But when it comes to the things you, as a mother, desperately need handy the moment you return from hospital with your baby, many of us are seriously under-prepared. Luckily midwife, maternal and child health expert, author and BabyLove spokesperson, Midwife Cath (AKA Cath Curtin), is stepping in to help out your baby brain.
1. Don’t forget formula.
Intending to breastfeed your new arrival? Nice one. Keep in mind that breastfeeding isn’t always a breezy process for every mum. Having some bottles and formula on standby will be peace of mind for you in those early days and nights when you’re getting the hang of things.
“Most mothers are super organised and there are lists galore – new mums think breastfeeding is going to be really easy and don’t prepare for formula feeds once they get home,” explains Midwife Cath.
“You can’t believe how much a baby feeds once you are home. Be prepared and stock up!”
2. Grab some breast pads.
Unfortunately your boobs aren’t magical taps that turn on when your baby need to feed and off the second they’re done. The solution? Breast pads. Lots of them.
“The same day a new mum gets home from hospital her milk comes in – not great timing is it? Once your milk comes in it seems like every time you think about your baby (which is 24 hours a day) you leak,” says Midwife Cath.
“To avoid permanent wet patches on your T-shirt, absorbent breast pads are best inside your bra rather than sitting on the kitchen bench. They are soft, absorbent and protective too.”
Monique Bowley and Presenter Rebecca Judd speak with Midwife Cath Curtin about the first six weeks with a newborn baby. They talk arriving home from hospital, breastfeeding, and adapting to life as a mum. Post continues after audio.
3. Maternity clothes.
Got a couple of maternity bras and tops ready for Show Time and feeling smug about it? Go and pick up double of what you just bought.
“When you lactate the brain does not discriminate which breast the milk is let down into, because of this the baby might be sucking on the right side and you may start leaking on the left side too,” explains Midwife Cath.
“Without a doubt you can go through a few bras, maternity tops and jeans in a day. It’s helpful to have clothes that are adaptable to your situation when at home and out and about too.”
4. Head to the sanitary pad aisle, pronto.
One of the many post-birth bodily processes that can blindside you is ‘lochia’, the fancy word for the vaginal discharge (that consists of blood, mucus and uterine tissue) that can last up to six weeks after childbirth. Sanitary pads? You’re going to depend on them almost as much as you’ll depend on coffee and midnight snacks.
“When the baby sucks at the breast, the hormone that lets down the milk also helps the uterus contract, so slowly over a six-week period the uterus will be back in its pre-pregnancy position. Because of this, new mums may feel an increase in bleeding in the first few weeks while breastfeeding,” says Midwife Cath.
“It’s important to have pads on as you may be caught unawares with a big gush of blood while feeding the baby. Any time the blood is very heavy (non-stop) or smells offensive, it’s best to contact your doctor.”