Get a green cabbage, medium size, from the store and put it in the freezer; The frozen cabbage leaves are great to use if you get breast engorgement; See the section on breast-feeding
Take some maxi pads, wet them, and put them in the freezer; They work great as ice packs for your sore, swollen bottom
Get a belli band. There are many different types on the market. You can get them from most maternity stores, on line, medical supply stores or even at most of the larger pharmacies. The band goes around you belly and helps to pull it in. Very useful if this is not your first pregnancy when your belly can look bigger and can carry further forward. Once your belly is no longer tender the bellyband feels great to wear as will give you support to your belly and back and also make you look slimmer. You can start to use this whenever it feels comfortable. You can also wear it after you have had a c.section as long as the wound is clean and dry.
Thermometer for baby; I suggest the electronic ones that go in the ear or the strips that you put on the forehead
Your partner’s favorite bottle of wine.
I recommend trying to put your baby in a Bassinette or its crib when going to sleep. Place the baby on its back. Babies who sleep on their back have a lower incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Some babies will not settle in their Bassinette and if they don’t settle, the only option you have is to put the baby with you in bed. Do not put the baby with your partner, as men tend to sleep very soundly and they can potentially roll over onto the baby. If you need to go to sleep holding your baby, the best position is for you to be propped up in bed on a pillow with the baby on your chest. Once baby gets to sleep transfer it into the Bassinette.
It is also very common for your baby to spit up and choke especially in the first 24 hours after birth. Do not worry, your baby will not suffocate. If you find your baby choking, just roll the baby over on its side and tap the baby gently on its back. You can also pick the baby up, lie it on your forearm with its head in your hand and the head lowered and then gently tap the baby on the back. Do not stay up to watch your baby to see if it going to choke.
You do not need to wrap your baby in a lot of clothes or blankets. Dress the baby in a babygrow and put a hat on their head. Babies lose a lot of heat through their heads. Wrap the baby in a receiving blanket. That is all that you need to warp your baby in as long as the temperature in the room is comfortable. If you are taking the baby out in colder weather then you will need to wrap the baby up in more clothes and protective gear so as to keep the baby warm and dry. It is fine to take your baby out of the house in the first weeks of life. However make sure that the baby is dressed warmly if the weather is cooler.
Just as with formula, soothers got a bad rap over the years. However recent studies suggest that using a soother may prevent SIDS. It is safe to use a soother if needed. The only concern is that introducing a soother too early may affect the babies feeding. So by all means use a soother but introduce the soother once the baby has established a good feeding pattern.
Some babies have a very strong urge to suck. This is called the rooting reflex. These babies never seem to be satisfied. They will usually want to keep on feeding and sucking on the breast. If this is the case your baby may need a soother to help settle your baby.
You obviously change the diaper when the diaper is full. Usually in the first few days, the baby passes very thick meconium, which is often difficult to remove. Resist the temptation to over clean the baby’s bum. All you want is for your baby’s bottom to be generally clean. Take a warm wet cloth and gently wipe away some of the sticky tarry stool. You do not have to remove every last drop of meconium from the bottom. If your baby’s bum is very messy try dipping the baby’s bum into a basin of luke warm water and then gently wiping it clean. It does not matter if there is a little bit of meconium left in some of the skin folds and crevices. You can get these pieces left behind at the next cleaning. You can also apply a barrier cream to the area after cleaning in order to protect the skin. Vaseline works well for this. Another trick is to wipe some baby oil or some olive oil on your baby’s bottom after it is cleaned. This will act as a barrier to protect the baby’s skin and it also prevents the meconium from sticking to the skin, making it easier to clean. Bring a small bottle of baby oil to the hospital with you.
You might find that a few days after birth your baby’s skin may get a little yellow. This is called jaundice and is a very normal occurrence. The majority of babies will clear their jaundice over the first week of life. The jaundice levels will be checked in the hospital before you leave and by the community health nurse once you are at home. If the jaundice is getting worse your baby may need some help to clear the jaundice from their system. This is done with the aid of a blue ultraviolet light. This light is placed over the baby’s Bassinet and the baby lies under the light. The baby is given some eye protectors to shield their eyes form the bright light. Most babies who need the light therapy will need to stay under the light for 12 to 24 hours. This may delay your discharge from hospital. Once you go home you are not expected to monitor the jaundice levels on your own. Your doctor or community nurse will do this.
Jaundiced babies tend to be very lethargic. If your baby is too tired to feed you may need to use the breast pump to stimulate your breasts and to express the colustrium. You may have to feed your baby with the aid of a bottle or syringe until your baby is feeling more energetic.
All babies will lose some weight for the first few days after birth. If the baby loses more than 10% of its birth weight it may mean that your baby is getting dehydrated and so if this is the case we usually recommend that the baby get some formula or donor milk after each feed until your milk comes in. This usually happens around the 3rd to the 5th day after birth. Other ways to tell that your baby may be getting dehydrated is that your baby has dry diapers. Hungry babies tend to be fussy babies.
Your baby will be weighed daily in the hospital and once you get home the community nurse will weigh your baby.
