Contractions -You might think contractions are bad when they first start to get strong and come closer together. You will probably fear they are going to get worse & really hurt. Well, they do. I remember the hospital staff telling me to come in when they got worse or if my water breaks. All I could think about that was - really, these are going to get worse?! I thought they were pretty bad already! Once your water breaks, it's a whole new ball game and level of pain! I can't remember the pain anymore, but I remember when I had contractions after my water broke, it was hard to walk or think or focus on breathing. The contractions completely overwhelmed my body. Surprisingly, in the car ride to the hospital I didn't yell, scream or even raise my voice. I was pretty calm & didn't even cry. When I got to the hospital & was waiting on my epidural I started to cry from the pain though. No lie, the tears could have also been the rush of emotions coming to me - this is it, I was about to be a mom!!
Having a birth plan - My advice is if you have a birth plan, realize it can and probably will change. That was my problem. I felt like I was open to anything if it came along, but then after it was all over, I realized I was very narrow minded and what I wanted was how it should be and I was not willing to budge. Your baby will come when it wants and how it needs to come out regardless of how much you plan and try to prepare. I was so dead set on not having a c-section that I didn't even read about them or do any kind of research. Come to find out, that was a huge mistake on my part. Perhaps if read about it, I would have been prepared for the feelings I had. You can only do so much and you might need the assistance of modern medicine.
Bleeding post delivery - The bleeding after delivery is sickening. I felt like a gutted pig. I love how the books I read make it sound ok and not really a big deal. It was so gross! Be prepared knowing it can last up to 4 or 5 weeks. Luckily mine only lasted 3 weeks. Pads worked for literally 2-5 minutes. In the beginning I was basically wearing a pee pad for dogs inside the "fancy" underwear they gave me at the hospital. It works though. Basically it was folded in between my legs and fanned out in the front & back and then the underwear held it in place. As for the underwear in the hospital - I can only speak from the experience of having a c-section, but pack some with you to take home. You (your insurance) paid for it so you might as well use it. I wish I would have asked for extra ones to be honest. For the first 2-3 weeks after a c-section you can't wear normal panties because it will dig into your scar. Honestly I didn't go back to wearing normal panties until about 4 to 5 weeks. I couldn't wear regular pants, shorts or skirts either & still can't for a long time. Everything comes right to the level of the scar & will rub & dig into you. If you have a c-section, make sure you have plenty of bottoms that don't have seams. I wore a lot of cotton dresses around the house & when I went out for almost 6 weeks. You would think with all the companies that make maternity clothes that someone would come up with clothes you can wear after delivery if you had a c-section.
Breastfeeding and increasing milk supply - I have so much to say about this that it gets it's own post!
Burping after feeding - In the beginning I didn't realize how important this was. I would try & if she didn't burp immediately, I'd give up and lay her down. Or she would burp once & I thought that was it. She was spitting up a lot & I couldn't figure out why. Now I burp her half way through a bottle (sometimes I use a bottle of pumped breast milk) and after each breast before switching to the next one. She eventually will burp. Sometimes up to 3 times. Sometimes they are so loud I think I'm burping a grown man! Now she hardly spits up. I have noticed as she has gotten older she will hardly burp for me, but I guess she is getting more proficient at eating and takes in less air.
Nipple confusion - I am convinced this is the biggest crock ever. I was petrified of giving her a pacifier in the hospital, so I told them I didn't want one to be used. After a week of offering my pinky to her to silence her crying, we decided to try to let her try a pacifier. She wouldn't take any we had at the house. I noticed the ones they had in the hospital are those big soothies from Avent. So we made the trip to our home away from home, Babies R Us, and bought a 2 pack of the soothies from Avent. She took that one and loved it. I didn't understand why because the Gumdrop pacifiers were the same shape. I think the Avent ones might be a softer, squishier material, but the big thing is they hit her in the nose & it might simulate the breast touching her nose. That's all I can figure, but she likes it and it calms her down. As for bottles, I was scared for the same reason. I heard so much about this nipple confusion and how if she was offered the bottle too early she would choose it over the breast because it flows faster & is easier to get milk from. Well, I obviously had no choice but to feed her in a bottle in the beginning so we knew how much she was getting. So when my parents were here, my mom fed her the bottle & Rob took off a week after they left so he fed her. That way she didn't associate me with a bottle, only the breast. Well, he had to go back to work & she had to be fed. I fed her the bottle & she was fine. She still takes my nipple without hesitation. After talking to my friends and other moms, they found the same thing. None of us know of anyone who actually had a kid with nipple confusion. So why that info. is out there scaring moms is beyond me. Now I do know at least six other moms who waited to try to give their baby a bottle or pacifier until after 6-8 weeks and all of their babies refused to take a bottle and/or a pacifier.
Amount to eat - When I asked my pediatrician she said every baby is different and didn't give me an exact number (how many ounces per feeding or per day she should be consuming). Well, my baby isn't gaining weight but I didn't know how much she should be eating everyday. I searched the internet & couldn't find an answer for babies over 5 days old. The lactation class/group gave me the answer. I have a chart with the amount they should be getting and at each age. I put a picture of the chart in the bottom of this post. If you can't read it, contact me on Facebook (link below on the right side) and give me your email address & I'll send it to you or your phone number & I can text it to you. It was amazing once she started to get the amount she should be eating how much she gained weight daily. She gained about an ounce a day. It took her almost 4 weeks to get up to, stay at and increase in weight from her birth weight. Babies are typically supposed to gain a pound from their birth weight by 1 month old & we were just finally getting up to our birth weight.
Bottles - Now here is where every baby is different. When you buy bottles or put them on your registry, only get a single. Don't get the starter packs or multiple bottles. I found she doesn't like any of the bottles with big wide nipples. She only will take the Dr. Browns bottles. Once you find bottles your baby likes, then you can get the larger variety packs of it.
Cutting nails - You will be scared to death of cutting your baby, I know I was! In the beginning, I would trim the nails when she is sleeping. I'm not talking just got to sleep, but dead asleep where you can pick up an arm & it drops and the baby still doesn't wake up. I have to cut her nails almost every other day because they grow so fast and she has a bad habit of clawing her face and pulling on the skin on her cheeks under her eyeballs. I haven't cut her yet, but I take my time and if she wakes up I stop. I have noticed as she has gotten older I can trim her nails while she's nursing and she doesn't need to be asleep anymore. Also, during the newborn time, try to get the long sleeve onsies that have the flip down mittens. If it's too hot for that, then use socks on the baby's hands until you can get the nails cut. The mittens they sell just fall off too easily. I have been told their nails are paper thin and you can just peel them off, but that wasn't the case with Addison.