Friday, October 29, 2010

Things I wish I'd been told about having a baby (part 1)

Here is a list (most likely, an ongoing one) of things I wish someone had told me beforehand about this baby business! I've organized them into categories. Enjoy! (Note: many things are TMI so read at your own risk...)

Labor and Delivery
1. You WILL poop on the delivery table.
2. But you really won't care!
3. In fact, all the crazy things you do and say during labor and delivery are in no way representative of how you'd "normally" act. This is imperative if you want to actually let labor progress. (See "letting your monkey do it.")
4. Even if you create a birth plan, things will probably go a little differently than you anticipate. Better to have a birth plan in your heart and head, and concentrate on that, in order to get the experience you want.
5. If you're using an OB, he/she will probably suggest you schedule an induction for around 41 weeks. You have the right to say no, though.

Recovery/Postnatal Care
1. The nurses will make you get up to pee soon after birth.  They'll even follow you into the bathroom. But they'll probably be nice and run the water in the sink and look away while you do it.
2. Remember these items: peri bottle, peri pad, sitz bath, perineal spray. These will be your best friends for roughly 2-3 weeks postpartum.
3. Even if you don't think you need it, TAKE IBUPROFEN for pain! You might also get a prescription for percoset - I don't really think that was necessary, but I'm sure those who had a c-section would probably want that. Oh, and they'll probably recommend you take stool softeners too. Good idea! (Btw, I was really scared about the first postpartum poop, but it was really ok.)
4. If you've had stitches, then burning, itching, etc. is all normal as the incision heals!!!!
5. Expect to wear humongous, mesh granny panties for a few days after birth. The hospital usually provides these (and more maxi-pads then you've seen since since middle school).
6. Go to Target and buy even more maxi pads. Seriously. You'll need 'em. Even if you don't actually (TMI warning!) soak through them, you'll want to change them often because..well, you know. Gross.

1. It is NOT easy! It takes time, for you and baby, to understand each other and to "sync up."
2. If you are BFing, start early. Try not to let the nurses take your baby from you until you get a chance to nurse for the first time.
3. For the first few days, you'll feel like your body is not producing anything, and that your baby isn't getting anything. Don't worry - it is and he/she is. The colostrum is highly rich in nutrients and is considered the "perfect food" for your baby. His/her stomach is so tiny at birth so he/she doesn't need a lot anyway. Just keep feeding, and your body will provide what your baby needs.
4. When your milk comes in, you'll feel totally weird! You might even get a low-grade fever (100s). Normal. A little massage, a warm washcloth and/or shower, and perhaps some pumping to relieve engorgement will work.
5. Even though a lot of "experts" will say that BFing shouldn't hurt if baby is latched correctly, IT DOES HURT! It can hurt for a number of reasons and on a scale spanning just weird and uncomfortable to sharp shooting pain. Be sure to be aware of certain conditions (mastitis, thrush), but if you don't have those, your boobs can often be heavy, sore, tender, warm to the touch, etc. You might feel like a knitting needle is being poked all the way through your boob when your baby latches. This will get better with time.
6. Also, the positioning will get easier as your baby learns to support his/her head better and gets bigger. At first, I couldn't do ANYTHING but support her with both hands as she fed. Now...typing one handed works!
7. FIND A GOOD LACTATION CONSULTANT you trust and/or (even better) a breastfeeding support group. These are invaluable. You meet other new moms, you have a quiet and respectful place to nurse and you get to share stories. Plus, the LC is there for advice and for "freebies" (last week she gave out free bottles the hospital didn't need and a recipe for oatmeal cookies to build supply; this week she had candy for Halloween). Even if you're not a joiner, try it.

Crying/Not Sleeping
1.As much as you think you "know" that babies will still break your heart when they do!
2.Your baby will probably be fussy every evening for no explained reason. This is not necessarily colic. All babies have a fussy time; you just have to figure out what that is for your baby.
3. Your baby might have gas and/or intolerances to foods you eat. You'll know this by, well, gasiness, EXTREME fusiness, and (gross) green/mucuosy diapers. You may have to cut out some things from your diet if your baby is reacting to something you eat and you want to continue to breastfeed. There are LOTS of support groups out there on the web, especially at Baby Center.
4. Another really wonderful, comprehensive site about BFing and parenting is Kelly Mom. 
5. There are a bunch of differing opinions on whether or not babies should be put on a schedule, letting babies cry it out, and sleeping through the night. Most everyone will recommend a book for you to read. I have read literature/articles from both the Cry-it-Out camp and the Attachment Parenting (AP) camp. I personally have discovered myself to be more of an AP parent myself. But you can and should decide for your family and your baby which is best for all of you. Many moms might tell you to read On Becoming Babywise. After reading that book and then The Baby Sleep Book by the Sears family, I think the latter is more comprehensive and more my style. That's just my opinion though!! :) Some other good methods I've heard about are The Baby Whisperer and Zen Baby.

Products We Can't Live Without
1. Moby wrap - stops crying/fussing within five minutes! Great to have on while you do other stuff so you can be hands-free. Also great for walks when you don't want to schlep carseat/stroller everywhere.
2. Baby swing - HELLO! Best thing ever! Baby will ALWAYS sleep in the swing (even if she won't always sleep in the crib..oy vey.)
3. Boppy - or some variation therof. Could not get through the BFing without it!!

And Finally..
1. Take a shower EVERY DAY! It's ok. Just put your baby in a safe place (crib, bassinet, pack n play, strapped in car seat/other seat) and give yourself some time!!!
2. Drink LOTS of water! This is something I have to force myself to remember to do. Also, eating at regular intervals so that you're not starving and as cranky as your baby.
3. I'm not going to tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. That piece of advice is so overused and really like a "duh." However, I WILL tell you that for the most part, you WON'T sleep when the baby sleeps. In fact, you'll more likely SWEEP when the baby sleeps. At least I do, because I'd rather feel in control of the cleanliness of my apartment and keeping up with my stuff. Maybe after a little while I will sleep more. But it's nice to be up and around the apartment when the baby is sleeping because you have some "free time." I do try to get in one nap per day, though.
3. Basically, take care of yourself first, so that you can take care of your little one. And ask for help!!!!

Ok! Wow. I'm sure there will be more....but that's it for now!

1 comment:

  1. Yes on the pads! Yes on the painkillers! Yes to BF'ing hurting for the first while! And most importantly, YES to following the sleep strategy that works best for YOUR family (we're Babywisers ourselves...) Everyone has so much advice but the best piece of advice ever is to do what works best for you, your baby and your family. That's what's most important. Hmm, seeing as I'm due for Baby #2 in 5 days, this list just reminds me of all the stuff I need to figure out again! Yikes!