Over 4,300 babies are born every year at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, making it one of the busiest maternity wards in the country.
So it’s safe to say that when it comes to pregnancy, labour and birth, the staff have seen it all.
The Motherish recently spoke with the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital’s Nursing and Midwifery Director Trish Smith and Acting Assistant Nursing and Midwifery Director Tanya Beaumont to find answers to the most common questions for midwives.
With decades of experience between them, they've been asked every question under the sun: Can I breastfeed with a nipple ring? Are babies born on weekends? Will my c-section ruin my stomach tattoo? (For the record - no, yes, and maybe).
They've also seen everything - including women stuffing cabbage leaves down their bras in an attempt to alleviate heavy, engorged breasts (spoiler alert: it doesn't work) and one particularly memorable couple who were caught having sex shortly after their baby was born.
The pair recently compiled a list of the most common questions midwives are asked - and here are their helpful answers:
1. I just fed my baby, why is my baby crying?
If your baby is crying immediately after a feed they may be telling you they want more milk or just want to suck more. Offer them the breast again. If this is happening after most feeds, ask your midwife to watch you feed. Your midwife can help you with feeding techniques if needed. Babies need human contact and sometimes just holding them close will settle crying.
WATCH: the one thing no one told us about birth. Post continues after video...
2. I’ve read babies sleep 22 hours a day. Is that true?
Like adults, baby sleep patterns differ. Some newborns will sleep for nine hours, while others will sleep for 20. It will change from day to day and your baby may sleep half as much as your friend’s baby. There’s no such thing as standard baby sleep patterns. Typically babies have some hours in the day or night when they feed frequently or almost continuously and hardly sleep. At other times of the day or night they may sleep for hours between feeds.
3. How does my body know when the baby is born so my milk will come? When will my milk come?
Patience and persistence is key here. Your pregnancy hormones will trigger milk production, usually after delivery, but everybody is different. Milk volume gradually increases over several days. For the first day or so your baby receives between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of immune-boosting colostrum each time they feed. This sticky yellow fluid is digested quickly so baby will want to feed often, up to 12 times a day.