As a new mother, it is very normal for you to feel excited and at the same time tired. You will experience physical and emotional changes during this time, so give yourself time to deal with these changes.
Recovery from vaginal birth will take at least six weeks, while recovery from a C-section will take longer, possibly a few months. It is important to take care of yourself both for your sake and your baby’s.
Below is some information that will make this period of recovery easier for you.
Body Back to Normal
Pregnancy involves the uterus (womb) stretching to accommodate the baby. After delivery, the uterus must return back to its non-pregnant condition. The uterus becomes smaller each day after delivery. You may experience mild cramping or after-birth pains because the uterus is working harder to get back into its non-pregnant shape. It is usually back to its non-pregnant shape by the time you go for your six-week checkup.
Rest and Activity
It is important to get lots of rest after delivery of your baby. Fatigue may be one of the biggest factors in your life right now, because motherhood is one of the few roles in life that never lets up! Taking care of your new baby can be both physically and emotionally draining, so it is very important to take care of yourself so that you will be better able to cope.
You need at least two, one-hour rest periods each day for the first two weeks after delivery. When the baby is resting, you should rest also. Do not over stress yourself with household activities for a while. Know when to say “No” to visitors. If you rest when you should, your energy and stamina will gradually return.
Because you are still recovering from the physical changes of birth, there are some activities you should avoid:
Most importantly, if you feel tired, have increased bleeding, and increased discomforts, STOP AND SLOW DOWN.
Getting Help at Home
Ask for help. Let family and friends help with meals, grocery shopping, vacuuming, laundry and heavy cleaning. Also, family may even enjoy watching the baby for a while which is a perfect time for you to slip away and rest.
Nutrition and Healthy Eating
Good nutrition is important for a healthy energy level and a quicker recovery. Every new mother needs balanced meals to help tissues heal and increase strength. At mealtime, you should eat enough to feel satisfied. Your diet should include breads, leafy vegetables, fruits, milk products, meats and fish. Between meals, you can snack on fruits and low-fat dairy products. Use the food pyramid to guide you:
Personal Care and Hygiene
After you have your baby, your body goes through normal changes to get you back to your normal non-pregnant condition.
Taking care of your perineum or private parts is very important after delivery. Keeping this area clean will prevent infections.
Perineal Care Instruction:
You may shower or bathe daily with warm water. You may shampoo your hair as usual without any ill effects.
The following provides guidelines in caring for a cesarean incision:
Post-op Wound Care for C-Sections:
When to Call Your Doctor:
Call your doctor or health care provider if you have any of the following:
This exciting time requires a lot of new instructions on how to take care of your newborn. Below is some information explaining how to perform day-to-day activities after you go home.
Bathing the Baby
Instructions for Tub or Sponge Bath:
Circumcision and Uncircumcised Care
Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the tip of the penis so the head of the penis is exposed. Complications include excessive bleeding, infection and surgical injury of the penis. Parents should discuss their options and reasons for having a circumcision performed on their baby with their pediatrician.
The most common way to take your baby’s temperature is through Axillary means.
Taking a Temperature
If the stump (place where cord was attached) is moist, clean it several times a day with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. This will help it dry.
A bulb syringe is used to clean your baby’s nose and mouth of formula or mucous. You may use it when your baby spits up, has a stuffy nose or sneezes (this is how he clears his nose). Keep a bulb syringe close to your baby, especially during feedings.
How to use the bulb syringe:
NOTE: Clean the bulb syringe with hot soapy water by placing the tip in the water, squeeze the hot water into the bulb, then squeeze the water out. Repeat several times, then rinse the same way with clean, hot water. Let the bulb syringe air dry for repeat use.
You will receive an immunization record before leaving the hospital.
Voiding (Making Urine)
Stools or Bowel Movements
Back to Sleep/ SIDS
What is SIDS?
SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under one year of age. It is the number one cause of death for infants between one month and one year old. Because many SIDS babies are found in their cribs, some people call SIDS “crib death.” Cribs, however, do not cause SIDS.
What are the Risk Factors?
The cause of SIDS is not known. There are no warning signs; however, several factors have been identified that seem to contribute to the incidence of SIDS. The following characteristics have consistently been identified as independent risk factors, making these babies at greater risk for the incidence of SIDS:
Eight things you can do to reduce the chances of your baby becoming a victim of SIDS.
1. Put your baby to sleep on his/her back. This can be the single most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of SIDS. A baby sleeping on his/her back is not at a greater risk for choking or swallowing vomit.
2. No comforters, pillows or stuffed animals in the crib. Let your baby sleep in a sleeper instead of using a lot of blankets. Keep the room temperature so it’s comfortable for an adult.
3. No smoking. Mothers who smoke while pregnant are three times more likely to have a SIDS baby. Exposure to second-hand smoke doubles your baby’s risk for SIDS. Don’t let others smoke around your baby, either.
4. Put your baby on a firm, flat surface to sleep. Use a firm mattress or other firm surface. Don’t let your baby sleep on waterbeds, comforters or fluffy surfaces.
5. Keep your baby’s head uncovered during sleep. Place your baby’s feet at the bottom of the crib so that he/she can’t scoot down under the blankets.
6. Tell others who care for your baby about SIDS. Educate others about SIDS and ways to reduce the risk. Share this information with grandparents, babysitters and others who care for your child to make sure that wherever your baby sleeps she will sleep safely.
7. Get good health care. Getting good prenatal care with regular check-ups, eating healthy foods and staying away from drugs, alcohol and smoking decreases your baby’s risk for SIDS. Make sure your baby gets regular well-baby checkups and is up to date on all immunizations.
8. Breast feed your baby. Some studies show that SIDS is less common in breastfed babies than in bottle-fed babies. This may be because breast milk provides protection against infections that can trigger SIDS.
Putting babies to sleep on their backs can decrease the chances of SIDS. This is a change in behavior and tradition for many of us, but making this change can help our babies survive their first year of life. The effort we make to change our tradition on how we position our babies in their cribs will go a long ways in saving babies lives. Saving babies lives are worth the change in tradition!
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