The past 3.5 weeks have been about adjusting to my new life as a mom to a newborn all over again. It started off with a honeymoon period the first few days. My husband and I were thrilled to have a new baby and my two daughters were soo excited and smitten with their new baby sister.
Third time round is when I can really say that I had an empowering birth experience. After two not so great birth experiences and also working with so many moms who had gone through birth trauma, I wanted to be more prepared and informed this time.
I didn’t take hypnobirthing courses or any antenatal classes though. I watched lots of midwives’ YouTube videos, read books and the one that helped me the most was Ina May Gaskin’s “Guide To Childbirth”. I really have to thank my copywriter Abby for lending that book to me. It made me believe wholeheartedly that my body would naturally know what its supposed to do to birth a child and that I was to trust my body and work with it.
This time I discussed my birth plan in detail with my OBGYN, Dr Tang. Oooh and I highly recommend her if you plan to deliver your baby at Subang Jaya Medical Centre. She was good at listening to my concerns and she was supportive of my choices of pain management (I opted for drug free option unless I ask for it), non episiotomy and that I wanted to be able to move about while in labor. Those were some of the things in my birth plan.
I had my essential oils diffused in the labor room, my husband comforted me in ways that were soothing and helpful and the midwife was kind and gave me lots of information so that I didn’t feel out of place.
My pain management was mostly breathing, visualisation and movements. I was quite surprised when I was told that I was already 8cm dilated and that I could still breathe through the contractions calmly.
It wasn’t long after – 7 hours from the first regular contractions at home – and I delivered a healthy 3.5kg baby girl. My biggest baby!
We were discharged after three nights at the hospital (baby had a little bit of jaundice). After a couple of days at home, a little sadness kicked in. I was sad that I had to let go of the family of four. We were a great team! I cried, to be honest. The crying helped me deal with the overwhelm at the same time and I felt so much better after.
A little baby is now an addition to the team and so far, the two big sisters have been nothing but helpful. So we’re still a great team!
In the first two weeks, I mostly focused on getting myself to get as much rest as possible, so that healing can take place. I drank lots of water and I did clean eating (pantang food).
As for breastfeeding, it was quite painful for me because I had to endure milk blister for almost 3 weeks *cry*
It’s all good now though, thank goodness.
What about sleep? Well, now that I’m experiencing it first hand again how a newborn sleep, I’ll summarise it in the following:
- Newborns sleep A LOT in the first few weeks – up to 18-20 hours a day. It’s easier to measure the amount of time a newborn is awake than to measure the amount of time that they are asleep. But still, don’t be crazy about counting the hours either!
- There is no such thing as a sleep pattern in the first 6 weeks of a baby’s life. Everything is erratic and that’s normal.
- If you’re breastfeeding, frequent feeding or on-demand feeding is the most important thing to focus on because a full and satiated baby will settle much easier. The cream at the end of a feed (hind milk) is the one that helps baby feel full and satisfied. Don’t rush the feeding.
- Please make sure the latch is correct. Also don’t forget that the position of breastfeeding must be correct too.
- Try not stress about “bad habits” or beating yourself up for making the “wrong” decisions such as nursing, rocking, carrying, holding or bouncing your baby to sleep.
- Young babies don’t have a sense of day & night. They continue to wake up and wanting to feed every 2-3 hours. As at today, my baby is 28 days old. She still wakes every 2 hours to feed in the night. This is normal.
- Swaddle your baby during sleep times. I find the Love To Dream swaddle to be the best type of swaddle for my baby. Click here to go to my FB post on what it looks like. If you have a baby who likes to escape from the usual swaddle cloth, I highly recommend this zip-up one because your baby’s arms can be up to her sides when she sleeps and they are still contained. My baby’s moro reflex (the arms jerking motion) is quite strong, so keeping her swaddled helps her sleep better.
- Expose her to lots of daytime noise as much as possible. This won’t be overstimulating for her. It will meet her needs for rich sensation such as being held, sounds of cooking, older siblings playing, and all daytime background noise.
- Expect that babies will be extra fussy in the evenings. Mine tend to fuss a lot from 9-11pm. This is normal. Other babies might have a crying spell during this time. Don’t worry about your baby crying. It won’t damage your baby as long as you are holding them in your arms. This usually tapers off by 6 weeks onwards.
- I remove the swaddle and mittens during feeding times so that she can use her hands to “feel” through the feedings. I observed that she enjoys this and it helps her be “in control”.
- My baby sleeps with me in my bed. My husband sleeps on the sofa for now until we move. Bed sharing makes it so easy for me to attend to her night feedings and I could get my sleep at the same time. I have to admit, it’s not always so peachy. There were nights where she would be wide awake. So then I take a nap during the day to catch up with sleep.