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

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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. ☺

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