Now that K has completed the one year mark, I think its time for me to write a post on my mommy experiences and learning so far. While I had been wanting to do a monthly post on this, but there are no excuses for not posting!!
1- 3 months
1. Be prepared. Yes, be prepared for the mommy experience as much as you can. Talk to other new mommies. While its easy to be prepared with stuff like clothes, cot etc for the new born; there are a couple of things no body tells you. Breastfeeding and Postpartum depression are two of them.
Before I became a mother, I did not know that breastfeeding is not as simple as one thinks it to be. We have only seen mothers feeding their babies, little do we know that this simple act of feeding a baby, involves lot of effort, help and knowledge about the whole thing. Very little are the chances that your gynecologist will tell you this. Your mother, MIL or other senior women in the family would have mostly forgotten about their own experiences. So read as much as you can about BF. Talk to your gynae and understand what all are possible difficulties you may face. The initial few days of motherhood can be very exhausting, and are the most crucial days to establish adequate milk supply as well. If your are not equipped to deal with the BF challenges, chances are that you may not be able to feed the child as per your plan, leading to major disappointment.
I would also suggest joining some online groups of would be moms/ new moms to understand things better.
Similarly, another phenomenon which I think Indians are not very vocal about is postpartum depression. This generally affects women in varying degrees. If you do not know about it, chances are you would not even identify what you are suffering from. Its the general feeling of depression immediately after you have delivered. While in most cases it would not need clinical intervention; it does need support and help from family to come out from.
I had a bad phase immediately after K was born. It was a C Section and I realized that life had changed in a matter of few hours. Suddenly from a glowing mommy to be basking in the anticipation of motherhood, I was this semi deflated female with a tiny 3 kg life to take care of. And while I was still recovering from the visuals of the OT (I was given a GA), K was handed over to me for her first breastfeed! The fact that every 2-3 hours I will have to feed her no matter what time of the day it was, was quite scary.
And more than the thought the act of being restricted to the bed most of the time, feeding K for hours altogether sometimes, not being able to get up from bed on my own coupled with a belly which still looked 6 months pregnant; was quite depressing I must say.
Had I spoken to people who care to divulge the realities of how life can be during the first few days of motherhood, would have been of great help. Nothing works like preparedness. I had only seen new mothers’ FB status claiming their joy and delight at being a mommy!! I never knew it could be more difficult than what it looked on FB.
So, my advice to would be mothers- Read more, connect more and be prepared mentally to face those difficult initial days.
2. Babies less than three months spend most of their time either eating or sleeping. Once the BF part is sorted, the eating has been taken care of. Now comes sleeping, which also needs to be handled with care. Since babies do not have a concept of night and day (remember inside the womb they had only nights..:)) they may screw up their sleeping time when they land up in the real world. Here are few tips from my experience to make them sleep during night:
- During the day keep the room well lit and bright. Keep all windows open so that there is adequate light in the room. Similarly, at night, no lights. This is to tune their body to the day night concept.
- If they are awake, keep activity level in the room high during that time. Talk to them, cuddle them so that they know this is when all action happens. Night time, try to keep it as quiet as possible.
- Sleep when they sleep. Seriously. The moment your baby is off, lie down besides her and doze off!
3. Avoid making your baby a godi (lap) fan!! Remember that she does not know anything right now. She is raw material and you can mold her the way you want!! She will develop habits which you want her to develop. So if you carry her in your arms most of the time or put her in your laps most of the time; she will believe that this is how it should be all the time and you are in for big trouble!! I would feed K and immediately put her down on the bed, right from day one. I do not remember sitting with her in my laps, except while feeding her. She never cried for godi. Till day she wants godi only when is absolutely tired to walk on her own, else she would happily move about on her own. Also, it is believed, that babies who are left to move around freely, tend to show better growth physically.
I have heard people training their babies to pee so that do not wet their nappy and are diaper free, right from day one of their birth. Technique is to make them pee at regular intervals in a small tub or basin. Soon, they will start to cry on their own when they need to pee. But I was too lazy to do that…:) Nevertheless, by one – one and a half years, with little training, they can be trained to tell before they pee. So it all depends on how much effort you can put in…:)
4. Chose your pediatrician carefully and in advance
Even before you have delivered, research a bit and find out a good pediatrician in your city. Preferably someone who is close to your home. While there would not be any point of visiting the ped before the baby is here, you can still zero down on the ped you would want to consult once your baby has arrived.
We had not done this. When K’s Bilirubin value (indication of jaundice) did not go down even after 10 days of birth, we had to visit a ped. Since we were not aware of a good ped, we went to the one who was their in the OT at the time of her delivery. My BF challenges started from there. He advised something, which later we discovered was not the best course of action. It was only later that I spoke to a good friend who suggested her ped and we have been visiting him since then. Point is that immediately after child birth, everyone gets too busy and you may not have time to find a good doctor. Therefore do this research in advance and have the ped’s number ready with you when the child comes into the world. You never know when you might need him. You would anyways, want the best for your baby..including the doctor..:)
(To be contd..)