I was once diagnosed with post natal anxiety. I thought it was the end – no exaggeration. But I am here now to tell my story and how indeed things turned around

Haunted by the past but hopeful for the future

Now that I've gotten the hard part out of my system, I'm now looking forward to the future and trying to be as prepared as possible before the birth of our second. I've previously posted all the help I'm currently seeking in preparation for the big day. One of them, which is one of the most important, is having a reliable lactation consultant since that was one of the worst experiences for me the first time, and I ended up giving it up completely before my baby even turned 1 month.

In hopes that I somehow figure it out this time, I decided to visit a lactation consultant recommended to me by my therapist before even giving birth. And so, I did. And wow. I felt so robbed and lied to in my first and so grateful to have found her and met with her before my second.

The amount of incorrect information I had received with my daughter is unfathomable. It made life so hard for me then, and even though I wish I had known this new information back then, and thinking what if it had changed everything for me, I don't want to go down that road because it is useless. Instead I want to focus on making my second experience better.

So below I will list the information that I received that changed my perspective on how breastfeeding is in fact not impossible. Don't get me wrong, it is still hard, and I know I will have a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of crying (from both sides) but now I know what to expect, the signs to look out for to indicate hunger, and someone to go to for help.

Post Birth Advice

It starts as soon as I give birth. Now that was news to me, but there are a lot of things I can do after birth that should help in my breastfeeding journey afterwards.

  1. Skin to skin: As I mentioned earlier, I haven't had that in my first as I was completely sedated and was actually the last to hold my baby. But the amount of pros to having skin to skin with your baby as soon as he is born is immeasurable. They call that time the golden hour, where you just hold your baby on your bare skin until the placenta is out and the cord is clamped. During that time, baby calms down, you calm down, so mentally it does wonders. It's the first time the baby is out of your womb, and he is feeling a lot of feelings! He's scared, confused and the only person/smell he recognizes is yours!
    It also stabilizes baby’s body temperature, heartbeat, breathing and blood oxygen levels, and helps with his digestion.
    When it comes to breastfeeding, it allows the baby to recognize your smell and find his way to your breast and start breastfeeding, and helps you produce a stronger milk supply. Can you believe it! Just by holding your baby after birth you gain all of that.

  2. Not bathing the baby for 24 hours: The baby is born with this thick white substance over their body called vernix that smells like mother breasts/milk as far as I understand which helps baby identify milk faster and help with breastfeeding.

  3. Rooming in: In Egypt, babies are usually placed in a nursery with all other babies. They are brought in to the room only to breastfeed. This reduces the amount of time you bond with baby. Babies recognize their parent’s voice, smell, and heartbeat. Having your baby within your presence helps your baby relax, and helps you prepare for going home with your new baby and offers more opportunities to learn about your baby’s behaviors and what they mean. It also increases skin to skin and improves your breastfeeding experience.

  4. No artificial teats until 4-6 weeks: If there's a need, feed baby with syringe or spoon. Baby is born with a stomach the size of a cherry. He only needs a few drops of milk the first day or two. Don't let anyone talk you into giving him a bottle until your milk is properly established, his demand is what will increase your supply.

  5. Feed on demand not following a schedule: Baby is hungry, baby eats.

Misleading Information

Another misleading piece of information I was given last time when my baby was crying inconsolably was that she needed to start formula asap as this meant she was extremely hungry.

There are signs to follow to recognize hunger, and crying isn't one of them.

  1. Baby weight: Baby weight decreases after birth and then should be back to birth weight 2 weeks after birth. If that's the case then you're doing well. There is a chart of baby weight per week to follow to make sure all is well

  2. Urine: Baby usually has 1 wet diaper on the day he's born and it's reddish-orange. That increases everyday until by day 5 is should be light yellow and be 6-8 wet diapers. This is also a sign breastfeeding is going well

  3. Stool: Starts as black and gradually changes to be the yellow we are used to for breastfed babies. If that's the case you are also doing well.

So these are the signs you monitor, not the crying.

Crying usually happens every growth spurt and during the first 2 months, they happen a lot! Baby grows a lot the first few months and with that he gets hungrier and his demand increases, which makes your supply increase too! So as long as the signs are good, this is completely normal

Another incorrect instruction I was given was to feed the baby every 2 hours only. Total crap. Feed on demand, that's how your supply increases even if it's every 10 minutes. If your baby is hungry, feed him, that's it.


Pumping got the best of me last time. It was one of the loneliest and depressing things I had to do, being in a room alone pumping for God knows how long only to get a few ounces at best. So, I'm not sure if I'll be doing that, but there is one benefit, or one reason for me to do so. Sleep.
Sleep is my biggest anxiety trigger at the moment, and when I don't sleep well for a few days in a row, it gets really bad.

So I was advised in that case to aim to just pump 1 bottle per day. Just 1. After every feed pump a little until you get one extra bottle, which would allow you to sleep a little more at night while someone else feeds the baby. So I will see how things go, but I might need to do that. I was told however not to pump until at least 5 days after birth because that's when you're establishing your milk.

I was also advised not to use pacifiers or bottles until 4 weeks after birth to avoid nipple confusion. So in case I do pump, I can feed the baby by spoon or syringe.


If baby is not latched properly that also affects the amount of milk he gets! It is breastfeeding not just nipple feeding, the baby's mouth should be around the whole areola area, first it won't hurt as much, and this allows him to trigger milk production. I'm not entirely sure of all the correct terms, but the idea is mouth should not just be latched on nipple as this does not trigger milk production. It also hurts as hell. Rule is, baby nose not touching breast, mouth of baby shaped like a fish, and chin pressed against the breast.

I guess this post might be a little too technical but I guess I'm documenting it for myself more than anything. I felt there was a lot of info that was new and helpful to me and might be helpful to others. I haven't yet tried any of it obviously, but it's a start. I will write another post after giving all this a try but for now, that's all I can do.
I'm just happy I did this before giving birth as I had no clue that the few hours/days after the baby was born were that crucial to setup his breastfeeding journey.

#ppd #postnatalanxiety #recovery