You’ve read parenting blogs, magazines and attended all the prenatal classes. You’ve consulted every single person who had baby. However, there are some things people will never tell you.
Tiny teeny toes, little eyelashes and small hands – are some newborn delights we expect to take our breath away as soon as we see our bundle of joy. But they’re also an enigma. From poo explosions to certain parts of their body which always feel cold, there are many things you would wish someone had told you before jumping headfirst into the mess of parenthood.
Parenthood can be exciting as well as challenging time for any parent. It would be one of the most interesting phases in a couple’s lifetime, full of ups and downs, happiness and sorrow. But in the end, you’ll realise that it was all worth the effort.
You’ll bleed for few weeks after delivery
Whether you had a vaginal delivery or Cesarean delivery, it’s normal for you to bleed for few weeks after birth. That’s how your body gets rid of extra blood and tissue. This is also called as “Lochia”. For first few days after delivery, you may notice a fair amount of blood (bright red in colour) and look like heavy period.
You may bleed even after bringing your baby home. This happens because you’re moving around a lot. It is recommended to take rest for some days after delivery and try to stay off your feet.
For few days, bleeding will be heavy enough that you would need a hospital pad. As it slows down, you can transition to your usual menstrual pads. Avoid using tampons, until your doctor says it is fine to use.
Babies can come out looking a bit weird
As your little one comes into the world, you may be surprised by her appearance – she is not as cute as in the commercials. However, you don’t need to be concerned about her look, chances are, she is perfectly normal.
Bluish look, cream-cheesy glop, facial spots, acne, man boobs, swollen genitals, squinty or swollen eyes, pointed head – all these features in newborn baby which look strange and little alien-like are temporary. After all, she has spent nine months in womb and is pushed through a narrow and bone-walled birth canal. But in no time, she would resemble that beautiful baby you have always imagined.
Not just babies but moms too have to learn how to breastfeed
Breastfeeding, for babies or even mothers, is not always intuitive. Most mothers set themselves up for huge disappointment by thinking that it will come naturally. Learning to breastfeed is similar to learning how to swim or sing. While there may be bumps along the way, you’ll be amazed how good it feels, once you both learn the art of breastfeeding.
Adjusting to breastfeeding for new moms can be a challenge. It is quite normal to have queries about breastfeeding such as position, time etc. With the guidance and care, a trust on your body and the process, it’s important to have information about breastfeeding, especially in the first few weeks after birth. Usually it takes about 4-6 weeks to master this skill.
Cold hands and feet
Before wrapping your baby in another blanket, check his torso. If it’s warm, there is no need to worry. Newborn’s hands and feet are cold because your baby is not yet fully developed, and the circulation system of the baby is still learning to supply blood to the entire body. Its priority is vital organs like lungs, heart, digestive and urinary organs. Comparatively lesser vital parts like hands and feet, blood is redirected away and are the last parts to get good supply of blood. With less blood flow, feet and hands can feel cold. As your baby starts moving around, his circulation will improve.
If you’re still worried about your baby, let him wear socks, but don’t cover him in blanket if there is a normal temperature.
Blood in your baby girl’s diaper
If your newborn baby is a girl and you notice a little blood in her diaper, there’s nothing to worry about. This happens because of withdrawal of mother’s hormones from baby’s body after delivery. The fall in her oestrogen level can trigger mini periods. As her hormones adjust to normal levels, bleeding would stop.
Constipation could be anther reason if there’s blood in baby’s poo. It is common in babies who are formula-fed and have started eating solid food. Whatever the reason may be, it is a good idea to know the difference between when the blood is normal and when it could be a sign of a problem which needs to be consulted to your doctor.
The “connection” might not be immediate
You may have dreamed about meeting your baby from last nine months, however, after delivery you may look at your baby and feel nothing but petrified and tired. This is completely normal. Bonding doesn’t happen in a day but is a growing process and deepens with time as you spend time with him and get to know him through cuddling, feeding or simply seeing him.
In fact, many studies have confirmed that about 20% of parents feel no emotional attachment for their newborn. Sometimes it takes weeks or months to get attached. So, don’t feel guilty or anxious if you haven’t started bonding with your baby yet.
Crying isn’t always related to hunger to diaper change
When you were pregnant, you must have envisioned beautiful scenes: baby smiling at peaceful mom’s face. You were all prepared for birth and read all the books on how to care for newborn. However, a crying baby was not a part of that idyllic vision, so this takes new moms and dad by surprise.
The fact is, all babies cry, a lot. They cry because they can’t talk, and this is the only way of communication or expressing themselves they are aware of. Sometimes they cry because they just feel like crying. This should not be your concern as the more time you spend with your baby, you’ll be expert in understanding the reason of his cries than anyone else.
Skin of baby may peel off
Before leaving hospital or within few days after coming home, you may notice your newborn’s skin peeling off. This can occur on any part of the body such as feet, hands or ankles and is perfectly normal.
In fact, all babies lose their outer layer of skin in 2-3 weeks after birth. They have spent nine months surrounded by protective liquids, so exposure to dry air is a difficult transition.
As your baby adjusts to the life outside mother’s womb, he will create a new layer of skin which would be suitable for their new environment. How much peeling is normal is dependant on when the baby was born. Babies that were overdue would peel a lot as compared to premature babies.
Seems like your baby is always hungry
You may think that your baby’s appetite is abnormal. But it’s not. If you are breastfeeding your baby, breast milk will increase to meet his constant demands, and this is a natural process.
One of the main reasons your baby is eating a lot is that he is growing and need as much food or milk as possible. According to the Clemson University Cooperative Extension, your baby’s weight will triple during the first year as he is going through a stage of rapid growth.
You don’t need to be worried about the fact that your baby isn’t getting enough food as he always seems hungry. While initial days can be the hardest, as you may feel like baby is eating round the clock. This is completely normal. Sure, it will take some time to get a steady supply and breastfeeding schedule, but both of you will get there by frequent feeding. Just trust your body and baby’s cues.
Babies are jumpy
After nine months of sitting in a bag of water with limited movements, babies can now move their body the way they want to. Moreover, they aren’t yet aware of controlling the movement. As they can easily get startled, babies can jump to sudden noise. During this stage the neurological system of babies is still developing and sends electrical impulses.
Babies may also experience a sense of falling as now they are not confined to womb and can freely move around. This is also the reason they get startled and kick their legs suddenly, open their hands or jump. This kind of reflex should disappear after 3 months.