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Things new mums don’t tell us

Spoiler alert warning: there are some things about those first few weeks of motherhood that mothers keep to themselves. After you’ve joined the motherhood club, you’ll be privy to a world of information you never knew existed. Can’t wait that long? Fast track your membership and discover what really happens after your baby is born.

Woman Keeping Secrets | SheKnows.com.au

The secret life after birth

Spoiler alert: There are some things about those first few weeks of motherhood that mothers keep to themselves. After you’ve joined the motherhood club, you’ll be privy to a world of information you never knew existed. Can’t wait that long? Fast track your membership and discover what really happens after your baby is born.

Some things about being a new mum are scattered throughout baby literature — like sleepless nights, dealing with colic and the inevitable fascination that all mothers develop with their little one’s bowel movements.

Other things aren’t as prolific. While new mums discuss these things with each other to no end, they seem to go largely unsaid in pregnancy circles. Why? Maybe it’s because mothers are too polite, don’t want to scare pregnant women, or are just too darn sleep-deprived to remember that they happened at all.

Milk takes time to come in

Secret mum’s tip: Ask the hospital midwives to help you with your breastfeeding and book a meeting with a lactation consultant.

From around the fourth month of your pregnancy, your body has been producing colostrum, which is the first milk you will feed your baby. Around 3–4 days after your baby is born, your milk will “come in”, meaning you’ll experience a change in the volume and composition of the milk. While 3–4 days is the “average” time it takes for your milk to come in, some mothers will be waiting five or six days. If you’re concerned your milk hasn’t come in after seven days, make an appointment with your doctor or midwife.

Secret mum’s tip: Ensure you have a comfortable maternity bra to sleep in and always secure breast pads inside.

Breasts leak… a lot

As you find your way in those early weeks, it’s likely you’ll be dealing with leakage issues. A lot of them. After your milk has come in, expect an oversupply as your breasts adjust to your baby’s feeding schedule. It’s not uncommon to wake up in a pool of milk, be out in a public place and realise you have a large wet patch in the centre of your breast, or to start leaking when you hear someone else’s baby crying.

Secret mum’s tip: Use a good quality nipple cream and enjoy some topless time during the day (but remember to close the blinds!).

Breastfeeding does hurt

Heard that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt if you’re doing it correctly? While this is true eventually, it’s during those early days when you and your baby are finding your way that you will experience the largely unavoidable pain from sore and cracked nipples, as well as engorged breasts.

It’s not only your nipples that take a beating, either. Breastfeeding also helps your uterus to contract back into its original shape: Good news, right? The downside is that these contractions can be painful. Thankfully, they won’t be as painful as those you experienced during labour!

What to expect when bringing a newborn home: The first month >>

Secret mum’s tip: Wear loose-fitting clothing if you’re feeling self-conscious about your post-baby belly and talk to your doctor about safe core strengthening exercises.

Jelly belly

As you give birth to your baby, you also bid farewell to that nice, round pregnancy belly. In its place you’ll be dealing with something resembling a jiggling jellyfish, and you’ll see just how much the skin and muscles have stretched over the past nine months. Luckily, this is only temporary and you may be able to start doing light exercises as early as 24–48 hours after your birth to rebuild your core.

Secret mum’s tip: Try to avoid harsh hairstyles that pull or stretch your hair and experiment with different hairstyles.

Thin on top

Unfortunately, you may notice you’re losing a lot of hair in those first few months due to fluctuating hormone levels. You’ll want to remember all those compliments you received about your luscious pregnancy locks when you’re scooping clumps of hair out of your shower drain.

Secret mum’s tip: Invest in a notebook and keep track of feeds, starting from the hospital. Include which breast your little one fed from and how long the feed lasted.

You fed who, when?

When you haven’t had more than two consecutive hours of sleep for days, if not weeks, you’d be forgiven for not remembering the last time you fed your little cherub. Some mothers like to keep track of their feeds as it helps them to plan their days, while others just go with the flow. You’ll soon find out which option you are more comfortable with.

More on being a new mum

10 Tips for first-time parents
Controlled crying: How to make it work
Ways for dad to bond with baby

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