Welcome to new mommy hood! Until you have a baby, you’ll probably never experience a love as profound as the one you feel for your newborn and exhaustion as deep as the one you’ll feel within. After all, your delivery and recovery involve intense labor on your body and emotions that will leave you longing for a nap (or two). Don’t worry, things may be a little hectic (and possibly foreign) at first, but you will achieve a balance and your new life will be just as amazing as you imagine it will be. Lets take a look at what to expect when your baby is born.
Love at First Sight?
The first time that moms meet their babies face to face differs in emotions from mom to mom. The reason is that every woman and the circumstances of their childbirth delivery are different. There are women who immediately bond with their newborns and seem to know exactly what to do, and there are women who need a little more time to soak it all in and get to that point. Whichever experience you have will be exactly how it should be for you.
Consider the fact that for almost 40 weeks, your body has made major accommodations for your growing baby. Skin has stretched, organs have shifted and certain parts have grown accordingly. When your baby is born, your body will continue shifting but this time the goal is to help you recover. You may feel bubbling sensations or sudden pressure within your abdomen for the first few days (or weeks), which are normal. Just be patient, it will be over before you know it.
One of the most amazing things that we as humans have is the ability to feed our babies with custom-made breast milk. Yes, as soon as your baby is born, the hormones in your body will send a signal to release colostrum, which is the beginning of the breast milk flow for your baby. You will possibly experience leaking from your breasts and some temporary soreness as you get used to this big change. You can keep breast pads handy to ensure that you never have any leaking accidents. Once the colostrum serves it purpose, your mammary glands will go on to produce breast milk which can be your baby’s sole source of nutrition for the months to come.
It’s very common for women to experience swelling after childbirth. This occurs for a variety of reasons including reactions to medications, water retention or hormonal changes. Whichever the reason may be, be sure to stay hydrated rest when possible and consult with your doctor if you feel any pain or are concerned about the swelling.
When your baby is born, the space that he or she filled inside your womb will need some time to shrink back down; this in turn will leave your abdomen softer and more jiggly than you are used to. It is perfectly normal and it will get better. Many women use postpartum compression garments to help themselves feel together and to relieve the pressure of shifting organs inside. This along with breast-feeding, a healthy diet and rest will set you in the right direction to recover your pre-pregnancy shape.
The “M” Word
Say hello to your long lost feeling of menstruation. For the first week (sometimes weeks) after giving birth, you will experience postpartum bleeding which is normal. Your body will naturally cleanse your uterus of its baby making experience. This will of course be accompanied by the usual cramping. Try to have lots of heavy flow pads ready to go os you don’t run out. Also talk to your doctor about options to help with any pain and if you experience a flow that seems heavier than normal.
Emotional Roller Coaster
Emotions can be a bit challenging to understand and keep under control after you have a baby. Hormones continue to take charge of everything your body is going through and it’s perfectly normal to experience emotional highs and lows. Be patient with yourself and know that you are not alone in this and that everything will get easier with each day that you continue to bond with your baby.
Well, it’s no secret that the average newborn baby sleeps a maximum of 2-3 hours at a time (if you’re lucky). You will of course, be on the same schedule to both feed and change him/her. This intense schedule may take it’s toll on your energy levels, so have a plan to make sure that at some point you can get a little more rest. You can work on practicing different breastfeeding positions that allow you to lie down with your baby to nurse. Some women opt to pump their breast milk so that their partner can feed the baby and allow some time for mom to rest.
What About a C-Section?
Women who give birth via C-section will experience all of the changes mentioned above. In addition, they will be recovering from major abdominal surgery and feel pain and pressure in both their abdomen and uterus. The recovery process after a C-section takes longer than a natural birth especially in the first hours following the surgery. Women will feel intense pressure and pain, as they are encouraged to stand up and move about within hours of surgery. Many women use postpartum compression garments to help themselves feel together, to relieve pressure and to help pain subside. Your doctor will very likely provide you with pain medication and advice you to do no strenuous physical activity for up to six weeks. This means the only weight you will be allowed to carry will be your baby.
You Can Do It!
It’s true that having a baby can be challenging for you and your body at first. Just keep in mind the tips above to be prepared to manage the journey of your body’s recovery in a most positive manner. Always be open to asking for help and be sure that the difficulty of the first few weeks will be far outweighed by the love you’ll have for your new baby