The first 2 weeks- No Super-Moms Allowed.
When I'm working as a bedside nurse and I discharge a new mom home from the hospital, I spend an overwhelming amount of time reminding them what their job is- as if they don't have a clue what they have signed up for! As the years have gone by, I feel like this soap box lecture has grown and grown, and I still feel the need to stand up there and preach! So, moms, here's the deal from an OB nurse, mom, turned IBCLC.
Breastfeeding is a FULL TIME JOB. Of course you know that... but together, lets break it down.
You've grown a person in your body for as long as 10 months (Have you ever done the math- 40weeks divided by 4 weeks in a month =10 months! So who came up with the 9 month thing is still something I need to do some research on...they're cheating us). You remember how your body feels leading up to that delivery? Many of us work up until due dates, mother to younger children at home, ready a nursery, walk miles trying to induce labor, and just run ourselves into the ground right up until we pop!
THEN, we endure LABOR- A day (if your lucky) marathon. We emotionally empty. We experience every emotion our minds are capable of feeling- excitement, panic, stimulus overload, happiness, maybe disappointment... you name it! If you've given birth before, please tell me if you can think of ONE emotion you didn't feel on the day you brought your child into the world. I've had the honor of being part of hundreds of births, and the number of emotions at each is beyond me.
Now, lets give credit to the physical parts of this our body is enduring- truly giving everything it has to bring a life into the world! Suppose you push for 3 hours! Or have a c/s! Or whatever your story looks like... for most women, the baby does not fall out (and if it does they better not tell the world because they will be abandoned as a friend;). Our bodies endure hard core, intense, like-nothing-else demands to bring this child into the world.
Now, we can stop here... THIS ALONE is a journey that, prior to being a mother, we would have taken days to recovery from. You haven't slept well in 2 nights, missed the last 3 meals, and have 78 pending text messages on your phone to respond to. Every story is unique, no two are the same, but it is no lie that this is the hardest work most bodies have ever endured to date.
So back to my soap box... there I stand on discharge day, physician instructions in hand, preaching.
"Your job for the next two weeks is to take care of yourself, and take care of the baby, and everything else is someone else's responsibility."
The first two weeks are critical in your breastfeeding journey. Your body is going through the most special time, which I would LOVE for you to learn all about. Wether you do or not is up to you. When we know better we do better.
Spending your first two weeks home caring solely for you and your baby allows your body the rest, balance, and intuitive skill development it needs to thrive at breastfeeding. Being skin to skin, breastfeeding on demand, and bonding with your baby produced long term outcomes that are irreplaceable. Sleeping when your baby sleeps, our bodies heal better. Did you know your body makes the most amount of prolactin, the hormone that excretes milk, when you sleep? Skin to skin, we allow baby to easily communicate feeding cues with us. Did you know that your baby will nurse the best when lead by his own cues? This is just the tip of the iceberg. I could probably write a book, but I remind myself that this is just a blog.
What if we were prepared for this? What if someone told us what to expect, how we could set ourselves up for success? HEAR ME... YOUR FIRST TWO WEEKS ARE FOR TAKING CARE OF YOU AND BABY. EVERYTHING ELSE IS SOMEONE ELSE'S RESPONSIBILITY! When people call congratulating you and ask, "Can I do anything?" NEVER say no! Super-mom mentality should be illegal in the beginning! Have them put a meal in your fridge, or walk your dog, or play with your toddler... or ANYTHING! People want to help you! And... you have a new baby who needs your 100% attention- not the dishwasher, or the laundry, or the meals, or the anything else. Two weeks. 14 days.
You've got this. Set yourself up for success. By day 20 you'll be cooking dinner, talking on the phone, and nursing all at once without a blink:)
Oh, and Im trying to retire my soap box. It's just hard for me to not empty the dishwasher for 14 days too.