Giving birth

Ask the midwife: 4 things new moms should know

Bonding, post-baby body sweat, black poop—here's what a registered midwife says her patients are the most surprised by.

You just gave birth to an adorable newborn—welcome to the fourth trimester! In the next few weeks, your body and your baby will go through some crazy postpartum changes together. Here, Ruth Comfort, a registered midwife in Vancouver, shares four things she wishes all new moms knew to expect:

1. It’s OK if you don’t bond with your baby right away
“Some parents, and mothers especially, are surprised (and sometimes feel ashamed or worried) if they don’t feel an immediate bond with their baby right after the birth. However, it’s completely normal. It can take days, weeks, or even months to feel a bond with your baby. Bonding happens at its own pace, but it always happens.”

2. Your newborn’s poop will be black
“Newborns pass black, tarry stool called meconium—it’s very sticky, so using diaper cream or a thin coating of olive or coconut oil on your baby’s bottom will make cleanup much easier. After the stool transitions, it’s normal for it to be watery, bright yellow, frequent and explosive!”

3. You’re going to sweat…a lot
“During the first week after giving birth, you may pee and sweat a lot, and your sweat can have a different, stronger smell. Your body is getting rid of all the extra fluid it accumulated during pregnancy. Most women also have a bit of an emotional crash on the third or fourth day after the baby is born, related to shifting hormones. Rest assured, it’s normal and generally passes in about 24 hours.”

4. You’ll still look pregnant for the first few weeks (or longer) after you give birth
“Don’t bring your skinny jeans to wear home from the hospital! The uterus typically returns to its non-pregnant size by two or three weeks postpartum, but you may have extra abdominal skin, fat and stretched muscles. Some women are also surprised that they miss the physical sensation of being pregnant, even though having the baby in their arms is also nice.”

Read more:
3 things your postpartum nurse wants you to know
How to spot and treat diastasis recti
Your period after baby

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