I thought I was ready.
During the last weeks of my pregnancy, I read up on all the things I thought I needed to know.
From getting advice from my mum and aunts, to reading books on childbirth to watching all those endless youtube videos on how to burp your baby, bathing your newborn, massage, breastfeeding… all that.
But really, nothing could have prepared me for this.
The first time I held my precious little girl in my arms, I knew. She is going to be the center of my world from now on! I wanted to give the best of everything to her, especially the best of me. I was going to be the greatest mum for her! That was what I told myself.
Fast forward to now.
I’m now more or less settled in as a mummy of my beautiful, hyperactive little 2 year old. I must say I’m really surprised there’re so many things I didn’t know about!
So here are all the things I wish someone told me before I had my girl, and how to deal with them.
1. Breastfeeding is REEALLLY not so simple and you need to prepare for this
The first time I tried breastfeeding, I thought I did pretty well… but then they took her away and told me she was hungry because I didn’t have enough milk for her!
I felt so depressed and useless…. here I was thinking I would be the best mother for her, and I already failed.
Mum came to comfort me saying it’s normal, and just give it some time. Indeed, in time, it became better as my milk supply became more constant.
But I had to start using those breast pumps to get enough milk for my baby girl, but they kept falling off and won’t latch properly without holding on to them, which is silly. It’s so important to look for pumping bras that would let you latch on properly hands free and won’t fall even when you move around.
Also, don’t be afraid to use a bottle and formula milk early to supplement the milk flow. It’s more important for your baby to be full than to go 100% breast milk. Do what you can and things will turn out ok.
2. There will be lots of GUILT and STRESS that somehow you’re a bad mummy.
I read about postpartum depression, but nobody said how it works. I thought it was about mums crying at random times at the weirdest things.
But how it actually works is when it’s 2am, and you don’t have enough sleep and you miss your baby’s feeding time by a few minutes, and when you’re up, she’s already mewling there for god knows how long, and you’re so annoyed by her and so guilty you’re annoyed and all you can think to yourself is…
Why am I such a lousy mummy?!
All the shame and the guilt and the stress comes crashing over you like a tsunami. And you end up on the floor sobbing hugging your little one closely. What a mess.
Listen. No matter what you think, every mum went through the same experience. There were all times when we thought we were bad mummies, but our babies all came out ok.
It’s important to get more help and support in the first few months. From your hubby, your mum, your friends. Let them carry you over this difficult period, don’t hide yourself away thinking you’re a bother, talk to them, they’re there to help you.
3. You will be TIRED and BUSY so prioritise convenience
Well I did know I would be tired but I underestimated how TIRED I would get. My little girl’s sleep schedule was not regular at the beginning, so sometimes I would half doze off while holding her, which is as horrifying for me as you can imagine.
Then there are the super fast toilet breaks and baths I had to take, the 2-3 hour naps that never seem enough… baby being naughty waking up at different times…
During those first few weeks I simply had no more energy to care about anything else, really.
What I found really helped was a good pair of bra support that can comfortably prop me up and ensure baby and I stay comfortable while I’m holding her around, which I do, a lot. I always joked to hubby I must have doubled my bicep muscles those few months.
Also, night times tend to be a bit messy as i’m lactating. So I go to bed with a sleep bra that’s moisture absorbent and does away with weird smells.
4. Weird body issues & SCARY worries that Hubby doesn’t love you anymore
I’ve heard lots of horror stories that after childbirth, my figure would go all haywire and I won’t get it back again… but the truth is, during those early weeks I was simply too tired to care. All my attention went to my little girl.
But as things started to settle down and hubby went back to work, sometimes I would look in the mirror and I’ll be afraid of what I would see. When he comes back and hug me, once or twice back of my mind, I would be wondering… why so late?
Now I thought I prepared for this, but knowing something and experiencing it is 2 different things, as you can imagine. With my hormones going all crazy at the time, there were lots of funny thoughts drifting around. Some I paid attention to, most I ignored.
But it’s definitely there.
The key is to give a bit more love to hubby also, ok. Don’t just give everything to baby and wonder why hubby doesn’t pay attention to you. In fact, he pays special attention, but his attention goes where yours goes.
5. Going out becomes a HASSLE but staying home too long feels tiring
Just thinking about all the nappies, milk bottles, toys and accessories I have to bring along for each trip is enough to make me re-think going out. But eventually, I did! And it was not as bad as I thought, honestly.
The key is to first think through what you and baby need for the journey. Trust me, there’s nothing as frustrating as when she starts crying when hungry and you have to breastfeed her in public.
I recommend at least bringing a nursing cover along with you during the first few months. Seriously, it’ll save you from all sorts of embarrassment and unforeseen incidents. Plus, it makes a nice blanket.
A nursing dress is also super convenient here as when you’re juggling all these bottles the last thing you need is to fix your dress too. Go for the ones where the nursing openings look natural, easily allows your baby to latch on with plenty of space and lets you rest your hands in a comfortable posture.
Now that I’ve been through the entire journey, if you ask me was it worth it?
Looking at my cutest little girl, of course!
But there were definitely challenges and times when I did my best and didn’t feel like it was enough. Having said that, every mummy goes through the same journey, and our kids turn out ok!
So don’t be too hard on yourself, K? Have faith everything will work out.