Within fractions of seconds, life has changed. You are no longer pregnant, and even before you can realise, the baby is out and waiting for you to take charge. The feeling when you first hear him cry is very overwhelming – beating everything that you have ever felt in your life – explains to you for the first time what ‘ecstacy’ really is! But soon, that feeling passes you by and you are engulfed with another powerful emotion – a deep sense of resopnsibility. Again, something you have never experienced before – at least not at this intensity. You want to instantly jump out of the bed where you have delivered, even before they take the stitches – and get hold of the complete charge of the baby. But obviously, these are just feelings and emotions – in reality, you are still lying there – a little helpless, waiting for people to take you to your little munchkin, whom you are dying to hold and claim your own!!
How much ever we think we can control everything about and around our delivery – we just cannot! How much ever you have wanted to be the one giving the baby the first bath, if you have had a C-section in the night and the baby needs to be given the first bath the next morning – no hospital, no doctor – is ever going to let you do so. Forget others, your body will also not let you do so. While you are still recuperating from your delivery (either the exersion of the normal delivery or the pain of the stitches in a C-section); lots will happen in your little one’s life – and you will just be allowed to witness the proceedings & the only thing that only you will be able to do is ‘breast feed the baby!) And that is – if you are lucky to have a family that doesn’t interfere in this matter – I know a friend of mine who was not ‘allowed’ to breast feed by her grandmother, who thought it was wiser to give the newborn baby cow milk in the first 5 hours. What logic that old lady applied I don’t know, all I know is that later this became my friend’s biggest regret in life.
Every hospital has different rules – I was allowed a discharge as soon as I completed the mandatory 48 hours observation period. My gynaecologist was rather impressed with us – Me, for my extra-speedy recovery from a C-section; and my son for his impeccable latch! But a friend of mine, who had a normal delivery in Mumbai, was made to stay in the hospital for five days; and a sister-in-law, who delivered via C-section in Delhi, was made to stay for a week. Similarly, I was allowed to co-sleep with the baby withing hours after the delivery. And all night – my little munchkin, propped himself next to me, hugging me and sucking on to my breasts. But in a friend’s case – each night the baby was taken away to be put next to all the other babies in the hospital and the nurse would bring the baby for feeding by 4ish every night, for all the nights she stayed there.
So the moral of the story is – every hospital is different and one must not try to waste her precious energy in comparing these kind of silly notes about hospital rules! There are many other things to concentrate one’s energies on.
Here is a list of 5 things one needs to be careful of while still in the hospital:
- Breastfeeding! Do give it the first priority over everything else. If your milk flow hasn’t started or is not enough, only then should you opt for the formula milk. Colostrum – which is the first form of breast milk is of utmost importance to the baby.
- Be wary of SIDS – Try and keep the baby in your room, preferably next to you. Yes, you are in pain, but you will be fine! The baby needs your warmth. Suddenly, leaving him or her, away from the comfort of your presence, is not advisable.
- If you have had a C-Section – pull yourself together and push the body to heal faster. Mind over matter! If you will lie there, not willing to move because of the various pains, the body will get into the wrong kind of a slumber – making things even more difficult for you. Rather, push yourself to get out of bed – sooner the better.
- Don’t make your child a trophy for public display – the baby needs some silence and some ‘me’ time. Politely ask your relatives and well wishers to excuse you two. (One can always using feeding as the reason for privacy).
- Learn from the nurses how to swaddle the baby – it will help you help the baby sleep better for months to follow. (Yes there are a zillion youtube videos, but practical demonstration is always better!)