Becoming a mom is the most incredible thing I've ever done and I am forever grateful that I was able to conceive and carry a child. It's almost been a month since our son came into the world and I'm ready to share some of my experiences and thoughts.
1. Opinions and unwanted advice
People say a lot of things and have tons of opinions about everything regarding your baby; how to carry him, how to dress him, how to comfort him, when to feed him, when yo change his diaper and the list goes on. However it's your baby and you know your child best so trust your instinct and don't listen to everything people say. If you have concerns or questions - ask away! Ask your parents, your friends, your pediatrician- anyone whom you think may have the answers your looking for.
2. Breastfeeding hurts.
In the beginning your boobs and nipples aren't used to having a baby sucking on them all the time and they get sore. Your nipples become raw and can get little wounds on them. I cringed and tensed up A LOT in the beginning whenever he started sucking and I had my husband's hand to squeeze the sh*t out of before the initial pain was gone. This happened each feeding. I also don't have great nipples for breastfeeding and even though my little champ was searching and opening his mouth wide he just couldn't latch on, especially at nights. Needless to say it was really frustrating for both of us.
3. Use the available aids
Use the products available to make your life easier. Enter: nipple shields. I tried rubbing on breastmilk after each feeding and I also used Zoe Organics nipple cream but it just wasn't enough since the wounds were already there. The nipple shields literally saved my nipples, my husband's hands and the frustration of not being able to latch on. I started using them for each feeding, then I only used them at night and now I only use them when I can tell he can't latch on, which isn't very often anymore. But seriously! Use them if you need to, they were developed for a reason. A plus is that the wounds are gone as well!
You bleed after a delivery, whether it's a c-section or a vaginal delivery. Sometimes it can stop for days and then all of the sudden you have to rush to the bathroom because it starts all of the sudden again. It's normal, especially when you breastfeed since it's your uterus contracting and getting smaller to eventually get back to normal. Last week it happened during breastfeeding and I was like 'sh*t mom, take him I started bleeding' so I stopped mid feed to run to the bathroom. It's normal!
Newborn babies can have trouble pooping and passing gas. That happened to our little guy and he was SO FRUSTRATED. He was pushing and pushing but nothing came out. Luckily there are solutions for that as well. We tried everything at home, swaying him, massaging him, rolling him on a Pilates ball, putting him on his stomach. It was so heartbreaking seeing him in pain! Now we give him drops for it and we give belly massages and I try to make him burp after each feeding even though he's stubborn and doesn't always burp no matter what our efforts. He is feeling so much better now though! It gets better so if your babe has a hard time passing gas, hang in there!
6. Stretch marks
I have been lucky because throughout the pregnancy I didn't get any stretch marks on my belly. I had one on my left boob but it wasn't anything visible and I felt so grateful. Then all of the sudden (or not so sudden since it was a planned c-section) our babe arrived and my boobs grew multiple sizes and I turned into Dolly Parton for a few days. As my boobs grew - so did the stretch marks. Now I've got several on each boob and I don't like them. I'm so glad I've got enough milk to feed him but I just didn't expect to get stretch marks! I know very few people will see them since I don't walk around with my boobs out so I shouldn't worry. However it will take some getting used to since I'm not used to them...working on it!
7. Your other half
Don't forget your husband/wife/partner. Give them love, kisses, cuddles and support as well! They are just as new to this little life as you are and they may have questions or are trying to figure out how to deal with your new family time. Don't stress about it! Share some hugs and kisses and just relax, I know I feel much better after a good cuddle sesh. Also don't forget to talk to each other about other things than the baby. It's important to remember and nurture your relationship and have adult conversations.
I know it may not be easy to relax when everything is new and you read into every little sign but honestly, having a relaxed approach has helped me tons. I've been wanting a baby for years and I was so ready for this little guy. I've always taken care of children through babysitting and having my niece and nephew around. I don't know everything but I knew the basics and honestly, the mother instinct kicks in as soon as your baby arrives.
9. Enjoy your little family
Remember to enjoy this moment of your life. Yes, it is tough and you will be exhausted. I have moments where I'm so tired but then I look at my sweet baby boy, I see his little smile (yes he's started smiling!!) and my heart melts. Remember to ask for help if you need it. I've had tremendous support from my husband and family and I can't thank them enough.