The three things I wish someone told me about days and weeks after baby comes.
First, breastfeeding is literally the hardest part of having a baby.
Harder than giving birth, in my opinion, and I basically had an unmedicated birth. Some ladies are lucky and it comes naturally for them and baby. Power to ya, sister. That wasn't the case for me and for so many other mamas I've spoken to. I think what makes it so hard is that it's painful for a lot longer, and for multiple times a day. You're exhausted, you're healing, you're adjusting to caring for another human, and you're the only one who can breastfeed. There are so many variables that contribute. But first and foremost, it's painful. I wish they told me. Maybe I could have mentally prepared myself. Or learned sooner that it will pass. But what I am telling you now is that it will turn a corner around 2 weeks, and after a month you and baby are pros. And until then? My advice for you is to seek help. Make a lactation appointment. Heck, have a lactation consultant come to you. Keep trying. Change nursing positions. The "football" hold was the best for me and Lila. Oh and also, everyone has an opinion on feeding your baby, but remember, fed is best. No matter if you breastfeed for 2 days, 2 months or 2 years, I commend you. I had made a plan to exclusively breastfed Lila for longer than I did, but it was a struggle for us from the beginning. I had to supplement early on, and that's okay. Our breastfeeding journey ended at 8 months, and that's okay. I just want you to know that I've been there. I know how hard it is. And maybe you can't breastfeed. Don't worry mama, no matter your journey just remember, fed is best.
Second, familiarize yourself with gas-relieving tricks for your baby.
I never really heard about gas pains in babies until we were struggling to fix it. I had heard of a colicky baby, but no one ever interpreted it to mean a gassy baby, and all babies experience some gas. Baby is eating food (milk) for the first time ever. For 40ish weeks they haven't been eating, they've been connected to their life source directly. The introduction of anything to their growing tummy and gut will be an adjustment. So be prepared. When baby is screaming from midnight straight until 4AM, you've gone down your checklist a million times (i.e. they've been fed and burped, diapered, and bundled up or maybe even down), and you're about to break there's one more thing to do, and that is to address their gas pains. When babies are already struggling with gas it just compounds over the course of a day. Which would explain the 2AM screaming sessions. Of course consult your pediatrician before you try something new, but we ended up finding the following helped us the most: burp half way through feedings and of course again once they've finished, buy gas-drops or gripe water, buy good bottles if you're bottle feeding, and Youtube gas relieving leg exercises and tummy massage. We were never desperate to use this but, I've heard moms swear by the Windi. I've linked a few videos and products* below so you can see what I'm talking about. I hope this information equips you to better handle the inevitable. And don't worry, they will grow out of it. I promise.
Third, and one of the most important, Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) are very real and can materialize in many different ways.
For me it was 2-3 months of a very specific anxiety. Every. single. night. at 8PM this wave of anxiety would crash over me, and the thought of the night would be the worst possible thing to happen. I would literally be afraid to put Lila and myself to sleep. It doesn't help that you're sleep deprived and know you won't be getting a full night's sleep. That you're body is still healing. Or that your body is on a hormonal rollercoaster, and you can snap, cry, or laugh for any reason imaginable, but for no reason that's logical. Again, PPD and PPA can materialize in any way, even in the smallest degree. Don't suffer in silence. Find a friend who can relate. Tell your doctor. Seek help. Again, seek professional counsel. Don't be afraid to talk, more mamas can relate than you realize. Your hormones will balance out and the sun will shine through again. The baby will grow and hit milestones, and your fears will dissipate until you forget them altogether. This too shall pass. I promise you. I'm here for you mama. We're all here for you. You're in the club now. Everything will be okay.
Heavy. I know. Becoming a mom is the real deal. Everyone will come up to you and tell you how quickly it all goes. And you'll be in the midst of at least one of the above things, and you'll think to yourself, yeah not soon enough. But it's true. It flies by. There are so many beautiful things that happen in the first few days, weeks, and year. Hopefully my lists doesn't scare you, but rather helps you better handle the hard times, so you can better enjoy the best times. You've got this mama!
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