What Happens To Me After Baby Arrives?
After your little one makes their big debut a lot will change. This is obviously common knowledge. Everyone knows that you won't be able to sleep as much anymore and you won't be able to go out as much as you used to, but there is a lot more that happens.
You're an Emotional Rollercoaster
You will cry at the smallest things. You thought this only happens during pregnancy? Oh no, it is still going to happen even after baby arrives. Especially if you are a first time mom and feel like you have no idea what you are doing. I was a complete mess at the hospital and at home. I was fortunate enough to have my mom stay and help my husband and I out with our little one for a few days after she was born, but when my mom decided it was time for her to go home, I cried and cried and cried. You just have to accept that there will be times where you just need to cry. Your hormones are going crazy, you feel like you aren't sure what you are doing, and you might even feel hopeless. Don't hold it in. Talk to your partner or a friend about it because one of the worse things to do is to try and hold in all those emotions. This feeling and these emotions will pass eventually and you will start to get back to normal. However, if these feelings persist and you continue to feel sad and hopeless reach out and seek help. You may be suffering from postpartum depression. You can contact your doctor or local hospital as they typically know of or have support groups.
Breastfeeding takes a toll on you
When I was in the hospital I couldn't feed my precious girl. She just refused to latch. I felt like a complete failure as a mother. I had nurses coming into my room every two hours to help me give her colostrum and lactation specialists giving me loads of advice. I was worn out and deflated. By the last day I was in the hospital my lactation specialist suggested that we use donor breastmilk to help feed my little one. I bawled my eyes out... not only did my daughter not want to latch on to drink my milk, my baby was going to be getting someone else's breastmilk. It was like these women were rubbing it in my face. They were producing SO much milk that they could donate it. My daughter drank every drop of donor milk. It was then I realized how hungry she was and I needed my lactation specialist to give me as much advice as possible before I left. After all, I wouldn't be getting donor milk at home. After a few days at home and following the knowledge I gained while at the hospital my baby girl was getting so much to eat. For the first few weeks we used a nipple shield to help her latch and now she can do it all on her own! Overall, don't give up breastfeeding just because the first few days, even weeks, are rough. Stick to it because the benefits are worth it. See link below to purchase a nipple shield.
You've never been more excited about poop
Kind of gross but the absolute truth! Poop will become an obsession. "OH HONEY, COME LOOK! Her poop is now yellow and no longer black, yay!" It is so sad how this becomes a topic of interest, but it is only because you are excited to see that your little one is healthy. The more they poop, the more relieved you feel since you know they are eating enough. Just remember to keep the poop talk between you and your significant other and don't discuss it much, if at all, outside of the house. And definitely don't bring it up at restaurants.
Feeling frustration with baby and significant other
It is completely normal to get overtired and then upset with your family. You have never ran on such little sleep before and the smallest things annoy you. Just remember not to take this out on others. Especially your baby. If your baby keeps crying and it is the middle of the night and all you want to do is sleep, don't get frustrated. Remember, they are just a tiny, little newborn. They haven't been in this world very long and they are still trying to get used to everything. You can't blame them, they don't know any better. If you can't help but be frustrated with baby's cries though, set her down and walk away. No baby has ever cried themselves to death but babies have been shaken to death because of their crying. Don't shake your baby! Just set them down, take a few minutes to regroup, and return.
It is also important to keep clear channels of communication open with your partner. Those ridiculous fights at 3 am over who is going to get up to change the diaper or "mommy gets mad at daddy because he didn't bring her water.... even though she didn't ask and just expected he would know" are what drive parents apart and worse, they don't create as loving of an environment for baby. Don't sweat the small stuff. Let it go and appreciate the little bundle of joy you have brought into the world.
Mom strength is a thing!!! When I was a little girl (and even as a teenager) I would ask my mom to lift something up or open a jar or do something that I was not strong enough to do and she did it with such ease. I now understand where that strength came from. When you need to do something for your child, you will get it done!
