Friday, April 29, 2011

What They Don't Tell You About Having A Baby

My best friend and I are both expecting. We're due just a couple of weeks apart and both of our pregnancies were a surprise.  I don't think we could have timed it so well if we'd tried.  So the other night she and I were sitting around talking.  We'd had a little chocolate (the closest thing we pregnant women get to booze) and talking about a friend of ours who was expecting her first baby (he was born the next day).  We were talking about the first time we went through the whole process and all the things no one told us about.  We came up a LOT of things we were totally unprepared for.  We may have frightened her 15 year old daughter off of having a baby for a while.  Which, honestly, we're okay with.  Sometimes there's no better birth control than reality.  We were hoping to let D. know about what we'd come up with, but damned if she didn't deliver that baby before we got the chance.  Lucky for her, we're super nice friends who went to see her in the hospital yesterday and filled her in on what she still might not know...yet.

Well, you know me.  After that talk, I thought I'd make a list:
  • Generally speaking, it doesn't hurt to deliver the placenta.  Once the baby comes out, the best/worst part is over.  I was afraid the first time, but I really didn't need to be.
  • After you give birth, stuff keeps coming out of you.  The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy rightly calls it "The Torrential Yuck".  This is not a sign of your wickedness, the apocalypse, or impending doom.  This is in fact, normal.  If you start passing clots the size of your baby (or more realistically, a silver dollar), you should probably ask for help.  And, don't wear socks you intend to keep and/or ever wear again.
  • You may not be able to control your bladder the way you once did.  If you find you suddenly have the control of an 80 year old, fear not.  Chances are it will get better the farther away from the birth you get.  And of course you talk to your doctor if it doesn't.    
  • When colostrum changes to milk, it sometimes looks like Orange Juice.  This is normal.  You've not suddenly filled with Minute Maid.  Though that would be kind of nifty.
  • When you nurse, you may cramp.  It's oxytocin being released.  It's worse with subsequent pregnancies.  Isn't that a nice little gift?  Sure it's nice if your uterus clamps back down and you don't bleed to death, but after labor, I'd sure be grateful if that process were somewhat less uncomfortable.
  • Nursing can be painful.  But make sure your latch is good.  Good latch = less pain.  Check out for great breastfeeding resources.  There are also these awesome packs you can get like these, and you can have a warm set to get your milk going, and a cold pack for afterward.  I pikced mine up at Target.  Also, have some Lansinoh or comparable product on hand.  Your nipples will thank you.
  • When your baby is hungry, he will look for a nipple anywhere.  Including the neck of whoever is holding him.  It's very cute.
  • Boys pee a lot in the first days.  Have your next diaper handy in case he starts doing his impression of a geyser.
  • While you may feel like all dignity went out the window during your labor (you know, when you were on all fours, panting like a dog, barfing your guts out, and not caring at all who was looking at your hoo-ha) you will want it back, and you will get it back.  In fact, if there was advice I could give to anyone there in the labor room, it might be to never speak of it again without written permission.
  • Your baby does like you.  When he/she is crying at 3 days old and you think you've done everything and so it's obviously personal, it's not.  I promise.  That's the hormones talking.  And the hormones are crazy.  
  • Slings are your friend.  Find a friend who uses them and can help you get the hang of it.
  • Find a friend who has successfully breastfed.  I won't tell you not to trust the books, especially since I love mine, but sometimes having someone who knows and can help you out personally, makes all the difference.
  • It may feel like you're living in one long day, since you don't have that clear break of a chunk of sleep between one and the next.  That will pass.  I promise.  And you will sleep again.  Of course, a lot of moms find that they sleep sooner and better once they learn to nurse lying down and sleep close to their baby.  
  • Try not to stress too much.  The newborn stage is gone so fast, you should enjoy it while you can.  They seem to change every day and it's amazing to watch.
Alright, moms, what are your tips, tricks, and things you wish someone had told you?  I have a feeling I left out a lot.


  1. "Also, have some Lansinoh or comparable product on hand. Your nipples will thank you."

    Unless, of course, you're allergic to lanolin, and don't know it. That was fun - not!

  2. Hahaha.... you told me all these things when I had Alex so I've already benefited from you experience :-) My biggest piece of advice would be this:

    Trust your body, especially if you are breastfeeding. Your body was made to make milk and feed your baby. Breastfeeding is 75% confidence and 25% technique. Your baby IS getting enough (generally speaking :-).

    The bit about grabbing a friend who has breastfed show you how to do it is KEY I think. If you hadn't helped me with Alex, I would have given up. I ended up nursing him for 18 months and 6 months of that time was while I was pregnant with Sophia. I nursed her for 3 years.

    So thanks!

  3. I was just so happy I could be helpful for you, Jen. It was so little hands on help, and much more encouragement and cheer leading from afar.

  4. I always said as I had each baby, that I wish they would have given us a step by step what to expect right down to the when you bend over milk gushes out on the floor manual. hahaha You are so right on everything!!

  5. That's a good one. Another is that sexual excitement can make your milk let down. My husband might have been a little bit surprised by that.

  6. That babies sometimes don't breathe for the first few minutes after birth. Seriously, no one told us and it scared us to death, we thought our muffin was going to die. I tell that to EVERYONE now.

  7. I seriously didn't know until my daughter was born that babies can have poop geysers shoot out of their diapers up their backs and down the legs. Ewwwwwww. I also didn't know that my shirt was instantly going to get drenched everytime she cried.


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