Like many women, I had my first baby at my local maternity unit after a 16 hour long labour. I was induced with fears I may have Obstetric Cholestasis, I had an epidural with 2 top ups because the pain was so bad and I was running a high temperature throughout my labour. To top it all off, I ended up having a forceps delivery because my baby didn’t want to come out. My son was born at 12:05am, I was exhausted.
Our family were very excited for the arrival of our baby as he was the first Grandson on both sides. During my pregnancy I was sure I wanted to breastfeed but I had no idea of the demand this was going to cause on my body. I didn’t get much sleep after my son was born, the longest spell being an hour the whole time I was in hospital. I wouldn’t say that the amount of visitors was the main reason I struggled to breastfeed but I think it was a big contributor.
People were there to see my son every visiting time, wanting to hold and cuddle him and take pictures of him with everyone. I was in hospital for 4 days before being allowed home and when we got home, even more people were turning up unannounced to see us. Between those visitors, my midwife check-ups and my son awake most of the night I was totally run down, emotional and desperate for some sleep. I gave up breastfeeding my son because he was so hungry, my milk wasn’t coming in quick enough and he was losing weight too quickly. I was physically and emotionally exhausted.
When I found I was pregnant with my daughter, I sat down with my husband and explained I wanted to give breastfeeding a real go this time round. I felt the pressure with my son to be a good host to friends and family who had come to visit us with gorgeous presents for him and this did affect the time I should have been using to feed and bond with my son. This time, if they were going to visit it would be on my terms. My labour was totally different from my first experience even though I had to be induced again. It was shorter, I had less pain relief and when my daughter was born, I made sure I was not interrupted whilst we started feeding. No one, except my husband and son, came to visit us in hospital. Breastfeeding was hard at first but we soon got the hang of it and we continue to breastfeed now.
Having a new baby is a special time and everyone will want to share your new bundle. Every woman and baby is different so there is no saying your labour, birth or feeding experiences will be like mine. However, I do think some of these tips will stand you in good stead for successfully feeding your baby yourself and coping with all your visitors:
1. Sleep when your baby is sleeping –The biggest cliché but so true. If someone is visiting you ask them to visit when baby is feeding, if you are comfortable. They could then take baby out for a little walk whilst you get a lie down.
2. Take offers of help – If someone wants to make you a cup of tea or perhaps cook a meal or do some washing, accept that offer. You don’t have to do everything; you’ve just had a baby!
3. If you have older children get them to help out too, whether it be doing their own chores or getting nappies and wipes for the baby. Toddlers love to help their Mums.
4. Be strict – If people turn up unexpectedly to your house and you’re not ready for visitors then tell them. Just be honest and explain you are tired or busy.
Having a new baby is a special time and everyone will want to share your new bundle. Enjoy your visitors and spending time with them but remember to look after yourself and enjoy your moments with your baby too, because these first few moments go past so quickly.
Written by Laura from
Yummy Mummy Flabby Tummy. Mother to Wee Z, 3 and Miss C, 1.
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