Its seems as though people are always willing to give advice about pregnancy and what to expect. I am here to give you a little advice on what to expect once the baby is here.
Recently my sister in law had her baby and although my baby is almost a year old it feels like I was there just yesterday. We talked about her delivery and post-care and how things were going. She delivered via c-section and we talked about how nice it was that it wasn’t an emergency c-section this time around. She was still VERY swollen and we talked about whether her milk had come in yet, if she had experienced the “Great sweat” and other things you come to expect once you have had more then one baby. She laughed and said, “There are things I didn’t know about because no one ever told me!” So although this may not be a complete list, (I may decide to add to it later and of course I am not an expert on ALL that you can expect) I did want to write about some things you may experience that people don’t typically talk about.
1. The “Great Sweat”
I have had three babies now and with every single one I experienced a “Great SWEAT!” Now, depending on whether or not you are/were pre-eclamptic you may find that this can have a varying degree of how much sweating you will need to do before your body finds it’s new normal of body fluids. We know that while we are pregnant our blood volume level doubles and if like me you had any pre-eclampsia this will be MAGNIFIED. Your fluid level may also be much higher from having fluids/drugs administered to you during your c-section/labor.
Usually within a few days of having my baby I will wake up in a pool of sweat and I will pee a lot. So much so that when it happens I think that I may be sick. Unfortunately with my last baby I actually was sick with the FLU, but typically it is just your body trying to find its new normal. As much as you are sweating make sure to drink plenty of water through this process especially if you are nursing as your body will need it! You may sweat so much you want to change the sheets or even take a shower. Totally normal.
The top picture was taken with my third having had no medicine/fluids at all and the second picture was taken after having pitocin and fluid through an IV. If you can believe it I was even more swollen with my first!
2. Your Milk may take up to a week to come in
This can be an overwhelming, emotional time for you and your body. On one hand, you are elated with having a new baby and actually being able to hold them and kiss them to your heart’s content. On the other hand you are exhausted and trying your best to keep your sweet little one happy and most of them time their happiness consists on whether or not their bums are clean and their bellies are full.
Typically your milk supply will come in within the first 2-3 days. But, if you were pre-eclamptic (like I was with my first) or your baby came early, or your body is just a little slower to warm up it can take up to a week. I was freaking out when this happened to me with my first baby and was using formula to supplement my milk because my baby was so hungry. I was also worried because I knew that milk supply is all about supply/demand. So you have to keep trying so your body will tell your brain to produce the milk. I called my doctor in a panic thinking that I would have to take hormone supplements or something but he reassured me that I just needed to give it a little more time and it would be fine. My milk did eventually come in and I was shocked how much more quickly in came in with baby #2 and baby #3 because I didn’t have the same issues I had with my first.
3. Hospital nights are your time to sleep but you might need a little help
Knowing that you have a little newborn on the way you may want to spend a night or two in the hospital to recover and get some much needed sleep. I have found that the first night in the hospital is usually a bad one. For one, you are reliving the experience in your head over and over and this can be an exciting adrenaline inducing thing (which makes you not tired), or/and it can be an overwhelming, what just happened to my body kind of thing which makes you not tired as well. They will also be monitoring you A LOT that first night: checking your vitals, pushing/massaging on your uterus, and taking blood samples. Hospitals are noisy and it can be hard to sleep when there are a lot of unfamiliar sounds.
Pack a unisom. Seriously folks, this is one of my best tips. It is a very gentle sleep aid that is even fine to take while pregnant. Make sure to buy the regular tablet and not the “gel-tablet” as they are different ingredients. But I have found that it takes the edge off and makes it so you can actually get a little sleep. I would suggest that you send your baby to the nursery when you do this because a newborn will grunt and make a lot of sounds so your best chances of snagging a couple of hours will be these first few nights in the hospital.
