Back and forth and back and forth in the rocking chair, babe in arms, singing You Are My Sunshine in monotone whilst bawling my eyes out for an entire day – that was my postpartum day 3. Or was it 4 or 5 – who remembers?
I attended breastfeeding training last week and found myself looking back and so heartily wishing I’d have known then what I know now. Ahhh – hindsight…so crystal clear. I also found myself hoping that you know now (while it’s useful to you) what I didn’t then, but in case you don’t…(you guessed it!) I’m gonna tell ya!
- It is TOTALLY NORMAL to feel TOTALLY ABNORMAL at some point over the first week after giving birth. You are not melting down. You are not incompetent. You are normal. Your hormones are probably whacked and you may feel all over the place. Rejoice! This feeling may signal that a wonderful gift, your breast milk is “coming in.” Awesome! Lean on your partner, family, friends and neighbours over this difficult and confusing time. Call your health care provider, HaltonParents, Telehealth or any other support you know of. You are never alone – ever.
- Skin to skin contact is AMAZING and benefits both you and your baby. Enjoy lots of skin to skin contact with your baby as much as you possibly can. It impacts brain development. It builds your lifelong connection with your child. It has endless physical and mental benefits. Whether during breastfeeding or at any other time you can, strip your baby down to a diaper, bare your arms/chest/torso and snuggle that baby. (Trust me on this – it’s big.)
- Hand expression of breast milk may just be the unsung cure to much of what ails the postpartum mommy. The benefits of learning to hand-express are many and go a long way in allowing your baby to smell and seek out your breast milk, easing engorgement discomfort, building milk supply and treating cracked nipples (among other things).
There will likely be a day (or more) during the first week (or longer) postpartum that you feel like you’re losing it. This is probably hormonal and in all likelihood will pass shortly. I’d be remiss though, if I didn’t mention that should it not pass, and that feeling of being out of sorts sticks around more than a couple of weeks, talk to somebody – your health care provider is a great place to start. I love how this web page explains the difference between the short-term postpartum “blues” and the more worrisome postpartum depression – have a quick read. If, at any point you feel down, alone, incompetent, afraid or isolated – talk to somebody. There is help. You are not alone.
And by the way – to this day (over a decade later) I still can’t listen to You Are My Sunshine without bawling! That’s normal, right? LOL 🙂
What was your postpartum experience like? Tell us about it:
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- Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this blogger:
Paula D’Orazio RN is a public health nurse with the Early Years Health Program at the Halton Region Health Department. Wanna know more about her? Read her blogs! She’ll tell ya! (She kinda likes to talk.)