Giving birth is an ordeal in itself, but many moms are dismayed to find that they are still dealing with for days after the birth. There are many challenges in store as she deals with life post-birth.
Hopefully, she has a supportive partner, family, and friends who can rally round and support her. Talking to other moms who have been through the same thing can be helpful and reassuring. Try and remember that every birth and every baby is different, and everyone copes with the first few days very differently. Mom needs to give herself a break and remember she has a new job here, and she's not in the best physical shape to cope with it. Take it easy and ask for help when she needs it.
She may find you face emotional, as well as physical challenges, as the hormones in her body struggle to rebalance themselves. Aches and pains are common as her body recovers from the ordeal of birth. This is a time to rest and enjoy getting to know her baby and spend time bonding and learning how to be a family. Going home can be intimidating, but mom can ask for help without feeling like a failure- she is starting a new job with no training, so she needs to be kind to herself and accept that parenting is a learning process and no one is perfect.
20 Physical Discomfort
Aches and pains are very common after giving birth. You have just been through a huge physical ordeal by giving birth and the body is a bit battered. You will feel sore as the after effects of the birth are felt, but other areas of the body might be affected.
You may experience sweating, swelling and muscle pains remind Sutter Health. You may have a backache from the labor and leg pain as a result of the physical ordeal you have been through. Try to take some warm baths and rest when you can to try and ease the healing process. Eat healthily and drink plenty of water and let your body heal in its own time.
19 Milk Coming In
Breast milk comes in about 72 hours after the baby’s birth. Until then moms produce a thick, yellowy substance called colostrum, which is a nutrient-rich food that is magic for the baby. It provides immunity, fat, and antibodies for the newborn.
When the milk comes in, the area may feel sore and engorged as they fill up with milk.
This will ease as the baby takes the milk and if it becomes very painful, you could express some milk for using later. If you are not planning to breastfeed, you may need ice packs to relieve the engorgement and ibuprofen can help to dry the milk up and ease the discomfort.
18 Going Home
If you have had your baby in a hospital, going home can seem like a blessing and a challenge. Many moms are nervous about leaving the safe cocoon of the hospital with support from nurses and midwives on hand. Others can’t wait to get back to home comforts and familiar surroundings.
Whatever the case, it can be a shock to be in your home with a new person. Everything can feel very strange and unfamiliar. Reality kicks in when you realize you are now responsible for this little person for the rest of your life.
17 Feeling Responsible for Another Life
It can be emotionally exhausting to give birth and go from excitement to fatigue in a matter of minutes. The enormity of what you have just done and how your life has changed may be stressful as you realize that this screaming little body is now utterly dependent on you.
Take it easy and be kind to yourself, take it a day at a time.
You are not in a competition and no one is expecting you to be perfect, except maybe you. Wikihow reminds us to remember that your hormones are still running riot through our body and that the emotions will calm down with time.
16 Endless Worry
It can take several weeks or months to adjust to the reality of having a new baby in your home. Don’t put pressure on yourself if you feel panicked or worried. Try and remember that there is no normal and that everyone adjusts at different rates.
If the panic is stopping you from performing daily tasks, ask for help from a doctor or midwife. They will not think you are failing or that you are a bad mom, they will be glad you reached out. There is help and support from professionals if family and friends are not able for support. Talking to other moms in the same situation may help as well.
15 Immense Fatigue
Many women labor and deliver overnight so are already exhausted when they give birth. If they have stayed overnight in the hospital, they may have struggled to sleep because of the noise of the ward or the baby waking.
However, the adrenalin caused by giving birth will carry moms through for a couple of days. After this, the exhaustion sets in properly and the tiredness can be stressful. Try to sleep when your baby does and ask for help if you need someone to watch the baby while you take a nap. You have been through a huge ordeal and your body needs some rest.
14 Feelings About Your Baby
Some moms bond with their babies straight away and fall in love with them immediately. However, not all do. If you don’t feel that connection, give yourself a break. It does not make you a bad mom if it takes time to bond.
Let yourself get to know your baby as you have some cuddles and learn what they need. Even if exhaustion and pain are getting in the way of bonding, you are still perfectly equipped to give your baby everything they need until that bond has formed. There is no set time for you to develop the feeling that you might have assumed would come naturally. Try and avoid comparisons with other moms and let yourself be the best you that you can be.
13 Learning to Feed
Newborn babies have very tiny tummies, so they will need to feed often. They can only take around one to three ounces at a time. Some babies will feed less frequently, some will feed more, they are very individual.
You will learn to read the signs of hunger from the baby, which is usually crying. Some babies suck their hands or fingers or use the rooting reflex, which is when the baby makes a pursing motion with its lips. It may move towards the breast or bottle if they are close by. If a baby is very sleepy, you may need to wake them to feed them initially, to ensure they regain the pounds they lose after the birth.
12 Working Out What the Baby Wants
It can be a puzzle to work out what that crying means. What does the baby want when it sucks its fingers? What does it mean when it turns its head to the left? Parents can feel flummoxed when they cannot detect what a baby is trying to tell them.
Start with the basics, does the baby need feeding, changing, burping or just a cuddle? If none of those work, the baby could be tired or in pain. If you have exhausted all options, check for signs of sickness and ask for help if the baby doesn’t seem to settle at all. Hopefully, you will start to recognize the baby’s communication within a few weeks or days and you will feel you are getting a handle on the whole situation!
