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Unflattering things that new moms need to know that people don't want to say out loud.

What might be forgotten or overlooked when having a baby, or things I [almost] forgot this kid

Before birth

  • Have your carseat. They will want to see it at the hospital and will check if the baby is properly in the seat before you can leave.

  • Buy period pads. This hasn’t been on your mind for months now. Many people use tampons, cups, and other period products that will not work for post birth. External collection for leakage will be needed for a few weeks to a month. Maybe get some flushable wipes too.

  • Put wipes and a soft, absorbent cloth in each room you'll sit with the baby. It is much easier to be able to get a cloth within reach when the baby paints the sofa with milk than returning to the bedroom or nursery before finding that liquids have dripped between the cushions.

  • Get a breast pump. If you aren't planning on storing milk having even a basic manual pump available when your milk comes in, can help reduce engorgement, make Iatching easier for the baby, and can help with clogged ducts.

At the hospital

  • Many hospitals will help you file paperwork for the birth certificate & social security number. You will need to have named the child to complete this paperwork. Put the information on getting these documents when they have been prepared weeks later somewhere you can find them.

  • Have the nurses teach you how to properly swaddle the baby. Improper swaddling can cause hip damage to the infant. This is unlikely to be noticed now, but shows later in development. Keep the fabric around the legs loose. Swaddled newborns also fall asleep easier, so you are likely to get more rest as well.

  • Get your feeding concerns addressed. Breast feeding may feel uncomfortable at times, but it should not hurt. It will help with your healing, reduce the size of your uterus more quickly (this is why you might feel cramping while feeding), aids in return to pre pregnancy weight, and isn't an additional expense. If any part of the process hurts, ask. Make use of the consultants available and schedule follow up appointments.

  • Take note of every time the baby nurses (or is bottle fed) and has a soiled or wet diaper. Eventually someone will come to take the baby's vitals and will ask. It will be much easier to Show them a sticker chart or note sheet than trying to accurately remember.

When home

  • Try to stay in as much as possible for the first 6 weeks. It is ok and necessary to rest. There will be days where the baby seems to sleep more. Try to get in a nap as this often means that the baby will be needy at night.

  • Put a list of Post BIRTH warnings somewhere where a partner or helper can see it. They might notice signs that you are missing or they might need to call medical for you.

  • Drink plenty of water

  • More about why you’ll want a pump when your milk “comes in” a few days after the birth.

  • The first few days it isn’t milk, it is colostrum. It’s like if you mixed evaporated milk, protein powder, multivitamins, and antibodies into a thick yellow shake.

  • Somewhere around day 3-5 your milk will come in. Aside from wanting to get some Victoria’s Secret bra model style selfies, it’s gonna be a bit uncomfortable. The baby loses weight the first few days as it gets everything going. It is going to need a lot of milk so naturally you start off making at full tilt and then back off to the level the baby needs.

  • This is a great time to start pumping and storing milk.

  • Some milk storage bags recommend that you lie them flat to freeze, but if you or whomever is going to watch the baby plans on using something like Dr Brown’s Breast Milk & Bottle Warmer (it has settings so you can tell it 4 oz of frozen milk and it will auto thaw and warm it!) then freezing upright so the bag is narrower might be better. Any grandma will have stories about having to heat water on the stove, trying to get it just warm enough and worrying about burning the baby.

  • If you don’t have a pump, aren’t worried about collecting right then, or aren’t wanting to encourage milk production, get in a warm shower and gently put pressure on the hard bits until you feel better.

More Boob advice:

  • Motherlove Nipple Cream or something similar like Nipple Crack are great to have. Ask the lactation consultant in the hospital for nipple cream samples, that’s how I found Motherlove cream.

  • Lanolin is easy to find, but we often use it wrong! Also known as wool grease, it is a waterproofing protectant that will help moisturize wool and skin; as a protectant it should be applied before chafing and not as a repair attempt.

  • If you find that you don’t have anything and wish you did, raid the kitchen. Olive oil or coconut oil (or mix them even) are fine in a pinch.

  • Wear a bra to bed, or at least a snug, stretchy shirt.

  • Don’t wear anything with an underwire or that is excessively formed if you can help it though as they will be uncomfortable.

  • Prolactin levels are highest at night. This can be great as it is typically when you are closest to your baby to feed them.

  • This can also be really annoying when your milk production causes overflow and you wake up in a puddle.

  • The support even a soft, stretchy bra can provide may be enough to keep a breast from emptying under its own (or neighbor’s) weight.

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