I fully expected it to take a long while to get to a place where I would be happy with my post baby body. I was ok with that, and hubby had been warned it could take awhile. I was very, very fortunate (thank you mom and God for good genes) that it took me significantly less time than I thought it would.
Here I am at 39 weeks, just a few days before delivery:
I gained a total of 27 lbs during pregnancy, and I was down 18 lbs the day I came home from the hospital (big baby and lots of fluid). Even then, I thought I'd have a ways to go, as I'd read that it was only healthy to lose about 2 lbs a week while breastfeeding. For this reason, I did not diet, just tried to eat fairly healthy, and drink a LOT of water, to maintain by breastmilk supply. One week later, I was debating ordering a belly band, as I was continuing to loose weight quickly, but the belly was still hanging around.
I ended up ordering the Belly Bandit, and while I only wore it for about 2 weeks total, I think it was worth it. Why did I only wear it for 2 weeks? There's a comfort curve for that sucker. It was tight, and uncomfortable, and dug in, for like 2 days. Then, you don't really notice it anymore. And right around 2 weeks of wear, I had a bit of a tummy bug, and I wasn't going to wear it when I didn't feel good, so I took it off for a few days, and since I was pretty happy with my belly at that point, it was hard for me to get past the comfort curve again. I'd wear it for a few hours here and there, or at night, but then I'd pull it off. A few months later, I wish I'd worn it the full time, as my belly got some of the roundness back, but it's not horrible. This was my belly after wearing it for around 3 days, so right around 2 weeks postpartum, I think.
I will note that this is right around the point I returned to my pre-pregnancy weight. Please, don't hate me- I truly believe it had nothing to do with anything I did, and was a result of being blessed with good genes. I would say breastfeeding also helped.
Three months later, I'm still pretty happy with my post baby body. Like I said, I've gotten a slight amount of the belly back, but honestly, it's such a small amount I'm probably the only person that notices. Also, I never had great abs- even at my thinnest, I've always had a softer belly- it's where I (and my mama) hold any extra weight, so my post baby belly expectations may have been lower than other people's. I still have quite a few stretch marks on the left side of my belly, and I still have the linea nigra. Please excuse the awesome quality of the photos- I didn't really feel the need to break out my big girl camera for these shots.
Also, this is weird, but as you can see, my belly button is now kind of a half outie. It used to be very deep in, and now it's more flat/out. Combined with the dark line of my linea nigra, and my belly button now just looks dirty. I promise it's clean! Obviously I don't love the stretch marks or line, but it's a small price to pay for my sweet girl.
Other aspects of post baby life- I felt really weak for about 5 weeks after giving birth. I think this was how my pain manifested itself, because when I took my painkillers I'd feel fine, but I stopped the Percocet about one week postpartum, and then I quit the Ibuprofun around three weeks. I wasn't expecting this, and thought maybe there was something wrong with me, but yeah, that's all it was. My skin was awesome during pregnancy and for about 2 months postpartum, but it has returned to its normal state. Boo.
In the interest of TMI, the red lochia stopped around 3.5 weeks, and was completely over around 6 weeks. I had my first postpartum period right around 8 weeks, despite exclusively breastfeeding. At 10 weeks postpartum I stopped having to wear my Lansinoh breastpads. Occasionally I'll spring a leak during letdown, but my nursing bras absorb it well. And since I'm sharing all, I had previously stated that during pregnancy, intimacy was not high on my agenda at all, and I'm happy to report this was not a permanent state. I had a lot of pain though, which I think is common, especially if you're breastfeeding, so at my postpartum apt my Dr gave me some topical estrogen. This, plus time, really helped. Still not fully pain-free, but getting there.
Clearly I'm not afraid to share, so if there's something I missed that you're dying to know, just comment or shoot me an email. Everyone's experience is different, but I think it helps to know what various people dealt with, so it's not as scary.