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June 8, 2018

What happens to your body after birth?

Congratulations to our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on the arrival of her baby, a girl! Meeting your baby for the first time is a wonderful and emotional experience. Mum and dad will be coccooned in a bubble of love, family members will visit and you will be so proud to show off your little one. For nine months you have carried your baby, preparing yourself for birth, labour is finally here and then they are in your arms. But the arrival of your child will introduce a whole new phase and with it comes changes you won't expect:


Here begins a whole new relationship with your breasts and never before have they proved so useful. It will take time for them to get used to their new role as a food outlet for your baby. Like all new skills, breastfeeding takes some practice. If you're struggling, don't delay in getting some expert help. When you get the hang of it, at some point you will discover two milky patches on the front of your t-shirt and wonder how long they have been there! 


In the early days post-birth, you will find yourself in your pyjamas, roaming around your home. This is completely fine. When you get the chance to, make sure you get outside for some fresh air and a change of scenery. 


Though it's tempting to drink one cup after another, moderate your intake. Caffeine can be passed on to your baby through your milk if you're breastfeeding.


After your uterus played house for your little one, everything within it that formed over the past nine months needs to be expelled. Introducing lochia, a postnatal discharge that runs from four to six weeks. Don't be tempted by tampons as they run a risk of carrying bacteria into a healing uterus, instead, opt for maternity pads. 


I hate to say it ladies, but your knickers pre-baby won't house your maternity pads. Now is the time to set aside your fancy pants and don a more comfortable pair. 


Following delivery, you may look four months pregnant and you probably wont fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans just yet. Don't beat yourself up about this, your body is amazing and should be given time to recuperate.


On the third day after you have given birth, your body is coming down from the upheaval of giving birth, your milk supply is establishing and hormones are bouncing around. It's normal for most new mamas to emerge from this change, teary and emotional. Be kind to yourself. 


It's completely fine to ask for a few days to get to know your new little bundle, but it might work to have a gatekeeper.


This will happen again, eventually, when you have the inclination and manage to keep both eyes open! 


They say to sleep when your baby sleeps. This is all well if this is your first child and you're happy to overlook any semblance of order. To those who advise you to take a nap with a newborn and a preschooler in tow, that's a whole other matter! 


It's not too late to start those pelvic floor exercises you fibbed about and said you had been doing through your entire pregnancy!

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