Nobody Told Me about That: The First 6 Weeks by Ginger Breedlove Book Review
The idea of pregnancy, birth, and life with a new baby is exciting but also frightening. Many women and partners feel unprepared and not well educated when starting this new journey of life. The book Nobody Told Me About That: The First Six Weeks discusses the changes, fears, and adaptations to motherhood and parenting that are often not discussed or are overlooked. “A time when many parents expect to immediately fall in love with their baby but in reality, are desperate to find time for sleep and wonder if their life will ever be normal again” (Breedlove, 2018). This book features real-life stories from new mothers as well as input from OB nurses and the qualified childbirth educator, Ginger Breedlove. The inspiration for this book came from Ginger Breedlove’s difficult adjustment to parenthood despite the extensive background and experience she has as a childbirth educator, midwife, and labor and delivery nurse. Through her experience as well as hearing from other mothers who struggled with becoming first time parents, she realized that improvement needed to be done to prepare new parents. This book covers a wide variety of experiences that include learning what is normal and not normal with a newborn, the unexpected events of pregnancy and labor, and how to go back to work and life after having a baby. This book opens up about challenges new mothers and partners have faced and what information would have been helpful to prepare them for childbirth and care. Any new parents despite their current knowledge of pregnancy and labor should read this book to gain a perspective on all the possibilities and outcomes they may face. This paper will specifically focus on the chapters I Slept Like a Baby! What does that Mean? and Breastfeeding Realities and Formula Facts. These chapters emphasize the two large components of growth and development of the baby, sleeping and feeding, and discuss how the parents of the baby can adapt to the new habits.
Sleeping Adjustments for Parents and Baby
One of the biggest complaints with new mothers is how exhausted and fatigued they are on a daily basis. “Although post-partum fatigue and sleep-disruption are common among new parents there are few interventions that aim to support parents and enhance resilience while responsively meeting infant needs across the first year” (Ball, 2020). Not only can lack of sleep appear postpartum but can also be a struggle throughout pregnancy. The chapter I Slept Like a Baby! What does that Mean? shares the adjustments to sleep, consequences from lack of sleep, and addresses the questions new parents may have about how newborns sleep. “First time moms report that the first four weeks post-partum are the roughest in terms of sleep” (Breedlove, 2018). It is no surprise that the sleep schedule of a new parent changes drastically when an infant comes into their lives. “Healthy adults sleep at least seven hours each night, in a single block of time that is largely uninterrupted. In comparison, newborn babies require up to 18 hours of sleep, broken into multiple short periods” (Infant, 2020). Due to the several small spurts of sleep an infant experiences, this can create interruptions to sleep and make it challenging for new parents to get a full night’s rest and feel energized to care for the newborn. Some recommendations include taking naps throughout the day and allowing a partner or family to watch and help with the infant. Some consequences to naps in the day could be fathers going back to work earlier than mothers or parents not having family close by, making it difficult to find help when wanting sleep breaks throughout the day. Discussing plans for extra help with new parents may be necessary before leaving the hospital and informing them on resources that can help with infant care. Lack of sleep is talked about more during the postpartum time period, but some overlook the difficulties of getting suitable rest during pregnancy. This especially present in the third trimester due to several discomforts. “It is recommended that you sleep on your side with a pillow in between your legs if you are having backaches or other discomforts” (Breedlove, 2018). Some suggestions to prepare for even more sleep changes after birth can be “keeping the record of your sleep allows anticipatory guidance about what the sleep routine will be like after the baby is born” (Breedlove, 2018). Regardless of the ways the new parents decide to prepare and adapt to the challenges of sleep with a newborn, one thing to remember is to get adequate amounts of sleep, whether it be continuously or through naps, in order to feel energized and refreshed to properly care for their baby.
Adapting to Breastfeeding and Providing Nutrients for Baby
The chapter Breastfeeding Realities and Formula Facts shares personal breastfeeding stories but also why breastfeeding is important, and the techniques and tips new mothers can do to make breastfeeding a positive experience. “Breastmilk contains literally thousands of cells, hormones, and antibodies that help protect babies against illnesses and add in their growth and development” (Breedlove, 2018). Breastfeeding can be difficult when doing it for the first time. However, there are different techniques such as skin to skin, and different positions to help make the process more efficient. “The baby uses the crawling reflex to move up the breast and will typically latch onto the breast within the first hour without mom having to “do” anything” (Breedlove, 2018). The newborn's natural instincts with feeding allow them to sense the breasts to move towards and perform the rooting reflex to get the milk. “All issues and their consequences (engorgement, mastitis, and breast abscess) were associated with poor position and attachment” (Abuidhail, 2017). When first starting out with positioning the baby, finding the position that works best for you and the baby may take some trial and error. “the best position is one that you like, that feels good, and that accomplishes the goal of breastfeeding your baby” (Breedlove, 2018). Not only is the mother adapting to breastfeeding, but the father or partner can contribute as well. “Breastfeeding is clearly the mother’s role but there is evidence that the baby’s father can have a significant influence on a mother’s breastfeeding decisions” (Rempel, 2017). By providing support, the mother is more likely to continue breastfeeding and feel comfortable doing so whenever necessary. The father or partner also can help by burping the baby after the feeding, changing their diaper, and rock them back to sleep. This allows them to still be involved and not feel left out in feeding the baby, but this will also help give mom a break. Breastfeeding is important for bonding and attachment, and it is one of the most unique and special things that a mom can provide for the newborn. By choosing to breastfeed, this allows the baby to receive not only immunity, but the best nutrition to aid in their growth and development.
In conclusion, the book Nobody Told Me About That: The First Six Weeks discusses the changes, fears, and adaptations to motherhood and parenting that are often not discussed or are overlooked. This book opens up about challenges new mothers and partners have faced and what information would have been helpful to prepare them for childbirth and care. The chapter I Slept Like a Baby! What does that Mean? shares one of the toughest adjustments with a new baby, sleep or lack thereof. This chapter discusses how new parents can adjust to new sleeping patterns, consequences from lack of sleep, and addresses the questions new parents may have about how newborns sleep. Additionally, the chapter Breastfeeding Realities and Formula Facts shares why breastfeeding is important, and the techniques and tips new mothers can try to provide their babies with the best nutrients they can give for growth and development. Both sleeping and feeding are the two main components that the baby needs in order to grow, develop and thrive. Especially during the first few weeks when the newborn is going through several changes with being in the world. Parents can feel intimidated, and many are unsure what the “right” way for caring for a newborn is. Regardless of the parent’s knowledge of infant care, this book helps guide and ease stress by sharing real-life experiences and information that other parents have learned through their births. With the information learned, new parents can focus on feeling confident when caring for their newborn and truly enjoy the moments they share with their growing family.