What an experience, to hold a minute-old baby in your arms. Something so pure and pristine; completely oblivious of this vicious world she has entered. It’s even more incredible when you realise that she is a part of you. I immediately remembered those corny and cliched moments when people used to ask me those slambook questions “what has been your best experience so far? Or your greatest moment?” This time, the answer was staring right back at me. At this point I should apologise to my wife, she won’t be too pleased with this admission.
It was a smooth and perhaps one of the quickest deliveries, even the doctors were pleasantly surprised but then kind of knew it all along considering the fact that Sabiha is well over 5 feet, 9 inches in height. The entire delivery process took just two minutes. The nurses quickly cleaned her, weighed her (3.050 kgs) and the very enthusiastic anesthesiologist took a couple of photographs and the baby was back in the care of the nurses.
In-Rooming Overnight – Our new, squeaky clean baby was handed over to us in our room. The idea is that as soon the baby is born she needs to be on the mother for bonding and breastfeeding. The parents were going crazy, the parents’ parents were going nuts. Everybody wanted to have a nice long look at her. The first grandchild in both the families. Naturally everyone discussed only one thing, “she looks like the father”; “she looks like the mother”; “she is the perfect blend of both”; “her nose looks like her dad and her eyes look…GOD! she is 20 minutes old, she looks like a boiled version of Voldemort! Whatever said we were just obsessing over her. In an hour the family left and it was more feeding time. That night for all good reasons we couldn’t sleep. I would get up every half hour for a peek. I was so afraid of making any noise, tip-toeing everywhere like a burglar. Since I couldn’t turn on the light, I would turn on the phone flash and point it towards the ceiling and diffuse the light enough to not disturb her but bright enough for me to just stare at her wrinkly face.
Breastfeeding – What I really appreciated about the hospital and its staff is their strong belief and practice in getting the new born to the mother’s breast immediately. A really important step because the baby needs to latch on and get her suckling reflex going. This step helps in the baby latching on early and forming a bond with the mother Thankfully our daughter had a great latch and both mother and child were comfortable.
In today’s day and age the parents are very involved during the pregnancy and it’s not surprising that they take classes together, read relevant literature, meet professionals and arm themselves with the relevant knowledge and be prepared for the impending doom! BOON!… I meant boon… really… I did… Boon. It is advisable for first time parents (mothers especially) to meet a lactation specialist in advance and learn all about breastfeeding. Not only do they shed light on the correct latching methods but also the different positions the baby can be held while feeding.
Crowd Restriction – It is imperative that the mother and the child get ample of alone time and rest to recover from the birthing process. Thankfully my wife had a natural so she was back at her best within no time but obviously she was sleep deprived and tired. Apart from immediate family it is advisable to reach out to people and request them not to visit the hospital. Apart from the rest the child is also very low on immunity and there is not telling what she might catch from visitors. Don’t let anyone pick your child up for the same reason. Anyone who walks in, insist they sanitize their hands, before meeting the mother, we need to remember that even the mother is really weak and there is a strong chance she might catch something too and that’s the worst thing because she is the food source for the child.
Hospital support – After birth the child and mother are kept under observation for three days minimum, for C-sections it’s more. During this time, the gynecologist, lactation specialist and the paedeatrician pay regular visits to check on the child and mother’s progress. The nurses are there for your family 24/7. To ensure that the mother gets her sleep, the baby is fed formula (top feed) along with breast milk (which is pre-milk called colostrum). In the initial days what flows out of the mother’s breast is not actually milk but colostrum which is absolutely essential for the child because it has bags of nutrients in it, but not as filling as milk hence hospitals compensate this void with top feed, which takes longer to digest and hence the child sleeps peacefully. The staff ensures that the baby is changed regularly, the mother is fed on time (whether she likes it or not), checks her pressure and other vitals.
It is very important that the mother and baby get all the support they can for the initial days before the discharge because after that, we are on our own. Home sweet home.