I have always believed that a mother is born with a child and so she needs as much care and attention as the newly arrived child(ren). No matter how much a first time mom prepares herself and tries to imagine how she would feel after holding the baby for the first time, she feels it truly only after hearing the sound of the first cry. Well, that is the moment of utter happiness and realization that a new life has come into this world through her body.
It’s said that first 40 days are very crucial for both, mom and the child and so extra efforts are taken to take care of them and we as a first time mom are clueless of how to hold the baby, why is the baby crying so much, when to breastfeed, how to breastfeed, how to burp the baby and most important of all how to get through so many overwhelming emotions that come along.
Honestly speaking, for me, those first 40 days were all about making new mistakes every day by following the advice coming from all the directions. So here I am writing about my first 40 days of mistakes so that if you are a mom to be, you must know which unsolicited bits of advice need to be ignored and why you are equally important as your baby is.
My journal of mistakes as a first time mom
- 40 days of ghee: Well this is the most advised thing in the postpartum diet. My biggest mistake was to not research the facts about ghee consumption postpartum and eat ghee in meals throughout the day because it was advised by relatives and even the maid.
My day started with seera made with ghee, each roti was made with 3 to 4 spoons of ghee, veggies had ghee in them and even the midnight snack like laddoo was made with ghee. You ask the effect? I gained weight exponentially in those 40 days and even after 2.5 years of delivery, I am still struggling with weight loss and body image issues. I gained weight even more than I had gained throughout the pregnancy. Other bad effects of too much ghee include blood pressure problems, increased cholesterol levels, and low energy levels.
Another reason why ghee is advised in the postpartum diet is that it is said to strengthen the muscles and joints as they weaken after delivering the baby. The fact is that there is no evidence to prove this fact. Relaxin is a hormone produced by the body while pregnant and it helps to relax muscles while labor, delivery, and postpartum.
Concluding this point, I would just say that check fact before blindly following those age-old traditions. 3 to 4 spoons of ghee in a day is enough. It is a good source of energy and is good fat, vitamins, and minerals but considering that it is very high in calories, it’s important to limit the quantity.
- Postpartum diet: Once you deliver the baby, you will hear a huge list of food items that should not be included in your diet. The postpartum diet is one of the very misguided areas. Most of the advice you will get have no logic behind them or will have no proven evidence behind them.
A balanced diet is very important even postpartum. Have protein-rich foods, include a lot of fiber and salads, have dry fruits, eat a lot of green vegetables, and hydrate yourself as much as possible. You should include food from all the food groups and don’t rely only on laddoos as snacks. Take frequent and small meals. The most important part of the postpartum diet is cumin as it helps in breastfeeding so add cumin to your veggies and even roti.
- Postpartum supplements: This is one big mistake I did. I did not take any postpartum supplements. Multivitamins are important for recovery and calcium is important for breastfeeding mothers. Certain supplements like iron, calcium, B12, omega-3, and others must be prescribed and consumed post-delivery.
- Prepare for breastfeeding: Amidst all the preparations I was doing for the arrival of baby, I forgot about breastfeeding. The first time I held Aarav in my arms I was overjoyed but as soon as the nurse told me to breastfeed, I was clueless and unprepared. She taught me how to do it but I was stressed and hence my body did not produce milk (colostrums) for 3 days.
My breastfeeding journey has been difficult and overwhelming. I was unaware of its importance and as it was painful initially, I became unwilling to do it. Long story short, I had a low supply of breast milk and so I had to introduce formula milk to Aarav and he was combination fed. Although I stopped formula at 6 months and breastfed Aarav for 2 years, the journey has been a rollercoaster ride and I think it would have been different if I was mentally prepared for it during pregnancy.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps: Most useless advice ever. I am saying this because when the baby finally sleeps, you finally have time to take a bath or eat your meal. So instead sleep after feeding the baby and outsource his responsibilities to other family members for a while. Take ample rest because that’s the only way of healing hour body completely.
Lastly, one mistake the first time mom makes is to prioritize baby and forget about herself especially her mental health. Many moms go through postpartum depression and don’t even address it. Most of the first time moms sail through it with time but some need professional help and fail to ask for it. Postpartum depression not only affects the mother but also the bond with her child because she is not in a good space to feel the joys of motherhood.
I was very fortunate to have the support of my husband who helped me get through postpartum depression but many are not able to gather courage and share the hollowness they are feeling. You need to vent out everything you are feeling and not bottle up the feeling like not being enough for baby, not being a good mom, and any negativity that you feel.
I hope you get a new perspective about the first 40 days of being a new mom and make more confident decisions on what advice to follow and what advice to ignore.
If you have anything that you would like to share or any feedback for me, please stop by the comment box, it would mean the world to me.