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Onyinye Njoku: So You Just Had a Baby? Here Are Some Things You Should Know



One of my “besties” had a baby recently, and she gave us a long rant about how babies just change your life; how difficult it is to actually care for a new born and all the changes that happen to your body.  She then said,  you mums should give us newbies a heads-up, so at least we would know what to expect and prepare our minds. So I said to myself: Ok! Let me write about this.

Congratulations! You’ve gone through labour or a cesarean section, and you have your little bubba in your arms. You’re all mixed up inside and overwhelmed with love. You are glad the pregnancy is over and you are getting to know your little one. You have shared the good news on Facebook and Instagram and…..Bia! Waaaaiiit! Don`t get carried away…Na now the work start.

Uh-huh, Don`t look at me that way. The pregnancy was the easy part. So let’s get down to it, Shall we? *Evil grin*

Cracked Nipples & Hungry Babies
Learning to breastfeed can be a pain. Women breastfeed all the time, and you think that as soon your little bubba is in your arms, you will just whip that boob out and plug it into his mouth and he will get all the nourishment he needs.
Sorry Honey, it doesn’t work that way. You may probably not start lactating properly till the next day, or even longer, depending on how your body works.

If your boob doesn’t produce milk on time, or isn’t producing enough, it can be pretty depressing, as you will feel like you have failed your baby. However, baby needs to be put to the breast, so as to stimulate lactation; while this is going on, there is a proper way for him to latch on to the nipple. Both of you are learning the ropes.

Your nipple suffers a.k.a cracked nipples. Arrrrrrgh! Cracked nipples are so painful. Don`t also forget that baby still needs to suck, while your nipples still hurt. You will actually try to avoid nursing, because that initial sucking motion from your baby can make you scream for mercy. I just cringed at the memory. It would be amazing, if there was a soothing balm for that.

Please tell us if you know any.

Peeing, Sex & All Other ‘Down There’ Activities
There are some after-effects from a vaginal birth that may not be pleasant to you. My friend cracked me up one day, when she said that urination felt funny because she was not even sure from which orifice the urine was coming from.

Also, you will likely have issues with air coming out. What I mean is, sort of farting through your huu-haa……Weird, I know…isn’t the Lord just wonderful?

During the birth process, the doctor may have to cut you to ease the baby`s exit. Of course you will get stitched up afterwards, or you may have a tear down there too. The aftermath isn’t funny, because when the drugs have worn off, you will actually feel some pain, and going to “wee-wee” afterwards is painful.

We know urine contains salt, and you know what happens when you literally add salt to an injury. With everything that goes on down there, it is normal if sex feels weird initially, so bedroom action may not be sizzling for a while. Just give it some time. Sitz baths,(that is sitting on warm water mixed with some water) sitting on a hard surface and of course kegel exercises are recommended after a vaginal delivery to restore things back to normal.

I guess you have heard about colic….Colic isn’t “bae”.

Babies for some reason have really crappy timing. We can`t blame the little darlings though; there’s no night or day in womb, so they sleep and wake when they like. You may just have to sleep whenever baby sleeps in preparation for when he’s awake. Your baby will probably sleep all through the day and stay awake and scream your ears off.

If you are unlucky your baby might be colicky, and will cry for the whole time he`s awake. When I say cry, I mean ear-shattering screams that will so distress you, complete with throwing his limbs all over the place, clenched fists. He may twist and turn his body uncomfortably. You try to put your breast or a bottle to his mouth and he will take his mouth away. You actually cannot do anything to pacify a colicky baby, until the episode is over and it would shock you to see the baby fall back asleep like nothing happened. This can go on for over 3 hours.

Am I scaring you? Sorry, na wetin you sign up for. The good news is that nothing is actually wrong with the baby. You will just have to endure the whole thing, and hopefully in 2 or 3 weeks baby will outgrow the phase. However, some schools of thought blame colic on gassy tummies, so they recommend gas drops or gripe water.
Some people also recommend dropping a piece of bitter kola in some clean water and giving it to the baby. I don`t know how effective these remedies are because I just allow my kids cry to their heart`s content while I rock them, but a lot of people swear by them.

Poop, Poop, Poop! All You See is Poop!
If you are squeamish, you may have to adjust, because your baby`s poop is going to be a major part of your life. At birth your baby`s poop is going to be a very dark green, and as time goes on the poop will keep changing in colour and texture.

Pardon me, I don`t mean to gross you out but you have to take note of all these things, so that you know that your child is ok. In fact, if your baby does not poo for some days, you may worry from wondering whether he is getting enough to eat. However, most exclusively breastfed newborns may go a whole week without doing the ‘number two’.

Also on the issue of poop, as the baby gets older, they may have these explosive episodes that leave you wondering how so much crap could come out from something so little. The diaper will overflow and that lovely dress of yours may get ruined… just giving you a heads-up.

