...for me at least!
The entire time I was pregnant I received a lot of advice - good and bad. It's ALWAYS nice to hear what happened to other people/what worked for them but, let's be honest, when it comes to someone who isn't a parent or isn't a parent you'd like to be, their advice can just be stupid. I know everyone is different but I'd like to share my experiences. For those of you that would like to hear it, here are a few things that have come up during the first few weeks for me that I wish I had more of a warning about/didn't expect:
1. The hospital is NOT fun - everyone told me being in the hospital after delivery is great. You have all the extra help and resources, etc. No thank you! I didn't get any sleep while recovering because there was constantly someone in our room - checking my blood pressure (yes, I was woken up for that on many occasions), checking on Isaiah, cleaning the bathroom, getting your food orders (seriously, bring me a PB and J - I could've cared less!), bringing you food, checking your panties for bleeding and swelling(woken up for that too!). I know these are all things that needed to be done but I really just wanted to be left alone with the baby, my husband, and mom. Then again, it made coming home that much BETTER!
2. Breastfeeding is HARD! This is still something I'm recovering from/working on. It's so strange to me that something so natural can be so difficult. Getting a good latch took some work, maintaining it required even more work, and not cringing at the pain while your baby eats requires the most work! I was warned about sore nipples and cracks but you never really understand how it feels until you experience it. One thing I wish someone would have told me is to pump when your milk comes in. It was our second night home and my milk had come in so my boobs were huge and hard and Isaiah just couldn't latch no matter what I did. He then turned into a hungry baby which meant he was a very fussy baby and we didn't get much sleep that night. The next evening I was in tears, I was frustrated that I couldn't feed my baby and very uncomfortable because I was so engorged. My wonderful husband googled some relief remedies and came across pumping to relieve yourself enough to get the baby to latch. This was incredible! Not only did it help for the latch but everything feels so much better when you are not full to the tippy top! Isaiah could eat and everyone could sleep!
3. Don't feel bad about using a nipple shield! When the lactation specialist checked on me in the hospital (because of the sores I had) she said my latch was good and that I may just have to tough it out. I told her my sister gave me a nipple shield and I was going to try it when I got home. She seemed so hesitant to approve of me doing that because your don't want your baby to get used to it. Well, when you are crying and your toes are curling (see #2), WHO CARES!? Use it, give yourself a break. Not only did it help with an even better latch, it also helped the milk flow and helped my sores heal. I also found out a few women I know down here used it all the time so it's not unheard of. Sure it's slightly inconvenient to have to wash it in between uses but it beats washing bottles and mixing formula (which I was so close to doing because of how frustrated I was).
4. Pay attention to yourself. It was very easy for me to forget that I was recovering. I was paying attention to everything going on with Isaiah - checking his temperature, worrying about his jaundice, logging how many times he ate and for how long, how many wet and poopy diapers he had, etc. Then, BAM, I get a fever and chills from the nasty infection called mastitis. Luckily, I caught it pretty early but I still wonder if I could have caught it before the fever if I was paying attention to my body.
5. The first bowel movement is not scary! Where did this nasty rumor come from? I was given stool softeners in the hospital to help ease the fear but seriously, I felt more relief after the movement and no pain.
6. Don't act like your the only one that just gave birth. This is a stupid story but I have to tell it. We went to a "Taking Home Baby" class in the hospital (another thing that interrupted my sleep) and there were about 10 couples in there with brand new babies. There was one girl that walked in late, was limping around, making noises, asking stupid questions, and talking about how big her baby was. (He was only 8 lbs. Bigger than most, yes but not that big!) NO ONE else was this dramatic and we all just delivered a baby. You don't want to be that girl. ;)
7. Don't freak out if your baby doesn't wake up every 2 hours to eat. The nurses and lady teaching the class all said you need to make sure your baby is eating every 2 hours and you should wake them up to eat. Well, to me this is silly because babies will let you know when you are hungry. I felt so worried that Isaiah wasn't eating enough because he would sleep for 4, sometimes 5 hours. The pediatricians said he was healthy in the hospital and he was still eating throughout the day but the nurses still insisted I wake him up to eat. DUMB! If you are getting 4-5 hour stretches of sleep, you are lucky and should embrace it, not worry especially if the doctor says he's healthy! Personally, Isaiah had no issue gaining weight - he was 7 lbs. 13 oz. at birth, 7 lbs. 6 oz. on day 2, 8 lbs. at week one, and 8 lbs. 11 oz. at week two (most doctors say your baby should return to their birth weight by week 2, Isaiah passed it by nearly one pound!). Now if your baby is having trouble gaining weight, that's a whole other issue. If not, enjoy the sleep you get while the baby is enjoying his shut eye!
That's it...so far. :)