Congratulations! You probably just had a baby (or going to have a baby and doing your research beforehand) either way babies are just wonderful and such a blessing. Only thing is that most people don’t mention what happens afterward.
You may hear about how adorable your baby is and about all of your sleepless nights soon to come, but there are things that you will wish they would have told you beforehand. I know I got a sudden wake-up call with new instances that no one decided to tell me about.
Let me help you out.
11 Things they don’t tell you about life after labor
Your abs might not be the same
This might not be about your precious child, but it is still something no one really tells you about. There is this thing called Diastasis Recti which basically means that your abs are no longer aligned like they were before. Instead, they have pulled apart due to your pregnancy. Not everyone gets it though. And don’t worry it can be fixed with certain exercises.
The main reason I wanted to warn you about this is that trying to use your abs after birth will feel weird at first. Don’t get me wrong everyone will feel weird after labor, but it will be more so if your abs are separated.
Postpartum depression is real and should be taken seriously
You may or may not think that postpartum depression can or will happen to you, but you should pay close attention just in case. There is a difference between the Baby Blues and Postpartum depression though.
Baby Blues is more of a short-term of sadness because of no longer being pregnant. The reason being that your hormone levels are changing because you no longer need to support another life inside your womb. Now it is just about getting back to what your body needs.
Postpartum depression it is more serious because there are thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby. These thoughts may last a long time as well as not going away. It is dangerous to just leave things be when you notice that you or a loved one is experiencing any of these thoughts. It is best to let your doctor know and seek help.
Do NOT think that seeking help makes you weak in any way. Please ask for help when you need it. Postpartum depression is a real thing and a serious one at that.
Your focus will be on the baby that you may forget to eat
You will love your baby. Even with all of the screaming and crying. The problem is that you don’t notice that all the time goes by quickly when you are focusing solely on your child and suddenly it is 10 pm and you haven’t eaten at all throughout the day. It is difficult to remember everything, but eating is needed to keep you healthy so that you can take care of the baby.
A little trick is to set alarms or reminders for bigger meals and to keep small snacks on you at all times. That way you have quick snacks for the times you are hungry, but still, have to feed baby or comfort baby.
Meal prepping will save your sanity
Whether you or someone else takes the time to meal prep it will make eating a much easier task when looking after your newborn. It can be hard to find the time to cook each meal with all of your new responsibilities, so prepare a few days worth of food or even a weeks worth.
Best way to do this is to have someone watch the baby for a few hours while you cook the meals that can easily be microwaved or thrown on the stove or oven for a short time. Something that can be easy to heat up while holding a crying baby. This way you can still have a nutritious meal instead of eating ramen or other unhealthy foods. You can even cook meals that you love to eat.
Quick warning: Even though you heat the foods or even have nice just cooked meals, you will probably eat it when it gets cold. Just because babies just know when you are trying to eat and love to wake up and cry just as you take a bite.
Breastfeeding is learned and takes time to master
If you do plan on breastfeeding or want to give it a shot do note that it is not easy the first time. Both baby and mother have to learn how to properly breastfeed and find what works for them. Even if you have breastfed before, each baby is different and you may have to learn new ways to breastfeed to match your baby.
Another thing to note about breastfeeding is that it will hurt for a few weeks until you get it down. This may cause some bleeding, discomfort, pain, and the need to use extra products to even be able to have baby latch on properly. Usually, this will go away with time and practice. Sometimes though you may need to use a product to help fix a situation, like a nipple cream for cracked nipples.
Related: 8 Benefits of Breastfeeding
Many who breastfeed may have to supplement with formula
It is not that uncommon for babies that are planned to be breastfed to need formula at the hospital or even at home. Sometimes at the hospital mothers struggle to get baby to latch on correctly or eat properly and so they supplement with formula just to make sure baby is getting enough nutrition.
This is not something to be ashamed of either. It is very normal for mothers who supplement at the hospital to be able to go on and exclusively breastfeed for the remainder.
Others may even choose to continue to feed their baby formula as well as breast milk. The reason is that breast milk can help with building the baby’s immune system and formula can help with getting all of the vitamins and nutrients that the mother may not be getting.
Just know that every feeding of breast milk is wonderful for the baby. So if possible try to breastfeed as exclusively or along with formula.
Formula doesn’t have to be heated
Many times everyone thinks that you have to warm up a bottle of formula, but that is not the case. Formula can actually be fed to a baby warm, room temp, or cold. The thing is that it is all based on the baby’s preference.
The reason many believe they should always heat a bottle is that it seems more like breast milk or because it may soothe their child more. Some babies actually prefer chilled milk to heated, but every baby is different.
If you are breastfeeding as well as formula feeding it is best to have the bottle heated. This way it is closer to the heat of breast milk and less likely for the baby to reject eating it or to start preferring formula.
Either way, if you are out and about and formula feed, don’t worry too much about not having a heated bottle.
Clipping baby’s nails
This may seem like something so simple, but if can become pretty difficult. Moving limbs and fussing baby make sure that this could be a pain for parents. Thing is that you truly need to cut them because they are like deadly razors as they grow out and you don’t want them to scratch up their pretty faces or you.
There is a trick though. It is a simple trick, but so wonderful.
All you have to do is wait 20 minutes after they have fallen asleep to even try to cut their nails. This way they aren’t really moving around, they basically are like dead weight in their limbs. Do be careful though because they can still wake up to loud sounds and the jerky movement can cause a mishap.
Onesies with built-in mittens
Many times people will tell you that you need mittens to cover up baby’s hands so that they don’t scratch themselves or poke their eye out. Problem is that some babies don’t keep mittens on or their fingers are so long, but their wrist is too small for the mittens to stay on. So what do you do?
Get the long sleeved onesies that have built-in mittens! These are the best things yet and make life so much easier. The mittens can even be folded back to be just a regular long sleeved onesie. These truly can become your best friends. I know they were with my daughter.
Babies are fragile but not as fragile as you think
Babies are actually pretty resilient compared to what we think they are. Now don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sure everyone will be fearful of holding a newborn baby for the first time or for the first week or so because many are so tiny. But we should not be so nervous about holding them because if you truly notice a nurse or doctor handle a newborn baby they are actually pretty rough with them.
Me holding my child was scary at first and I was afraid I would break her. When I saw how the nurses and doctors handled her I was so confused, fearful, and just in shock. They were nowhere near as careful as you would expect them to be and seeing them take blood from her heel was just scary.
Just be careful with the baby, but know that they are resilient and you don’t need to be afraid to hold them.
Taking newborns outside or to the store
Everyone is pretty scared about taking a baby to the store or even outside because they haven’t had all of their shots yet. Which is pretty understandable because at 2 months old is usually when doctors suggest waiting until because that is when they get their shots. Problem is that you may need to go get groceries or run an errand, but don’t have someone to watch the baby. Well just go ahead and take baby.
There are even people that go straight from the hospital to the grocery store with baby because things need to get done and they need to get some food to eat. It truly isn’t unheard of either.
Do try to keep them away from sick people and if you are at a store just don’t let someone touch baby and you should be fine. Babies can get sick from going out, but it will help their immune system grow as well. Just if baby does get sick make sure to check with your baby’s doctor to make sure they will be okay and don’t need to go in or have medication.
If you err on the side of caution when taking your baby outside or to the store then it isn’t that bad. Go get the things that you need to do done and don’t freak out so much.