Tomorrow my baby Claire will be 3 weeks old! WOWZA! 3 weeks and we still have only been out of the house a handful of times, I have a wee bit of cabin fever. That and new mom fever, I just want to go out and show off my baby! Every day gets better and better, my energy improves as does hers and my incision is healing slowly but surely. In the meantime I am learning bit by bit, and realizing how little I knew going in to this! You can read every book under the sun, but trust me, you will still feel absolutely clueless at times. I know I did and still do! So because of this I thought I would share some tips from the trenches for you all, things I learned along the way and things I wish I had known before hand!
- the crankiest nurse is often the one you wind up loving the most. Trust me on this one, you may want to squirt her in the eye with boob milk at first but you will learn a lot from her! In my experience the CRANKIEST nurse I had out of my entire hospital stay taught me the most. I wanted to take her home with me. She was overworked and overtired but she had seen a lot, learned a lot, and if I let my ego step aside for a moment and gave her an extra smile she would drop some knowledge gems in my lap...valuable ones!
- if you happen to have a c-section, or a lot of stitches after a vaginal birth trust me on this one: do not be a hero with the pain meds! TAKE THEM! You are useless to your baby if you are in too much pain to enjoy him/her. And when you get home, and your milk is in, pain will dry up your tits faster then you can imagine!
- Your milk WILL come in. Do now worry, you will see milk squirting out in no time. At first it is just the nutrient rich colostrum, but in a few days you will see milk. I promise you. You will doubt this at times, but have no fear.
- Do not take that colostrum for granted! It is FULL of good stuff for baby and their tummy is so small that they don't need much. Hence the small quantity at first, it is enough to tide them over until your milk comes in. My poor Claire wasn't able to breast feed at first so I literally used a spoon and hand expressed colustrum from my nipples for her that the nurses would squirt into her mouth with a syringe...it is liquid GOLD!
- When your milk does finally arrive you can have a physical reaction to its arrival. For some it is a mild fever for me it was BONE CHILLING SHAKES! I thought I had a fever from my surgery and was taking my temperature. I was shaking so hard I thought I would chip my teeth! Ryan whipped off all his clothes as if I had hypothermia and wrapped himself around me with a duvet around us both to warm me up, and still I shook. It scared the BE-JESUS out of me but the next morning I woke up with swollen boobies and pumped a CRAZY amount of milk!
- and on that note, trust me...your milk will come in.
- sleep when baby sleeps! This one is so important, I cannot stress it enough. You need to try and get your regular 6-8 hours of sleep still, it will just be in divided chunks not in a row. This means naps with baby. Remember how I said above that pain will dry up your tits, well for me lack of sleep does too!
- and the last but best tip of all? LAUGH! Laugh at the blunders and bloopers that come with new parenthood.. .live, love and laugh. Even when it is too hard to smile, laugh and smile. If you can't laugh at the blunder then ask for help. Do not be ashamed at asking for help! Remember, it takes a village to raise a child!