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5 More Common Misconceptions about Being a New Mother--What Physical and Physiological Changes you Can Expect

By HERWriter
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This article on the myths of motherhood continues the list started in my previous submission. It is written with the help of pediatrician Dr. Diana Cutts, and focuses more on the physical and physiological changes a woman should expect to confront after having her first baby.

Myth #6: Your body will quickly go back to its pre-pregnancy state.
Rebuttal: Despite celebrities who boast enviable shapes only minutes after giving birth, this is not normal. It took your body 9 months to prepare itself to have a baby – complete with hormonal changes, organ movements, skin stretching, etc. – so you should allow it at least 9 months to return. Furthermore, you will never again experience the mental and emotional status of a woman who has not had a child – and you wouldn’t want to! – so you certainly shouldn’t expect to host physical attributes of pre-motherhood any time soon either.

This said, you will feel better mentally and physically if you are making efforts to care for your body. Choose healthy foods and go for walks, sleep when possible and remember to ask for help if you need a break.

Myth #7: Your baby will get sick if you take him/her outside.
Rebuttal: Babies get sick by being exposed to germs, not temperature change. As long as you take the necessary precautions to prepare your infant for the weather, fresh air and walks outside are can be a great and healthy experience for both your child and you, and sunshine can even provide you each with a dose of vitamin D. If you are nervous about your baby getting sick, you will want limit his/her exposure to other people (especially other young children) who may carry germs.

Myth #8: Nursing is a neat and tidy endeavor.
Rebuttal: If you are breastfeeding, you should expect to leak breast milk all the time, potentially soaking your clothes “literally down to your knees.”

Additionally, no matter how careful you are, you will get spit-up on your clothes. And it is likely that your infant will poop and pee on a regular basis during nursing time. If you and/or your partner are not used to bodily functions, now is the time to get comfortable!

Even when you are breastfeeding correctly, it is likely that your nipples will get sore initially, though correct positioning of your baby and consistent nursing or pumping can help alleviate this soreness. After nursing for a while, if you continue to experience a lot of pain or notice inflammation, this can be a sign of infection and you should seek treatment.

Myth #9: You cannot get pregnant while you are breastfeeding.
Rebuttal: Though once widely believed to be a natural form of birth control, breastfeeding will not reliably protect you from becoming pregnant. If you are hoping to space out your children (a decision recommended by many physicians to help maintain you and your family’s reproductive, mental and economic health/stability) you should plan to use a proven form of birth control. If you are interested in your options, Planned Parenthood’s website on different contraceptive choices can be accessed here: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm

Myth #10: There is such a thing as a perfect parent.
Rebuttal: You can read every book on the shelf and article on the web and talk to every expert in your community. It still won’t prepare you for the challenges and wonders of being a parent. No new mother feels 100 percent confident in her ability to care for her newborn, and every single person makes mistakes. It is how and what you learn from your mistakes that is important. A child’s developmental status is constantly changing; children are always growing and entering new phases. This means that as a parent, you must also constantly be adapting your methods, understandings, techniques, expectations, etc. Luckily, your baby is very forgiving and simply wants to be loved.

Any other myths you think should be refuted? Please share below!

Many thanks to physician and mother of 4, Dr. Diana Cutts for her help and advice in this column. And a little recognition for the fact that she has put up with me ever since my screaming, spit-upping and demanding ways...not that much has changed…

Add a Comment1 Comments

itz a remarkable effort, a reasonable appreciation is certainly due!

December 29, 2010 - 3:42am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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