After 40 weeks (give or take) of carrying and nurturing your baby inside your womb, doctor visits, parenting classes, a baby shower, research and advice, some may think you should be ready for the arrival of your newborn. But how can you be ready to perform a roll you never had any practice in?
Talking to friends and family, taking parenting classes at your hospital, and researching for blogs and books, are all ways to get yourself ready for the arrival of your offspring. But there is nothing like first hand experience, which you will get once your baby arrives. Ready or not, you will find that you deal with what life and your newly expanded family hands you.
So what should you expect when your newborn arrives? The level of emotions you will feel is personal. You may bond with your baby immediately or it may take a little longer. Either way, take into account the temporary ups and downs you may experience if you suffer from baby blues. Feeling overwhelmed, no matter how prepared you may believe you are for this baby, is natural and normal. After all, your life as you know it has changed and you are now a mother.
You can expect little sleep and not very much time for yourself in the beginning. But this will change with time. As your baby grows, he will learn to sleep through the night and you will feel more comfortable to take some time for yourself.
If you plan to breastfeed, you may experience an adjustment period where your body will learn how much milk to produce for the needs of your newborn. Until that happens, you may be leaking (so get pads for your nursing bras). Also you may experience engorgement, nipple pain and other discomforts that will disappear with time and experience. While you are still in the hospital, ask to see a lactation consultant to learn about breast feeding tips and make sure your baby latches on correctly.
Having a baby is demanding, can be exhausting, sometimes nerve wracking and above all, a big responsibility. But at the end of the day, raising your newborn is the most rewarding job you can have. You will melt when your baby starts to smile and find tremendous joy seeing him accomplish milestones and learn new things.
Give it time. You will feel more comfortable in your new roll with experience, and your baby’s growth and development will be an indicator to the fabulous job you are doing.