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What's the best advice for the first few weeks post-birth?(21 Posts)
Inspired by a recent thread I found really useful! https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/3087029-What-s-the-best-advice-you-can-give-to-a-woman-approaching-childbirth
What's your best advice for a woman in the first few hours/days/weeks home from hospital or wherever with a newborn?
If you intend to breastfeed, get as much help as you can until you know what you're doing. Bother your health visitor, doctor, midwife, La Leche League person shamelessly. Don't struggle alone about anything and don't be meek even if you feel like a wrung out wet rag.
Also don't sweat it if you need to use formula.
Parenting is a relationship between you and your child.
These are the top tips I sent my girlfriends when they had their babies:
-Cooled witch hazel on a maternity pad for sore ladybits or c-section scar after the labour. It's like heaven on a sanitary pad, take some in your hospital bag.
-If you do have to have stitches, when you need to pee, sit on the loo and place your hands palm down on the floor in front of you. This position helps direct urine away from where your stitches are likely to be. Or you're unable to bend or find that awkward, then a jug of warm water to pour on yourself as you pee further helps to dilute urine so you have minimal discomfort.
-If you're not planning on nursing, get the ready cartons of formula so you don't have to worry about making bottles up the first few days/weeks. Newborns will only drink 1oz-2oz (or less) in the first few days but you can refrigerate the rest of the carton and use when you need.
-If you decide to nurse I found that with big boobs, it really helped to hold baby in football hold under one arm for a better latch and more comfortable positioning for both of you.
-Regardless of whether you nurse or not, your boobs are going to be a bit sore when they get engorged with milk. Cold whole cabbage leaves inside your bra over your boob is amazing. Something in them helps soothe the pain and engorgement.
-If nursing, you will know baby is drinking milk if you can see a suck-suck-swallow motion and hear the click of her swallow (pretty sure youtube.com has some good clips so you can get an idea of what to look for). The whole of your areola should be in her mouth and this places the nipple towards the back and top of her mouth for good milk flow. A shallower latch (i.e. just the nipple) is going to be pretty painful and baby won't be able to nurse effectively. And lanisol nipple cream is your friend (and works as a good lip balm too).
-Cluster feeding – this is when baby nurses and you feel like it might not ever end. Generally happens in the first few days once your milk comes in and sometimes around growth spurts.
-If baby is gassy and pulling knees up to chest in pain, I found most effective method to get rid of pains was using Infacol religiously before every feed (even the 2am/4am ones) and putting baby on tummy, placing knees under them (which is mostly likely normal baby position) and apply additional pressure such as a small rolled up towel under the tummy. Wind is most effectively expelled by raising their little butt higher than the rest of their body. Also bicycling their little legs into the tummy can help.
-I know a lot of advice says not to introduce a bottle/alternative nipple until 3 months but I ignored this (as did most of my friends) as I'd heard enough anecdotal evidence that showed that waiting until 3 months to introduce a bottle, meant that baby will scream bloody murder because all they want is your boob. I introduced a bottle of expressed milk (or formula if you don't want the faff of expressing) from around 2 weeks once I knew they were nursing well and gaining weight. Some babies (like DS2) will not give a tiny rats ass what kind of nipple is in his mouth and will switch happily between both. Others (like DS1), take a little time to learn how to change between breast and bottle. I found it easiest to give him one bottle a day so that DS1 learned to adapt. If you introduce a bottle once nursing is established, it shouldn't disrupt your nursing at all as being so tiny, they've not had a chance to have a preference as to how the milk arrives. By the time it comes to going out/work/hairdressers, they happily go between breast and bottle and someone else can also handle that 1 bottle feed, leaving you to rest.
-Don't worry if you cry at anything and everything between 2-5 days after baby arrives. This is totally and absolutely normal. It sucks but it passes. I found myself getting anxious about everything but it's just your hormones settling and the tears pass pretty fast. Rescue Remedy is a great thing to have to help with the anxiety.
-And finally, don't, whatever you do, attempt to fit into your skinny jeans a week after your birth. I did this. It was not pretty. Yes, I could do the button up but it pretty much looked like I was sausage meat trying to fit into a sausage casing. I don't know why I thought it was a good idea at the time, I can only blame post-partum exhaustion.
For me, it was getting out the house. Even a little walk round the block did me the world of good (had 3rd degree episiotomy so it was a slow walk!) Also I started going to baby groups and meeting with my NCT group at about 6 weeks which I loved too
Pick 3 times in the day, make them your breakfast, lunch and dinner times. After lunch, go into bed and go to sleep. Take the baby with you. In the first few weeks, it's likely that the baby will drift off anyway.
Allow recovery and get something that resembles a vague routine for yourself. This will mean you don't forget to eat etc (like me after DC1, but not after DC2 as we had a routine).
