New Baby - Things they don't tell you
Their Face - we all know that newborns are odd, grumpy looking old men, which is understandable having gone through the trauma of leaving the nice warm safety of the womb. But, they do grow into their faces and they change a lot within the first few weeks. Oh, and them having no eyebrows is weird and creepy but by the third week, they'll start appearing and their gurning won't look so random.
Oh, and they don't instantly look like you, don't lose heart,they will start to very soon.
The Belly Button - it's another one of those "Hollywood myths" (just like your waters breaking once only), the belly button doesn't just come off one day and it is all healed and perfect. To start with the clip is massive and rubs against everything, at one point it will snag part of the dried up belly button and it'll bleed a little, it will take a few days to fully fall off and may occasionally leave a little dried blood on their nappy or clothes, don't panic (I did, I assumed it hurt my baby girl and ended up staying awake all night convinced she would bleed to death in the night, try not to do that). Instead, contact your Health Professional, they'll be able to advise you on what is normal and how to deal with it.
Your Nipples - Additionally to changing size, shape and colour during pregnancy (yep,your cute perky little nips are a thing of the past), they will continue to adapt during the joys of breastfeeding, if you chose to partake. Initially, it'll will be fucking painful, as though your baby's mouth is lined with tiny razor blades. If all is right and your baby is the perfect feeder, this will pass quickly...if however, like my child - they have a very short term memory, a small mouth and like to "dick about with the nipple", you may cry every time they latch. Do not suffer in silence: visit the breastfeeding clinics, seek professional advice from your midwife or a Lactation Consultant, do not put up with it thinking it's just a phase (it may be, but it could also be something easily solved). When it works, it's beautiful and much less hassle than remembering formula, sterilising, etc. And when it doesn't work, it's ok, the most important thing is a hydrated baby and happy mother. And yes, having nipples that now spray milk in a 360 degree direction when a baby cries, when you wake up, all day long is totally normal; as is waking up sweaty smelling like cereal milk.
Hormones - post birth you are indestructible. You don't need sleep, food, or help, you've got this and it feels great, you feel mildly tired but you've only had 30 minutes sleep in the last two days, that's to be expected, right? Yes, it is but it doesn't last forever unfortunately. Enjoy it while it does but remember, your partner hasn't been given this wonderful gift, they are normal, everyday humans who are knackered on less than five hours sleep, try to remember to not lord your superpowers over them or throw it back in their faces, they are trying to keep up, however they are also adapting to your new life and the new person(s) you've introduced into your world. You've had six months or so to adjust slowly (by changing your lifestyle, clothing, diet and lack of sleep), they are now playing catch up at an expedited rate. Be kind.
And when the hormones do finally bugger off, crying at the loss of your Midwives for a terribly beige Health Visitor; at how beautiful your child is; at the thought of losing them or anyone; at the amount of washing up; at how nice a friend is, are all totally fine and ok. Embrace it and let it out...just cry because you can.
Cluster Feedings - bloody Cluster Feedings aka the human dummy / milk machine. It's frustrating, you've just fed them, they fall asleep, five minutes later they are calling for more attention, you try everything but it seems they want more milk, how? And this happens over and over, covering many hours, and you're convinced they'll implode, they won't, I promise. They are just cluster feeding and due to it being constant you can occasionally get things done between shifts but don't hold out much hope, put Netflix on and give up on your day if you can. Your baby is insatiable!
Engorged Breasts - they won't kill you, but you may believe that they are trying to. Stay calm, gently massage them (easier said than done), then try expressing them, or feed your baby. It's uncomfortable and very painful but doesn't last.
Poop Fear - if you've developed piles off the back of giving birth, the fear of pooing is real and totally standard. Try not to think about it too much and stay relaxed. It's not easy, and does feel like you're shitty razor blades but it is the only way through it, they'll clear up before you know it, however soothing aloe vera pads and sitting on cushions both provide comfort.
Forgetting how to pee - the midwives won't generally discharge you from the birthing ward until you've peed, forgetting which muscles do what and how pee starts is pretty normal...just have a sit down and tweak all muscles until you go, failing that they'll fit a catheter, which is understandably not ideal...but may help loosen everything up in that area until you get you muscle memory back. Additionally, finding you have no bladder control for the weeks following - welcome!
Baby Boobies - my partner has just noticed that our little one has a lump under her left nipple (she now has similar sized boobs as me) and having checked online, it appears totally normal and is caused by hormones from within the womb, or from breastfeeding. Apparently they can happen in either sex and are nothing to worry about (unless they look infected, inflamed or your little one has a high temperature,) but once again contact your Health Professional if you're concerned.
These are a few of the things I have encountered, what did you find during the first few weeks?