I could have not dreamed for a better and easy way to bring Gabi into this world. My contractions started at 8:00 and she was born 11:07.
I had such I laugh reading other new mom’s advice and experiences so let’s start at the top:
ME: The moment the doctor put Gabi in my arms I said: O my word, she is so tall, I can’t believe she was inside me and how did she pop out so quickly. It was a very funny feeling, I did not cry, nor did I hear any angels singing. My connection and inner happy love feeling started the moment she latched on to me. That warm feeling and at that moment I felt this overwhelming feeling of love and strong bond.
ADVICE: Don’t worry if you do not bond instantly, some moms only bond after a week even months later, you are just a human and we experience things differently. It does not make you a bad mother, believe me, that baby loves you from day one.
2. The first time to the bathroom will not be so normal and easy – After getting stiches you will need help. This is not an easy visit to the bathroom, you risk the chance of passing out.
ME: From experience and after 2 operations I knew that inviting the nurse with me was the best option. I received 4 stiches and remember the river is flowing down there and each time I had to spray salt water on my stiches, so with one hand on the leaning bar and the other holding onto the nurse, she showed me how to spray the salt water and helped me to clean up.
ADVICE: Don’t worry about being shy or losing your dignity, the nurses just helped you to give birth, for them this is nothing so ask for their help. You will feel dizzy and out of yourself so make sure that someone is close by to give a hand.
3. You are going to CRY and CRY and CRY!!! – This is one thing that you will not be prepared for. The moment that your hormones starts to go crazy, you will cry for no reason at all.
ME: For the first week I was like supermom. Breastfeeding was going smooth and then, my hormones went crazy (I did read about this…), But out of the blue I started to cry like a baby. I missed people I do not even know, I had this longing for my deceased father and this was a week before Christmas so I was so emotional. I still remember saying to myself: “my life is over, this is it. Will I ever be myself again and I think I want to run away. Is this how every new mother feels?”
ADVICE: For the first month or so the only thing you will do is feed your baby and change nappies. Taking a bath will not be longer than 5 minutes but this will pass. Get as much family or friends around you, the moment you feel so emotional and helpless, let someone visit you. They don’t have to help out with the baby, they can just be around. The last thing you want to feel is alone. I had someone over for the first month about every day. Just to talk and share my feelings helped so much.
4. Breastfeeding does not come naturally to every new mother and your breast will become the size of watermelons – like every new thing, it takes practice. Not just for you but for your baby too. You will try 10 different positions to feed your baby and your baby will most likely favour one breast over the other.
ME: I decided from day one that I will breastfeed and my beliefs regarding this were very strong and giving formula was not an option for me. Gabi latch like a dream on the first day, the next day she did not like that position and she loved mommies milk so much that she was on the breast every two hours for at least an hour. I was tired like you will not believe and when the milk started to flow my breast size doubled. Luckily I never had leaky boobs but I had to wrap my breast in cabbage twice to help with inflammation. By week two my nipples cracked!!! I cried through every feed until week three. Every one told me it will get better and to stick it out, well I am so glad I did and continued breastfeeding for 13 months.
ADVICE: DON’T GIVE UP!!! It takes time and make sure before you leave the hospital that you feel confident with the baby’s latch and prep your nipples beforehand. Sit in the sun, I used lansinoh’s nipple cream, before and after each feeding I would apply the cream and some of you will read this twice, but I also put the hairdryer on my nipples for about two minutes before/after each feeding – this was to “toughen” them up.
5. Sleep like a baby???? - most of us have heard this saying before. Well until you have a baby of course. Babies are not adults, they are not programed to sleep like we do. Some will sleep and some will not.
ME: I decided with Gabi drinking every two hours to co-sleep which worked like a bomb. Why put her in a room next door and sit straight up in a chair to feed every two hours? No thank you, most of the night feeding I was sleeping while she would help herself with milk. The one mistake I made was to change the nappy before every feed. This was the part that made me more tired because you have to work in the dark and by the end of changing the nappy, Gabi was wide awake and then she wanted to play and not drink. So after a while I would just make sure that the nappy is still okay and change it with the next feed. I mean, nappies can last up till 12 hours so I would change it with every second feeding.
ADVICE: DO NOT LISTERN TO ANY ONE ON THIS!!! Do what work’s best for you and your baby. If you want to co-sleep, then do it. If you want to move the cot next to your bed, then do so and if you want your baby to sleep in a different room, then do that.
With this I would like to add: Gabi was not a baby that slept for hours. She was awake every two hours to drink until 9 months. The first time Gabi slept more than 6 hours was only after a year. She is now 20 months and only now she sleeps through the night.
6. Listen to your gut!!!! – That little voice inside you is there for a reason and that is to listen to it. It’s great to be informed about babies and the things that go with it and also to listen to advice but at the end of the day, go with your own choice.
ME: I made sure to listen to myself. I followed my own thing. Family argued about co-sleeping, breastfeed and raising Gabi as a vegan. Well, co-sleeping was wonderful and no, she does not sleep in my bed anymore. She sleeps in her own bed every night now. Breastfeeding was the best experience for me and the health benefit to her was priceless. Raising a vegan baby? Well that was the best choice I could make, for her and myself.
ADVICE: Easy as 1,2,3 – listen to yourself and only you know what is best. I use to say if someone argued my techniques: Am I the one with the consequences or you? It’s your baby, no one but you will make the best choice for them so go ahead!
Things other mothers added:
· Your pet will no longer be your top priority.
· You will eat 95% of your meals either incredibly fast or with one hand. Or both.
· Take as much pictures, they grow up fast.
· Only the first baby is hard work, it gets easier with the next bunch.
· I wished I held my baby more often; I was so concern to teach the baby independence that I
miss holding that tiny warm body.
· Relax, stop worrying about the house. The house will always be there, but your baby will grow
up and then you missed things because you decided to clean the dishes instead of spending
time with your baby.
· I cry each time the seasons change and I’m packing away her clothes knowing that she would
never wear them again, and that the next size is just around the corner.
So for the mommies to be and the new moms: GOOD LUCK! It’s very hard work and the big sudden change to your world is tough, but like all other moms say, it does get easier and at the end, you love them to the moon and back and if you can do it all over, you will.
Enjoy your baby, each night when I put Gabi to bed, I can see how fast she is growing and tell her to slow down because I want to have my baby around for longer but she is growing into her toddler stage and each stage is unique and I’m looking forward to the tantrums.