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So, Breastfeeding is rarely like it seems in the hallmark cards.
Understanding what is “normal” can give you some great insight into the behaviour to expect from your your baby, and how that changes (so quickly!!) over the first week.
Each day is a new adventure when you are learning how to breastfeed and infant.
You might think you need an electric breast pump, breastfeeding pillow and heard about supplements for breast milk production among all the other baby stuff. But the best thing you can invest in is good breastfeeding education in your pregnancy for you and your partner and good postnatal support so you have the time to learn and fall in love with your baby.
Following is a very basic overview of what you might expect from a well baby born at term.
Of course, if you are looking for more information, I am always here.
Hospitals are interesting places where the rules of the real world are suspended. There is a new language to learn, unwritten and uncommunicated expectations on women and families to behave in certain ways, and punishments when the behaviour of visitors doesn't comply with the new norms.
Women are stripped of their names, clothes and autonomy. Rebranded 'mummy' or 'honey' because who can keep up? (I was recently working with a medical student who asked me, "if I don't call her the lady in bed 6 what do I call her?)
Do you breastfeed or bottle feed? Are you a SAHM or working mum? Do you co-sleep or cry it out?
This constant separation into polarising groups is total bullshit.
The idea that the hundreds and thousands of new mothers every year will easily fall into opposing sides on every single parenting decision is the most absurd claim that has made it into urban myth.
Ever wondered about the history of Birth plans?
Why do women spend all this time in pregnancy listing the different things they want (or want to avoid) in their pregnancy, birth or with their new baby?
This short lecture starts the discussion about the history of birth, human rights in childbirth, informed consent - and where birth plans might fit in with all this
Ask questions. About everything. Literally everything. “what are you doing? why are you doing that? What other options do I have? Are there any risks with doing that? What else can you do instead?” Ask questions about where you birth, when and with whom. Ask what the evidence is and if there is any contradicting it. Learn about levels of evidence and recommendations in pregnancy. Know your hospital's policies on induction, monitoring, appointments, home visits, breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, support people, bed sharing, everything. Read every one. And learn the difference between policy and evidence.
From what I understand (and I can’t make this clear enough - I am absolutely not an expert in Japanese culture or language) this process is aligned with the concept of Wabi Sabi- or perfect imperfections. Essentially treating breakage and repair as an important element of the object's history and journey instead of something that should be disguised or worse- cause it to be discarded.
As your pregnancy develops there is a wide range of changes that your body undergoes to prepare for creating breastmilk and feeding your baby.
Good news! any 'advice' you have been given about preparing your body for breastfeeding is now debunked!
Clearly your body is doing a fine job of that all by itself thank you very much.
Probably one of the biggest decisions we make very early in our pregnancy is deciding where we will have our baby and who will look after us. To further complicate the matter, this decision may have the greatest impact on how our baby comes into the world and how we are prepared for and supported in our mothering (or fathering).
I am now late AND wearing a dirty shirt. All before 8:30 am.
How else can I fail at 2018?
In other areas of health, we might have the opportunity or feel secure in asking for second opinions, researching other options or just saying no. When we are having a baby however, quite often our default position is to give our decision making and reasoning over to the "experts". After all we don't want to make the wrong choice... and what do we know?
So my three youngest children (5, 5, and 18 months) were home today. Each with unique and uncomfortable illnesses. In no particular order, I had the privilege of managing gastro, chicken pox and a UTI. Actually, the order was from most likely to make me cry to the least and vomiting always wins that fun-time trifecta.
It could be hours or even days for these mild (and still exciting) niggles to build into the powerful waves you are expecting "active" labour to be made from. Do you call your midwife/doctor?
I have definitely spent my share of hours being the miserable know-it-all sadly “helping” another mum by explaining that unfortunately the exhaustion she is experiencing is normal, and yes she is isolated and overwhelmed, however, her baby is healthy, growing well and acting exactly as a baby of that age should
That moment when your baby is finally deeply asleep. And you are suddenly panicked that they are sleeping too deeply.
Thinking the day you are booked to come in for your induction is the day you will be handed a baby? Although it IS possible, it is unlikely that's how things will go. Understanding what an induction actually involves can help make sense of this.
Self care is not just about bubble baths and long walks.
Mental health is more than just stress management and looking after yourself. Sometimes we need to speak with a professional. But even in this case we KNOW the importance of self care in mental health.
Ultimately finding things each day that fill our cup and help us live a value filled and focused life is important for all of us, but it can be difficult when we are always with our baby or child.
The little things that bring joy into our lives are so important. If you are not up to the big adventurous things that is fine, hopefully, you can find a few small things that you enjoy and can start to weave them into your every day. Feel free to go off script and make up your own.