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Things I wish I’d known about birth and having a newborn…

26 Dec
Things I wish I’d known about birth and having a newborn…

This was originally posted on my Honeypot Lingerie blog on 10th August 2012.

I love being a mother – it’s wonderful! However, there are so many things that I wish I’d been told during the 9 months that I was waiting for Hannah to arrive…

You might have convinced yourself that your baby will arrive early but some 70% of first babies aren’t born on their due date, with most being born late. Hannah was one of those babies.

Whilst you might be happy for your baby to hang out a bit longer before being born, by the time you’re one day over, generally you’re trying everything to bring labour on. Despite what you’ve heard, some of those old wives’ tales do not work! For example:

  • Curry – unless it’s a spanking hot curry, and I mean one that makes you cry and your bum burn, this won’t work.
  • Sex – perhaps the key here is frequency and the amount of time you can handle laying on your back with your feet in the air… just not my idea of fun when you feel like a whale!
  • Bumpy roads – we drove on the Clare to Adelaide road (Main North Road) several times in the lead up to the due date and got nowhere.

Induction is not a quick fix to bring the baby on, that is for sure! The gels were applied at 5:30pm on a Thursday, I was left to sleep on and off that night, waters were broken at 8:30am Friday morning and then the centocin drip was put in at 11am Friday because nothing was happening.

The drip will bring on contractions and how! They will become strong fairly quickly and the methods of walking around and using a gym ball work well. Unfortunately, because the drip is in, you’re not allowed to take any showers so if that’s a big part of your birth plan then keep it in mind. You’re also limited as to where and how long you can walk around.

When you’re induced you will not be left alone by the midwives for your health and wellbeing. They will hang out in your room with you and it can sometimes be awkward. They’re wonderful people but sometimes you may feel like groaning and moaning in peace and in those early stages you’re still self-conscious about what you’re doing and saying. Don’t worry, they’ve seen and heard it all!

Once labour really hots up you will become that crazy lady on ‘One Born Every Minute’. You know, the one who screams and swears like a banshee at her partner then demands drugs after what seems like only 2 contractions whilst stripping her clothes off and munching on ice like it’s popcorn. It’s inevitable. You may end up naked, you may poo in front of other people, including your partner and at least one midwife, and you may throw up over someone. Deal with it!

The birthing process may not go according to plan at all and it’s a good idea to come up with a plan beforehand in case something happens. If you want your mum at the hospital in the event of an emergency, make sure your partner knows that. After all, they may not think it now, but they will be grateful for support during that time instead of being left alone in the birthing suite holding a brand new baby.

Breastfeeding a newborn takes a lot longer than I ever expected! The first couple of days things are ok but once your milk comes in feeding and settling can take 2 hours or more at any time of the day. By the time you’ve managed to settle them they’re often ready for the next feed already!

Frozen cabbage leaves can help ease sore nipples or engorged breasts, so take some with you or have someone bring them in and pop them in the freezer at the hospital. Don’t worry when your breasts are so hot that you not only defrost the cabbage quickly but could throw it on top of a stirfry, making your baby smell like the fruit and veg department. I like to think of it as the original source of ‘cabbage patch kids’ 🙂

Don’t be convinced that your baby is going to be a boofer (and future shot putter for Australia) and not take 00000 or 0000 clothes to hospital; you may just have had lots of fluid. The hospital will provide some clothes to begin with but after the baby’s first bath you can dress them up in something cute that you’ve brought with you. Ensure you take at least 2 bodysuits in both those sizes just in case.

So. Many. Nappies!!! We bought 4 packs of 36 nappies and that lasted about 1.5 weeks – do not underestimate how many nappies you will go through! Sometimes you’ve just finished changing your baby and then two more nappy changes later they’ve actually finished pooing. There will be no warning, just be ready to back it up with another in case.

Have a lot of wraps on hand because if they have an explosion it can easily soak out of the side of the nappy, through their bodysuit and onto the wrap. I find the heavier cotton-polyester wrap from Target the best, as my little one gets her hands out of muslin wraps too easily.

Ready made meals in the freezer are fabulous because even though you may feel wonderful after the birth, your baby may be very needy, requiring feeds at your dinner time and you only have 2 hands. If friends and family offer to help you out, why not ask them to put a meal or two aside if they have leftovers?

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