Then, if you have a little boy, be very wary, after bath time. You may be tempted to play a bit with your baby after bath time. Warning…Do not try it! No matter how cute that little bubba is, biko, put a diaper on him.

Of course with the nature of the male genitals, if the boy “wee-wees”, it will project at a certain angle, and the end point may actually be your mouth. I have been a victim, so I know what I am saying. Before I knew it my mouth was full of urine.

You do not like periods abi, 4 or 5 days may seem like a lifetime. Well, you will be discharging lochia for 4 to 6 weeks. Lochia is made up of blood, mucus and uterine tissue. Imagine having to wear a pad for that long. This is the most unpleasant part of the baby business for me. At the beginning, the Nigerian hospitals recommend comfit pads and they are so uncomfortable. I switch to the normal flat ones as the flow reduces. So you want to show off your snap-back game after delivery, please avoid the sexy white skirt or pants. You might just embarrass yourself.

If you are not blessed with great genes like a model or you haven’t been a fitness bunny. Your tummy may shock you. You may actually still look pregnant after having the baby. It can be pretty depressing but don`t be hard on yourself. It took 9 months to make the baby. You belly may not snap-back overnight.

With some discipline, a good diet and exercise you should be good to go in some months. Don`t also be shocked when your mother-in-law or mother tries to tie your belly with and Ankara cloth…they actually swear by it.

There are post-natal corsets in the market that you can also buy. Where I come from, there is this herbal soup “mmiri ogwu” that they give new mums and from my personal experience, it works. Those herbs perform some sort of magic on the tummy. I just try to leave out the accompanying fufu or pounded yam when eating.

So, there are so many things that happen to you as a result of having a baby, too many to mention. Besides I have to stay within the BellaNaija word limit, so I can’t talk about all of them right now.

So tell us, what pleasant or not so pleasant surprises did you have after having your baby?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Photowitch

My name is Onyinye Njoku, A wife, mum and an accountant. So when I`m not bending over spreadsheets or catering to my family I`m listening to the random voices in my head and writing down what they say to me. I also have a terrible sweet tooth. ☺


  1. l

    May 19, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Please, this may sound funny, but I am genuinely curious. I am hoping people will be kind enough to share their experiences, but has anyone’s husband/boyfriend assisted in sucking the breasts days to the due date to help the woman practice or get used to the pain of breastfeeding? or is something that one cannot get used to?

    • Babym

      May 19, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      Loool that made me chuckle ? Well I don’t think it’s something you can get used too o. A baby sucking on boobs is very different to the hubby o. First of all the baby will sha manage to drag ur dear nipples almost to the back of their throat lol. And then more importantly, it is that oxytocin hormone aka “love hormone” that is released in ur body when ur baby is sucking that helps with the let down of your milk. So if u want to practice b4 hand with Le boo, I’m sure he will glady indulge you lool but it’s unlikely to make a difference when baby comes lol.

    • Temi

      May 19, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Hello ah well the midwives joked about this at antenatal like “get oga to use mouth to pull the nipple out”. I did not do it because to be honest even if he wanted to i was too cranky the last weeks of pregnancy ..i did not even want the damn bedsheets to touch me. Now that i have been breastfeeding for 2 months..i will say no it would not have made any difference. Your husband is an adult who will consciously try not to hurt you. Babies on the hand just want to eat! So you have to teach the baby how to latch properly. Here is my it early. My sister advised me to do it early..i was forming super woman jackie chan…man my nipples were so raw and red you could land a paper plane on it from the moon. So yeah enjoy the last weeks of your pregnancy…with any luck tou are going to have a human attached to it for atleast 3 months no need to start early.

    • Onyinye Njoku

      May 20, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Lol, actually, your partner sucking your breast and a baby sucking are two different things. From your partner it will feel sexual and enjoyable, for the baby its just different, you have to to experience to understand. Its almost clinical, baby is doing his business and you are doing yours. However, the beauty is the bonding that goes on….baby looking into your eyes while he nurses is such a lovely thing. So you can’t actually practice with your partner as the actions of your baby and partner are worlds apart.

  2. Ottawa Queen

    May 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Urgghhh! The lochia….6weeks? chai!

    • OmoT

      May 19, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      my dear, it wasn’t funny

    • Nuna

      May 22, 2017 at 8:50 am

      Mine was almost 3 months sef. I had to get the gynae to give a drug called trexamin for it to stop. Absolutely nothing was wrong with me.

  3. Thatgidigirl

    May 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Sounds exciting, can’t wait to experience ALL of it…except the colic part. My nephew kept us all awake and outgrew his after 3months!!!! Thanks for this article it made me smile, motherhood is beautiful… dust to everyone waiting and praying.

    • Onyinye Njoku

      May 20, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Thanks for reading, your comment made me smile too.

