The books all tell you what to expect, how baby won’t sleep, will feed every two hours, how your nipples will hurt a bit, how the babies first poo is a black tarry substance, how baby may spit up a bit after a feed, how its best to let baby suck as long as she wants at the beginning, how you may be a bit tender after the birth.
What the don’t tell you, can fill up a few books too!
They don’t tell you just how exhausted you will be. Babies sleep a lot but they wake up a lot a lot. Lily woke up every two hours. I had to hold her up for half an hour after every feed because she had reflux, so she would sleep and I would watch tv. This meant that I only slept for an hour at a time. It was exhausting. I was so exhausted I was delirious at times. I once woke Shaun up, totally freaking out because I was convinced he was sleeping on James. My cousins baby. I pulled the duvet off and searched for him and couldn’t find him -obviously. When I saw Lily sleeping in her crib, I realized I was crazy! I often dreamt that I had fed her and would wake up expecting to have her in my arms. There is no way to prepare for that level of exhaustion. You just suck it up and get used to it! They also don’t mention the murderous thoughts that go through your head when someone who is sleeping 8 straight hours a night, moans that they’re tired, or when you see your husband sleeping peacefully while you’re changing another nappy and getting ready for another feed. Murderous thoughts I tell you.
You nipples do hurt a bit. A lot. And they bleed. And get blood blisters and cracks. Let down hurts to, so everytime baby latches it feels like deep heat has been rubbed on your boobs. Also as soon as she starts to suck it makes your uterus contract which hurts to. You also get so thirsty that it honestly feels like you might dry up and die if you don’t drink a swimming pool sized glass of water. The books don’t tell you that, I guess they don’t want to put you off breastfeeding. It shouldn’t though because the sore nipples heal after a week and so do the tummy cramps. The let down feeling lessens after about 8 weeks or so and stops all together after 3 months. You stop getting thirsty around then too. Also breastfeeding really does help with weight loss and makes your baby happy and healthy. Its so worth persevering with it. I’m really going to miss it when I finally stop.
The black tarry poo? The books don’t tell you how it lasts a week, sticks to everything and is gross gross gross. Also they don’t mention that a bit of a spit up can turn into a projectile vomit that leaves you soaking to your underwear.
Also you will be tender after the birth. So ‘tender’ that sitting, standing, walking and rolling over suck. You will dream of those salt baths because they give you 10 mins of relief. Again though, pain doesn’t last forever. It goes away and you get to feel strong and powerful that you got through it.
Having a baby and parenting is not something you can prepare for. Its something that you have to live through and learn on the job. No one can tell you that, even though you’re tired, sore and miserable, you look at that gorgeous child that you made from scratch and forget about it! She’ll smile or giggling or coo and you forget about all that you deal with and you realize why you do it. Because there is no more rewarding job in the world. I’d happily bath in salt forever, have bleeding nipples and sleepless nights, if it means that I get to wake up to a gummy smile, a sloppy kiss and some warm snuggle everyday.