know a good starting size for you AND understand proper bra fit and how to put on a bra (waaaay more important than you ever realized), Nordstroms does have the best selection in the widest range of sizes.

    RE skincare, I will second the rec for beautypedia/Paula’s Choice. I don’t use many PC products themselves, but the other product reviews on the website have been a godsend for me to find good stuff at the drugstore.

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