Baby A is 10+ months old now. I have a few friends who recently gave birth. When I visited them, it reminded me of Baby A when she was born. Although I didn’t have a tough first 30 days (because I had a great confinement lady), I am very sure it isn’t easy for any first time parents. So, here are my top tips after giving birth to help make your first month easier! (hopefully)
Although the first thing that will come to mind is to breastfeed your baby, it is easier said than done. Some are lucky enough to have sufficient milk and baby who latch-on easily. But there are cases where baby is underweight and needs to be supplemented with formula or moms where their milk just hasn’t kicked in yet.
All in all, it can be overwhelming sometime. I am lucky to have been able to breastfeed Baby A in the past 10 months! Below are some tips and I hope they will be able to help all mommies out there in their first 30 days!
1. It is okay to seek help, you should seek help.
Do not assume that it is natural for every woman to be a mother. It is not! It can be scary and daunting. So, it is okay to seek help when you need to. If you don’t know how to latch-on your baby, ask a lactation consultant. If you are not having enough sleep, ask your husband or your mother to help take turns doing the night shifts. If you are feeling depressed for no reason, tell your husband or family and make an appointment with the psychiatrist or doctor.
Some important contact details (I got this from Pantai Hospital after giving birth to Baby A):
- Baby Friendly Services: Ms Uma 016-3312 484
- Susuibu.com: Pn Nor Kamariah 03-8925 4614
- International: La Leche League International (LLLI): www.lalecheleague.org
2. Make sure you make full use of your stay in the hospital after delivery.
You are paying quite a lot to give birth in the hospital (depending if it is private or government hospital). Still, while you are there surrounded with experienced doctors and nurses, make full use of your time there.
For me, the 2 days that I am in Pantai Hospital after I gave birth, I press the call-button every time I breastfeed Baby A. I have 1001 questions on whether the position is right, is she latching correctly and the nurses are always very friendly and nice. They also give tips and advice that help make me more confident while feeding baby A.
3. Mom first, then baby.
The most crucial moment for a mom to recover after delivery is the first 30 days. So, make sure moms take good care of themselves before worrying about baby. There is a good reason why confinement ladies are created to help moms in their first 30 days, so make use of it wisely. So when baby is hungry and crying, let the confinement lady do their job to soothe the baby for a little while before bringing the baby to you for feeding.
And after every feed, make sure you drink a cup of warm water to hydrate your body. Drink them while sitting down. I know a lot of moms just grab a glass of water and gulp it down while standing. Read, why you should be seated while drinking water here
4. Massage your breasts before each feed.
I know most moms have the Philips Avent bottle for new born. Although, Baby A doesn’t want to drink from it and I had to change to Pigeon bottles, I put the Philips Avent bottles to good use. Before each feed, I will fill it up with warm water, the bottle is the right size to hold with your hands and massage your breasts in circular motion. It will help clear the blocked ducts or engorged breasts. It also helps the milk flow better.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, Baby A has not started sleeping through the night yet. I am still having sleep deprivation and I am still working 9-5 and still blogging and still breastfeeding. Yes, I am tired but am still surviving. What is my survival tips?
1. It is okay to bitch about it.
You know what you are getting into from the day you give birth to your baby. Everyone tells you the same thing before you give birth, “Sleep all you want, while you can. You won’t get any once baby is out”
Even being fully prepared for the worse, you still need to let it all out to keep your sanity. Yes, it is okay to complain to your husband, your best friends, your baby, your pet and your family. In fact, it is also okay to throw tantrum once in a while (which I did) because you didn’t get enough sleep!
2. Take shifts or share night shifts with your husband.
If it is possible, take turns with your husband. Mommy takes night shifts for 4 nights and daddy for 3 nights? Or like me, every night is mommy but from 6am onwards, daddy takes over. On weekends, mommy gets to take longer afternoon naps to recuperate.
3. Sleep when your baby sleeps.
This is really something that you should follow, especially in the first 30 days. But knowing moms and even myself, I am busy googling on taking care of baby or catching up on my Korean drama when my baby sleeps. But truly, the only time you get to rest and sleep is when baby sleeps. So choose wisely!
4. Baby fighting sleeps – what to do??
I wish I have the answer to this. Some babies are real angels and they sleep easily and soundly. Some moms manage to train their babies to sleep with a routine (you can read on Gina Ford’s routine). But there are also babies that just fight sleeps and what can you do?
Honestly, its trial and error. Do whatever you need to, nurse the baby, rock the baby, use the pacifier, put baby on your bed, bring baby for a drive. Do whatever it takes for your baby to fall asleep. Some worry that it will become a bad habit but I say, “Do YOU want to sleep or not? “
Have a cranky and fussy baby? Don’t know what baby wants? In time, you will be able to tell but for the first 30 days..
Baby cries for 3 reasons only: Hungry, Diaper Change and Sleep. So, if you have done all three, you can start trying other methods below to soothe your baby.
1. Make baby feels like they are in the womb.
This is the one that I have heard most as babies feel insecure after being 9 months in mommy’s womb.
There are also a lot of youtube videos on how to soothe baby – either holding them in a certain position and swinging them or making shushing or white noise to make them feel like they are still in the womb.
What we did was to swaddle Baby A tightly at night and it seems to help.
2. Calm your baby with music/ tunes.
Just try with any music and sound to see what calms your baby. For Baby A, at first, my voice and singing lullaby calms her down. But later on, we rely on running tap water to soothe and calm her. It was the only way for us!
YouTube: Try LittleBabyBum (LBB) baby lullaby
Mom wants to have fun too
Is it true that there is no life after baby? To a certain degree, YES it is true. However, this really depends on your definition of fun. For me, it is more to have my alone time, and time-off from house work. (although, I don’t mind having some happy hour with friends too!)
1. Stress free.
You will never be 100% stress free. But you will have a lot of experts in the house telling you this and that or friends advising you what to do and what not to do. You don’t have to follow and listen to everything they say. Both you and your husband as parents decide what is right for your baby. You have your own life to live. So, if you cannot sleep at 8pm every night, don’t. If you want to put steroid cream on your baby as advised by doctor, go ahead. It is your choice, not theirs. Just make sure, every decision you make, you do it responsibly.
2. Housework can drain you.
I mean it. Get a part time helper to do the housework for you. There are so many efficient part time helpers these days. Especially in the first 30 days, let the confinement lady help you. If you need more help, just go to kaodim.
3. Alone time.
My alone time during the first 30 days is my massage time. There are a lot of services out there that offers home massage. I use Kak Ayie for my post natal massage and their services are just fantastic. Although, sometimes baby still comes in for feeding during my massage session, I still consider it my alone time. I love it and I look forward to my massage session every week!
4. Share responsibilities and delegate – one of my favorite.
Make sure you share the responsibilities with your husbands. You cannot do everything by yourself. For me, daddy bathes and changes the diapers. It may seem like nothing much but trust me, these things do count. Other than daddy, if you have mom or mom-in-law staying with you or visiting, let them take care of baby when you take your shower or take short naps. It is okay to leave your baby alone with them once in a while.
One thing I find most useful is when you have to go to the hospital or clinic for follow-up visits. It is advisable not to go on your own. Having someone with you is helpful as they can take turns carrying the baby and help you carry your diaper bag, handbag, stroller or baby carrier. The more hands, the better!
I hope that these tips are applicable and it helps. Of course, do share your tips too to help all moms facing their first 30 days after delivery! Even I am still learning after 10 months!