While waiting for the real deal to flow, the first milk a breastfed baby would savor for a couple of days after birth is the colostrum. Colostrum is a thick yellow-orange fluid with creamy texture, concentrated and not very abundant. Highly packed with so many goodies (proteins, vitamins, minerals and antibodies that boost your infant’s immune system), it protects your baby from disease and gives baby everything he/she needs. It’s the best way to start your baby’s nutrition, nothing else comes close. This incredible substance acts as a natural vaccine and has certainly contributed to protecting my tiny little baby from the harsh flu I got shortly after my delivery, even though baby and me are practically glued 24/7! (of course a protective mask for mommy and other sanitary precautions around the house are also imperative to minimize the likelihood of baby catching the virus)
- Start breastfeeding right away, even in the delivery room! Nursing in the next hour or so of your baby’s birth is very important to stimulate milk production. You won’t be too sad to learn that you might be asked to do away with the lovely hospital gown for your first breastfeeding, as skin-to-skin contact between mommy and baby is recommended to jump start the natural bond and breastfeeding.
- Avoid or minimize bottle or pacifier use, as it can get in the way of developing a good breastfeeding routine.
- Have your baby in your room the first few weeks so you can nurse more often and on demand, this will help improve your baby’s sucking which in turn will build up your milk supply.
- At least 3 comfy and well-fit nursing bras
- Nursing pads
- Nursing pillow
- Lanolin (nipple cream)
- Breast milk pump
- Nightgown, pajamas or other clothes that button or snap down from the front
- Hand sanitizer
- Burp cloths
- Sterilized milk bottles for when you need to pump your milk (either buy a sterilizing machine for the bottles or you can just boil them for a couple of minutes in hot water)
- Make sure your washer and dryer are in good condition because they will probably be running non-stop!
- Wait until the colostrum phase is over to introduce your favorite onesies as the stains it creates are much harder to wash off.
- Train another person to burp your baby after each feed (so you can take turns) and this way you can get some extra time for rest between feeds.
Easter Sunday had more in store for us than predicted and baby # 2 hatched out of her egg shortly after the beginning of the 39th week. My labor was quick, no complications and we were out of the hospital with our Easter baby shortly after the mandatory 24h waiting period.
It was now time to adjust to the delicate balance of taking care of the fragile newborn while making sure that my soon-to-be 3-year-old wasn’t feeling alienated. Of course it didn’t start very well, as my first daughter seemed to think we brought home a new doll toy for her to play with and got upset that we wouldn’t hand it to her. On the first day, she would follow me around the house with her toy milk bottle and didn’t seem to understand why I was so attached to this doll. It didn’t take too long however for her to figure out that this doll was different: it moved, made a lot of noise and was getting much more of my attention than any other doll… which prompted her telling me two memorable (and heartbreaking) things: “Maman arrête avec le bébé!” (ENG: “Mom stop it with the baby!”) and “Je ne veux plus acheter un bébé!” (ENG: “I don’t want to buy a baby anymore!”)
My first priority was to orchestrate a system whereby between my husband and I, we can still give our eldest the same degree of attention she had prior to her sister’s arrival while making sure that our newborn’s needs are attended to on time. It has been a challenge (despite both grandmas joining the effort), mainly because the newborn’s sleeping and eating hours are unpredictable at this stage and my eldest was acting out and trying to grab our attention in many creative manners (such as jumping on couches she would not have dreamt of stepping on before and screaming at new high pitches).
I had learned from my first post-pregnancy experience that it is better to have a plan and sway from it, as newborn demands, than not having one to start with. Today my eldest spontaneously hugged and kissed the baby and said “7ayeteh bébé!” (ENG: “My darling baby!”) It’s making me feel that maybe we are on the right track… As for baby, she just seems to be oblivious to the power struggle and anything else happening around her… she is exclusively interested in sleeping and breastfeeding, whenever it pleases her!
After my manicure, I decided to get a massage to relieve some of the strain in my back haunting me since the beginning of the 3rd trimester.
3:00am: Woke up with sharp spasm pain in my back!
4:00am: Woke up doctor. Doc asks: Why aren’t you sleeping? I explain. Advice: don’t take any chances (maybe kidney stone?) and go to ER to see what’s happening.
5:00am: Yellow cab —> ER (argh this was really starting to feel like a labor drill).
6:00am: Resident sees a contraction on the monitor and makes a weird face. Here I’m panicking, i’m really not ready nor is the baby for this to happen. Resident doesn’t rule it out as a possibility. They monitor me and do some more tests to assess whether it is labor or even a kidney stone.
6:30am: Final diagnosis, probably muscular (thanks nail salon massage!) and they gave me some pain medication and some fluids.
6:50am: Feeling exhausted because of the physical and emotional ride.
7:00am: Back home to sleep…
2:00pm: Baby shopping therapy and since I was not in a state of mind to spend time picking my outfit before going out, it was LBD to the rescue.
This whole experience is making me feel like I’m definitely not going full term but hoping it will be more than just a couple of days and perhaps a bit over a couple more weeks. Each day the baby stays in (at least until 37 weeks) will prepare her more for the outside world.
No more nail salon massage + I need to finish some of the preparations I’ve been procrastinating on!
Walking towards you my baby… 2 more months…