The days leading up to delivering your baby can be so nerve wracking! We know this. You are inundated with advice from everyone sharing their stories and what “they” think you should do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get better once you get to the hospital. Not only does it come from family and friends, but sadly, too often new parents find they get a plethora of instructions from nurses, doctors, other medical providers, and they do not know what to believe.
We want to provide you with 6 things to remember as you get ready to deliver. 6 things that you can count on which will help to prepare you for your little one and getting through the first few weeks (which really are a blur of delirium!)! 6 things which people will NOT tell you before your baby arrives.
- Most moms experience pain breastfeeding…this does NOT mean that pain is normal or healthy! If a health care professional tells you this is normal, know that it is not and seek a second opinion. Pain is not right and something needs to be adjusted. Be sure to seek professional help from an IBCLC who understands this and will help identify what is going on, why you are having pain!
- Your milk supply could be delayed in coming in due to fluid overload from IV fluids and/or epidurals. Most moms see their milk volume increase or “come in” around day 4 of life. If you have a significant delay in your milk coming in, know that you can ask the hospital for a pump to get things started. You also have the right to decline an epidural and also to push out any induction as long as possible. Ask nurses and doctors why an IV is needed and see if it can be delayed–the earlier an IV is started the longer you will be pumped full of fluids. Be empowered to ask questions and request delays!
- Babies, typically around day 2 or 3 of life, will want to feed very frequently and close together. We call this “cluster feeding.” This is normal so hang in there. It does not mean that you don’t have enough milk… usually this is baby helping to increase your milk volume more quickly! To be sure, always track your baby’s diapers and be sure to let your nurse or IBCLC know.
- It’s difficult to adjust to life with a newborn… whether you have a few children already or whether this is your first baby. It is always an adjustment adding a new person to a family. In addition, your hormones are going to be going crazy, there is sleep deprivation, and any pain you may have from the birth. Be prepared to ask for help and to accept help. It’s okay! Really! Friends and family are great at helping to prepare meals, clean the house, or help with laundry. Dads and older children are wonderful help bringing the baby to you, putting the baby to sleep, and changing diapers. 🙂
- It is not uncommon for friends and family to want to come visit you and the new little one in the hospital. This can be overwhelming not only for you but for baby! In fact, babies can and do get overstimulated with lots of visitors and being passed around to welcoming arms. Not only can this make a baby very fussy, difficult to console, and hard to breastfeed, but it frequently has the effect of causing mom to miss breastfeeds. Many moms are shy about breastfeeding in front of friends or family, and will often feel uncomfortable asking for people to step out of the room or even simply find it hard to ask for the baby so they can breastfeed. They feel bad taking their baby from loved ones who want to hold the baby. Due to these common challenges we encourage parents to limit visitors to 2-4 people while you are at the hospital. If you can request no visitors until you go home–explaining that you and your husband want to keep this a private time–that is even better.
- Many moms have difficulty once they get home from the hospital. This is because once your milk volume really increases, any breastfeeding issues become much more apparent. Have your IBCLC’s number handy so you can get trained, professional care as soon as any issues arise.