  4. that uptown girl

    May 19, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    You left out the weight gain that happens sometimes when breastfeeding. Over secretion of prolactin – the hormone that produces the milk, causes the metabolism to slow down in order for your body to save enough to nourish your baby. The end result is that you start gaining weight.
    In my case I didn’t gain a lot of weight when I was pregnant but now that I am breastfeeding, I have definitely gotten bigger, I work out o but whosai! The weight won’t come off until you stop breastfeeding.
    The baby blues is also a thing. For like two weeks after I had my baby all I did was cry. I’d just look at her and start crying, I was so worried, I wanted the world to be perfect for her, the fact that I couldn’t provide her with every comfort also made me cry. But after two weeks it passed.

    Also bear in mind that for some months you won’t sleep.

    • Onyinye Njoku

      May 20, 2017 at 9:15 am

      My dear, there are so many things I could not talk about for obvious reasons. Baby blues…aka post natal depression which can be severe or mild. I really thank God for the omugwo culture in some Nigerian communities. Having your mum,mum in law or an older female relation around is always helpful. Apart from helping to care do the baby, its more like a support system. At least you won’t be left alone with the baby if your partner has to work. Having someone to talk to is great because for some reason you just get really sad with the sudden change in your life. Not that you don’t love your baby, but suddenly your life does a 360 and you feel like you don’t know what you are doing. So I always recommend having loved ones around you to act as a support system. I really wonder how our sisters in diaspora manage, seeing that they are alone most times. More power to them, it can’t be easy.

  5. john

    May 19, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    wow….it is not a small thing..if there is anything like a next life..I will hustle spiritually to come back as a man…it is in this type of situation that I advocate for men to help their wife as much as they can in this period atleast..the second one is when they are really sick ..thats me

  6. imose

    May 19, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    This is so apt ! For the cracked nipples … I recall vividly my mum asked me to massage my nipples from the onset of pregnancy (when I confirmed I was pregnant ) daily with olive oil or nipple balm by rubbing gently in circular motion my tits and pulling it outward direction . At first it was painful but with time it got better . This helped me a lot when my 1st baby arrived and I did same for all other babies as well . Motherhood is bliss … lol. Baby dust to all TTC here ! I await your testimony .
    Mz socially awkward hi ! Have a blessed week end y’all .

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      May 21, 2017 at 1:02 am

      ?? Always a pleasure to read from you, sassy mama.

  7. Missmo

    May 19, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    This may seem quite frightening for the unmarried spinsters like me.. But then, our mothers did it and surpassed it. Some even went thru d birth process 8 to 10 times. We go dey alright
    Motherhood is exciting. I pray those longing for this experience have a reason to celebrate soon.

  8. Adenike

    May 19, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    I’m reading this and asking for divine grace. Everyone says pregnancy is the easy part and I believe that but this is scary! I’m still in my first trimester and everything is just hard! How did you mothers do it? I’ve been doing a lot of research and it seems like what I’m going through is normal but none of the ladies around me had morning (or daily) sickness this bad. Give me grace Lord!

    • chi

      May 20, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      my dear. God is with us. passing through the same thing too. I am throwing up everyday , can’t sleep at night cos I am bloated with gas, have nausea all day , have lost appetite and weight And I am freaking tired all the time. cant wait for the 9months to come and go.

  9. The real dee

    May 19, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Ehmm, are there lactation consultants in Nigeria? I don’t know if there are but here in the US, those people are lifesavers. I have inverted nipples, i.e nipples that don’t stand erect unless stimulated so it was difficult for my baby to grasp. Thank God for the LC who put me through the breasfeeding process, she got me a nipple shield and that was it. My baby is now 7 months and I no longer use the shield as he now knows how to grasp the nipple.

    I believe using the nipple shield also helped me avoid cracked nipples, I’ve never experienced that. So if they sell in 9ja, get a nipple shield. I also learnt that to avoid cracked nipples, you should ensure all the areola i.e the black surface gets into the baby’s mouth, that way your nipples don’t get hit so hard.

    Also, one thing you want to avoid with BF is a rock hard full breast. When your breast gets too full, maybe because you’ve been away from your baby for hours, it may start to leak and soil your clothes ( get a breast pad for that) and to worsen it all, it gets very painful. Infact, it could make your temperature high. So, try and pump out your milk to avoid this. If you can save it despite PHCN’s inefficiency, great, if not, dispose it.

    Motherhood is beautiful, just make sure you have supportive people around you and avoid stress activators in form of human beings and situations.

