The miracle of childbirth is the most overwhelming life experience I’ve ever had the honour of being a part of. The joy of meeting your newborn after you’ve carried them within you for months on end, is for lack of a better term, intoxicating. So much so, that after my first child was born, I revisited that experience another four times!
With my first pregnancy, my husband and I participated in prenatal classes. I thought I was equipped with everything I needed to know. Although, shortly after the birth of our daughter, I realised that all that training only saw me as far as the delivery room. I had learnt about stages of labour, what to pack for the hospital, and the different array of pain medications on offer. I had found some of it useful, and most of it I couldn’t remember while screaming like a banshee through the contractions.
Meeting the littlest love of your life is a game changer.
That moment you first lay eyes on that slimy, screaming, tiny parcel of joy, nothing else matters. Although in the days that follow, there are changes that happen within both yours and your newborn’s body that are nothing short of miraculous. I feel that these changes need to be spoken about just as much, if not more so, than what happens during labour. Which is why I’ve decided to do a series of posts that are dedicated to the aftermath of birth that focuses on what they don’t tell you at prenatal classes, but what I think you should know in order to make the experience with your newborn as beautiful as it could be.
Today’s topic: Day 4.
You’ve chosen to breastfeed, have had your beautiful child for four whole days now, and everything is wonderful with the world.
If he was unsettled in the past, you’d feed him, wrap him, and off he’d drift to a peaceful sleep, leaving you to marvel in his perfection.
You seem to be getting the hang of this breast feeding business and don’t really understand what all the fuss is about. Perhaps you were born to be a mother. Perhaps you have a natural gift. Perhaps your child is better behaved than most other newborns. Perhaps you are just really good at this.
Perhaps you’re about to get the rudest shock of your life.
Enter: Day 4.
Day four is generally about the time when your tranquil, precious newborn begins to feel the rumblings of hunger that the colostrum you’ve fed him in the past, just can’t seem to quench.
Do not fret. This is completely normal. As long as you are prepared for this occurrence it will not distress you as much as it would have if you were blind sighted.
It may just be that your milk has not come in yet, and your baby is ravenous! He is hangry! Think of your breast milk as a snickers bar. He’s just not himself when he’s hungry.
The more you feed, the more likely it is that your milk will come in and that peaceful bond between yourself and your newborn will be restored once again.
If you are still in hospital at this stage, ask the help of the midwives to guide you along. If you are at home, you don’t need to feed alone. Call the breast feeding hotline and they will help you along your path.
You’re doing an amazing job with this tiny screaming human! You got this!
Half of the fulfillment of parenting is asking for help when you need it, learning these lessons yourself, and feeling triumphant when you come to a resolve. Whatever that may be.
I’ve had five children, some I’ve breastfed and some I’ve placed on formula. Each birth experience is different, and each child is different.
I would love to hear from other mothers who were also confronted with the unexpected after the birth of their baby.
Please feel free to share your pearls of wisdom with those on the verge of parenthood.
We all have something to learn off each other, that’s the beauty of life!