Bismillah Rahman Ar Raheem
The day finally came, and my new little daughter burst into the world, Al-hamdulilah.
After making me wait for what seemed an eternity, wriggling around in the most uncomfortable ways possible for weeks on end, she skipped being induced by just 2 days, labour was just two hours and 100% natural. With around only forty-five mins – one hour of labour at the hospital (oh and I got my support person, my Mum – win! : D). For the whole experience I couldn’t have asked for a better birth, and Al-hamdulilah I feel very grateful for that and for fear of being greedy I daren’t ask for anything more from Allah for some time without having done a serious amount of good deeds and worship first!
I am in charge of a newborn once again, and my posts have been non-existent. Apologies!
I would like to do a little post if I can on how amazing childbirth, and being a mum is (hopefully not too mushy), Subhana’Allah. With some tips for any expectant first time mums out there… (dedicated to one of my longest standing friends who is nearly at her due date possibly reading this, who most likely has no need of them, but hey one thing everyone does is when you are pregnant or with a newborn is feel compelled to give advice, something which seems to not be a cultural thing at all, rather than a natural all over, Bani Adam type of thing : D). Phew.
When I gave birth naturally the first time, the thing which amazed me and surprised me the most in the moment was how quickly the pain stopped.
Even though I knew it, it still surprised me when it happened this time too… As soon as your little baby comes flying out the contractions stop. Subhana’Allah how amazing.
Also amazing to me is how quickly the body bounces back, the womb contracts (particularly when breastfeeding) and you are suddenly a stomach-less (well kind of) person again, of just one. There is your stomach lying there, kicking, sleeping (one hopes) and producing all kinds of multi-coloured substances into nappies for you to clean.
When this happens in all its reality I can’t really describe it other than to say it really is the most awesome thing ever, and makes all the pain, discomfort, stress, poop, worry, and fear worthwhile.
Here are some tips for first time Mum’s which may or may not be helpful to anyone, and may or may not be correct : D
- DO breastfeed, and DO have faith in it. Even if you only stick it out for 6 months. Seek a good support network before you give birth from experienced breast feeding Mums such as through La Leche. It is a skill which you and your baby need to learn so when you have difficulties have faith and seek support (from breast feeders rather than Dr’s in my humble opinion – unless it is a medical problem). If I can do it as I did for my first with two fully inverted nipples, a cesarean, a 12 hour separation from my baby (including him getting a bottle), tons of people in my house for the first week all advising me to “just put the baby down” then anyone else can too… : D
- Avoid Mastitis: As soon as you get any engorgement or breast pain get your baby to nurse that breast as much as possible. If she is not nursing enough to relive you, hand pump or get a pump as well. i.e If there’s pain NURSE IT/ PUMP IT A.S.A.P. This will prevent the situation getting worse, Insha’Allah.
- Resist the temptation to give a bottle to your baby. This is the death knell for you nursing your baby.
- Do choose a support person for labour, and don’t necessarily go for your husband. Here in the desert no husband would ever be a up close and personal part of their wife giving birth but they do give support in their own ways. I suspect in the old days they would have been closer to hand than now, but still they would not have been “right there”. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with the husband being the support person, you should also bear in mind how supportive he can be. Some husbands could be fantastic, some will fail spectacularly. A good support person will be able to remind you to breathe, make decisions for you when your brain is in a pain fog, oh and have a strong stomach (giving birth is messy and that is an understatement). Personally I think someone (i.e. a woman) who has given birth is really in the best place to be able to do this effectively.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of burping your baby. I was a bit lazy about burping my first, and he was a terrible sleeper. While I do think that was partially down to his traumatic birth, and temperament, in retrospect I think if I had burped him better I would have got him settled into a better deeper sleep. I used to not change his position to upright after nursing because I thought this would disturb him and then wake him up, but not burping him also caused him to wake up because then that air sits uncomfortably or caused him to be sick. I religiously burped my second, and the little one with me now, and both of them was and are great little sleepers. In the end I have found moving the baby upright if asleep after drinking, burping and then returning to horizontal disturbs them much less than just putting them down and then they are sick.
- Swaddling is awesome (for sleep and comfort, not back straightening : D!). I would have probably been anti swaddling but living here it is something everyone does, and so when I had my first every time he even sniffed being un-swaddled someone would be telling me to “mugty al eyal” (swaddle the baby) so I did. Actually, now from experience I find it makes a floppy baby much easier to handle/ hold, and to put down without disturbing. Also I think they do really benefit from the feeling of being swaddled which aids sleep etc. I have swaddled all my babies now, and thoroughly recommend it.
- Co-sleeping is great. I didn’t try co-sleeping until my oldest was about 6 months old. Then at that point I was so desperate to get more sleep, I started sleeping next to him because he seemed to sleep better then. What I found is that it makes getting up in the night much easier because you just have to sit up, simple (no getting up trudging to another room, getting baby out of cot etc). This means you get to your baby quicker, then they have to make less noise to get you to respond, and I find that means they then overall take much longer to build up to a full cry, rather than starting at full chested crying in the first second they need something. Al-hamdulilah my babies rarely cry in the night because they just make a squeak and there I am seeing whats up. Easier for them, me, the older children and my spouse. Also if the baby is wakeful in the night, I can lie on my side and talk to her, until she sleeps which is also more restful for me. Here we sleep on mattresses on the floor which I also rate because then there is no fear of the baby falling out of bed.
- Must haves for your Newborn: SUDACREAM. Anyone who does not know what Sudacream is should.This cream is really excellent and I have not had any problems at all with any of my three with nappy rash. Despite being in a hot environment. NURSING PILLOWS: It can be hard to get comfy while nursing especially when you first start and can be doing it for long periods of time. I never had nursing pillows but would have loved some. I used pillows we had around, but I think the specially designed ones are probably great.
- Lastly be patient and tolerant of yourself: Especially with first born babies it is likely you will at some point be crying along with your baby, already apologising for being a terrible parent, because you have no idea what the problem is or how to set things right for your little one. Don’t be too hard on yourself mentally. Put the baby down in a safe place walk away take a minute and a deep breath then go back and try again. Support is so important so make lots of use of Grandparents, spouses or other people who you can trust to give you some time out when possible to keep your strength up.
Over and out hope to post more soon…. Insha’Allah.