SO...... you've just had a baby. They plopped this gorgeous wee being full of life on your chest. Now what....
First of all, I DO NOT have a Phd. in parenting nor am I an expert in any of this. I am just going to share my story and what has worked for me/my family. So take it or leave it. But man I wish there was someone that would have told me this stuff for my first baby.
Back to that moment..
The nurses have whisked away your precious new life and are cleaning,weighing and checking over your sweet mini. You lay there, exhausted as can be, but completely elated of what you've just accomplished. Your husband looks at you in amazement and just officially put you 7 more steps up on the pedestal. Your vagina feels like it was hit by a semi and your lower half is numb from a) the epidural that's now wearing off or b) the usage of those dancer muscles that have not been used in a few years. Your doc at this point will have you deliver your placenta. So just when you think the work is done... a few more pushes. These are nothing in comparison. She/he asses your damage and stitches you up if need be. Luckily my three babes have been relatively nice to me but I've heard stories.
By this point they have your new babes all wrapped up and placed on your chest. I recommend skin to skin time here. It's the most important first few moments of babes life. The trust and comfort from it's momma. Such a beautiful moment- I'd have to say one of my favs in life and even third one in... it will never get old. You'll stare at one another for minutes. in awe. such an accomplishment. Minutes will pass- well, babes will eventually get hungry. What do you do?? It's your first bonding moment of nursing coming your way. It will be awkward. super uncomfortable and will most likely hurt. This is normal. Grab your lanolin cream that you packed in your bag and dose yourself. It will help. From here you will have a fabulous nurse come help you get up and into the shower. Remember to put on your hospital flip flops for this part. It is a hospital, kinda like your local swimming pool. Besides the fact that it is a hospital and your super uncomfortable it will be one of the best showers of your life.
They will whisk you, hubby and your new babes off in a wheel chair up to the 5th floor to your room. Oh, by the way. the second that baby exits it's 9month home, you request that victorian room, or at least a private. I have been put in over flow before and it's not fun. You will get all set up with your room and your hubby's "bed" aka cot with a sheet on the floor. Your new nurses will come in and ask you questions, congratulate you and help you get settled. You'll get a nice frozen pad to sit on for the next few hours. Not my fav part but hey- helps the lady bits out so it's worth it. Your nurse will come in every hour or so to check you and to check baby. They will push on your stomach/uterus to release blood clots and make sure all is well. This does not feel awesome. It kinda hurts actually but needs to happen. You certainly don't want a clot happening. At this point, ask for a lactation consultant to come in and chat. They are so super helpful with nursing.
A few tips: get a good latch to start. If babes is having issues with that, take them off and try again. Do that until you've got a latch. Your nipples will thank you.
establish your comfortable hold. Either cross cradle, football. There's lots of ways. Over the next while you'll find what works best for you. Come the third kid it will be: Cross cradle, one armed, stir the macaroni and return emails while pulling your toddlers pants up from going pee.
Watch for long draws, making sure they are swallowing properly. At this point you will only be producing colostrum. A yellowish substance. It will be all that they need for the first while. You'll feel they need more but they really don't. (in my experiences anyways- everyone is different)
Your milk will come in about day 3-4. And by "come in" I mean your breasts will be rock hard and so massive you'll want to cry. This is called engorgement. Just go stand in a rather warm shower and massage the sides of our breasts. This will help your ducts get going and relieve some of the discomfort/pain you are in.
Your wee babes will also likely be drowning at this point when you try to nurse. Let him/her have a few glugs and then take baby off your breast. It may spray everywhere, just have a towel handy and let it soak into it for a minute or so. then put baby back on.
Here's the part I learnt the hard way. There are two parts to your let down. The first 10 min or so is sugar milk and the second 10 min or so is the whole/fatty milk. The combination of these two leaves your baby happy and full. If you get a snacker like my first child. Your only ever giving them that sugar milk which equals stomach aches for baby and an incredibly long night for momma bear. Feed that baby on a breast for 10 min. Take them off burp them, then put the back on the SAME breast and let them eat until full. I had a rough first three months of this until a public health nurse told me this information. God bless her heart. Those public health nurses know their shit and are so helpful. DO NOT be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. That's what they are there for.
You will be given a ton of paper work to get done re: SIN numbers, birth certificates ect. for your new baby. This can be done at home but don't let it sit too long as it's good to get all those things out of the way before it's forgotten.
Your first night in the hospital will be horrible. Sleep.. what sleep. you won't have any. maybe 30 min here and there. That baby will cluster feed liket no ones business. Well if you have a 9 pounder like my third you will. ha. You and your husband will take shifts doing diapers, feedings, marking your charts ect. It's a team effort. But here's the bonus... it will only get better from here on. Really the first 3 weeks suck. Sleep deprivation to the point you don't know what day it is. It will get better. I promise. Just remember you're getting to know baby and baby is getting to know you too. It takes time.
After about a day or so in the hospital you will be released to the wild and head home. GET YOUR REST. Do not have a bazillion people over to meet your baby. That is more for dads. I know you're all excited for the world to meet this amazing creature you made together. But let this poor momma get some rest. She just went through a ton of work and needs to recoup. Plan your visits like a schedule. book them in no more then 2-3 a day and no longer then 45 min or so per visit. If you're a good friend or family member. Through some laundry in the washer for them. Start some supper. or do some dishes. These simple daily tasks become almost impossible once a little infant is consuming all of your time.
Now that you're baby is out on earth side. You're just drooling for that first bite into a chocolate bar that you couldn't have your whole pregnancy cause of the horrendous heart burn. You want a long night.. just eat that and then nurse. Here's some tips on what NOT to eat with babes:
coffee, chocolate, some fish, onions, garlic, parsley, peppermint, dairy, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale.
These are just a few that my kids have not enjoyed but some you certainly want to stay away from for a while. Until babes tummy gets more developed and can handle some fabulous chocolate.
Your body: Well... this for me is one of my least favourite parts of the whole process. But it just is. When you are only 5feet tall will a 4 inch torso there is only really one way for baby to grow... OUT. I gain quite the extra when pregnant with my mini's. They essentially destroy all that work I went through to get back into my size 4 jeans. Oh, and the people that say nursing just melts the weight right off of you... ya. no. not for this girl. I have to work my ass off to get back to "normal". well as normal as one will get. Be patient. It will come. I know it's not fun looking 6 months pregnant still when your baby is going on 4 months but it's part of the gig. Just know that you're not the only one that's gone through this. So keep your maternity clothes around a while after baby. You will be needing them. And to those of you that wear your jeans out of the hospital... you suck. not fair.
So I send you my congrats on your new baby and welcome to the best adventure you will ever go on. I can not think of anything better then bringing in a wee person. To watch their wheels turn as the months go on and become little people. Oh man- it's just amazing. We are truly blessed to have three healthy little babes. Parenting is a privilege, although it's tough some days, the pros ALWAYS out whey the cons. Happy parenting to you!