My cousin just had a baby girl and even though we are a continent or two away, I was the last one to have popped one before them in the family I think.
Naturally I saw truckloads of information transfer from myself to them over a couple of days.
It got me wondering. We have periods all our lives. Well. Most of our lives. Preparing our bodies for pregnancy whenever it happens if it does at all. Our body spends nine months (stretching starts as early as week 1) preparing for child birth yet there’s NOTHING we find out for managing the first three days or in fact even the first 15 days of our child’s life. Let me fix that. Life as a parent. These are two different things altogether albeit related.
I thought I’d put something together for new parents. Like a list of things to do or to know of? My entire pregnancy and then the first few weeks of being a mom involved extensive googling and trust me when I say there was tons to sift through. However the stuff I’m sharing through these series is what rose above the rest and made most sense for us.
I think it’s important to have a shortlist of sorts which you can then see again as yet another list to sift and find whatever makes sense to you.
I know if I had this, it would’ve made my life much easier.
Before we start off I’d like to share that I had an elective C section at 37 weeks and an absolutely low risk pregnancy. Under no conditions does any of this advice serve as a replacement for a medical professional’s opinion.
These are just things that helped me and some stuff that helped my friends who gave birth normally in the following months sending me on a google rampage AGAIN and finally figuring what worked for them.
The first stuff you need to lookout for is
1. The time of birth.
I was rather obsessive about knowing the exact time they pulled her out. I’d advise you to be the same way. Maybe your child will grow up to casually browse through Astrology.com and need the time of birth to plug in there. Not saying I ever have. Who? Me? Pshhh. Never. Eye roll. (COUGH! Yes I have!)
2. Breathing! (Yup that first cry) wait this should be one! Oh well. Everything is happening rather quickly.
3. The baby’s weight. Make sure they weigh the child right away and share the exact weight.
4. Match the tags.
They need to tag you and the baby with matching tags and by matching I don’t mean it’s just colour. The information on it and all needs to match. Make sure you or your partner double check that.
Let’s start off with nutrition. The first thing you need to lookout for is the baby successfully
5. Passes meconium. The first stool post birth is black and tarry. It needs to show up with all of its gross glory.
6. LATCHES. Okay this one comes into play if you plan to breastfeed. If you don’t then it’s easy peasy. Go straight to Number 20 in this list.
If you do plan to breastfeed here’s what you need to do. You need to crack the whip beforehand instructing the doctors, nurses, their families, their grandmothers and their dogs if need be. Strictly forbid the hospital to feed the baby formula and have them bring the child over to you within an hour of birth for the first feeding. It gets the process going.
Make sure you have someone stand by to ensure these instructions are adhered to. Someone other than the new parents themselves because one of them is possibly convulsing her insides out or dissembles on an operation table and the other is basically just in shock.
7. Try to keep the baby in the room with you in a bassinet beyond that. If that’s not possible, have the baby brought to you every hour for feeding so your supply gets kicked off.
8. Get a Lactation Consultant if not immediately then in a day or so to get the latch perfect. The entire areola needs to be stuffed inside the baby’s mouth or within a week you will be in a LOT of pain
9. Deep latch is important. Also google positions. Football position is a good one for difficult latchers
10. Nipples WILL get sore and trust me I tried very remedy under he sun. The BEST was breastmilk itself rubbed on and air dried.
BEST THING ever
11. If you EVER feel any part of the boob go hard that’s a clogged duct and it escalates to mastitis within days. So immediately start compressions in a hot shower as well as hot compresses. It solves it instantly.
They’re quite normal / usual in the beginning because supply is getting the hang of the baby and vice verse
12. NO pumping the first week of baby’s life. Or you will overproduce and might risk clogs
13. What helped me right through the first few months was gently massaging and compressing while the baby feeds. It gives them hope that there’s more and they need to keep suckling. That’s my own theory though and it never backfired. So yeah. Just to get the kidlet in the groove to keep on keeping on.
14. Colostrum for the first few days.
Don’t be scared. The few watery drops showing up when you try to squeeze the life out of your boobs is not an anomaly. It’s normal. It is the way it is supposed to be.
15. I had this drink since the second day and it was magical. I only had this in the first week of my baby’s life and have never needed it since then because it upped my supply too much for consumption. Worked for me. Give it a shot?
semolina, mixed nuts crushed (pistachios, almonds etc) and clarified butter (ghee) equal quantities (I used a standard cooking spoon) with one two pods of cardamom (green) stir fry well together. Add One litre milk with brown sugar to taste. Bring to boil on high flame then simmer on low flame for 20 minutes.
It should be runny like a drink.
I would have one coffee mug (portable type!) once or twice a day. See if it helps?
16. So KellyMom.com is my breastfeeding holy grail. Think of any questions and it has answers.
17. First few months keep an eye out for diaper output and weight. That is the only indicator of enough breastmilk supply.
Do NOT listen to anyone else saying otherwise. In the beginning it is literally just drops. And that’s all the baby needs. Tiny baby. Tiny tummy.
Even if it is literally drops. That’s FINE. That’s what the baby needs. The first 4 days it’s one wet nappy added a day. One nappy on day one. 2 on day two. 3 on day three. As long as you’re getting that the supply is fine
18. The baby will seem to feed all the time. Sassi used to feed every 20 minutes the first few weeks. Then 40 minutes for the next month or so. I was tired beyond belief But it helps establish milk supply Do NOT supplement with formula or anything or supply gets affected
19. Beyond first week you can pump and give bottle once a day but do ask Lactation consultant before she does that. Sometimes causes nipple confusion
20. Also baby’s weight reduces after birth and is regained until day 15. So initial weight loss is NORMAL which is why you
– don’t panic!
– don’t judge milk supply by baby’s weight during this time. Only wet nappy numbers. (If you’re breastfeeding)
21. Please download Baby+ app
And log Food intake (Breast or bottle), sleep, and poo and pee. I promise you’ll thank me one day.
22. Forgot one thing. A new Mama’s normal drinking water should be
a) at LEAST 2 litres a day (irrespective of whether she is breastfeeding or not. She’s been through quite a ride)
b) infused with Ajwain(a small pinch) and Saunf (a fat pinch). If she’s breastfeeding.
It’ll make sure the baby doesn’t get gassy
23. Keep the baby at an angle. Not flat in the bassinet. Some hospital bassinets have an option to tilt
Others have a wedge shaped mattress. It helps with initial reflux and sleeping. Around a 25-30 degree angle or so.
24. Keep an eye out for each other.
If the mom has been treated like a hamster and baby yanked out of her nether regions one way or another, daddy has been a deer in headlights all through this.
It is nevertheless, a life changing experience for both parents. Both need rest at a time Little is available. Take care of yourself and take care of each other through it. Congratulations new parents. Now let’s get cracking.
25. Also don’t forget to marvel at those tiny feet and that little face. Take a picture. I promise you, it’s the best thing ever that amazes and frightens you at the same time if you’re a decent human being.
(In case you’re a self righteous prick then you can’t see beyond your nose and possibly don’t find anything moving. So scratch this and move along. )
Write something. Draw. Paint. Take a picture. Do something that reminds you of this day in time because it will forever be etched on your heart. I know it is for F and I.