4 Surprising Things I’ve Learned As a Soon to be Mom
As many of you know, we prepared a lot in terms of pregnancy and now as we prepare for baby Ada to be born I'm reading a lot of different articles, doing multiple online courses, and books to get prepared for everything. While nothing can really prepare you, I do feel more confident knowing a few of the possibilities in terms of various situations. Not to mention watching videos on how to change diapers, how to swaddle, how to clean breast pumps, etc it's all a learning process. It's making me question why we never learned about the basics of parenting, but instead we learned geometry. Geometry was so useless to me then and now, but somehow I barely know the stages of labor? So here we are reading all the literature now!
1. Your crying baby helps breastmilk be produced.
After reading a few personal experiences, like my friend Kelly Hill's, and speaking with several women in my day to day, I learned that the crying of your baby (and any other baby for that matter) makes your boobs, almost on command, start leaking milk. The letdown happens quickly so your baby having a little cry or two actually lets your body produce the milk, so it's ideal not to get them to stop crying right away since it will help that milk production. This is how incredible the female body is, and honestly this blew me away because I feel like (especially in American culture) the idea is to never let your baby cry or tend to them right away but some of those cries will substantially help to make it easier to read them so wait for a few cries.
2. Taking a pause when the baby is crying will help them sleep through the night sooner.
In reading "Bring Up Bébé" by Pamela Druckerman, she shares a lot of French parenting hacks that can help American parents. The French seems to be a lot more calm and patient when it comes to their children, which is turn leads to their kids being more well-mannered earlier, including when it comes to sleeping through the night. The pause is described as waiting before rushing to your baby's cries. Similar point to letting a few cries out to get the breast milk letdown, but this one goes into training them to soothe themselves earlier in their baby phase versus waiting until they're 1 year+. Sometimes babies can self soothe very early (4-6 weeks old for instance) and sometimes your baby isn't even awake and will just go back to sleep. If you rush in at the very first sign of movement, it trains them early on that they should rely on you for comfort so having a pause (1-2 mins even) very early is key. Of course this is controversial and many parents won't let their babies cry even for a few seconds, but I prefer the method of establishing independence and better mannerisms early on so we will be testing this as early as we can after speaking with our pediatrician and making an educated guess based on our baby's temperament.
3. Your milk doesn't come in for a few days (2-5 usually).
For the first 24-48 hours, your breasts are producing colostrum. Colostrum has all the nutrients your baby needs in the first few days of life. It's also packed with nutrients and vitamins to strengthen your baby's immune system. It is not breast milk, and this is why it takes a few days for that milk to come in. For some women, they have milk as they leave the hospital. For others, it doesn't happen until a week or so which means you will have to supplement with formula for a few days which can be tricky. For some reason, I was of the impression that breast milk was coming around the time of the delivery and you would be feeding the baby nonstop, which is why this was an interesting thing to learn. Having some formula on deck for this period seems to be an important step (usually the hospital will provide you with some but I doubt it's organic or clean.)
4. Size of baby doesn't matter when it comes to delivery.
Through my virtual (interactive Zoom course) with Carson Meyer, the founder of C and the Moon (aka the best body scrub), we learned that the size of a baby does not matter when it comes to giving birth. It's all about positioning. She mentioned she had seen an 11 pound baby slide right out, whereas a 6 pound baby got stuck. This begins to get into the weeds with pelvic floor strength, labor and delivery therapists, doulas, midwives, etc who are about positioning your body and getting it ready for the labor and delivery. Essentially having the knowledge and ability to spin the baby appropriately during labor will make the delivery much smoother. If the baby can come out head first, but slightly twisted, this is going to be the most comfortable for mom given the pelvic floor width. Carson recommend Spinning Babies which has a long intro video on their site to understand how to spin the baby just a bit to have them come out much more easily and comfortably (for mom and baby.)
Hit me with some of the most surprising (or interesting) things you've learned from reading about motherhood, or from experiencing it yourself. I'm all ears, and want to expand my knowledge. T minus 6 weeks at this point!