*The views in this article are mine only, coming from my experiences. I am not a health professional*
Congratulations, you’re pregnant! It’s such an exciting time and you may be feeling nervous too. That’s completely normal as you have been told that life as you know it will change. You may not know what this will look like yet or grandma may have told you in detail from her experience as a new mum back in the day!
You may start to think about what your life will be like once you welcome your little one earth side; plans of how you will feed your baby, where your baby will sleep and whether you will use a car seat or a capsule. You may also have some expectations about these things I mentioned above.
Let’s start with the main event: The Birth…
It’s important to have a birth plan so everyone is on the same page about your wishes for your baby’s birth. I think it’s also important, however, to be a little flexible with your birth plan in case things change during labour. Your birth partner needs to be able to advocate for you in case you are unable to for whatever reason during this time. It’s important to trust your health professionals and also your instincts. Yours and your baby’s health is the most important thing.
Ok so baby is here (yay!) and you can take your bundle of joy home. So now what?
It’s a strange feeling when you leave the hospital, all of a sudden, the responsibility hits you in the face. I remember asking hubby to drive slowly on the way home, we don’t want to have an accident with the baby in the car! Haha. So, you’re home and looking at this beautiful creation that is yours and you can hardly believe you are now a mum!
Whether you decide to breast feed or formula feed, it is your choice. Sometimes things work out as planned and sometimes they don’t and that’s ok too. As long as your baby is fed, that’s what really matters. Before I had kids, I just assumed everyone could breastfeed and that’s just what you did because it was natural and easy... Boy was I wrong?! I think there is a lot more information out there now to inform mums-to-be that this is not necessarily the case. Sure, some mums are able to breastfeed easily and that’s great! For others, they try so hard, using supplements, natural remedies and pumping every 3 hours, night and day to produce milk. If you’re feeding at the detriment of your own mental health, it’s not worth it in my honest opinion. You need to make a decision as to what is best for you and your baby.
Ah the golden unicorn! Some magic unicorn babies sleep through the night from the start (and when I say “through the night” I mean 5 hours)! For most babies, this is still a while away. I think it’s important to know this, to remove any expectations you may have. If you expect the worst, it can only be better hey?!
Be prepared to take A LOT of stuff for a trip to the shops or visiting a friend! I like to keep a big bag in the car with a few changes of clothes, heaps of nappies, a couple of packs of wipes, nappy bags, dummies if you use them and bottles with pre-measured formula if you use them. Then take a smaller bag with a few bits and pieces in with you wherever you are going.
Expectation vs reality;
It’s great to have an idea of what to expect when you have a baby. I think it’s also important to distinguish the difference between having an idea of how things will go and having expectations. Having an idea on how things will go means that you are flexible so if they don’t turn out that way then you can make another plan/think of something else. If you have an expectation on how things will go, it’s a lot harder to manage if they don’t. I honestly believe this is one of the contributors to post-natal depression in new mums.
It’s important to have a network/tribe that can help you when it gets tough. If you are struggling, please speak up and ask for help (even if you feel silly).
Useful phone numbers;
Available 24/7 all day, every day. Calls from landline are free. Mobile charges may apply.
##Is it an emergency?
If you or someone else is seriously injured or in need of urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.
##For counselling and support
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is a phone and online service for all Australians. Speak with a trained counsellor for information, advice and counselling about all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and your baby’s first year.
Call 1800 882 436
##Medical question or problems?
If you have a health concern and you’re not sure what to do, simply call healthdirect Australia and speak with a registered nurse. You’ll get fast, expert advice about any health issue, helping you make an informed decision about how to manage it.
Call 1800 022 222
##More helpline numbers
###After hours GP Helpline
The after hours GP helpline is an additional service to healthdirect Australia, and lets you speak with a registered or accredited GP for further medical assessment and advice. It is designed to supplement existing after-hours medical facilities, giving all Australians access to the advice of a doctor at nights, on weekends and on public holidays – 365 days a year.
Call 1800 022 222
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) runs the National Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268). The Breastfeeding Helpline is available 7 days a week and offers support and advice to breastfeeding mums.
Call 1800 686 268
Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can contact Lifeline. Lifeline is available 24/7 to provides access to crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services.
Call 13 11 14
###Miracle Babies Foundation
Miracle Babies Foundation NurtureLine is a free family support helpline catering for families with a threatened pregnancy, the hospital journey with a baby currently in NICU/SCN, the transition to home and onwards.
Call 1300 622 243
###SIDS and Kids
SIDS and Kids bereavement support services assist families who have experienced the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or child, during birth, pregnancy or infancy, regardless of the cause.
Call 1300 308 307