words by: Laura Robbins
I know they said things would change postpartum. I was prepared for the possibility of acne, hair loss and brittle nails. I knew that my stomach would take a while to shrink and that my boobs were going to feel big and uncomfortable as my milk came in. But no one told me that I’d need to lay two to three towels down at night just to have an ounce of a fighting chance at soaking up all the night sweats that were going to happen.
I’m a new mom, and this is my very sweaty postpartum journey.
The first 24 hours
It’s safe for all of you to assume that yes, I did sweat exponentially during labour. How do you not? Your body goes into a completely primal state, and all your senses take over to keep focused on your one task: birth this baby.
Because I went into labour late at night and delivered in the middle of the night, I think I was too high off new momhood and tired from lack of sleep to really be aware of how much I smelled from sweating. But upon waking from my (very short) sleep, I definitely noticed.
Each time I awoke from any sort of sleep session I was clammy and wet, my hospital gown sticking to my every crevice. I didn’t really think too much of it though. I was covered in other now dried liquids, so what was one more sweaty sleep on top of that?
It wasn’t until I came home and took my first shower in over 36 hours that I think I realized how fragrant I had gotten.
And the sweat journey only continues.
The first week
I very quickly learned not to go to sleep without laying on at least two towels, wrapping my pillow in a towel, and lying a fourth towel on top of me between me and my duvet. The postpartum night sweats are like any other. More sweat than any fever I’ve ever experienced, these sweats have you shedding every ounce of liquid you took on to grow your baby over the last nine months, and you rid them in about a two-week span (1).
New mom tip: have a large glass of water on your bedside table.
Along with the nightsweats come armpits that stink to a whole new degree. Your erratic and quick change in hormones is the reason behind this one (2), and I personally feel it’s also to help your baby bond with you. Pheromones, you love them and you hate them.
So while you’re going to feel refreshed after your morning shower, that feeling won’t always last once the middle of the day hits and you catch a whiff of yourself when you pull your shirt up to breastfeed.
The second week...until forever?
As mentioned, I’m a new mom, so all of these changes came as quite a shock to me when they first started showing up. And while the intense night sweats did subside, the increase in sweat and new sweat smell is still going strong past the six-week fourth-trimester mark.
Is this the new me?
While I wait to discover how my body is adjusting, I’ve rounded up some more new mom tips for you, because you really can’t have enough when it comes to motherhood.
- Drink loads of water, whether breastfeeding or not
- Throw towels down on your bed to protect your mattress
- Wear cotton clothes or natural, more breathable fibres
- Personalize a free-from deodorant that makes you feel fresh and that you can feel good about using while breastfeeding
- It’s okay that your body is changing and that it might take a moment for you to catch up with it mentally. You’re going through a lot and you’re doing great.
You made it through pregnancy, birth, and now you’re in the throngs of postpartum - every stage brings a new challenge, and if you’ve related to any of this then this new mom can check off the box today for doing a little good.
- Laura, a mom finding her new groove and loving (almost) all of it
- MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Postpartum night Sweats: Causes, treatments, and timescale. Medical News Today. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322589.
- 2. 25, C. P. F., Perry, C., Perry, C., & 25, F. (n.d.). What to expect with postpartum hormone changes. Parents. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/postpartum/postpartum-hormone-changes/.