‘Pull the drawbridge up’! Babies are ALL nocturnal in the beginning and will sleep better in the day than at night. Keep visitors to a minimum at home (if they’re not helping you out don’t let them in!) so you can rest in the day and be ready for the long nights.
If you have stitches down below; sprinkling some witch hazel and/or aloe vera onto a maternity pad and freezing it will make a soothing compress that helps with pain and swelling. Alternatively frozen ice lollies (tube kind) fit perfectly into maternity pads for relieving stitches and haemarroids.
That hand expressing your milk from 37 weeks will help bring labour on, get a good supply of breast milk going and is perfectly safe. Breastmilk can be frozen and used in the first few days to help when your nipples are sore or if baby is really hungry. Check with your midwife for techniques!
For stitches and haemarroids: two rolled up towels under your thighs make sitting and car journeys bearable in the first week.
Freeze four nappies soaked in water. Perfect for engorged boobs. No need for cabbage, nappies stay cold longer, soak up drippy milk and don’t smell! Two in the freezer two on your boobs!
Your feet will swell after delivery for at LEAST two weeks. It will go down, but drinking enough and walking will help.
Metamucil is your best friend for the first few weeks.
A giant water bottle next to your ‘nursing station’ will help with cotton mouth during feeds.
Store baby bath products away for now. They are not needed for the first few weeks. All babies get spotty rashes just from being in the world, don’t stress yourself out that you’ve caused an allergy. Water is enough.
Nappy creams are not preventative, so only use them if your little one is sore.
Breastfeeding is sore in the beginning, but getting early help will improve your confidence and technique to get comfortable as soon as possible. Nipple balms or hydrogel pads will help with healing and feel soothing. Use one or the other but not both at the same time. Look for a balm that’s 100% lanolin so you don’t have to worry about baby swallowing any harmful ingredients.
Unsolicited advice will fly at you now you’re parents. Just remember what works for one family may not work for yours. No one knows what they’re doing in the beginning and you find your way as you go. Try to enjoy learning from your mistakes. Perfection doesn’t exist!
Frankie – Midwife x