You may notice a pink or red stain in your baby’s diaper. This is not blood. These are due to urate crystals, which are passed in the baby’s urine. This is normal and will disappear in a few days. It is also common for baby girls to have a small period in the week after birth. This is from the drop in hormones in the baby and is nothing to worry about.
Nothing. Just leave it alone. You do not need to clean it. The stump will fall off in about a week. It will not get infected. Lack of care will not cause an “outie” belly button. belly buttons that stick out are hernias and usually disappear in a year after birth.
If this is your first baby and you had a vaginal delivery you will usually stay 2 nights in the hospital. I will only let you go home once you feel ready to go and that there are no medical reasons for you or your baby to stay in hospital. If you have had a caesarean section your stay will usually be 3 to 4 days. The nurses would like you to leave around noontime on the day of discharge but this is just a general recommendation, so if you cannot get a ride home till later in the day this is fine.
A mother’s natural instinct is to care for her baby before herself and while it is important to be there for your baby, you have to look after yourself in order to be there for your baby. Sounds logical but it is often very difficult to put yourself before your crying baby. Remember you are of little or no use to your baby if you are exhausted, depressed and frustrated.
Make sure you get some rest, stay well hydrated and nourished and try to get out of the house at least once a day. Get your partner, your friend or parent to help look after you. Get them to make you a meal, get you something to drink, run a bath or shower for you or even do some house chores. Be direct and tell them what you need. They are not going to figure it out for themselves.
Try to get as much sleep and rest as possible. The nights of uninterrupted sleep are over. You may have noticed that during your pregnancy you were only getting 3 to 5 hours of sleep each night. Your body somehow adapted and you still had enough energy to work and play. Make a point of getting some rest when you put your baby down after a feed. A 2-hour nap between each feed will make you feel rested and able to cope.
Having your first baby is one of the most demanding and challenging things that will ever happen to you. The baby becomes the focal point of your life. Almost everything that you do is related to your baby. This often applies to your relationship as well. Gone are the days of sitting and having a meal with your partner or even having time to sit on the couch to talk or watch T.V.
The first 3 months after having a baby can seem like an endless stream of feeding, changing diapers, and trying to get your baby to sleep. The few moments that you have to yourself are usually taken up by trying to take a shower, get some rest and mundane things like returning e-mails and bill paying. Women often complain to me that before having a baby they were able to accomplish so much in their day. After having a baby getting washed and dressed seems like a major accomplishment.
Partners are often sleeping is a different room as they have to go to work. All of this may lead to a breakdown in communication between the two of you. Couples often complain that the only time they see each other is to hand the baby over so one can get a break. This may cause a few “speed bumps” in what was once a wonderful loving relationship. If this is happening to you do not worry. It is very common and usually resolves at about 3 months (100 days). By that time your baby is usually sleeping most of the night, eating at predictable intervals and you both feel more comfortable and confident at being parents. Try to make time even if is very short that the two of you can sit and talk or have a meal together. This may not always be possible but at least try to get some together time. Also tell your partner what you are feeling and things that they can do to help you.
It is very common for the first two weeks after your baby’s birth to feel emotional. There will be moments when you feel happy and upbeat and then a minute later you will be crying over something trivial. These mood swings are the baby blues. Sleep depravation and pain can definitely make your mood feel worse. The blues usually last 2 weeks.
However, if you continue to feel down and you find yourself crying on a regular basis this is not normal and it may be due to postpartum depression.
You are more likely to develop postpartum depression if you have history of depression before the pregnancy. Other risk factors include a family history of postpartum depression, little or no support system and difficulties in your relationship with your partner. Signs that you may be slipping into a depression include: crying often, feeling hopeless and isolated, and not wanting to get dressed or leave the house. Feeling angry at your baby or wanting to hurt yourself are very serious signs. If you feel that you may be developing any of the above please call me immediately.
Lack or should I say loss of your sex drive is universal. Every new mom experiences it. Firstly who wants to be intimate with a sore bottom, leaking breasts and you are totally exhausted. Then to make matters even worse the breast-feeding depresses your hormones robbing you of any desire for intimacy that you may have. Tell your partner not to panic, your sex drive will return but it may take some time. Tell him to be patient and that a back and foot massage and a small gift may work better wonders in peaking your interest.
You betcha, but there are a few things that you can do to help matters. Firstly make sure that you are all healed down below. If your bottom feels at all uncomfortable don’t even think of having sex. It is not going to feel good. Go slowly and you may want to use some personal lubricant. A lot of women complain that sex feels very uncomfortable even if they do not have any pain over their bottom. This is very common complaint in women who have had a caesarean section. They cannot figure out why sex is so uncomfortable especially when they did not have a vaginal delivery. The reason for this is related to the breast-feeding which causes your hormones to drop, which in turn results on the vagina becoming tender and very sensitive. If this is the case I often prescribe some estrogen cream which you insert 2 to 3 times a week for a couple of weeks and this works wonders in getting things back to normal in the intimacy department.
This is one of the more controversial topics in Pediatrics today. The American Academy of Pediatrics, in their most recent Circumcision Policy Statement, concluded that ‘data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision’ and that ‘parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child’. More detailed and specific information is available in my website: circumcision