We did it! The first hurdle was labor and birth, the second was breastfeeding, and the third was making it out of all of that alive. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth every second! We definitely learned some things along the way, so I thought I would throw them together in a blog post for those of you expecting.
Tip #1: First things first, it WILL get better.
We’re not even in a month in, and it’s night & day difference from our first few days home to now. On our second night home is when I started to ask myself “when is it over?”. Remember that your baby is coming from this safe, warm, cozy place and is now transitioning to our world. It’s all really new and for someone so tiny—that can be so scary! But it won’t last forever. Power through, mama!
Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
We left the hospital on a Saturday, and that Monday we had no visitors come. Sunday was our hardest night (to this day), so when Monday came and we had no help—I was panicking. That day we scheduled people to come throughout the week and we definitely overdid it a little (by that I mean guests every single day, which I also don’t recommend ha). I guess I thought I could do it just fine, but the reality was I just didn’t want to be alone. I wanted an extra set of hands there for us, and it also helped keep us off each other’s nerves lol.
Tip #3: You can never have enough food.
Holy cow! If you thought I was a big snacker before, just look at me now. I’d say I’m eating anywhere from 3-4 snacks between every meal. Breastfeeding burns you a ton of calories and (literally haha) sucks the life out of you. I’m constantly eating! I keep snacks on my nightstand for middle of the night feeds and just have the pantry stocked with healthy bites.
Tip #4: Chug, chug, chug! Stay hydrated.
Not only does breastfeeding make you really hungry, but it also makes you really thirsty. I wasn’t on top of my liquids at first and it showed—I was so, so pale. It makes breastfeeding easier when you’re hydrated and not super thirsty. Make sure to have big jugs of hydro flasks next to where you breastfeed along with snacks, for those middle of the night feeds.
Tip #5: It’s ok to cry!
The first time I cried I was so annoyed. Frustrated. Partly because of the situation that was at hand (boobs extremely engorged) but also because I was crying. I felt pathetic and felt for a second like I was showing weakness. Tim reminded me of what I went through, what I was going through and what our life was. It is 100% ok to cry and I promise you’ll feel better once you let it out!
Tip #6: Take a shower everyday.
I started this habit as soon as we got home from the hospital. Enzo does an early morning feed, so every morning after I’m done feeding I get in the shower and do the whole thing. Wash my hair, shave, everything else and then I get out and do my normal full routine. It starts the day out in a good mood and there’s really nothing better than feeling clean. Especially when you have a little human clinging to you 24/7!
Tip #7: Make sure you have the hang of breastfeeding BEFORE leaving the hospital.
We had a lactation consultant stop by before leaving to go home and this was our best idea yet. She was able to walk us through everything, step by step, and give us tips and pointers along the way. She made sure to include Tim so he was aware, and also what he could do to help and what to look for. If we hadn’t done this, I think it would’ve been even more frustrating than it was during those first few days.
Tip #8: Do what YOU want to do when baby sleeps—but also, take naps.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. I have a few thoughts on this personally. Yes—100% you need sleep. I tried to power through days without it and I ended up doing more harm than good. Headaches, feeling sick, you name it. You still need 8 hours of sleep in 24 hour windows, so make sure you get that. However…if there’s a time where baby is sleeping, and you don’t want to sleep…don’t. During those first few days (and even now), I had moments where he was sleeping either early in the AM or during the day, and the last thing I wanted to do was sleep. I wanted to do something for myself! This usually was either take a shower and take my time with my routine, make breakfast, or just be on my phone. It’s what made me happy in those moments. So again, make sure you get your sleep, but also make sure to do things for you during those tiny time slots you do get!
I hope this is helpful to any soon to be mamas! This was longer than I expected, so props to you if you made it through.