Labour is a long, long journey and there is no doubt that both of you…or should I say ‘all 3 of you’…will be absolutely exhausted. Having a baby is a emotional rollercoaster ride. Although you are worn out from the birth of your baby you are also so excited to finally meet your precious little baby. Some women will sleep soundly, however most women have surges of adrenaline that will keep them going for the next 24 hours or so.
Your pregnancy hormone levels are already dropping so it is normal to feel very emotional. It is not uncommon for you to feel so overwhelmed that you do not feel an instant bond with your baby. You have all worked so hard to get to this point and exhaustion plays a large part in this. Remember…you are not alone. Give yourself some time to meet and bond with your baby and adjust to parenthood.
Dependent on your birth, there will be some discomfort for the next few days. If you have had a vaginal delivery your buttocks and perineum will be tender – even more so if you have had a tear or epistomy with stitches. Appling ice to the area for the first 24 hours is essential. Frequent showers and avoiding sitting for long periods will also help. Fibre should become your best friend. Most importantly REST.
If you have had a Caesarean Section you will need a little more help taking care of your baby as you will be in bed for the next few hours (or even overnight). Regular pain relief will go a long way in assisting the discomfort associated with a caesarean.
Over the next 24 hours you are going to learn everything from feeding, changing, bathing and dressing. It is overwhelming and daunting but exciting and fun all at the same time.
Partners are exhausted and need time to rest too. Dad’s experience of pregnancy and birth is often very different to mums. Most fathers feel ‘out of the picture’ (so to speak) until the baby is born. It is only when their baby has finally arrived that they can start to adapt to parenthood and bond with their baby. Even though they have not physically ‘given’ birth – it is emotionally very difficult to watch your partner labour. Labour can also be physically demanding on dad too.
You are both now entering one of the biggest learning curves of life…Looking after your baby! Babies do not come with an instruction manual and no 2 babies are alike. What works for one baby might not work for yours. Be ready for the onslaught of information from EVERYONE…Midwives, parents, aunts, uncles, neighbours and friends. A complete stranger will even offer unsolicited advice. Just remember, you don’t have to listen to them all! Don’t take onboard what everyone tells you …. Otherwise you will get too confused and it will only lead to stress. As parents you will develop your own parenting style over time and do what feels right for your family.
And another thing, don’t let all your relatives and friends rush through the door the second your baby is born. There is plenty of time over the next few days (or even weeks) to introduce them to the newest member of your family. The best way to keep ‘most’ at bay (you will always get the 1 or 2 who ignore your requests) is when your baby is born text them all with a …“We would like to welcome our beautiful baby ****** who weighs ****** into the world. Mum, dad and baby are doing well but are extremely tired. Can you please give us a few days to find our feet and ring before you would like to come and visit”.
You can then choose when YOU are ready for visitors – not when it is convenient for them. Enjoy this precious time with your baby. Use your hospital stay to get as much information and help as possible from the midwives. You can’t do this if you have visitors all day and all night long.
Above all else ….. Enjoy your precious little baby and marvel in your unbelievable achievement of bringing this baby into the world!
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