For the first 6-12 weeks of Parenthood you may feel like you are stumbling through the wilderness, into the unknown abyss and down a rabbit hole. Things you thought you once knew, you question. Self-preservation becomes a thing of the past, along with dinner and cleaning oneself. It’s best to be prepared for this; for the euphoric highs but also for the hormonal lows.
The first nappy change
Probably the most terrifying test post-giving birth, especially if the Midwife is watching you. Even if you’ve changed hundreds of nappies previously (either in practice or for another baby) there is nothing quite like putting the first nappy on your new baby. You will find yourself doubting whether you’ve done it correctly, you may hesitate when faced with the task… or you may have completely the wrong size nappy in your hospital bag (this happened to us).
Food and drink
After spending hours in labour, chances are you won’t feel massively hungry and you may find this feeling continues for a few days. It is so important to try to eat something as (if you choose to breastfeed) your milk supply is affected by how much you take in. Not only that, but you will bleed a lot for the first 6-12 weeks after giving birth, and you will need to keep your iron and energy levels up to prevent dizzy spells.
Same with water; you will lose a lot of fluid in the first week. You need to keep hydrated for milk supply and well-being.
I wasn’t prepared for the dreaded “day three”, also known as the day your milk comes in. You will be incredibly hormonal on this day; reaching the heady heights of happiness swiftly followed by a host of tears and gloom. You are not alone and it will pass. I promise!
Have a bath or shower daily
Try to have a daily bath or shower. Chances are you will be pooped, wee’d or sicked on a number of times within a 24 hour period; this combined with leaky boobs and general unwashed-ness will make you feel thoroughly rotten. Hand the baby over to your partner, a family member or a friend and try to relax for a bit.
The Newborn Haze isn’t forever, and it’s a haze for a reason; you won’t remember much of it once you come out the other side! Take lots of photos of your cute bundle of pudge to look back on and exclaim: “He/she was NEVER that tiny!”