One of my best friends just gave birth, and I was beside myself with excitement to visit her and my new nephew.
As soon as I walked in, the first thing she moaned was, "You didn't tell me breastfeeding would hurt!"
Yes, I did.
"You didn't tell me how much and how long!" Ooops, I may have skipped the details.
The more I thought about it, the more I remembered the things that nobody told me before I gave birth!
During pregnancy, you have your OB regularly telling you what is going on and countless books to guide you, but afterwards, it's a different story!
Also, I noticed that everyone is more than happy to give you a list of things you will need for the baby, but what about a list for mommy to help navigate the first few weeks?
Here's some useful information to help you prepare for what comes after your bundle of joy arrives.
1. Pain and discomfort while nursing - Breastfeeding can hurt. But just when you think you will never get through it, the pain will start to fade.
2. Engorgement - The feeling of fullness in the breast can turn into engorgement if you don't nurse frequently enough. It feels like someone poured cement into your chest.
3. Clogged ducts - Not releasing milk can lead to clogged ducts and infection. Use a warm compress 20 minutes or more before feeding and a cold compress another 20 minutes or more after feeding to avoid or reduce swelling.
4. Baby blues - Seeing family and friends carry on with their lives as you struggle with the challenges of a "new normal" can give rise to an isolating feeling or the feeling of inadequacy and fear of failure.
5. Your body won't be the same immediately. Expect to see a dark line, and even patch, on your stomach, which will disappear in time.
6. Put a towel under you when you sleep at night unless you like having your sheets smell of milk. Once you start heading out, dress properly or get ready for wardrobe malfunctions.
7. Take it easy in your movements until you get the go-signal from the doctor.
8. Bleeding is normal after you deliver. It can take up to a couple of weeks.
9. If you deliver normally, and especially if you have stitches, you may experience pain when you go to the bathroom.