Leading up to the birth of my daughter I thought of all the beautiful feelings and overwhelming love I would feel once I finally got to hold her. I took classes to prepare me for her birth (which I planned to do drug free), and felt like I was already a pro at this mom thing! Well….here are some of the things no one told me–the “mom things” I learned along the way!
1. HORMONAL TRANSFER TO BABY GIRLS
If you are having a baby girl, it is quite common to transfer your hormones to her through the placenta. In most cases, the hormones will leave the baby’s body about 2 weeks after birth, but not always. The most common visible change you will see in your baby is enlarged breasts, which may also leak a white fluid called “witch’s milk”. DO NOT squeeze them because it can lead to infection.
In Madison’s case the swelling went down at around 10 months. I wasn’t too worried about it because I also had the same issue as a baby and it lasted almost my entire first year. However, there are other changes I feel like I should have been warned about!
Their little private parts could also become swollen and let out a white discharge or blood. Yes, blood! Seriously?! Mix postpartum depression with your baby bleeding from her vagina and just throw me in a psych unit! Luckily that didn’t happen to her or I would have immediately panicked and called 911 thinking she was bleeding internally! I do wish someone would have given me a heads up that this could actually happen. So here is your heads up moms, so you don’t lose your minds! lol
2. BABY BLUES
I never anticipated I could feel anything but joy once I brought Madison home. It is possible that my difficult delivery and her one week stay in the NICU had something to do with how sad I felt, but it is very common for new moms to feel this way. I didn’t have much time to think the first week after I delivered her because I lived out of the NICU and survived off protein bars and drive-thrus. The day I brought her home I cried tears of joy on the drive home and thought to myself, “Finally! We get to enjoy our baby girl!”
The day after, we took her to her pediatrician who told me very nonchalantly that her clavicle was broken. This is probably the exact moment where the tears started. After that I basically had this pain in the pit of my stomach every time the sun went down. I was scared. I could literally cry on demand all day long. If someone told me it was ok to cry, I would! I remember going to the grocery store and just sitting in the car sobbing.
To top it all off, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt at how sad I was. I mean, I was so in love with her and she was so wanted and yet, all I could feel was sadness. The good news is that it got better and better over time. I would say this lasted about 2 weeks. Also, it is important to note that “baby blues” and “postpartum depression” are different. Typically, postpartum pressi
3. “WITCHING HOUR”
Oh boy! This was probably the hardest thing for me overall. I only learned it was called the “witching hour” because I googled everything…..every day! lol. This wonderful hour seems to be very common among newborns. It usually starts between 6pm and 9pm and could last up to 2 hours!
For me, it ranged from 30 minutes to 2 whole hours of full blown screaming! There was nothing I could do to calm her. Breastfeeding would work for a bit, some positions would help, but it was only for a matter of seconds. I would hold her night after night while she cried hysterically for no apparent reason.
I gave her all the remedies for gassiness and nothing seemed to work. Sometimes I would cry along with her, many times actually! lol. All I can say is it will get better! Someone told me they would start the Gripe Water (over the counter remedy for gas) early in the day instead of waiting until the evening. It could also have nothing to do with gassiness at all! All I would tell myself is that it was my job to comfort her and be there, so I would just hold her and let her know I was there for her.
One thing I have to say is it can get incredibly frustrating. If you begin to feel angry either put your precious bundle of joy in the crib and take a few minutes to regroup or hand your baby to your husband or family member. It’s normal to have those moments and you just need to take a step back. No one said parenthood was easy, right?!
4. ANTIBIOTICS & DIAPER RASH
Hopefully no baby will ever have to set foot in an ICU. However, if your baby is on antibiotics I recommend you bring Balmex or your favorite diaper rash cream to the hospital. When a baby takes antibiotics, bacteria that keep yeast growth in check may be depleted, resulting in diaper rash due to yeast infection. Antibiotic use also increases the risk of diarrhea, which can cause a rash as well. I’m not sure why the hospital didn’t use it, they used Vaseline instead which is not strong enough. It was heartbreaking to see her uncomfortable and in pain. Being informed can help us make decisions to protect and speak for our babies.
5. SETTING BOUNDARIES IS OK
There are a lot of new things you are dealing with as a first time parent and it’s important to create a calm space and do things at your own pace. Friends and family members can be your saving grace, but sometimes they can be overwhelming without noticing. One thing I had to do was ask family members to come before 6pm. Because Madison would cry and do her thing during the “Witching Hour”, it was incredibly overwhelming to have guests over who would want to hold her assuming they could calm her down.
Breastfeeding would help calm her sometimes, but it t was hard to go into a room and try to breastfeed because I didn’t want to leave guests unattended. I was also dealing with my own hormonal issues and no one can put themselves in your shoes or understand your sadness.
My dad, for example, only had his wife as reference who had an incredible pregnancy, pushed her baby out in 5 minutes and had no hormonal issues. It was hard for him to understand my boundaries, and that’s OK. No one has to understand the “why”. They just need to respect your decisions.
6. YOU WILL SURVIVE
It will all get better and you will love like you never have! Every single moment, even the tough ones, will mold you into the amazing mom you’re meant to be. We were built for this and we are Rock-stars for birthing and raising our babies! It is really the best job in the world!