Life with a newborn | What no one tells you

I had every intention of writing this post and publishing this within the first month of Grace’s arrival, however life happened, and the rest is history.

But its never too late to share my top 5 things no one tells you about life with a newborn.

Sleep or lack thereof

Post-partum insomnia, so what do you do when your newborn sleeps but the problems relating to sleep is all due to you?

Post-partum insomnia is typically characterized by night sweats, racing thoughts, an increased heart rate, and strange dreams, all of which affect a woman’s ability to fall and/or stay asleep.

Lack of proper rest can lead to a variety of detrimental physical and mental health effects, such as irritability, anxiety, and exhaustion.

Postnatal hormones are often the main cause of sleep problems. Sleep loss following your newborns arrival is common and most of us experience this, I know I did. But when this continues for an extended period and changing your routine doesn’t help please discuss with your Doctor.

At first I battled finding my rhythm and spent many nights staring at the ceiling and my baby not being able to fall asleep or return to sleep. Eventually I could feel the toll it was taking on my body and mental state.

Tips for treating your sleep challenges at home

  • Limit your activities before bed (no over-stimulation)
  • Limit the amount of blue light or artificial light before bed
  • Take a warm bath / shower to relax your mind and body
  • Use essential oils
  • Have a warm cup of tea / hot chocolate before bed
  • Ask your partner for a massage
  • Meditate

Look out for my next post on dealing with new Mom sleep issues

Feeding and its challenges

The expectation is that breastfeeding is the most natural thing and it will be easy. However, the reality is that at first it can seem easy, especially when you’re still in hospital. I have shared in my previous post that this was the case for us until week 3 when the wheels fell off. I battled, surprisingly enough I had the same issues when Josh was born.

One wrong latch and you end up with cracked and bleeding nipples, the agony of having a baby latch onto these injured nipples are excruciating. This was my reality.  

Sometimes the solution is simply booking an appointment with a lactation consultant or attending a breastfeeding clinic session. Alternatively, why not reach out to the La Leche League in your area and attend their monthly gatherings for support.

In my case I needed to retrain my baby in latching correctly which I did with the help of YouTube.

Caring for your newborns skin

Have you heard the phrase soft as a baby’s bottom? We have this idea that newborns have silky soft baby skin, right. Well sometimes your baby doesn’t have this, and you feel slightly awkward because everyone always associates any skin flare ups this with whatever Mommy has been eating (you know transferring to your milk and therefore effecting your poor little baby).

Well Miss Grace, shortly after birth developed Erythema toxicum neonatorum (fancy words right). It didn’t last a few days but a few weeks and her Paediatrician confirmed that it would just work itself out of her system, which it did.

What we learnt;

  • Miss Grace has very sensitive skin
  • Washing her bedding with baby friendly detergent was not enough, we needed to do the same with our bedding and my clothing because she spent most of the time on my chest.
  • She could not use just any bath / skin care products and we’ve continued this practice

Newborn Nappy changing

As I stated above Miss Grace has sensitive skin, for this reason I’m overly cautious when it comes to nappy changing.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you would know that we had to return R5000 worth of nappies which we built up during our 9 months because Joshy too had very sensitive skin.

For this reason, we have used Sudocrem from day 1 with Grace and that shts expensive to use on the daily but I’m so paranoid about her getting nappy rash.

If you have any suggestions on barrier creams, we should try please comment down below.

Also, unlike with my boys, this little girl has weed and pooped on me MUCH more than her brothers ever did. Not very graceful as was my perception of little girls.

On the topic of pooping, babies poop a wide variety of colours, consistencies and frequency. Do not panic if your baby’s poop resembles that of turmeric or has mustard like seeds in it, this is normal.

Signs to look out for and when to contact your Doctor

White baby poop

Could be a sign that your baby is not digesting their food properly, could identify a lack of bile from the liver to digest food.

Mucus in poop

Slimy green stringy bits in your babys poop could indicate an infection, check for a temperature or whether your baby is unnecessarily fussy or miserable.

Blood in poop

Could be due to baby ingesting blood from breastfeeding or this could indicate an infection.

Pebble like poop

Could indicate that your baby is constipated and battling to pass stools or indicate an intolerance.

Runny baby poop

A newborns poop could very well be running, but if runny with a fever and a change of colour it could indicate an infection and if left unattended could lead to dehydration.

If unsure or you’re uncertain and your baby has experienced any of the above, then please contact your Doctor to discuss.

Your body and healing

Unlike some women I bled for a LONG time, a good few weeks to be exact (give and take a few days in between). This obviously varies from person to person. I know some woman who only bled for a few days, other’s weeks. So, one little pack of maternity pads did nothing. I’d always suggest rather having too many than running out. So unglamorous but who cares. I also invested in plenty of Carriwell disposable undies, this made life so much easier.

(This is also dependent on whether you gave birth vaginally or abdominally).

Everyone is different and everybody is different. This is why it is crucial to attend your 6-week post-partum checkup, if you’re unsure always check with your OBYGN.

There are 3 phases to the part-partum bleeding process


Post-partum bleeding – What’s not normal?

If you notice large blood clots or notice you are using more maternity pads than normal, completely soaking them in a short period of time, you need to inform your OBGYN immediately.

If you notice a foul smell, ever, you should inform your OBGYN.

Everyone experiences Motherhood and the days following your baby’s birth / arrival differently. One thing we can all take comfort in however is knowing that we’ll all go through these motions some time or another.

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