I’ve been fortunate enough to bring two babies home from the hospital. Both times were completely different experiences, I guess because we learnt a lot from the first time. There are definitely a list of things I wish my husband and I knew about as we prepared to bring our first child home. Things I wish I knew to tell him, things I wish I knew were going to happen to me, things I wish I knew would happen with the baby.
Things I Wish My Husband Knew (or that I wish I could have prepared him for)
Not just physically, but emotionally. Those blissful pregnancy hormones make a speedy exit from your body around day 3 or 4 (commonly known as the baby blues) and it’s basically a big come down. I remember trying to bathe Jaxxi for the first time and I couldn’t work out how to hold her in the water because she was crying. Steve tried to help me and took over, and I burst into tears. I felt like I was doing a terrible job already. My sensitivity was through the roof and it took me a while (I’m talking WEEKS) to settle back down. The hormones take a while to set themselves straight, pooled with unimaginable exhaustion, there’s going to be a lot of tears over really small things. And that’s ok.
If you feel like the weight of the overwhelm or sadness doesn’t go away, reach out and speak to someone right away. You could start with your partner and then reach out to your GP or Child Health Nurse.
I’m Self Concious
Self conscious of my body and my ability to be a Mother. I’m trying to do a job I have never done before with a body that I didn’t understand yet. I didn’t feel I had control over it just yet. Things were still leaking, things still hurt, parts of me felt weird (you know when your tummy is all soft and jellylike because your uterus is freshly emptied?) and my boobs were huge leaky rocks. You may not be able to get blood from a stone but you sure can get milk from one! Everything was so RAW and overwhelming.
I Need Help
Half the time I didn’t even know what exactly I needed help with or how he could help. I just needed him there so I didn’t feel alone. Just relieve me from the clean, fed and warm crying baby that must have some mystery need still un-met. And he did, but it was after I asked. And it took me a little bit to work out how to ask. It’s not hard, I just needed to say ‘please help’. When they say ‘But how?’, it’s ok to say ‘I don’t know. I just can’t figure out what I need to do right now’. I know he was holding back because of the above points about being self conscious and fragile – he didn’t want to accidentally insult me by offering to help, because, again, the above points meant I may have interpreted his kind gestures the wrong way.
Things I Wish I Knew
I’m Going To Have My Boobs Out….like A LOT
It got to the point that I was just walking around with my top pulled behind my head, so my boobs were always out. Jaxxi had trouble taking to feeding, so I had to start each feed with my boobs out and her on my chest, allowing her to wiggle down and find the boob of choice. This leads me to my next point…
I Don’t Want Unplanned Visitors
I actually loved seeing people and showing them my new baby (as long as I was fully clothed and my milk pillows were tucked away). I was always happy to hand her over and let people get some newborn snuggles. But I liked to schedule people’s visits. Some Mums don’t like having many visitors at all (which I totally understand), but I enjoyed it, as long as I was letting people know when a good time was. As I mentioned before about my boobs being out a lot, having people just ‘pop over’ and walk through the house to find me meant there was a huge risk of copping an eyeful of titties. I needed to know who was coming and when. And I had to be the person who decided when.
The Baby Won’t Sleep
No, I mean the baby won’t sleep AT ALL. I expected waking up in the night, but I did not expect my baby to spend our first night at home awake from 7pm – 7am. That was a fucking surprise. Turns out the beautiful bassinet I bought was not a winner for helping Jaxxi sleep. Instead, she spent her first three weeks either in the pram next to our bed or a carrier/cradle thing. The same thing happened with Jagger – he also hated the bassinet (which is why I got rid of it and am not even bothering to hope it would work for future kids) but I had the cradle ready to go and we avoided a 12 hour awake stint on the first night home.
Also, after a shitload of googling, I worked out I needed to help Jaxxi learn the difference between day and night. In line with establishing feeding (whether bottle or breast), I highly suggest working on the night and day differentiation.
How My Body Was Going To Heal
I do not recall ANYONE warning me that I was going to have a 6 week long period. I thought I was about to bleed to death! I eventually checked with a midwife and yes, it is completely normal (unless you’re filling a pad up in less than hour, then you need to call the hospital).
I also do not remember anyone letting me know it fucking hurts when you breastfeed your child (not the toe-curling nipple pain, someone did warn me about that) but the pain of my uterus contracting while I fed. And ladies, it hurts EVEN MORE for each subsequent child. No one told me that until I was curled over in bed after the birth of my second child, as the midwife handed me my Panadol (she may as well gave me Fruit-Loops because they would have been equally effective), and she said ‘Yeh, it gets worse after each birth’.
A Routine Does Not Need to be Implemented On Day One
Straight away, amidst everything mentioned above, I was hell-bent on establishing a routine from the get-go. I wanted a consistent bath time/bedtime routine. She had to ALWAYS be put down in her bed to sleep, she couldn’t be held for too long for fear of creating a sleep crutch (I wish someone slapped me out of that!). I wanted to ‘feed, play, sleep’ in that order every time. I knew establishing a time based routine was not realistic, but I thought I needed to start laying the foundations for a patterned routine so when she was around the 4 month mark, she would take to it super easily. Looking back, all I needed to do was make sure I was helping the baby know the difference between day and night (lots of noise, light and stimulation during the day and then keep it quiet, calm, darker with little stimulation during the night) and feed whenever she seemed to have needed it. It didn’t matter if she fell asleep on me, the pram, the swing or in someone else’s arms (I would literally take her out of someones arms and put in her bed – like I said, WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE SLAP ME?!). She was a fucking newborn baby and none of that stuff would matter or make a difference so young. It’s always great to create a rhythm at bedtime, but there is absolutely no harm done at all if it’s not done regularly at such a young age.
The Second Time Around
Bringing our second child home was so much different. Things were calmer and slower. And I was prepared. Aside from being hell bent on establishing a routine, everything else happened just the same as it did the first time, BUT I knew it was coming. Some things, well I still had no idea how to handle, but the shock of it was taken out of the equation. Obviously none of what I’ve talked about is really glamorous. But it’s real. It’s raw. It’s just how it goes. So many good things happened too, but those were wonderful surprises to stumble upon and not something I had to be aware of in the lead up.
Enjoyed this? Here are some more of my posts about what’s to come after bringing your baby home!