Life as a new mom, can very difficult but You Can Be Better Prepared.
When you’re pregnant for the first time, and the days, weeks and months are slooowly creeping by, you are left wondering, am I prepared for this?
Oh momma, you’re prepared, but there are some additional things that other mommies may not have shared with you.
I had so many people say that mom’s don’t always share what actually happens after having a baby because they don’t want to scare women away. I say, to hell with that! Nothing would have scared me away from having a baby, but if I had known then, what I know now, my experience as a brand new mom might have been bit smoother.
Your Love for Your Newborn Will Grow and Change as a New Mom.
I’ve loved Emmett from the moment I knew I was pregnant. I felt him grow and move and kick inside the womb and there was an instant connection to him once he was born. However, I struggled in the beginning because when he was first in my arms, I felt affection for him but my heart wasn’t bursting with love right off the bat. There was nothing wrong with me, and there is nothing wrong with you, if you should feel this way.
This new, beautiful little bundle is coming in and changing your life completely, it doesn’t mean you don’t care for him (or her) or that you wouldn’t do anything for them, it simply means you need time to adjust. You have too much else going on in your life, that you don’t need to put added pressure on yourself to feel any differently than how you’re feeling.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) Isn’t a Joke!
Obviously, I knew going into having a baby that there was a chance that I would feel mopey or sad, but I completely underestimated how mopey and sad I’d actually feel. No one shares how bad it can be. Not one single other mom said to me, watch out for how you’re feeling after you have Emmett. Sure, I’d read about it, and my OB-GYN had mentioned it but I was in no way prepared for the swing of hormones that were racing through me. All of which, lead me to feel sad and ready to kill myself one minute and so undeniably blissful the next. I thought something was seriously wrong with me, that nothing would ever feel right again, which is probably why I had so many issues with #1. Thank goodness for my doctor, Seamus and a dear close friend, reminded me of what was going on in my body, and allowed me to cry to them without a lick of judgement. They only ever wanted me to feel better and I did, eventually.
Breastfeeding Isn’t Easy, but You CAN Do It!
In the midst of dealing with the beginnings of my PPD, I was trying to get my newborn son to latch and nurse and gain weight. I knew before having Emmett that I would breastfeed him, but in the back of my mind I knew there was always formula if I needed it. I regret thinking this way, I should have never entertained the idea that formula existed and that my son might drink it, I believe this is what led to most of my trouble with breastfeeding, because I was always so willing to just give up.
Emmett’s first night was a tough one, he was latching but not really sucking because he’d fall asleep at my breast. The next night, was the night he went through his cluster feeds, he’d wake up and cry every 2 hours or so to eat. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, I almost admitted defeat and allowed him to be fed formula. Once again, thank goodness for Seamus, he gently pushed and encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing, reminding me that the next night would be easier and he was right. Each subsequent night got easier and easier, and now we’re old pros (yes, Emmett is still breastfed today at 13 months old).
I encourage you to reach out to support groups, lacation consultants and friends who have breastfed. Surround yourself with people who will support your desires, not belittle them or make you feel crazy for wanting to give your child the very VERY best, despite the extra effort it takes in the beginning.
Breastfeeding Will Likely Hurt in the Beginning but Your Body is Made to Adjust.
As with anything worth doing, it requires extra effort and perseverance. The first several times that Emmett would latch, it was wrong, but I didn’t know it was wrong. His mouth wasn’t open wide enough, which leads to a shallow latch and potentially cracked nipples. Thankfully our hospital had lactation consultants on duty 7 days a week, who were very VERY helpful. They watched Emmett latch, showed me what he was doing wrong and how to fix it, they shared the phrase, “shove with love,” which basically means that once you have the baby’s mouth open wide enough and your nipple inserted, to gently shove the baby on until you feel him latch. It worked like a charm and it was because of these women that I had such success.
The other thing is, it hurt a lot, in the beginning, but with patience and lots and lots of Medela Lanolin (I recommend you buy this now, if you plan to breastfeed), I healed and breastfeeding became a pleasurable time for me and my baby to spend together.
You will bleed lots and lots and LOTS!
Again, one of those things that people had mentioned to me but never quite stressed how bad it would be. The hospital gives you pads that resemble adult diapers, but in the first few days, even those you’ll soak through quickly. Most hospitals will load you up with pads before you walk out their door, but once you run out of those you’re probably wondering what you should buy next. I went with Stayfree Ultra Thin Overnight Pads and they worked perfectly! They weren’t the bulky pillows from the hospital, but they still soaked up so much blood, I never worried whether I was going to overflow it, which is a huge accomplishment considering how much comes out of you at a time.
There you have it, my top 5 things I wished I’d known before delivering Emmett. My goal isn’t to scare you, but to share what REALLY happens after birth, so that you’re prepared and can stop PPD in its tracks.