Welcome back to the next instalment in my Guest Blogger Series. This week we are looking at Postpartum Survival with the lovely Jemma who blogs over at My Mummy Manual. First of all, as usual, here is a little bit about Jemma.
“Hello, I’m Jemma from My Mummy Manual. I’ve been blogging now for about a year after deciding to try it out as a new hobby, something to keep me busy on my maternity leave (as if my baby boy wouldn’t keep me busy enough?!) Yet, I’m so glad I took the plunge; blogging has enabled me to feel part of a fantastic online parenting community (and whole lot less crappy at this mum-ing thing.)”
A-Z GUIDE OF POSTPARTUM SURVIVAL
Being pregnant is very often all consuming; so many things to remember to do or not do. Then there’s labour to think about. All this makes it very easy to forget that there’s a lot to consider after the birth too. Here’s my A-Z guide for what to expect postpartum – a guide to postpartum survival.
(*Disclaimer* This information is based solely on my own experiences as a first-time mummy)
A is for Aching
Undoubted your body works hard during labour, so don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve been twelve rounds with Anthony Joshua for a good few days after.
B is for Bleeding
A bit of an obvious one I suppose, but after nine months with no periods, the blood and gore all feel a bit bloody much to me (for tips on dealing with the bleeding see N).
C is for Clots
As nice as they sound…. Clots will come with the bleeding, however, if something doesn’t feel right to you insist on being seen by a midwife (you are still under their care until six weeks postpartum). After two flooding gushes, I then had a third which just didn’t stop and included a clot the size of a chicken breast (literally!) I ended up back on the ward having an ERPC operation and two blood transfusions (this came after being fobbed off with ‘It’s normal’ three times…) You will know if it’s not – trust your instinct
D is for Daddy
Remember Daddy IS capable of looking after his own baby too. It’s far too tempting to want to do it all, just because they might do it differently to you (just like loading the bloody dishwasher…) doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way, just their way.
E is for Emotional
I didn’t think the emotions/baby blues would get me that much, I always thought I was too rational for such random outburst – turns out I’m not as immune as I thought! I cried because he was two days old… I cried because he had a sticky eye… I cried because my jeans didn’t fit… I cried because it was Tuesday… (You get the picture.)
F is for Feeding
I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed my baby with relative ease. However, that doesn’t make it a walk in the park. Being solely responsible for keeping your baby alive, is daunting and time-consuming. My baby needed feeding every two hours, day and night…
G is for Getting Out
Imagine the scenario, you need a loaf of bread and a pint of milk. Pre-baby easy. Post-baby impossible.
Step 1: baby has a fresh nappy on. Step 2: baby is fed. Step 3: get the nappy bag ready. Step 4: change own t-shirt (baby sick on the shoulder, standard). Step 5: put the baby in the pram/car seat. Step 6: leave the house. Wait, what’s that smell? Poo explosion – start again. Three hours later, give up.
H is for Help
Some people believe that helping a new mummy is about looking after the baby whilst they clean up/cook. I believe helping a new mummy should be enabling them to bond with their baby without the pressure to cook/clean – so tell your visitors they can only come if they bring round dinner! (The only exception to this rule is when mummy wants to catch some Z’s.)
I is for Intolerances
This came later for us, about 5 months in when we tried formula for the first time, baby’s face went red and blotchy. It does the same thing with all dairy and egg. We’ve had blood tests that have shown he has some food intolerances. Just something to be aware of…
J is for Juggling
Pre-baby getting washed, dressed, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast and cleaning up are all simple tasks that require no thought whatsoever. With a newborn, if you do two of the above on the same day, that is a #mummywin right there.
K is for Kicking
Yes, newborns are tiny and extremely delicate, but don’t underestimate their power! A poo filled nappy is difficult enough on a stationary baby, a kicking one requires you to mentally prepare for battle. Little flying legs covered in sticky poo, coupled with your attempt to hold the legs still with one hand and clean up with the other, followed closely by the wee shower just as you’re about to declare victory…
L is for Love
Had to throw one soppy one in there didn’t I… your baby, a love like no other. A love that makes everything else worth it.
M is for Milk
Warning for breastfeeding mummy’s: you’ll be ready for a wet t-shirt competition at the drop of a hat. Both your boobs and baby can be incredibly inconsiderate. There will be those days when your boobs tell you it’s feeding time, whilst baby is telling you it’s sleepy time…. Dare you wake a sleeping baby?
N is for Nappies
I don’t mean nappies for baby, I mean nappies for mummy! I brought a whole heap of products from maternity pads to disposable underwear in preparation for postpartum bleeding. Then a mummy friend of mine suggested I get some ladies incontinence pants – the single best piece of advice I was given. They’re soft and comfortable (especially if you’ve got stitches), you can move around without fear of leaks, and if you use them with a maternity pad inside, you have double the piece of mind.
O is for Opinions
No matter what, whether you ask for it or not, EVERYONE has their own opinion. And they are not shy when it comes to sharing. If I were you…. With my baby…. Have you tried…. Arrhhh! I wanted to scream at everyone: I’m doing my best; I’m doing what MY baby needs; Who’d have thought that all babies are different, you know individual human beings? (Please remember E).
P is for Paranoid
Is he still breathing? Yes. Phew, lie down, GO TO SLEEP. Two minutes later… Is he still breathing? And repeat.
Q is for Quiet
Your visitors (see V) will want to talk to you (obviously). How’s baby? What was your birth like? Is he sleeping? Well, he was… Enough said.
R is for Rest
Chance would be a fine thing… (See V)
S is for Stitches
More of an itchy inconvenience than anything else.
T is for Tired
Looking back I can now see that my newborn baby slept a lot, but it’s not actually that easy to sleep when the baby sleeps. After six weeks of breastfeeding around the clock, I was broken (see E). My husband brought a pump, sterilising machine and bottles – Daddy’s turn. Thank you.
U is for Uniform
You might not realise it pre-baby, but there is a mum uniform. The dry-shampoo mum-bun hair (there is no time for anything else!) teamed with leggings and baggy t-shirts.
V is for Visitors
EVERYONE, those you know (even sometimes those you don’t!) want to come and see your baby. Rest, nope… put the kettle on, make the tea, get out the biscuits and then listen to all your visitors tell you how important it is to put your feet up and not do too much. Ummm… cheers for that.
W is for weight
What does he weigh? It’s one of the standard new baby questions. And to me in those first few weeks, I became slightly obsessional about it. As a breastfeeding mummy, I was SO proud when my baby put weight on in the first week – I did that. To all you breastfeeding haters/doubters, I did that!
X is for (What the bloody hell starts with X?) I give up.
Y is for Yes
Yes, you are doing it right. Yes, you are enough.
Z is for those Z’s
Sleep? Sleep is for wimps, right? Sleep when you’re dead, right? NOOOO – I need sleep!
This was like a walk down memory lane for me. It’s obviously been quite some time since I was in the postpartum survival stage and despite thinking I remembered it well, this post does bring back memories I had forgotten about. I guess bringing up a child for almost five years does something to your memory. I really enjoyed reading this and I’m sure you all have too. Thank you, Jemma for writing it for us and don’t forget to take your badge!
If you would like to get involved in the Guest Blogger Series, drop me a message by filling in the form on my Contact Me page. I look forward to hearing from you.