One more - if it's a rainy day and there is nothing else to do, take the baby in the shower.
I did this with DS2 as it was tropical rainy season so I'd spend ages either lying in the tub or standing under the shower (most of which he slept through). Then I'd wrap him in a bunch of towels and lie him in the little portable chair and get on with showering myself/washing my hair.
Don’t stress if you have to use formula; I gave myself a hard time for being unable to BF straight away which in retrospect was ridiculous.
Use baby wipes instead of toilet paper, especially if you’ve had stitches!!
Don’t wear jeans for a few weeks; just don’t.
Accept any and all offers of food and help.
Enjoy use holding and feeding your baby; their ‘tiny baby’ stage goes so quickly.
Know that the baby blues can hit you hard in a way that people don’t tell you about, and it’s ok to cry and feel overwhelmed; it will get better
Be kind to yourself.
Pre baby think about how you will manage if you have a c section.
Have low expectations and don't be hard on yourself. It may of course all be fine.
Don't panic about lack of sleep. Yes you'll never have felt this tired but you'll get through it.
Accept all offers of actual useful help and decline others.
You'll probably randomly cry for the first couple of weeks. It's normal but should stop.
Don’t try to force baby into a routine in first few weeks just get some fresh air, some sleep naps, some food and some help with anything anyone offers - laundry meals food shop etc. I wish I’d been kinder to myself accept you may feel shattered but aim to shower daily and put on clean clothes. This phase does pass but can take days, weeks, months but it does get easier and a routine will evolve.
Have a laundry bag to put the dirty baby clothes. Preferably fabric and easy to wash bag. Trying to work out where the dirty baby clothes from your normal laundry basket is a real pain when you are sleep deprived.
Allow time to get your strength back - basically sit on the sofa for a week breastfeeding and eating cake!
Rest at this point will mean you get back on your feet in week 2.
Be kind to yourself.
Order in ready meals and pre-prepared veg
Go with the flow. You can't predict how it's going to be (may all be marvellous with a good feeder and sleeper, may be like a grenade has gone off in your life!) so try not to have too many expectations.
Do what you need to to get through if it's tricky. Don't feel like you're doing anything 'wrong' as long as baby has its needs met.
Things will settle! You might feel up in the air to start with but everything will fall into place.
Everyone is winging it. When you look at the baby and think 'so what do I do with this then?' so has everyone else. It's amazing how you figure it out.
Wash baby socks in a delicates bag.
Stock freezer with ready meals and if you have a slow cooker prep some dump meals.
Research baby groups ahead of time.
Read up on how to care for a newborn!
When people ask if they can do anything, say YES! and ask them - please could you wash up/run the hoover round/hold the baby while I get a bath/shower/hold me while I sob pitifully for no reason other than that my baby is so fucking beautiful...
Download Just Eat (other fabulous food causing apps are available) and USE it.
Sod the housework if nobody offers to help, just use Dettol wipes on the kitchen and bathroom and sod the rest.
If you are bottle feeding, get a massive cauldron/stock pot, and fill it with water. Boil it, let it cool, and use it for rinsing everything as it comes out of the steriliser.
The envelope necks on baby vests are so you can take it off "down over" when a poosplosion happens.
There is no such thing as too many bibs and/or muslins.
Put a folded muslin across the Moses basket under baby's head, tucked well in under the matress, then when they are sick just as you lay them down, you only have to change the muslin, not the sheet.
Keep baby wipes handy, even if you aren't actually using them on baby's bum, you WILL need to catch a poo in your hand during a nappy change at some point!
If you find that all of a sudden you just feel like SHIT and have no idea why, TELL someone - your mum, DH, Mumsnetters, anyone - it can be fixed, and people WILL help you. NEVER feel like you just have to soldier on alone!
Personally I wish I hadn't agreed to so many damn visitors! It's okay to tell people to wait a few weeks till you find your feet. Good luck ♥
- If you don't know what to do with your baby, just sing to him/her.
- Sleep as much as you can. Put your feet up when you can. The baby will sleep lots in the day, do don't run around like a loon cleaning and tidying. Do it at night when the baby is awake.
- Cooling packs that you can put in the fridge to chill and then put them in your knickers. Oh my God! The relief it gives for a few seconds is wonderful if you're sore down there.
- Savoy Cabbage on your boobs.
- Watch loads of box sets - I wish I had!
- Wee in the shower/bath while pouring a jug of water over your lady bits.
- Don't be a dick like me and not watch TV because you heard that kids under 2 years old shouldn't watch TV (don't worry- I'd sussed it by DC2).
- If you get the baby that feeds and sleeps really well from birth DO NOT tell that to your new mum/NCT mates or they won't be mates much longer.
Regular fresh air, trust your instincts and that there are no medals awarded for breastfeeding.
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