17 November 2010

unsolicited advice part 1

From a newbie:

Take all of the hospital underwear they will allow you to take
trust me on this
take them all
ugly or not
they stretch, wash well, and you do not want to wreck your own

order boxes of your favorite big pads before you give birth-- if you are sensitive like me, I cannot say enough about Natracare Maternity Pads-- big, long, cushy, free of plastic, and covered in cotton. no kidding. available at drugstore.com.

Bring a bunch of tank tops with you-- preferably ones you can cut off if needed (if you're on an IV). At some point in the laboring process they let me change into a tank from the damned hospital gown-- bliss and worthwhile. bring loose ones, not tight ones.
Do not expect you'll be in any kind of pants until they put you in a pad.

Bring your favorite maternity pants with you to go home in.

Do not underestimate the amount of pads you will need, you will change one each time you go to the bathroom and you will be peeing a LOT. Get more than you think you need. Expect to leak.

Clots are frightening but common, big ones are terrifying, but unless they come with worsening in bleeding or clotting, you're ok. Check with your doc always, but don't panic just because it feels like you lost your liver.

Pain-- take the medication, do not try to be superwoman, pain means slower healing and that sucks... so
also take colace. Trust me. Prunes. I cannot overstate this enough.

Sweating-- at night, I go through 2 shirts and would actually go through more if I could haul my ass out of bed. Soaked shirts, sweaty beyond belief-- wet with sweat-- I'm just sayin'.

Diapers-- praise the disposables for now-- I am very crunchy granola envrio aware geeky whatever but to be able to throw them out at this point is great. Simplifying is key here. We did get unscented bio degradable bags for them and no kidding, they do not smell. Some magical something of breastmilk. So no diaper genie. When food begins or we have to do formula again, this would change.

Breast care-- I use a microwaveable hot pack big enough to drape across my breasts... mine is from The happy company, and is vaguely moist. I had to cut lace off the rim, but it works just great. Also great for draping across my belly. I had one bloody nipple day. It corresponded with The Dark Day. Nuff said.

Breastfeeding more generally-- ask for help, but do not necessarily ask the zealot. Ask the pragmatist. I had the most shitty 45 minute visit with the lactation consultant. What I wanted was a gap solution to feed a hungry baby with no milk in yet-- what I got was a .... lecture is not fair, but a full fledged philosophical treatise that was not only unnecessary, but left me with a screaming pissed off baby with no improved ability to help. Enter pragmaticnurse that night-- she saved me. SAVED ME. I cannot say enough that you can mmm your way through a shitty consult, and then ask for help from someone else...

Growth spurts of your little one will be prefaced with 24 hours or more of non stop feeding, and general irritation. This will cue your body to ramp up production. Expect at least one nearly sleepless night when this begins, and expect you will wake with amazing breasts a day or two later ready for the increased demand.

Tears-- I have cried more in the past week than I have in a long while-- happy stunned tears, only one day of shitty sad self esteem from hell tears, all others are just near the surface, waiting for a look or a thought or beauty and whoa... they just come. No warning no control and it is weird to just have them spill out complete with crumpled face and throat lump.

Healing-- let's talk briefly about The Belly.
It is down to half what it was when I left the hospital, but completely foreign. I am trying not to look at it very much and am relying on other senses to send love to it...I love the soft skin, will miss my flush belly button. I can actually see parts of myself kept under the cloak of mystery these past 6 months at least...my weight is down to 10 above pre-baby, I am wearing maternity pants, a tank with stick-in ultra soft breast pads, and a big soft shirt over that...and no bra since none of the so called nursing bras that I have will actually work for me, and hospital underwear.

Nursing bras--
hm. Might want to wait until you and your little one figure out the basics so you can know the way you prefer to access your body. I am globally disappointed. And at this point, I do not envision a solution for me, except maybe a good old front closure bra. Screw one handed operation. Full access is more important to me.

Do not underestimate the power of a hot shower-- even three minutes, no shaving, just hot water, gentle cleanser, cetaphil for the underpinnings, blot yourself dry, put on clean clothes, you WILL feel better.

Drink more water than you can imagine needing. You will need more than that. Beware the lightheadedness, eat dried fruit for a quick shot of sugar while you think of something to eat that makes more sense.

Belly binding-
the hospital bound me up after surgery-- helps make the whole region feel supported, which is really nice. But, my skin HATED their binding thingy, so I ditched it. Got a cheap one. Wore it a few hours each day when I wanted to feel less immense and more supported. It helped with both things. But, finally, it is just not comfortable. I admit I spent $20 on it not 60-80 (not a belly bandit) so perhaps I chose too cheaply.

Nail file not nail clippers for the little one's talons. His/her face and your breasts will thank you.

Baby clothes--cute outfits with shirts and pants are cute, indeed, but totally impractical. Get the snap or zip up footed sleeper thingies. They rock. Our one day in shirt + pants lasted 1 hour. All of our side snap t-shirts will be in giveaway. Onesies and pants will be fine, but for now we are addicted to simplicity.

The happiest baby on the block-- the book is too long, rent the video. Worth it. It really works- not always but often.

