16 Things to Know When Expecting Your First Baby
My daughter will be four in October; however, it seems just like yesterday when I first saw that second faint line on the pregnancy test strip and bolted from the washroom in excitement.
Expecting your first child can fill you with a lot of emotions; you will oscillate between excitement and joy at the new life growing within you and anxiety at whether you are doing things that need to be done.
I faced this after the initial euphoria of learning I was pregnant wore off. I began the search for things to know when expecting your first baby and found quite a few.
16 of Such Things You Should Know
1. Pregnancy is a Lot Different From What You’re Used to
You might need to ditch your prior idea of what pregnancy and birthing are all about. The media is especially guilty of this; now, unless you specifically search out information about pregnancy and birthing, the media paints a picture of a fun time that speeds by so fast.
Pregnancy is a lot different, and the beauty of it is that it differs for each woman; no two women will have the same pregnancy symptoms or experience, and you might want to prepare for yours.
2. Morning Sickness Might Not Let Up After 12 Weeks
Typically, morning sickness (MS), which begins from the sixth week of pregnancy for 60% of all pregnant women, should start to let up by the 12th week and should be gone entirely by the 14-16th week. However, some women are not so lucky and will experience MS all through.
3. You First Ultrasound Session Will Fill You with Untold Joy
Your first ultrasound sessions will fill you with immense joy as you finally put a face to the little bundle of joy inside of you. Be prepared to shed a few heartfelt tears and glide on clouds for the rest of the day.
4. You Will Crave Some Weird Things. Be Prepared
Really weird things, and no, it doesn’t make you weird or a freak. If you took a survey of some of the things some pregnant women have craved in time past, you’d come to accept just how mild yours is.
Pregnancy cravings are a normal part of pregnancy and are caused by a fluctuation in your hormones. They are a kind of comfort food at a time your body is going through added stress. They typically start at about the same time MS sets in and should let up by the fourth week.
5. Your Baby Bump Might Not Become Visible Until Well Into Your Pregnancy
You will notice the first telltale signs of a baby bump from the 12th to the 16th week when you stand in front of a mirror. However, your bump might not become very noticeable to others until the 20th week.
6. Joining a Pregnancy Support Group Online or in Your Locality will be Immensely Beneficial
One of the best things about joining a pregnancy support group for me was the fact that there were all kinds of moms there. We had ladies who were moms four times over as well as women who were medical experts and so, there was a lot of free and useful information.
A pregnancy support group is also more than a place to learn things you need to know when expecting your first child. It will also give room for bonding with women going through the same experience you’re going through.
7. You Need to be Armed with a Baby Checklist
A baby checklist will give you an idea of the things you’ll be needing for your baby when she arrives and also during her first year.
You can get a baby checklist here to help make your shopping easier.
8. Labour Pain is Not a Walk in the Pack
Unless you’re opting for an epidural, you should know labor pain is painful. Very painful. This is not to make you anxious but to give you a little heads up of what to expect in the labor room.
You should also know that labor pain differs for every woman and also comes in stages.
You might find the pain bearable as your cervix starts the process of dilating and effacing (thinning), up until you become 6-8cm dilated when the strength of your contractions increase, after which you get hit by pressure and a strong need to push even when it’s not quite time.
Your caregiver or Douala will, at this time, discourage you from pushing, and will instead encourage you to practice your breathing exercise.
9. You Will Also Need a New Mom Checklist
A mommy checklist is a most too and should contain everything you will need to heal post-delivery as well as things to make you comfortable during this time.
Some items that should go into this list include maxi pads, sitz bath, nursing bras, a set of cotton panties, breast pads, breastfeeding pumps, ice packs, witch hazel packs, lanolin, stool softener, post-partum recovery belt, heating pad, pain killers, Epsom salt, nipple shield, and a few robes.
10. You Might Want to Desist From Buying Too Many Newborn Baby Clothes Sizes
Babies grow very fast, and your newborn might outgrow a lot of his clothes by the third week, so you want to get just a handful of these and get others in larger sizes.
11. Certain Foods and Herbs will Help Your Breastmilk Flow Better if You Experience a Limited Flow
If you experience a shortage in your breastmilk flow, you are not alone, as this happens to about 1-5% of new moms.
You might want to turn to foods and herbs known for boosting breastmilk production, and some of these include fenugreek, fennel, ginger, garlic, alfalfa, brewer’s yeast, and lactation cookies.
Some other helpful tips that can also boost breastmilk production include
– Breastfeeding often.
– Pumping between feeds.
– Emptying one breast before turning to the other.
12. Breastfeeding Isn’t Always Easy and You Might Experience a Latching Problem
Over 90% of new mothers experience a latching problem where their babies are unable to get a firm grip of the nipple, resulting in cracked and peeled nipples.
This is a painful experience, and it is more so because, despite the pain, you would need to continue breastfeeding.
This is where the lanolin contained in your checklist comes in. Applying a little around your cracked nipples will bring relief from the pain and also speed up their healing. It’s also perfectly safe for your baby to swallow since it’s non-toxic.
You could also use a nipple shield so, while your baby still breastfeeds as often as he wants, he doesn’t exactly get direct contact with your nipples, and you are spared the pains.
However, if you find the pain of continued breastfeeding unbearable at this point, experts recommend bottle feeding while your nipples get enough time to heal fully.
13. Don’t Fret If You Don’t Feel a Strong Bond with Your Baby Immediately
You shouldn’t worry if you don’t feel that bond with your baby upon laying eyes on her. 20% of new moms face this, so you aren’t alone.
You have just gone through a physically and psychologically trying experience, and it’s perfectly understandable to feel a little off for a while.
The bond should start to develop the more time you spend with your precious new bundle.
14. You Might Experience a Problem with Excessive Breastmilk Production
You might experience a surplus breastmilk production, even if you struggle with your milk flow at the start. If this happens, it will be difficult for your baby to continue feeding, seeing as the milk comes out faster than she can handle.
To control this, you should breastfeed in a reclining position where the breastmilk flows upward instead of downward into your baby’s mouth. You could also try unlatching your baby after the first breastmilk let down, so the excess mill sprays out before your baby continues to feed.
If you find your breastmilk leaking when not breastfeeding, placing a breast pad inside your bra to soak up the excess milk should solve this problem.
15. Getting Your Pre-Baby Body Might Take a While
Some women snap back in shape within six months, while for others, it might take up to a year and even longer.
It takes up to two years for some women before they start to see some signs of their pre-baby body, and yes, while some women might freak thinking they’ve lost that part of themselves forever, you should know it’s only a phase, and you will be snapping back into shape in no time. And they were right.
16. Your Breastmilk Contains Different Nutrients at Different Stages
At the start of breastfeeding, your breastmilk will supply more fructose and protein, but as your baby continues feeding, he will get the rest of the nutrient, which is fat.
This is why you must let your baby empty one breast before turning to the other, so he gets all the required nutrients. Changing him to the other before this will result in nutrient deficiency, a condition that will announce itself in your baby producing a green-like poop.