Things to know as a new mom
according to little old me.
Having a baby is no easy task. Definitely the most difficult thing I have ever done. But having the baby wasn’t the tough part. Surviving the first months were! It far surpassed the pregnancy and delivery at least for me. Not that I am an expert by ANY means, but I have done it twice! I wanted to share a few thoughts on the subject. Things that I wish I knew and feel are valuable knowledge for others first time mamas!
1. However you feed and deliver your baby is good enough: Something hovers over every mother, and that is the expectation to have a perfect experience. Sure it would be nice if your boobs could produce milk and that your baby could latch properly. Not to mention it would be great if you could bring your baby into the world vaginally, but that isn’t always the case. Every baby is different. Don’t let your expectations and wants overrule what is truly best for you and your baby! You are not worth ANY less of a mother for doing something different! C-sections are AMAZING and such a blessing. Formula is HEAVEN sent! Who cares if your friend Sally had 4 perfect babies and labor! Who cares if you got induced or if you had all the pain meds possible! Your baby is in the world! So throw out your pride and do what is best for both of you! And if anyone tells you otherwise, feel free to call me and I will stick it to em free of charge. Something hovers over every mother, and that is the expectation to have a perfect experience. Sure it would be nice if your boobs could produce milk and that your baby could latch properly. Not to mention it would be great if you could bring your baby into the world vaginally, but that isn’t always the case. Every baby is different. Don’t let your expectations and wants overrule what is truly best for you and your baby! You are not worth ANY less of a mother for doing something different! C-sections are AMAZING and such a blessing. Formula is HEAVEN sent! Who cares if your friend Sally had 4 perfect babies and labor! Who cares if you got induced or if you had all the pain meds possible! Your baby is in the world! So throw out your pride and do what is best for both of you! And if anyone tells you otherwise, feel free to call me and I will stick it to em free of charge.
2. Nap as OFTEN as you can: You will soon realize how tiring a newborn is. You will probably cry tears from it. I know I did sometime still do. Babies haven’t figured out morning and night yet. With both my girls I found it best to differentiate morning and night for a newborn. For example: only swaddle them when it’s really time for bed. Turn off lights, and make it quiet. Some friends I know found it helpful to bathe them before bed every night. So nap when they nap (this rule doesn’t much apply if you have two+ children! Haha bless your soul!). You need ALL the sleep and sanity as you can to get you through months ahead!
3.Adult Diapers are a heaven sent the first few weeks of postpartum: Did you read correctly? Yep. I said adult diapers. A little weird… but both times I loved them. You are bleeding like Niagra Falls and the ones the hospital gives just doesn’t cut it! Grab some diapers in advance and as soon as you can swap out those annoying pads that go belly button to butt crack! I found the diapers to be much more functional and comfortable!
4. Read up on breastfeeding: Whoever said breastfeeding is easy is LYING. It seems like it would be natural and a breeze, but both of you are learning. It’s so different for each baby. I have many thoughts on the subject, but my most basic advice is at least read up tips to know what to expect! Here are a few important ones I found extremely helpful.
-Don’t use a nipple shield, binkie, or bottle in the first few days if possible: This ruined my experience with my first! The nurse insisted I needed a shield so that’s ALL my baby wanted. Plastic. But know your limits! If it isn’t working then use anything you can to get your baby to eat! No shame!
- Learn about colostrum: How can your baby really and truly survive days on hardly anything? Colostrum is magic! They say a baby only needs a few teaspoons to get by for days on this “liquid gold”. It’s a orangey substance that is packed with nutrients from you to get by until your full supply comes in! You may notice a little bit of colostrums before your baby comes weeks before! So let them suck or “cluster feed” as much as they need to help your milk come in!
-Learn about Mastis: Mastis is a nightmare. Like a flu on steroids! It is caused by a variety of things. Like going too long without pumping or feeding, wearing an improper bra, or not empting your breasts enough. It normally causes a milk duct to get clogged and then with horror… infected! Learn how to prevent it and cross your fingers! I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.
- Know that feeding WILL get better: The first 3 weeks was the hardest for me. Nipples have to toughen up. Sometime they bleed. Just know that the excruciating pain of sore nipples will eventually end! Use nipple cream faithfully and just keep feeding! Get help if possible! Pump in between to ease the pain on your nipples to give them time to heal! Next is cluster feeding! It’s very hard on sore nipple! Don’t give up right away! It is just a comfort thing, and to help bring in your supply! Not to mention when your supply does come in and you are jumping with joy that your baby can ACTUALLY eat, it is gonna get a little tough. You will be so engorged with milk for a few days! Use a hot/cold breast pad! Hot before you feed. Then cool after. It will soon ease up and be much more comfortable. Eat and drink lots to keep in your supply! It will get better soon! I pinky promise!
5. Cry it out method doesn’t scienctifically work: until 4-6 months: Although I know this to be true… sometimes just sometimes you can let them cry. To an extent of course. If you are at your wits end with a fussy baby and are not thinking properly, set down your baby and take a five minute break and come back. Newborns cry to communicate and when you have only known them for a week or two you are still trying to figure them out while they are figuring out the world themselves.
6. Self Care for Post Partum: The first few weeks of being home I was already going stir crazy. I felt gross and smelly constantly. I was tired and near insanity. My sweet husband let me go get my nails done. Other days he let me nap. Other times he let me get out with my girlfriends. We even switched weeks with church. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it helped me in my recovery process in ALL holistic ways. Mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally! Take time for yourself it will bless all of you and help you be a better mother. But don’t get too carried away… worry about your weight later!
7. The adage "the days are long and the years are short" is absolutely, painfully true: A day will come when you are nostalgic for the moment you're living right now. Enjoy every moment because guess what… they are only a newborn for the first month. And an infant for a year. Soon you’ll be looking at old pictures and videos on your phone tearfully wondering where the days have gone!