  10. Fabulous B

    May 19, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    “Of course with the nature of the male genitals, if the boy “wee-wees”, it will project at a certain angle, and the end point may actually be your mouth. I have been a victim, so I know what I am saying. Before I knew it my mouth was full of urine”.
    This part really cracked me up. I’ve seen it happen and it almost happen to me with someone’s child ??. Lovely write up. I will like to hear from those that had cesarean birth what there experience is like before and after birth. Also, an article on cesarean birth would be a learning article

  11. Dt

    May 20, 2017 at 12:03 am

    For my cracked nipple, I used a cream called Lansinoh (worked like magic and can be used for almost anything else, dry skin, nappy rash, eczema) plus its natural so no need to wash off when you need to feed baby
    For down there, i advise pouring cool water while weeing to avoid the pain if you had a tear or graze
    For colic use gripe water or infacol – i use infacol.
    It is a wonderful, stressful and rewarding journey.

    • Nuna

      May 22, 2017 at 8:52 am

      The lansinoh nipple cream is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. I dont think anything works better than it

  12. Ulumma

    May 20, 2017 at 6:14 am

    The days after the tear during child birth? still gives me the shimmers. I couldn’t sit properly for over one month due to my tear. The comfit didn’t help my “ministry” either as I had to keep wearing it till the lochia ceased. Of course I didn’t need someone to tell me when to change to the flat pads. But with each pain while sitting, I would take a look at my “little bubba” and the pain would literally vanish. What an amazing experience. Also, sitting up at night to feed the baby wasn’t easy because of the pain. Sometimes I would just wanna lie by my side and feed the baby lying down. Lol. Didn’t always work. Motherhood is work, motherhood is pain, but one consolation I always had was that my mom went through the same to bring me to the world. My baby is almost one, and I still can’t sleep the entire night. So to all first time mom’s out there, it’s gonna be quite a ride but you’re gonna love the end result. Love y’all.

    • Ovie

      May 20, 2017 at 11:04 am

      That tear ish no be here oh!
      I don’t wish to experience that again oh…
      Had a smooth pregnancy (no throwing up, was agile) then birth came. I had a tear & was stitched, in pain, couldn’t sit properly, stitches got infected & had to be taken out, was constipated for 2 weeks [each time i needed to use the toilet, i cried even before starting- the pain was much even with the pain meds & i would bleed from the tear because of the pressure…. aaargh!?]. I read a lot online including best position to poop?. ‘I think i shouldn’t have tried to sit as advised by the ‘elders'(lol) soon after delivery because wounds should heal not stressed.
      Sometimes, i would kneel to eat & lie down to breastfeed. Exactly a week after(Sunday), i knelt but couldn’t eat, just kept crying. Thank God for mum & hubby?(great support till now). The tear healed finally after 4 weeks?… thank God.
      People see the beautiful pics on social media but they don’t know what goes on behind the scenes.

      Glad I am a mom to a hyperactive 21 month old!
      Good job Onyiyechi

  13. Rockabyebaby

    May 20, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Awwww this was really interesting to read esp as I haven’t had such conversations with my mom or girlfriends. It’s a bit scary but at the same time weirdly lovely. I do look forward to motherhood and all the good and bad that comes with it?

  14. Onyinye Njoku

    May 20, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Thats the spirit my dear, no need for anyone to be frightened, women have been doing this for centuries. we are built to birth and nurture our babies. You will be surprised at how strong you are when it actually happens.

  15. Excited mum to be

    May 20, 2017 at 11:24 am

    With all the “Scariness” of motherhood, I am definitely looking forward to it!!! Haven waited for 3years TTC, going through an Abdominal myomectomy, Miscarriage, dealing with high prolactin levels and the pain of seeing my period every month. My sister I accept all the challenges with open arms!!!

    Currently pregnant and can’t wait to meet my little bubba! God is Amazing!!!

  16. Bobosteke

    May 20, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    @excited mom to be

    Oh my! You went through a lot!
    Don’t forget to drop the news here when it happens, oh. We want to do the shoki to your joy together. We’ll be praying too.

    • Excited mum to be

      May 20, 2017 at 10:34 pm

      Thank you so much!!!
      I am sooo looking forward to sharing my testimony!!! Pls keep me in your prayers

  17. Bobosteke

    May 20, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    See me making some wicked Patience Njoku (no relation, I hope) laugh here, eh.

    Lochia? Kininjebe? It sounds like some micro organisms growing in the wild. My God! How my friends have blindsided me. Why don’t they ever talk about it with us single girls? Even my sister didn’t say anything. Jesus in heaven.. Lochia. Okay o.

    I’m going to book mark this page and show it to my “friend”. In fact, I’m going to make him read it out loud standing up. Lochia… sniffs…

    • onyinye njoku

      May 20, 2017 at 11:44 pm

      LMAO….My dear, lochia is a thing oh, Google to learn some more…..I was shocked after having my first child. Blood just gushing out anyhow for over three weeks. No be small blindsiding, I never “espererrit”. No one talks about these things. Lol, you really cracked me up.

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