Showering is now considered optional
Before baby I showered every morning. Now, I am lucky if I get to put on some deodorant. Your baby comes first and if she is crying her eyes out you aren't going to put her down just so you can feel clean. While it is important to take care of yourself to maintain sanity, it just isn't a priority anymore. Don't worry, you'll get used to it. Also, fun fact, you aren't supposed to wash your hair everyday anyways since all the chemicals in shampoos and conditioners damage your strands rather than protect them. So, not being able to shower has actually helped me have thicker, longer hair. YAY!
Cleaning and chores sits on the back burner
For the first few weeks at home you will be focused on baby, not cleaning. This is okay! You don't have to break your back taking care of baby, making sure your house is impeccably clean, and entertaining visitors. Actually, it is totally okay and normal to ask your visitors for a helping hand. I put out a little dry erase sign where I can mark what I need someone to do while I look after my little one. You can get this sign when you subscribe below. Don't be afraid to ask for help and don't freak out if you have a sink full of dishes. Spending time with your baby is far more important because you won't want to miss a single second of watching them grow and develop.
You are a fountain... literally
I only heard hilarious stories about how women would uncontrollably start leaking breastmilk when it was time for baby to eat. It wasn't until it happened to me that I realized how important it was to pump. Once your breasts fill up to the max with milk, they will not only leak but be ROCK HARD and squirt water everywhere. Yeah, talk about super uncomfortable. You can't sleep on them, you can't touch them, the only thing you can do is get baby to latch on and suck or to get pumpin'. See link below for breast pump.
Also, if you are super full and baby does start sucking and pulls off, chances are you will shoot milk all over her. You will look like the fountain show at the Bellagio in Vegas. I kid you not. Make sure you keep burp cloths nearby at all times. See links below to purchase burp cloths.
You are constantly thirsty and hungry
Breastfeeding makes you insanely thirsty and ravenous. I'm not joking. You will be sitting down about to nurse your little one and then as soon as they latch on you need to chug ice water! I recommend just keeping a storage tub full of ice water on the ground next to you with a very long straw. I'm joking, but do keep a filled water bottle next to you at all times. You will literally want to drink a gallon of water in one feeding session. Then, when you actually remember to eat, you want to eat everything! Nothing is off limits! Cookies, sandwiches, chips, anything you can get your hands on. You are a ravenous beast and don't care who sees you scarf down your meal. See link below for reusable water bottle.
Hormone changes = Acne
I am proud to say that I had one of the best completions of anybody that I knew before I got pregnant. Getting a zit was a very rare occurance for me. Then, once I found out I would be growing a tiny human for the next 9 months, I got acne everywhere. On my face, back, chest. It was horrible. Then, I had my little one and thought "Yay! No more acne!" I was incredibly wrong. Since my hormones decided to go crazy again now that I was no longer pregnant, my acne got even more severe. I am nine weeks postpartum and still have to apply toners and creams to my face and back. Here is to hoping these blemishes disappear soon!
SIDs will always be in the back of your mind
I am sure you have done a bunch of reading on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and googled different way how to prevent it, but no matter what you do it will always be in the back of your mind. During the night you will constantly check on your baby and even put the palm of your hand on their chest to feel that they are breathing. You are a mom now and worrying is second nature. You will do anything to protect your little one, even stay up all night, watching them sleep and making sure they are still breathing. If you plan on moving your precious baby into the nursery early, I recommend getting a baby monitor so you can easily watch over them from a different room. My husband and I have this one and it has been AWESOME (see link below).
As you can see, there are many things that happen to new mothers once their babies arrive. What your mind and body will go through after baby arrives seems awfully scary but you just have to remember this: You now have a beautiful baby that knows you are her mother and she loves you very much. Motherhood is a spectacular thing and we are lucky enough to be able to enjoy it, even with the bad.