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6 Things I Wish I Knew as a New Mother

I know that being a new mother will be challenging and overwhelming at times. Even though I have prepared myself mentally for motherhood, you can never prepare enough because there is a lot more you do not know and you will experience the unexpected.

Here are the top 6 things I wish I knew as a new mother and I hope this article will be able to help ease new mothers into their new role. Or read 8 Things New Parents are Not Quite Prepared for if this is your first baby. 

  1. Jaundice in baby is much more common than you think
    Jaundice is very common among babies who are born early. Your first baby is likely to be born earlier than expected whether it is a planned c-section or natural / induced labour. Jaundice is caused by a build-up of bilirubin in the baby’s blood and tissues and it causes yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. As newborn’s liver may take several days to process it in the liver.

    I understand as a new mother you may be worried and anxious, but Jaundice is usually harmless. If the level of bilirubin level is higher than normal, your paediatrician will advise getting baby treated with phototherapy for a few days. Your baby’s jaundice will come down to normal and he will be all right eventually.  
  1. You will likely get breast engorgement
    You will be asked to feed your baby colostrum –the ‘first milk’ produced by your breasts. Your body will then produce a larger quantity of milk after a few days hence your breasts will feel fuller and firmer. If your baby is feeding well and frequently, these feelings of ‘heaviness’ will go away in one to two days. However if the breast milk is not fed to your baby due to reasons like you are sleeping longer, your baby is not latching well or you are choosing not to, it will accumulate in your breasts and make them feel rock hard and painful.

    I experienced breast engorgement when I was told my baby was not getting enough breast milk on day 3 after giving birth even though I was breastfeeding in the hospital and the nurse said I was doing well. I succumbed to letting my baby be fed with formula and went to sleep longer. Soon, both of my breasts swell up and got hard. There was a lot of discomfort and mild pain I couldn’t sleep well.

    The only solution to breast engorgement is emptying your breasts as much as possible. A hungry baby will do that. But make sure your baby has a good latch in order for him to empty your breasts. When I had breast engorgement, I made sure to nurse my baby frequently. There is nothing more effective than a baby’s suction to drain your breasts. You can also choose to pump. I also learned some breast massage techniques and apply a warm compress before breastfeeding. Within 24-48 hours, my breast engorgement was relieved.
  1. There is so much cleaning
    I never knew there is so much cleaning that I wish I have a maid at home. I am lucky because I share the load with my husband. There are three major cleaning chores – cleaning your baby, cleaning the bottles and teats, pump and pump parts (if you are bottle feeding and/or pumping), and doing baby laundry. I highly recommend new mommies stock up on cleaning essentials before your labour so you are well-prepared for the tasks after giving birth.

    What you need for cleaning baby:
          1. Handkerchief – for catching milk spills, wiping sweat and wipe baby’s body. I use Suzuran Baby Gauze Handkerchief because it is super absorbent and quick to dry. Got at least 20 pieces!
          2. Cotton swab – for cleaning baby’s umbilical cord stump, nose and ears. I use Suzuran Baby Antibacterial Cotton Swab because it is ultra-thin, it is so easy to clean my baby. What’s more, it’s antibacterial!
          3. Oral wipe – for cleaning milk residue on baby’s tongue and massaging his gums. I use Suzuran Baby Wet Cleaning Cotton because I like that it is smaller size compared to other brands and wet enough to clean baby’s tongue. I also like that it comes in 2 pieces in a pack so I can use the other piece to wipe my baby’s face.
          4. Wipes – for wiping baby’s butt and genital areas. I use Suzuran Baby Antibacterial Cut Cotton to ensure my baby is rash-free! It is also thick and large enough so I can use both sides of the cotton to clean the poops. I also like that it is so soft!
          5. Washcloth – for cleaning baby’s body during bath time. I use Suzuran Baby Gauze Handkerchief because it is thin and absorbent, it’s really easy to clean baby during bath time!

If you are 100% nursing your baby, you will not have the additional cleaning of the bottles and breast pumps. Good for you! But if you decide to bottle feed or pump, there will be endless cleaning of baby bottles and teats, breast pumps and pump parts around the clock.

For baby laundry, do get a good baby laundry detergent. I also recommend getting a stain remover to remove milk stains and probably poop or pee stains.

  1. Gassy baby is stressful to handle
    Sometimes my husband and I forgot to burp our baby after feeding because we never knew how important it was until the baby became gassy. He cried and screamed so much and looked like he was in pain. He would suddenly cry and scream during feeding and sleeping, he couldn’t sleep well. It was heart-wrenching to experience it. I cannot imagine parents who have a colicky baby. A gassy baby and a colicky baby share some common symptoms, but they are different. A baby with colic cries more intensely and for a prolonged period of time. If you are unsure your baby is gassy or colicky, please seek advice from your paediatrician.

    Gas in newborns is common because they have immature digestive systems. They swallow some air during feeding then air gets trapped in their digestive system and causes discomfort and pain.

    After experiencing it, we made sure to burp baby after each feeding and feed him in a more upright position. Changed to using an anti-colic bottle and increased tummy time. Also looked up some positions and movements to help relieve baby’s gas. These helped my baby to pass gas and he feels much better after passing gas.

  1. You need help
    After giving birth, you are tired and need plenty of sleep for your recovery. At the same time, you need to feed your baby every 2-3 hours. It is particularly tiring when you are breastfeeding in the first 2 weeks because you are still in pain and your wound is still recovering. It is very likely you get sleep deprived.

    I am lucky to have my husband’s help. We form a great team taking care of our baby. You may want to seek help from people you trust such as your husband, mother, mother-in-law, or a nanny. Also, don’t hesitate to speak to an experienced mommy friend or relative that you trust if you need any advice.
  1. Finding joy in all the chaos
    Motherhood is not all exhausting and mentally draining. You will be able to find little joys and funny moments in all of these. I cherished all these little moments with my baby.   
    • My baby has this “guilty” look when he pooped during breastfeeding and I find it really funny
    • I enjoy his little smiles and cheeky expressions
    • His poop is super smelly my husband and I would joke and laugh about it and argue who was going to change his diaper
    • When his hands would wiggle through his swaddle during sleep
    • His long farts (up to 5 seconds long and I am not kidding) is ‘amazing’
    • He has these little hand movements when he is super hungry until he got his milk.


There are a lot more. These little moments vary for different parents and babies because every baby is different. I hope you find little joys and special moments with your baby during your motherhood. They are precious because babies grow up so fast. I am sure you wish they can stay little for a little longer.

6 Things I Wish I Knew as a New Mother

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