**I told my nurse the last time I was in the hospital that I had planned
to take the medicine and she told me not to tell her because technically you shouldn’t take an “outside” drug from the hospital. Ask you doctor and make sure it is okay with him and you are good to go. Also, did you know they charge you $8 per ibuprofen? Yeah, you can bring your own if you want to do that as well.
4. Have someone bring you your favorite meal.
One of the best things someone can do for you while you are in the hospital is bring you your favorite meal for after delivery. Hospital food can sometimes be pretty good, but in most cases it only tastes as good from how hungry you are after delivering a baby! Chances are your loved ones would love to fulfill a craving that you have and you will be so appreciative once you get to savor in the victory of a baby and eating a celebratory meal!
5. Nursing Hurts
Whoever said that if your baby is latched on properly while nursing will make it so it doesn’t hurt is lying. Yes, your baby should have their mouth wide open with as much nipple as they can manage in their mouth to make sure they are latched on correctly….but even with proper nursing position it will still hurt. It takes some time for your nipple to toughen up! I like to use Lansinoh cream for at least the first month. After that you will find that you probably won’t need it any more; but in the beginning treat your nipples kindly and keep them moisturized!
What’s even more surprising is when after having your second/third baby nursing hurts even WORSE because of the contractions that it will cause for your uterus to get back to its normal size. I found that I wanted to keep my medication on time more for the pain of my uterus contracting then my sore crotch!
6. Peeing Hurts
It is quite the event the first few times you use the bathroom and it is painful if you delivered vaginally. It is so important to use the squeegy bottle prepped and ready with warm water. When it is time for you to go, ask for the help you need. Typically I will ask my husband to prepare the warm bottle of water while I am manuvering to the bathroom. If you had any tearing or stitches while delivering they will sting as you pee and this is why it is so important to have your water ready. Make sure to use the numbing spray and ice packs as they can make all the difference in the world!
7. Pack the jugs and the spray
At the hospital they will offer you water jugs to keep at your bedside while you are nursing. These are the best to have at home with you as well because most often you are one handed while nursing and it is so much easier to re-fuel with these handy jugs and their big straws.
There is also a numbing spray that the hospital will give you that in pretty heavenly. If you would like you can ask for an extra bottle to take home. Yes, they will charge you for it, but I think it is worth it! (You could even think ahead and buy this beforehand if you would like)
8. Remember the staff
This may seem a little strange, but those moments of your baby’s first few days of life go so quickly and you will want to take pictures to remember them by. So often we are so busy picking the name, getting test done, visiting with guests that we forget to capture those tiny moments. Get a picture of your doctor holding the new babe, the first bath, being wrapped in the blanket. One of my favorite pictures we took of my daughter in the hospital was the nurse stamping her newborn feet onto her congratulatory birth certificate.
Nurses give a lot of love to our new babies and in a way can become a very small part of your family story. I like to pack thank you cards with me as well to thank hospital staff that really went above and beyond to help us be more comfortable.
9. Baby Blues are NORMAL and you should seek counsel if you are feeling Off.
SOOO often new Moms experience sadness or anxiety not realizing that they are going through post partum depression. It is a real thing and one that you can seek medical advice to help you through. One of my best friends experienced serious anxiety with her first baby to the point that she would wake up with her heart racing and had a hard time going to sleep. She did not experience this with her other babies. It isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to depression and anxiety, but it is a very normal reaction and one that you should not suffer through. If you are feeling hopeless, depressed or anxious seek a doctor’s advice so that you can enjoy these precious days with your sweet baby.
10. Your baby will be fussy and seem like a different baby when you get home.
This is not ALWAYS the case…but I have found the first few nights at home are some of the hardest. In the hospital your baby is sleeping a lot as they just went through a big ordeal. Once home they start to get hungrier and perhaps not as comfortable as they were before. You can get through this and it is nothing you are doing wrong! Some advice a nurse gave to me once was to try your best to set them up for the best nights sleep possible with a warm bath, soothing sounds, and throwing a light blanket in the dryer to wrap them up in.
There you have it! Tips for your first few days of being a Mom! I hope you found them helpful.