Once you enter the third trimester, the only thing that is on your mind is how will you deliver – Whether it will have to be a C-section or a natural delivery? And if natural – how painful or easy will it be? How many hours will the labour last? Will I be able to bear with it? Will they have to cut me down there? How painful will the stitches be? What if a condition for forceps arise? Will I allow them to do that or no? And then if C-section – what will be the situation that will lead to it? Will it be something too serious? Will it affect my baby? And so on.. There are no answers that you have at this point – but these questions just keep your mind busy with this unnecessary chatter all the time.
But one day, out of the sudden – the focus will shift. You may not even be able to figure the reason that triggered the change – but it will certainly happen. Suddenly you will start thinking beyond that day that you have been dreading for so long. Suddenly the mother in you has arrived and you stop thinking about all that pain and complications you have been dreading you will face. Instead you start wondering about what will happen after that? And once again your mind will be occupied with a lot of chatter.
You suddenly start doubting yourself whether you are ready to take care of the little one that is going to be way too little and precious when he or she arrives. You are bombarded with a lot of questions – some really mundane and basic – while some really complex. You might even consider asking people around you – all those ladies from your house who have either delivered their own children or have been a constructive support to your sisters or sister-in-laws. But you somehow have lost your ability to trust others. You question their creditability in your head and doubt everyone’s knowledge. There are new products in the market that your elders haven’t even heard of and you wonder whether you should use them or no. There are products they had used, but you want to refrain from using because of the chemicals or something. There are practices they have been following you have always been against. And there are things you want to experiment but no-one seems to be supporting. There is so much to do and so much to not do at all. And all this is just theory, practically you haven’t tried anything yet and that’s your biggest concern – will I get it right?
You have to trust your mind and heart. All those questions you have in your mind – find your answers yourself. Listen to all those ladies, read it all out on the net, if you have a friend who has recently delivered, consult her – Prepare your mind by loading it with all the information you have gathered. And I guess when the time comes – go with your instinct. You and your baby will figure out your journey together and very organically. All that is right for him or her, they will organically accept and all that is not right – they will protest. You will just have to keep your heart and senses open to understand the signs.
Find below a list of some common concerns or questions (with some practical answers from others – still to figure my own experience!):
1. How many times a day will I have to feed the baby? Will I know how to do it right? Will I know when the baby is going to be hungry? Will I produce enough milk to satisfy his or her hunger? What if I over do it?
A: First, they teach you how to breast feed at the Hospital. And second, you were designed to do this right – so even if you stumble in the beginning; you are bound to get it right in a couple of days. Across the globe, across all the species – the females know how to get it right. So chill! Some of us may have some complications – not enough produce or sore nipples or something else – there are doctors to figure that out for you. And usually in the beginning, when the baby is only relying on your milk; they take a feed every one or one and a half hours – slowly that frequency is reduced. Get on the start line and start running the race – you will reach the finish line organically.
2. Every blog I read online speaks of newborn diapers and here my family is strictly against that idea and so am I? So is cotton nappies the way to go? And when will I be able to start using the diapers?
A: One very important thing a friend of mine told me – Initially the doctor will ask you to monitor the no. of times your baby is peeing and inspect the potty colour, smell, frequency etc. So if you are supposed to do that – diapers can’t be on. So cotton nappies it is! First fifteen days at least – no diapers – even for doctor visits. Carry extra stuff along – but don’t subject your little one to that foreign body baggage so soon. Later, you will understand how the diaper thing functions yourself only.
3. Swaddling the child – Is it really important? And should the baby be tied all day or there should be breaks?
A: Initially I had thought that all this swaddling is an Indian tradition only – but slowly I realised that across the globe they follow it. Keep a stack of a dozen of fabrics – clean and soft – and keep the baby cozy with a swaddle. Later, you will know how much your baby still continues to enjoy it and you can modify your tying style or reduce the number of hours.
4. Big question – Baby Bath and Massage? Who should do it – mother v/s maalishwali? When should we ideally start it?
A: Most doctors will advice against a bath before the dry umbilical chord has fallen off. Or at least, have to be really careful about keeping that area dry so as to not attract any infection. First week will have to be only sponging the baby – Hold your horses before you dip the baby in water. Consult the doctor and plan a first bath and massage. If you want to give the maalishwali a try – go for it – just ensure she is not doing too many stunts with your child and that she is trained to do the massage. A random woman claiming to be a maalishwali may do more harm than good. Put up that fight with your family if you need to – but be careful about this thing.
5. Using all the new kind of products that have been introduced for convenience – baby wipes, disposable nappy liners and so on.
A: Baby wipes are usually non toxic – but once you try it on your child – check for yourself whether it is causing any irritation to your child. Your child could have an extra sensitive skin. Be careful. Coming to nappy liners – they are more about making your life simpler – for the baby it is irrelevant. So ensure that it is not causing any irritation to the baby. There could be something else that you have found – speak to the doctor and check on your baby after using it. Simple thumb rule — If all is well – go ahead. If not, discontinue immediately.
All in all – be confident about yourself. You were born with the natural ability to reproduce and nurture – so nothing can be so drastically wrong in what you will do to your child. Just follow your own instinct above others. And be really sensitive to what the child is communicating to you – because the child knows only one connection – ‘the mother’ and he or she will only confide in you.