Pregnancy and becoming a mother for the first time is a steep learning curve for everyone. You prepare yourself by going to appointments, antenatal classes and reading countless numbers of books. But when it comes to looking after yourself and your new little bundle, you might be left surprised at how little you know.
The thing is that you will never know everything as each baby is so very different. You may feel like you are winning and then bam your baby is doing something different.
Most people do not expect the following things to happen, so you’re already a step ahead.
For the first few days you may notice that your baby seems slow to feed and keeps spitting up fluid. This is known as mucous and it is very common for babies to do this. When your baby was in your uterus it was protected by a bag of waters (amniotic fluid), which they swallow. As your baby goes through the birth canal a lot of it is squeezed out, however not all of the fluid is removed.
For babies who needed a C- section, you will notice that they have more mucous as they did not undergo the squeezing process at birth.
A lot of the mucous is absorbed in the first few days as well as through them vomiting. Breastfeeding your baby will help break the mucous down, so regular feeding is advised.
The mucous usually takes a couple of days to shift and it can feel like there is a lot coming out.
Feeding your baby is going to be your number one priority and it will feel like it is all you do. Some women find breast feeding their baby to be easy, whilst others have numerous difficulties. One thing that books never tell you if how to prepare your nipples for feeding your baby.
Take your bra off and have a look at your nipples, do they stick out or are they inverted, flat or a bit of both. Be sure to ask your midwife as they will be able to help you before your baby even arrives.
After you have your baby you will bleed for 2-3 weeks, during this time it may feel like it will never stop, but I promise you it does. At first it will be quite heavy and very red looking, you may pass some clots, so make sure that you show your midwife as there may be some placental tissue or membrane left inside which is trying to get out.
Your bleeding will change from bright red, topping and then brown as the weeks go on. It may feel like it is stopping and return again, which is very normal as your mobility increases.
You may be unaware that after you have your baby you will feel afterpains, which can feel similar to mild contractions. They can be very intense for some women, especially if you had a long labour or if it is your second or third child.
Your uterus contracts down after to return to its normal position and also to control bleeding. If you are struggling with afterpains then make sure to take some pain relief. Heat therapy is also a great way to help with the cramps.
These are just a few pointers to be aware of in the early days, but it is good to know before they happen so the you can prepare yourself. Get to know your body before you have your baby and put things in place to help you once your baby arrives.
Read more informative pregnancy, birth and baby articles at Maternity Mum.