CARE FOR NEWBORN AND MOM
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The first 12 months after giving birth are they most exhilarating, confusing, and exhausting time of a mother life. Establishing a new rhythm within the household will be an around the clock task, so it’s important that loved ones support the new mother in maintaining good physical, nutritional and mental wellness.
3 Self Care Musts:
Exercise might be the last thing on your mind after you give birth, but it’s worthwhile. In fact, exercise after pregnancy might be one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Boost your energy level
Improve your mood
Help prevent and promote recovery from postpartum depression
Doctors recommend that if you had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it’s generally safe to begin exercising as soon as you feel ready. If you had a C-section, extensive vaginal repair or a complicated birth, talk to your health care provider about when to start an exercise program.
When you’re ready to exercise, start with something low impact and simple — such as a daily walk. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, wear a supportive bra, with nursing pads if you’re breast-feeding, avoid excessive fatigue and STOP exercising if you feel pain.
CONSIDER THESE EXERCISES:
Pelvic tilt. Try the pelvic tilt a few times a day to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds. Repeat five times and work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.
Kegel exercise. Use this exercise to tone your pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. Contract the muscle you use to stop your urine flow. Hold for up to 10 seconds and release, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.
DO WHAT YOU CAN:
Seek the support of your partner, family and friends. Exercise with a friend to stay motivated. Include your baby, either in a stroller while you walk or lying next to you on the floor while you do abdominal exercises.Remember, exercise after pregnancy might not be easy — but it can do wonders for your well-being.
After giving birth, it is a great time to re-evaluate your nutritional needs. An adequate diet is especially important to help ensure your health and to supply you with the energy necessary to care for your new baby.
INCREASE CALORIC INTAKE:
New mothers will require about an additional 400 to 500 calories a day — to keep up your energy.
To get these extra calories, opt for nutrient-rich choices, such as a slice of whole-grain bread with a tablespoon (about 16 grams) of peanut butter, a medium banana or apple, and 8 ounces (about 227 grams) of yogurt.
Focus on making healthy choices to help fuel your milk production. