So you’re about to have a baby. You are round, heavy, and really ready to give birth. How are you feeling about it? Are you nervous? Are you excited? Are you scared? Don’t worry. You are not alone. To ease your anxieties (especially for all the control freak mamas out there), here a few things you can expect during your first week as a new mom.
1. Very little, to no sleep. The rumors are true. Newborn babies nurse every two hours, which means you will be up (at least) every 2 hours feeding or changing their diapers. Here’s a tip: split up the tasks between yourself and your partner/caregiver. One can handle the feeding, while the other can change the dirty diapers.
2. Constant tiredness. With a newborn baby, you are on call 24/7…feeding, changing diapers, and rocking your baby to sleep. Expect the exhaustion, but take comfort in knowing that numerous women have overcome this, and you will too!
3. Recovery pains. Whether you’ve just had a c-section or a vaginal birth, you are going through some form of recovery. Something hurts, and between caring for your infant and running your household, we’re sure you are wondering how on earth women manage to do it all. This is why you should take your doctor’s advice to rest. Focus on your healing and your baby, and delegate the house chores to someone else.
4. Sore and swollen breasts. If you are breastfeeding, your baby is likely to be latched unto you for most of the day which means you will be producing plenty of milk. Expect a mild soreness in the nipple area, and to feel heavy and full whenever your breasts replenish its supply of milk.
5. Many dirty diapers. Newborn babies soil 10-15 diapers a day. The good news is that while your baby is only consuming milk, the poop doesn’t smell! And don’t worry, these numbers will eventually taper down as your baby grows.
6. Loose skin, and lots of it. Go easy on yourself mama, you did just grow a human being in your belly. All of this new and loose skin around your belly will eventually return to its previous shape. The breastfeeding will help, but do wait for instructions from your doctor about when is the best time to exercise before you start working off those extra pounds.
7. Joy. Yes, given all of the above, it doesn’t sound like new moms have much to look forward to postpartum. But what we can tell you is that the joy that comes with finally holding your baby in your arms makes all of the challenges worthwhile. So expect all of hard stuff…but also expect joy, and a whole lot of it.