Baby’s home! You’ve waited for this day for what may have seemed like the longest time, but now what? Here’s what you can expect in the first few weeks with a brand-new baby.
Baby’s finally here! After 40 weeks, and hours of what might have been an intense labour, you get to carry your baby out of the hospital in your arms and make your way home. Take the time to relax a little on the journey home because in just a matter of minutes, life as you know it is going to change.
We all expect the late-night feeds, the countless diaper changes and the sleepless nights but is that all there is to it? Well, no. While reading as much as you can get your hands on and talking to as many people as you can help, nothing quite prepares you for the realities the new role brings. So what can you expect exactly? Simply put – expect the unexpected.
All About the Baby
Your bump may have once made you the centre of attention of both your friends and family, especially your husband, but now that your baby has arrived, reality has hit. The perks that come with being preggers no longer apply and motherhood isn’t always a bed of roses. The sudden shift in attention and the weight of the added responsibility definitely isn’t easy.
It’s not just the mums who are thrown into the unexpected. New dads feel they get “lost” amongst all the excitement surrounding the baby and mum. After all, mums get pampered for a month during their confinement and they get to enjoy 16 weeks of maternity leave to bond with their baby.
Breastfeeding Doesn’t Always Come Easy
Within minutes after birth, you’re very likely to try your hand at nursing your brand new bub for the very first time. No matter how much you read and hear from those around you, nothing quite prepares you for the first time your baby latches on. Looking down at him as he suckles and knowing that he belongs to you might make it easy to ignore the pain that most women feel when nursing during the first week or so, but keep in mind that it shouldn’t hurt after your baby latches on. If you find yourself still in pain during each feed, get help from a lactation consultant.
Milk supply is another challenge you might have to deal with. It can take a few days for your milk to come in so till then it will take a lot of patience on your part. But don’t be disheartened because the first milk you produce when you breastfeed your baby during the first few days is an immune-boosting, nutrient-packed milk called colostrum. It may be low in volume but it is packed with nutrition your baby needs.
The weeks after delivery can be an emotional time and there may be times that you are bound to get upset so be prepared for the emotional outbursts. The emotional rollercoaster you may go through can be downright terrifying and you may even feel like you aren’t able to control your feelings no matter how hard you try. Take comfort in the knowledge that it is something most women go through because of the changes going on in their body. The lack of sleep, your sore boobs and your tender bottom all add to the stress that many mums face – so if this describes you to a tee, know that you’re not alone.
Doing Things Your Way
When it comes to raising your child, everyone around you will probably have an opinion. There will definitely be some who may think you’re crazy for raising your child your way. Try not to let it affect you too much as most of them do mean well. It might also help to talk to your parents or to those who will be lending a helping hand with raising your baby on how you would want things to be done. Communication is key. But it will certainly help if you’re open to the advice of others because you’ll never know when it will come in handy.
There Goes Your Sleep
All the late nights spent on assignments or out with friends in the past doesn’t quite prepare you for what sleep deprivation truly is. The fact that you are not able to get a good night’s sleep in the foreseeable future can hit you pretty hard and it can get difficult to even stay awake for night feeds. Want some advice? Nap when your baby naps. That’s the only time you’re going to truly be able to sleep. Don’t worry about the housework or the unwashed dishes, let someone else handle it for a change. It’ll take some time but bub will soon be sleeping through the night and you’ll be able to too!
No Longer You
If you think that the only changes you’ll experience are late nights and interrupted sleep, think again. You’re no longer just someone’s wife or daughter. You’re also someone’s mum and attached with that title is a whole host of responsibilities. Just think – with a kid in tow, you’ll never be alone for some ‘me’ time again or at least for quite a while. And that oh-so-romantic couple time? You can pretty much forget about that, especially in the first few months.
Between feeds, diaper changes, baths and nap times, you can forget about privacy, late date nights, dinner dates and last minute weekend getaways. Welcome, instead, the smiles and giggles that make it worth it.
This goes without saying but with a baby, you’ll feel a love like never before. Nothing can quite describe the feeling you get when you realise you’re the only one who can stop the tears, put a smile on his face or get a giggle out of him. And the first time he stretches his arms out to you, all the challenges and sleepless nights melt away and you know that you did something right and it’s the best feeling in the world.