11 Dealing with Crying
Crying can be one of the most difficult aspects of parenting to deal with. The baby may be hungry or thirsty and even if it does feed, may take some time to calm down. The baby might be tired and exhausted and just trying to communicate that to you. Try and rock the baby to sleep or put it in the sling or a stroller as movement can settle a fractious baby.
If you are struggling with the crying, try and stay calm and ask for help if you need a break. Ask your partner to help, or friends or family to support you while you take a break.
Remember that babies go through phases and that this period will not last forever. You could write down a diary of crying in case you can see a pattern or triggers.
10 The Baby’s Total Dependence on You
Some moms are able to forget the trials and pain of labor immediately and feel energized by the birth and ready to get on with parenting. The majority do not! This little bundle is now going to look to its parents for all its needs. It is going to cry to make you realize that it wants something and rely on you to work out what it is.
Ask for help if you need some, from health professionals if family and friends are not able to. Remember that you have only just met your baby and it will take time for you both to get to know each other. The baby is dependent on you, but you are up to the challenge and even if it doesn’t come naturally straight away, you will be fine.
9 Working Out if the Baby is Healthy
One of the parents’ biggest concerns in the early days is if the baby is healthy. If a baby cries for no apparent reason, it can be worrying in case this means the baby is ill. When a baby sleeps, they may make grunting noises or breathe in different patterns that can shock new parents.
Hopefully, your baby will not be unwell, but if you are concerned, seek medical advice. Signs that the baby is not well are a high temperature, over 100 ℉, sunken fontanelles and dry lips that might signal dehydration according to Baby Centre.
8 Feeling Stressed Out
Hormonal changes can mean that after three or four days, moms can feel a dip in emotions and feel stressed out or unable to cope. This is completely normal and will pass. You may feel very tearful and unable to cope. It happens to most new parents, but don’t let it linger too long.
If this feeling doesn’t dissipate, speak to a medical professional in case you have developed postpartum depression. Talk to your partner and family and make sure that you don’t deal with it in silence. A happy baby thrives with a happy mom.
7 Aunt Flo Will Come To Town
After giving birth, your body produces a substance called lochia for about six weeks. It can be a variety of colors from red to yellow or white and is a mixture of tissue and blood from your uterus. You will need maternity sanitary napkins to absorb this; never use tampons as it can cause infection according to Better Health.
The lochia will disappear after about six weeks and once the flow has decreased you can use a regular sanitary pad to absorb it. If you find that it goes on for longer than this, consult your doctor, and if you notice an unpleasant odor it might be a sign of infection, so get that checked out right away.
6 Abdomen Not Going Flat Straight Away
Your abdomen contains your intestines and your uterus, which has risen during pregnancy and the uterus takes some weeks to return to its pre-pregnancy size. Don’t be surprised if you still look pregnant for a while, this is completely normal. Breastfeeding will help to reduce the size of the uterus more quickly, but it will still take time.
Your intestines have been a bit battered as well and it may be some days before your bowels open, so that will account for some of the stomach swellings. Give yourself time, unless you are one of the few women who spring back into shape quickly!
5 Stretch Marks Are Still There
Having a good look at your body after it has delivered a baby is not something every mom relishes. It probably doesn’t even look like your body. The stomach will be swollen, you may still be retaining water in hands and feet and stretch marks look a bit more pronounced once the baby has been born.
You may also see the dark line of pigment or linea nigra on your stomach. This will fade and stretch marks will too, although they may never fully disappear.
This is your new body, so learn to love it! It has just grown and delivered a baby, it is a miracle.
4 Dealing with After Care
If you have had an episiotomy you will be sore for a while and find that going to the toilet is uncomfortable. Many women find a cloth-covered ice pack can help to ease the pain, and witch hazel pads can help as well.
If going to the toilet and wiping is too painful, you could use a squirt bottle of warm water to make the area more bearable, then gently dab the area afterward. It will take time for the discomfort to go away. If it persists, seek medical help in case there is any infection, but regular post-natal checks should pick anything up.
3 Going To The Bathroom Might Be Uncomfortable
Many women find that they become a little constipated after giving birth and this can cause or exacerbate hemorrhoids. They can cause pain, itching and bleeding and are very uncomfortable. Remember that your body has pushed out a baby and a few battle scars are inevitable. If you have had a C-section, you are more prone to constipation, so this could cause this issue to arise.
Try some stool softener to ease constipation and there are over the counter creams that can be applied to the area to ease the symptoms. They should ease after time if you don’t strain the area too much.
2 Difficulty Going #1
It can be hard to go to the toilet after giving birth, psychologically and physically. Many women fear that it will be painful, especially if they have had a difficult v-delivery. Drink plenty of water to dilute the urine and avoid stinging as you urinate. Use a squirt bottle to dilute it further if an episiotomy is causing discomfort.
If you are struggling to empty your bowels, and this will be particularly noticeable after a C-section, a stool softener can help and again a squirt bottle and wet wipes can make wiping a little less uncomfortable.
1 After Birth Discomfort
After giving birth, your uterus needs to return to its normal size and this will cause cramping as the muscle contracts. This can cause some pain, similar to a contraction, but not nearly as bad. Breastfeeding moms say that the pains are more pronounced when they are feeding. This is because latching on causes oxytocin to be released into the body and this stimulates contractions, according to Parents.
The cramping won’t last long, and it will help to return your uterus to its normal size, which involves going from about 2.5 pounds to a couple of ounces after six weeks. Thus meaning that your stomach is going flatter, so look on the bright side.