7 Things I Wish Someone Told me about before My Baby was Born
When I was pregnant with my first baby (Joe), I was so excited. Everyone was telling me how amazing it is to be a mom. It’s a blessing and I am so lucky to get to experience that. The pregnancy went well even the labor was amazing. I have what is known as silent Labour. It is not very common and not well understood but basically, you will be in Labour and not know it. I woke up one day and felt the baby was not moving like he should. So I called the hospital and they told me to come in to make sure all is well. 30 minutes after being in the hospital, the nurses come in and tell me I am in Labour. I was already 5 cm. I had no idea! I got checked in and sat there with my Nintendo 3DS playing Yoshi. I order my favorite sandwich from Boston pizza. I was enjoying myself. The pain eventually started after they broke my water but it only lasted for about an hour before Joe was born. I was really blessed. I have come to think that silent labor might have a genetic factor because my mom had it and my younger sister as well. Now just because you have silent labor ones it does not mean it will happen every time. My labor with Bill was still easy but it was not silent. I wish silent Labour for all soon to be mommies. The baby came and lots of unexpected things came with him. Things no one told me about so I never prepared myself for them. Things I didn’t understand and had to research.
This is a choice and not every mother takes that route. I wanted to breastfeed my kids. The information about breastfeeding for me is mind-blowing. It is a beautiful intricate process. I thought it was simple, I give my baby the breast and he feeds. nothing to it. This was not reality for most people. It was for one of my sisters but not for me or most of my friends. The baby's mouth is so tiny. Latching was not easy and that is normal. If you struggle with latching don’t stress out and give up. Keep trying and hopefully, it will happen. Joe wouldn’t latch for the first couple of weeks. The hospital started him on formula. I did not want formula so I kept trying and trying. I made sure he was using bottles that would make it hard for him to feed from. The reason for that was to avoid him getting used to the bottle and reject me feeding him. I used the Medela Calma. I pumped all the time to make sure the milk supply is increasing.
One day I was complaining to my aunt about how I can not get him to latch. Even when he does, he doesn't do it properly. I know the latch wasn't good because he made sound everytime he sucked. She mentions to me a nipple shield. I was very upset that no one in the hospital mentioned it to me before starting my baby on formula. I got one and he started feeding well. Every time Joe wanted to feed I would try without the nibble shield. Eventually, he started feeding on his own. It was a process and for me, it was worth it.
My advice to all my pregnant friends. A nipple shield is about 14$, have one in your baby bag just in case. If you needed it, it will be there. If you don't then it is not a huge loss.
"Breastfeeding your newborn — what to expect in the early weeks" is an article worth checking on Kellymom's website. She also has a link about ensuring a correct latch.
2- Breast Pump:
I did not think I would need one. I saw the prices and thought there was no need for it. Now I think and know differently. When Joe was not latching I used it to try and pump as much as I can to feed him and to make sure my milk supply does not dry up. I got milk bags and froze milk every night. Those were lovely during an outing. I was a new mom and I was uncomfortable. I felt all over the place all the time. I don't mind breastfeeding in public but being able to avoid it every now and then made things easier. If we were in the car and Joe got hungry I would just give him a pumped bottle. Also, I was able to get an extra hour of sleep while my husband fed the baby.
The one thing I regret though was buying the one-sided pump. I wished I had the double pump. Joe was waking up every couple of hours. I was barely sleeping. I was passing out while pumping. If I had a penny for every time I slept while pumping I might be able to afford a double pump by now. The double pump would have been much faster and easier. Giving me more sleeping time.
This was the worst pain I had to go through. I say that because I had the silent labor and because it was that painful. My breasts were so sore I couldn't move. It felt like I was carrying hot rocks. I woke up one day and my husband came to me and told me that he did some research. He said I was crying in my sleep everytime I was tried to move. The reason I was in so much pain is that the baby was not feeding but my body was producing milk. The milk ducts are all swollen. He got a towel and soaked it in freezing water. He wrapped it around my breast. Then got some ice and added it to the towel. I sat with them for about 10 minutes. Then He told me to go take a hot shower. Just like that the pain was almost gone. I got a call from a nurse to check on the baby and I mentioned to him the pain. He said I could get some cabbage, cut it into pieces, freeze it and put it on my chest instead of the ice. He said not to do that more than once or twice because it will decrease the milk supply.
Joe was colicky for 3 days. They were the hardest days. He cried constantly. There was nothing I can do to make him stop for the 3 days straight. He would stop crying every 10 minutes to cluster feed but then would resume. On the 3rd day, my husband came upstairs to find Joe crying alone in his bed and me in a fetal position crying in my bed. I kept telling him I can't do this, I just can't. This was hard for me to admit. I always wanted to be a mother. Since I was 10 years old, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a mother.
Babies can be colicky for the first 3 months of their lives. There are ways to make them feel a little more comfortable during this time. Mamanatural explains colic in more details and gives 14 natural remedies to treat it.
5- White Noise:
It works! both my kids would sleep whenever I put white noise for them. It reminds them of the blood rushing through your veins. It reminds them of home (your womb). The trick is to find what noise they prefer. Joe made his own white noise using an app called loopy. Bill was a vacuum noise type of a guy. Whenever they start screaming I turned it on and they were out. When my father was visiting, he always asked to put something nicer. He would tell me to get my kids used to a nice melody and would ask me why I chose these loud sounds. I kept telling him that I did not choose them. It is what they love natural but he was not convinced.
Alixes in preciouslittlesleep goes into details provides 6 reasons for why you should use white noise. She also provides a handy graph to present how loud the womb is compared to our world.
This is one I had to do the most research and reading about. At first, they sleep all the time. The only person that is not sleeping is you. They are waking up every 2 hours to eat. Then as they get older they start getting longer sleep stretches but it starts getting complicated. They forget how to sleep on they own. They need us to help them doze off. There are sleepiness clues you need to watch for. If you miss them and the baby gets overtired then they get frustrated. They become really hard to calm down. They want to sleep but they cant. It's very stressful for you and for them.
I decided to sleep train my kids because of that. I believe it helped them relax and helped me be a better mother. For more details check out Sleep training... Should you do it?
7- Exhaustion Mental and Physical:
The first couple of weeks after Joe was born. I was exhausted. I was so tired that I was doubting my self. I didn't feel the loves everyone was talking about. I was scared I was going to be a terrible mother. What I felt towards him was more responsibility than love. I was too tired to love. He was waking up every 2 hours to feed. He went through a rough colic stage. My body needed a break that I was not able to provide. This affected my mental state. I did not have time to stop and think. I did not have time to access the situation. I didn't do research for things that were foreign to me. I couldn't make my situation better. I just wanted to sleep. Luckily, I had a family who supported me. My husband did the research and my mother took care of the house. Things started to calm down and I started to know that I would do anything for that baby. I love him more than I knew I could love. That feeling took time because the first 2 weeks were very demanding. I was not prepared.
If I knew then what I know now. It would have been a smoother process because I would have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. It gets so much better with time. For me, it was not instant joy and love. It was more complicated than that. So give yourself a break and know this is not forever. Avoid what you can and prepare for what you can't. You will be an amazing mommy just do your best and give yourself a break.