Having a baby can be a joyous time, but it can also be daunting. Dr. Talia Gates, OB/GYN at Walker Baptist Medical Center, has two young children on top of delivering her patient’s infants, so she’s a pro at labor, delivery, and bringing home a newborn. Here are her 8 truths about being postpartum and bringing home your new baby.
You will feel true, utter tiredness
Many new moms are surprised by the true, utter tiredness that they feel with the new baby. Infants are tiny, little humans that need 24/7 care because they can do nothing for themselves. This can lead to an exhaustion that is hard to experience anywhere else. If you feel like this, try to schedule a night where you can get 5 straight hours of sleep to reset you.
You don’t need to bring much to the hospital
All Brookwood Baptist Health hospitals actually provide many of the things new moms will need, such as diapers and bottles. You should take advantage of that and don’t bring them. The best things to bring would be outfits for mom and baby, especially comfortable clothes for mom, and preferably nursing-friendly shirts and bras.
But bring your own shower supplies and lotion for that touch of home
In my experience, the first shower after the delivery is heavenly because your body feels like it was run over by a truck; so having those from-home comforts like your own shampoo and lotion makes you feel better.
Breastfeeding is not easy
Breastfeeding is hard, especially on the second day of the baby’s life when you feel like they are constantly hungry and you can’t feed them enough. That’s normal – the second day is perhaps the hardest. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your labor and delivery nurse or lactation consultant and don’t give up too quickly.
Babies aren’t quite as fragile as they may seem
Many new parents are hesitant with their new child because they are afraid that they will “break” the baby, but babies are pretty resilient. They aren’t as fragile as they appear at first.
The fear of “messing up” your baby is real
Many new parents, myself included, battle the fear of “messing up” your baby. Love is the biggest thing that they need, and all that matters is that you love them and try your best. It’s hard to remember at times, especially when you’re overwhelmed and feel like you’re failing. Just remember that others have walked this path and made it through – you can too.
Post-partum depression is common – don’t ignore it
Post-partum depression is not as widely discussed as it should be, and it’s a very real problem that many new moms face. Sometimes new mothers lose perspective, and it’s not their fault. For example, hormonal changes make it normal for new moms to cry all the time in the first six weeks of their baby’s life. However, past those six weeks, it might be a sign of post-partum depression. Other signs that new mothers and their family members should look for are: lack of bonding with the baby, anxiety where the mom feels paralyzed and can’t function, losing interest in things that were once interesting, lack of appetite, and wanting to hurt yourself or the baby. If a new mom experiences any of these symptoms, she should talk to her doctor immediately.
The key to survival is good friends and family
The best thing to have when leaving the hospital is a few good friends! A good support system is vital. Having friends or family members who can give you little breaks throughout the day is life-saving. Many times you will hear the advice to sleep when the baby sleeps, but that isn’t always possible, which is why the little breaks for a quick nap or shower are appreciated.
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