January 12, 2015
Post natal tips from Midwife Virginia
Independent midwife Virginia Howes blogs about the most common concerns in the first few days and offers some of the tips she shares with her clients after birth.
1. It is unlikely you’ll sleep the first day or night after baby is born.
This is the tiger/lion in you keeping you alert in order to protect your young. You may be bleeding quite heavily and need to change your pads often, this is normal. Keeping yourself well hydrated and your bladder empty will help it to slow down. You may get cramps known as ‘after pains’, these let you know that your uterus is pulling back into place.
Tip: Stay in bed, eat, drink, love your baby and pamper yourself. Despite the need to look after yourself, this time is really special and it doesn’t last long.
2. Don’t panic: A break from feeding
If baby has fed at the breast for a good length of time following birth he/she may not want to feed for many hours. This is normal as your baby has been born well hydrated and is using stored body fat.
Tip: You will feel elated and strong but don’t do too much. If you have had any perineal damage, add a few drops of tea tree oil to your bath.
Stay in bed, eat, drink, love your baby and pamper yourself. This time is really special and it doesn’t last long.
3. Non-stop feeding
By day two your baby will feed often and almost continuously. This is a good thing which will prepare your body to make the correct amount of milk. You may feel achy, as after a good work out, as your muscles recover from the hard work of your birth. Lie down on your side to feed, as this way, you can rest as well as feed your baby.
Tip: Attachment and positioning is crucial so ask for help from your midwife or trusted friends / experts.
4. Don’t panic: Erratic breathing not usually cause for concern
Baby will breathe erratically, sometimes fast sometimes slow. As long as he/she is a nice pink colour it is normal.
Tip: Dress yourself and your baby minimally so that you get maximum skin-to-skin benefits for days not just hours
5. Day 3 is often hard(er) work
By day three you may be having a tough time due to baby’s demands on you. This is normal but that doesn’t make it easy. Allow constant and unlimited access to the breast.
Tip: Well-meaning friends and family may say baby is hungry. Begin to find your own confidence as a Mother and don’t listen! (plenty of wet and dirty nappies plus sleep / alert time means all is going well)
6. Painful breasts
Your milk will begin to arrive around day 3 or 4, you will feel ‘lumps’ in your breasts and they may be painful. Wear a good support bra and feed as often as possible. You may be feeling better now and want to emerge from your bed. As you begin to take on more daily activities around the house you may find you blood loss increases. This is normal and blood will tail off to pink then brown.
Tip: If breasts become engorged, hand express a small amount of milk to soften the nipple area and enable your baby can get a good latch
7. You will get lots of visitors which can be good but ideally they will not stay too long so you can get plenty of rest.
Tip: When asked “can I do anything to help”? say yes straight away and then think of something. Meals, cleaning, now is not the time to be polite!
8. Crying does not always = illness
Wind, colic, reflux all these things are rare and very unlikely in a breastfed baby so when baby cries do not automatically think something is wrong. Your baby’s brain is still developing and crying is a major mode of communication. All breastfed babies come alive in the evening and early part of the night when they want to cluster feed and sometimes appear inconsolable.
Tip: Remember the evenings are the difficult times when new babies are awake and fretful – it will pass and in the meantime try and rest/sleep late in the mornings.
When asked “can I do anything to help”? say yes straight away and then think of something. Meals, cleaning, now is not the time to be polite!
9. Sneezing and sniffles does not always = colds
Many women believe their baby has a cold in the early days or weeks, especially if they are born in the Winter. It’s more likely to be due to baby getting used to dust particles in the air having been in a sterile environment.
Tip: If the heating is on, put some damp towels on radiators or bowls of water around to add humidity.
10. Don’t be alone on a bad day
Being at home with a new baby can get very lonely after the glow has worn off and life resumes to normal. If the day appears to be starting as a bad one with baby being unsettled leave the house and go out either for a walk a drive or to visit someone. Only stay home on easy ‘good’ days.
Tip: There are lots of women feeling the same as you. Go to local groups and meet other mums.
Independent midwife Virginia Howes blogs about the most common concerns in the first few days and offers some of the tips she shares with her clients after birth. 1. It is unlikely you’ll sleep the first day or night after baby is born. This is the tiger/lion in you keeping you alert in order to […]