Learn to type with one hand. I am learning but have yet to be able to let go of my desire for punctuation (even if incorrect and sporadic) and capitalization. I will get over it. My desire to document and communicate will win over typo paranoia.


Della is rocking our world--
one week old yesterday
eyes changing from slate gray to brown we think...
she smiles in her sleep sometimes and I will be completely doomed when she can do that on purpose.
Tears are new, and break my heart.
She has the saddest sad faces in the world.
She laces her fingers together, nurses with them tucked up by her face, stretches big big stretches now that she has room to do so! and has the hiccups much of the time.

Last night was hard rain and hard wind, a wild weather night. Today is all fast clouds, moments of brightness, moments of darkness, moments of rain. The sun came out and all the rain drops in the woods sparkled like they only had a minute to show off- a dazzling display.
Now, back to dark and moody.


Circus Princess said...

I need to "book mark" this post, it's superb! Love reading about your new experiences, the good, the bad, and the spectacular :)

sprogblogger said...

So wonderful to hear you doing so well! And yeah - totally hear you on most of that advice.

When they start smiling 'for real' - yeah. Oh yeah. My world just dissolves (in the best possible way!) This kid could do anything, and I'll forgive him, just so long as he smiled at me afterward.

Please, he doesn't realize this when he's sixteen & just starting to really go out in search of trouble...

Heather said...

Oh my gosh, I can't believe how many of these items I'd forgotten about, but I can related to nearly ALL of them. The nursing bra one cracks me up. I felt the SAME way when my baby was new. The only real purpose any bra served at that time was to hold the nursing pads in. Otherwise, I felt like I was just topless a lot of the time. What did I do when company came over?? I can't even remember. Anyway, after baby wasn't eating quite as often and I figured out how to feed her with slightly more grace, nursing bras did eventually become my friends. Although, eventually the baby and I were good enough at the whole works that I could switch back to regular bras and just smooshed them down at feeding time. Do what works.

Your advice about getting breastfeeding help is spot on. That is really wonderful advice that I will try to remember to pass along to new mamas/mamas-to-be who ask me for advice.

Searching for Serenity said...

This was a trip down memory lane. I thought I'd remembered it all, but you've shown me that it all was really just a blur.

Few things.

Colace became a frequently used term in our household. So much that it developed it's own name. We now pronounce it Coal-ochay.
It eventually stopped working for me, and when it did I turned to PlumSmart. It is a lifesaver. Butt saver. However you want to look at it.

Second. I wore a Bravado nursing bra. Ok, so those first few weeks I didn't even wear a shirt around the house, but once things settled down I turned to my bras and wore them 24/7 until I stopped pumping at 9 months PP. Bravado's are spendy, but worth every penny.

It sounds like you're settling in and figuring everything out. I've been thinking of you often.

What and absolute miracle she is. Congrats again!


Joanne said...

Agreed, you might not want to give up on nursing bras quite yet. Breastfeeding a newborn infant is completely different from a 6 week old or a 6 month old.... when you're less "on call" you might want a bra again. Have you tried a Bravado nursing bra? They do provide access to the whole breast (it seems to me anyway) and stretch to accommodate your changing shape/size. You can order one online which saves going out in the early postpartum days.

Sounds like you're getting everything sorted out!

Kate said...

Thritto the bravado bras. This is by far my favourite. I've lived in them 24-7 for the last 7.5 months.
Glad all's going well!

Joannah said...

Oh, thank you! I just love this and I intend to copy it and put it in a document so I can refer to it in a few months. It's overwhelming, but so exciting to think about the fruits of this labor.

Give Della a kiss for me. I'm putting something in the mail for her next week. Look for it. :)

Emily Erin said...

I'm also going to chime in to say that Bravado nursing bras are worth EVERY CENT! Once you're not feeding 24/7 (there does come a time, I promise), they really are helpful.

So glad that you're finding your way around this whole 'new mom' thing, and you're doing wonderfully, I'm sure.

Hugs from here!

Kate Godin said...

Wow, Kate, this post really brings back that time -- and the myriad stuff you don't know and no one told you about! Oy! For some reason (and being small to begin with), I stuck with sleep nursing bras day and night. Typically cotton and far less restrictive that regular nursing bras, they just felt less bothersome. There's no snaps or hooks, you just pull the fabric aside and voila. Anyways, continued good luck -- it sounds like you're doing great!

Michele said...

I'll never forget wondering what our neighbors thought when UPS delivered a huge (and I mean huge, like 4ft by 4ft) box of pads- and it said "Maternity Pads" on the side!!! I could have died. But oh were they awesome to have handy.

aka the Mom said...

Great list! I would add under nail care that a pair of those curved manicure scissors is awesome for cutting baby nails.

kdactyl said...

loved all your advice.....i'm typing one handed now....teehee. i'm a 2nd time mom (5 days ago to a new daughter)...everything u said is so true... i'm also using disposables for now...even my smallest cloth are too big...and i am not crunchy or granola... i just think cloth diapers rock and make sense on so many levels. so glad u are enjoying Della so much and the whole experience.. savor each moment...they are so precious.