By Charlie Emilia
This millennial content creator, social media geek, part-time healthy person and now first-time mom is coming back to her original roots as a writer. Formerly a radio show, “Chill Out with Charlie” was a peek into my life and what I had going on. Since leaving the airwaves, my journey has taken an extreme turn. For updates on what’s been happening, sit back and chill out with me as I navigate these new paths in a whole new way.
When it comes to how I’m raising my daughter, I have a love-hate relationship with parenting books. They seem to compile every theory and chuck it into a thick book of confusing fear-mongering. Don’t let the blogs and vlogs fool you, they sound like more condensed versions of baby books, and listening to some mothers can make you wary of things that really should make no sense.
Even doctors, nurses and midwives differ in opinion sometimes. But once you get pregnant for the first time, you become so focused on absorbing information, because you just don’t know! So who do you listen to? Me, of course! No, not really. I’m not trying to take on that kind of responsibility. Also, I’m ill-equipped to give medical advice. What I can do is to list some of the stuff I wish that all these people, books, blogs and videos had mentioned to me.
You. Will. Never. Be. On. Time. Again.
This was something I learned the hard way. Mistaking my time “BC” (Before Child) with where I am now, I started getting ready for an appointment just an hour before. Unless you get up like two to three hours before the time you have to get to anything, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
The problem is you’re not taking that long, but there are things you now have to factor in like, did your baby poop in the bath water? Will you have to empty it out and start again? While you’re dressing her, did she decide to pee on the changing table and wet everything down? Did some of her poop make it on to your clothes? You might need to change now too. There are many more questions like this, but you get the point. This is your life now. Accept it.
Pads... for everything... all the time... for at least six weeks.
Even after you don’t have postpartum bleeding anymore, if you’ve experienced some bladder or urinary trauma, you still have to stock up on panty liners to protect yourself. If you’ve chosen to stick with pumping and nursing, that means you will need nipple pads until you decide to let your baby eat solids and formula exclusively.
Just a rough estimation – but based on my calculations – you can go through about 200 nipple pads in the span of six weeks, depending on how much you leak. I recently posted on my Instagram about the ones I use and how they worked out for me. Shameless plug right there!
Easy-access cleavage is a new staple in your wardrobe if you’re breastfeeding.
How else would you expect to have constant access to your milk bags? Low-cut blouses are perfect, in that they allow you over the top access to your breasts without having to lift up the entire shirt.
Another alternative is anything that zips or buttons down the front. My wardrobe consists of mainly graphic tees, which became a problem once my baby arrived. With the addition of some buttoned blouses, I also like to accessorise with an oversized cardigan; they’re great as a privacy drape you can carry around with you.
You become so comfortable with whipping out your breasts; you also say the words “breast” and “nipples” a lot more. I had two former employers have babies and I ended up seeing theirs all the time. They are less a source of beauty and sexuality and now a source of nourishment. You are not concerned with who passes by and sees you nursing, because your baby needs it.
And I know I just talked about how I wear a cardigan for privacy when I’m breastfeeding, which I do, but it’s mainly for when I have to sit in crowded waiting areas. No matter how calm you are about your nursing in public, when there’s nothing to watch, people tend to stare at the lady with her breast out.
Yes, I want to make sure my baby is fed, but not while Creepy McCreeperson turns my beautiful nursing time into an ogling session. I am not here for your entertainment, sir.
Shapewear is your second skin now.
You’ll need a girdle or a waist trainer to flatten out that tummy and tuck in those new folds of skin. Personally, I’ve gone the more renegade route where this is concerned. I tried strapping myself into shapewear and found myself trapped; scissors were involved and I no longer have that garment.
I am not ashamed of the added weight or the fact that I have a FUPA (fat upper pubic area). Just a few months ago, there was an entire person in there who had to be cut out. I have no shame in that. In fact, I’m proud to wear my new size and if you can’t appreciate my shape; that sounds like a “you” problem.
Baby fluids are perfume.
Eau de bebe, as I like to call it, is the essence of your baby’s smell; that intoxicating, new-person smell that wafts about making everyone sniff your baby. Yeah, that’s not what I’m talking about. Sigh. I’m talking about the stuff from inside your baby.
Essentially, if it can come out of one of your baby’s orifices, it can and will end up on your clothes, body and bedding. Sometimes, you won’t even notice until it’s too late when you or your partner sniffs the spot and it smells…off. Do you care? Probably not.
Babies can get sick of your crap, too.
This one is deeply close to my current experiences. My wonderful, well-behaved little Nugget has grown into waking up only once after we’ve put her to bed. This is amazing and I love her to bits for it. However, I came to learn the hard way that babies can become overly stimulated and will get stressed out when their brains are forced to process too much too fast.
Crying is your baby’s way of relieving stress. This can happen even if your baby has been asleep most of the day – if there are people or movements, babies are still taking it in with their senses.
One night it took us almost three hours to get her to sleep, because I had chosen to run all of my errands in one day to avoid having to leave my house for three days in a row. I now have a limit on how many places I visit, as well as when I cut off her access to outside stimuli. Unfortunately, you can’t always control how your day goes and it has happened a few more times. At least, I know the signs of overstimulation and how to stop it when it occurs.
There are a lot more things I can mention, but I’m running out of space and my baby is about to wake up, so this is the perfect time to sign off. Maybe I’ll do a part-two next week; maybe I’ll have some crazy adventure to talk about; maybe I’ll have had a rough few days and will need to vent… but you’ll never know unless you stay tuned for the next Health & Beauty!
Feel free to follow me on Facebook.com/LikeCharlieEmilia or my Instagram Chvrl13. I’m open to questions, comments and any concerns you may have about your own health; but please remember I am not a doctor. My column is strictly for entertainment, and although I may try my utmost to give accurate information, it should in no way replace a visit to your healthcare provider.
Until next time, “Drive Safe”!