You’ve made it through the delivery and welcomed your new baby into the world. Congratulations!
Now it’s time to get into survival mode. How will you do it? Whether this is your first child or fifth, the first days after give birth can be overwhelming. As your body recovers from this huge challenge, it is likely your emotions could take over now and again while you try to take in all that has just changed in your life and your family.
Here are some tips to keep you motivated –
If you’re a new mom, you might be prepared to hold and soothe your baby. Be ready to swaddle, sway, shush and hold your baby, a lot. “These steps performed individually or together can often be a virtual ‘off’ switch for the crying.” says Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of the Happiest Baby on the Block book and DVD.
Otherwise, one of the first survival techniques you should be prepared for deals with breastfeeding. Regardless if you’re going to provide breast milk to your child or not, it is important to consider offering your baby the colostrum. This is the first secretion from the mammary glands after birth. It is rich in antibodies, essential for your newborn’s health, now and down the road in life. Perhaps you should try to pump this first dose of milk for your baby… If you do plan on breastfeeding, congratulations – you are choosing the healthiest choice for you and your baby.
Also, be aware that, contrary to what some might think, breastfeeding does not necessarily come naturally. It is recommended to make plans to see a lactation expert post delivery, ASAP. “Having an expert with you from the beginning to help you learn about latching, positioning, and milk supply – and to boost your confidence – can make the difference between a beautiful breastfeeding experience and giving up,” says Giuditta Tornetta, a doula, lactation educator and author of Painless Childbirth in an interview with Parents Magazine. As a side note, a doula is a woman trained to assist another woman during childbirth. This assistant may also help the family after the birth of the child.
Furthermore, you can expect your newborn to feed every one to four hours, counting from the start of each feeding.
Consider these tips for feeding a newborn –
- Stick with breast milk or formula. Breast milk is the ideal food for babies, with rare exceptions.
- Feed your newborn on demand. – about one feeding every two to three hours.
- Consider taking vitamin D supplements
It’s important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that while breastfeeding is the recommended method of feeding infant and provides them with necessary immune factors and nutrients, breast milk alone does not provide infants with an adequate intake of vitamin D. Most breastfeed infants are able to synthesize additional vitamin D through routine sunlight exposure. However, published reports of cases of vitamin D deficiency rickets among breastfed infants in the United States caused researchers to take another look at whether all breastfed infants were getting adequate vitamin D.
Beyond the breast milk and the swaddling, you’re going to have to take care of yourself too.
There are some biological things to keep in mind. Vaginal deliveries and episiotomies are quite painful. Apply a cloth covered ice pack to the area to reduce the swelling. You might also try witch hazel pads to help reduce inflammation.
There are other recommendations for this temporary but painful after birth condition –
After using the bathroom, instead of wiping, use a squirt water bottle to reduce pain. You might also notice that you’re experiencing constipation after the delivery, stool softeners can help.
You’re also going to notice some blood flow over the next six weeks after delivery. This is called lochia, and it is the normal discharge from the uterus after childbirth.
If you’ve had a Cesarean Section (also known as a C-section), you’ve just experienced major abdominal surgery. You’re definitely going to need some help, with just about everything, for at least a week – maybe more. This includes basic household chores and picking up your baby and diaper changes and other basic chores. Many doctors advise new mothers with a C-section not to pick up anything heavier than the baby until the doctor release after the first postpartum checkup.
Finally, exercise is important – get out for an hour or two if you can and have someone watch the baby. OR else take the baby with you while you walk or jog. The vitamin D will be good for both of you.
These are merely basic points for you to follow after giving birth. You should always consult your doctor (or midwife) for immediate care related to your concerns or questions. Don’t be afraid to contact your OB or pediatrician for anything that worries you!
Don’t forget to accept help from family or friends as well.
Congratulations on the start or addition to your family!