From good to bad, sweet to, well, gross -- moms share the best-kept secrets early parenthood
Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be like this? That was the thought that flashed through my mind the morning we brought our newborn, Addyson, home to our three-storey townhouse. I had only climbed three steps before I doubled over in pain, my arms gripping my stomach, protecting my fresh C-section incision. I started to cry and muttered (well, yelled) a few choice words I’m glad Addyson didn’t understand.
There are lots of things they don’t tell you about your first year of parenthood, probably because in so many ways before you have a baby, ignorance truly is bliss. (Do you really want to know every last detail of labour before your water breaks? I didn’t either.) While some things are better left unsaid, there are nuggets of information that can really help prepare you. Here are things moms who’ve been there wish they’d known.
Breastfeeding can be work
For many moms, nursing isn’t as easy as those posters in the doctor’s office make it seem. “Although breastfeeding is natural, there tends to be about a six-week learning curve where mom and baby are getting comfortable with nursing,” says Britt Pegan, a La Leche League leader in Ottawa. In her experience, the most common obstacle to a successful nursing relationship (and the number one reason for ending breastfeeding early) is misinformation. “New mothers don’t know that it’s totally normal for a baby to nurse 14 times in 24 hours. Instead, they worry that they don’t have enough milk. When a new mom gets plugged ducts, some doctors don’t know that she should be nursing as much as possible on that breast to unplug the duct; instead they tell women to wean.”
If you (or baby) can’t seem to get the hang of it, your best bet is to seek help from a lactation consultant or a public health nurse, or check out a breastfeeding clinic at your local hospital. Lisa Naccarato of Thornhill, Ont., had nursing problems early on and called in a lactation consultant for help. “She was my best friend for the first two months and saved my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter.”
Pegan recommends that expectant moms read up on the subject, figure out if they have any issues that might make nursing difficult (inverted nipples or previous breast surgery, for example), attend local La Leche League meetings for mother-to-mother support and take a breastfeeding class.