**NONE OF THIS POST IS INTENDED TO BE TAKEN IN PLACE OF MEDICAL ADVICE, OR BE 'SET IN STONE'. THIS IS SIMPLY MY TAKE ON THINGS THAT HAPPEN BASED ON MY DELIVERY AND MY BABY. ALL WOMEN AND ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT. IF YOU ARE WORRIED BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOUR BABY IS DOING, CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR.**
I'll start with the items that everyone pretty much knows...
1) Babies eat...all the time! Especially when they're brand new. Julia nursed every 2 hours for pretty much the first 6 weeks. She was teeny when she was born, so they wanted to make sure she gained the appropriate amount of weight...which she did.
2) Babies poop...a LOT! Every time they eat, they poop! Well, not all babies do. Some babies can go a few days without a poopy diaper. Count on 12+ diapers per day when your baby is born...for at least the first few weeks. Do the math...12 diapers a day X 7 days in a week = 84 diapers in a week. Multiplied by 4.5 weeks in a month = 378 diapers a month...consider cloth diapers!!! They have come SO FAR from back in the day...
3) Babies sleep...a LOT! At first, a baby will probably only be awake long enough to eat, and maybe a diaper change. As they get older, they will stay awake much longer! Julia is up to 2-3 hours at a time being awake.
4) Babies cry...for everything. Crying is their only means of communication at first. So if your newborn is crying (probably up to about 2 1/2-3 months), it's for a reason. Whether it be for a diaper change, needing to eat, being tired, wanting to be held, wanting to be left alone, being uncomfortable...many, many things!
5) Sleep when the baby sleeps. You hear it all the time, but it is so true!!! Maybe not every single time the baby sleeps, but in those early weeks, try to grab as many naps as you can when your little bundle is sleeping. Housework can wait.
Now, on to the things that many ladies won't realize...we'll start with the new mom-to-be.
1) You will still look pregnant for a bit after you have your baby.
2) Your feet will more than likely be swollen for a few days.
3) You will be super tired for a while. If someone offers to help you...TAKE IT. And SLEEP when that person is assisting you.
4) You more than likely won't get a shower every single day at first. Deal with it. Sleep is more important...
5) You will SHED more than you ever have in your entire life!!! Probably for the first 3 months or so postpartum.
6) Your boobs will HURT. If you're not planning on breastfeeding, this may be 10 fold for you.
7) Your nips will HURT. If you're going to be breastfeeding, you may end up with cracked, bleeding nipples. It's not pretty, but stick it out! It DOES get easier, and is so worth it!
8) Your boobs will leak...get some breast pads!!!
9) Your hips will still hurt also. All that stuff moved out of the way to let that baby out, it's gotta go back!
10) You will be emotional. You will cry at the drop of a dime, and you may get angry very easily. However...if the emotions you are feeling are extreme, or disturbing to you...Please contact your doctor. Post Partum Depression (PPD) is a serious issue, and your doctor can help you.
11) If you have a vaginal delivery, you will be sore for a while! If you tear...you will be sore a LOT longer!
12) You will still have contractions for a while after the baby is born.
Ok, and the general advice I would like to give:
1) If you're planning on breastfeeding, invest in a GOOD pump before your baby comes. Don't wait until the day after your baby comes home, when your boobs feel like they're going to explode like I did, and get stuck with buying the "cheapy" pump that will be "ok". Trust me. I wound up buying two pumps, because the "ok" pump just wasn't "ok".
2) Buy some breast pads. Whether you're going to breastfeed or not...get them.
3) Put your makeup on in the morning even if you don't get a shower. It will help you feel human when you're beyond exhausted.
4) Buy some BIG pads...like the overnight kind. You WILL bleed for at least a week, but as long as 6 weeks +.
5) Get some Tucks (or witch hazel pads)...trust me...you're not going to want to wipe.
6) Take everything...EVERYTHING they have for you to use at the hospital. Your bathroom items, diapers, wipes, etc. Take them. If you don't, they pitch them.
7) Don't pack your hospital bag with enough for a week long vacation. Take a couple changes of clothes for you and your partner, your partners bathing suit (if you want to try a water birth, or if you want a shower while you're in labor), some snacks (something sour to wet your mouth while in labor), some music, your camera, chap stick, and maybe some books, magazines, or crafts to pass the time. You don't need all the stuff they say you need.
8) Seriously consider cloth diapers. They are a HUGE cost savings. You add one to 3 loads of laundry per week, but it really isn't that bad. Keep some disposables on hand just in case, but if you go the disposable route, you could spend upwards of $7,000 or more by the time the baby is potty trained. I've spent about $600 on my cloth diaper "stash"...and they'll fit Julia until she's potty trained. Plus, you can use them for consecutive babies! More savings!
9) If you're going to breastfeed, please don't give up! It's so worth it, and it does get easier! If your baby doesn't latch at first, keep trying. A friend of mine finally got her little man to latch after...what...3 months I believe! Amazing!
10) Don't be afraid to ask for help, or ask questions! Whether your mom, a recent new mom, or someone that hasn't had a baby in years. We've all been there, and we can all give you advice!
11) Take lots of pictures...you don't want these precious times to slip away...
I'll add more as I come up with them, but I am about to take a nap myself!