Where do I begin… This has been one tough month! Before I get into the nitty gritty, just know that becoming a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me! I love this baby boy with all of my heart and I wouldn’t trade this first month with him in for anything! This post is to help other mamas in my position, going through the same tough times, to know that they are not alone.
When I pictured motherhood, I pictured waking up a few times at night to feed a coo-ing little baby, who would then go right back to sleep. I pictured being a perfect housewife with a clean house and dinner ready every night when my husband got home from work. I pictured a sleeping baby while I sat in my office, getting work done.
REALITY: I am up almost every hour changing diapers and feeding our baby. Breastfeeding is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. The latch doesn’t always come naturally, so you’re stuck with a chicken arm awkwardly out to the side of your body, squeezing your boob so you can shove as much as it into your babies mouth as you can. Once you think you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll look down and realize that your milk is spraying everywhere! Your nipples will be sore (luckily, this part gets better!), and if your baby goes too long between feedings, your boobs will be rock hard. It’s definitely a huge learning curve for mama’s and babies but I promise you, it does get easier!
My house is far from clean and my husband hasn’t come home to dinner on the table once yet. Work? What’s that? I have a pile of paperwork a foot high waiting for me in my office.
I’d like to give my husband a huge shout out. He has been over the moon amazing! He helps with the cooking and cleaning and entertains our guests graciously. He is so great with William and I am so grateful to have him in my life. My love for him has changed for the better. I can’t explain the emotions I feel watching him become such a great dad!
Little William is a very colicky baby. Most days he is in my arms at least 16 hours a day. He constantly wants to nurse and from what lactation consultants and my doctor have told me, I should be feeding him whenever he wants to eat. Some days that means just switching him back and fourth between breasts for hours on end (one day was 8 hours straight). He isn’t eating the whole time, he falls asleep often, but the minute I try and move him, he wakes up rooting for my breast again and if I don’t give it to him, he screams. So most days when he falls asleep, I just let him sleep.
As far as my recovery goes, it went better than expected! I expected there to be a lot more pain. I wasn’t pain free, but as long as I stayed on top of my medication (Tylenol and Advil every 4-6 hours, as ordered by the nurses at the hospital) I was never really too uncomfortable. The part I didn’t expect was that the pain was more in my bum than anywhere else and for about 2 weeks it literally felt like my insides were falling out. It was the strangest feeling, but it did get better! The peri bottle came in handy when using the bathroom and Epsom salt baths helped me with feeling clean!
Going #2 for the first few weeks is terrifying, every single time. Make sure you take stool softeners as this will make it much easier on you!
Now that I’ve stressed how hard (yet rewarding) motherhood will be, here is the advice that I have so far for any first time mama’s out there:
1. Stay in bed, as much as you can for the first week or so. I didn’t do this but I wish I did. I wish I would have rested as much as I could in the beginning.
2. Limit visitors. I understand that people want to come and visit your new precious bundle of joy but I found the constant visitors to be very stressful as I was still learning how to be a mama. Luckily my husband was a great host and didn’t make me feel as if I had to entertain anyone.
3. Take lots of baths. Or get a sitz bath if you don’t have anybody to watch the baby long enough for you to take a full bath. It will help the healing process and help you feel much cleaner down there.
4. Set up a nursing station where you will spend a lot of your time. Keep it stocked with tons of water and snacks. We found swaddle blankets to be the softest and easiest for cleaning up spit up so I keep tons of those clean and in a basket beside my rocking chair. Also, an iPad or tablet for those midnight feedings when you have nothing better to do but watch Netflix (I started watching Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning and I’ve been LOVING it!), and a phone charger. I have very leaky breasts (maybe some women don’t?) so I kept another basket with extra nursing bras and nursing pads for when I soaked through mine during midnight feedings and didn’t have the luxury of passing baby to daddy while I changed.
5. Always dry baby’s diaper area before putting on a diaper to avoid diaper rash. And cover their bottoms with Vaseline (it keeps poop from sticking). Also, get a wipe warmer. So many people told me that they were an unnecessary registry item but I am.so glad we got one! William hates having his diaper changed but as soon as we touch him with a warm wipe, he usually calms down!
6. Be present. Soak in all the moments, good and bad, with your little as they won’t stay little for long!
That’s all the advice I can think of right now. I am still learning how to be a good mama to my baby every day – so if you have any advice for me, I would love to hear it! I am exhausted but baby snuggles make it all worth it.
And remember, the hard times will pass and things will get easier! You’ve got this!
Here are a few of my favourite pictures of our sweet William during his first month!