A SURVIVOR’S GUIDE TO THE FIRST WEEK
You would not be the first woman in history to spend more time prepping for childbirth than the parenting itself. But, don’t forget the gig that follows, mums.
Below is what to expect… when you’ve finished expecting 🙂
Her first poop will look like she’s done ‘a vegemite’. It will then change from the spectrum of greens to a more runny, paste-y, curdy yellowish-brown. Good news for the breastfeeder – your baby’s poop wont be too stinky at all.
2. Your baby will be growing very quickly
It’s astonishing how quickly baby grows. She’ll be out of those 000’s in no time. Some mornings you’ll swear she’s grown since yesterday, and she most likely has.
3. Belly button
Shrivelled, stumpy umbilical chord, be gone!
Although looking way beyond it’s use-by date, that stinky little crusty thing will be holding fast for the next few weeks. Keep it clean and dry and fold the nappy down underneath it for the time being.
One day you’ll find it in a nappy, or if you’re lucky enough, you’ll step on it, pick it up, smell it and wonder what the heck?! It’s ultimate death will reveal her cute new naval, that’s likely to be pierced by the time she’s 16.
4. Baby’s no fun
Some parents envisage themselves playing ‘peek-a-boo’ and giggling with their babies, but the truth is newborn babies are ‘passive’ and may not be much ‘fun’ at all for a while yet.
She needs your face, her basic needs to be met and YOU consistently! she’ll be smiling, cooing and gurgling back at your attempts of fun in no time.
5. Baby’s breathing
You might be amazed (or concerned) at how fast your baby is breathing.
Dr Barton D. Schmitt, in Your Child’s Health states that your baby will breathe fewer than 60 breaths per minute and may pause for six seconds. If baby wheezes or displays rapid breathing, seek medical assistance as this could indicate a respiratory problem.
6. Her hands
Her hands will remain quite firmly curled into her fists for a few weeks yet. If you nuzzle your pinky into her palm, it looks like she’s holding your hand.. aww cute.. go on..
7. Her hair’s falling out
Your baby’s golden strands might be found in increasing supply on her mattress, or she might be
sporting a dark receding hair line. All normal. She’ll look cute again soon 😉
8. Spew cloths
Keep cloth nappies or muslin wraps close for a quick mop-up. Bub may pewk-up what seems to be the entire contents of your last feed, but it wont be and that last feed will not have been in vain.
I felt nervous about handing over my baby to others. It was a guarantee she’d spit up on them. When friends would ask for a cuddle, I’d automatically pass her over along with ‘nasty cloth’ attached.
On the occasion when I’d forgot one, I’d feign shock when she painted them with spew (most believed it was sincere).
Handy hint: Give her frequent opportunities to burp and keep her up-right after feeds….. make sure she comes complete with spew cloth – your friends will like you/her more.
9. Waking/feeding around the clock
You may feel more like a maniacal-milk-machine than Mother Earth – expect to be feeding around the clock. Build yourself a night ‘feeding nest’ where you can get your feet up, snuggle in together and keep warm.
I know it feels like bub will be attached to your boob forever, but those weeks really do fly by. You’re probably rolling your eyes at me now, but truly, before you know it you’ll be reminiscing sweetly about those wee milky hours.
10. Drop your standards a little
If you’re the perfectionistic-type, this might be a challenge.
When I do post-natal visits I say to my beautiful mums… I want to see dust on your dresser and pubes on your toilet floor. It’s not fair to feel judged on your housekeeping at this time (or any time), plus it enables that visitor to be a helpful one!
11. Learning to love a different body
Congratulate it, don’t condemn it.
You will still have your tum and probably puffy feet or ankles – Your uterus will be shrinking slowly and if you’ve been puffy, your fluid retention may hang around for a few weeks yet. Be kind to yourself and that fabulous bod.
12. Others will be excited for you
Your friends and family will be dying to get their clutches on your cutie pie, they may come in droves and it’s OK to say ‘no!’.
I was so keen to show off my bub that I welcomed everyone and anyone. However day three came caving in on me.
The complete exhaustion hit me and I needed to get those breasts out, National Geographic style, but without an audience looking on. Being a newbie, breastfeeding around visitors was tricky as I had been compromising on my attachment technique, to be discreet.
My husband turned bouncer over night. I couldn’t say no to my peeps, but he sure could. Get good at saying no, or hire someone who can.
13. Be prepared for lots of tears
It’s normal to cry in those first few weeks. You’ve been through a lot and the transition to parenthood is huge. There will be plenty of weepy moments – if it’s not you, it will be your partner or the baby. Don’t be too harsh on yourselves.
Perhaps the best advice is to ditch all advice and leave your expectations behind. Baby is going to do what she wants to do and no well-meaning well-wishers are going to change that.
Enjoy these precious weeks.
Hugs into the ether…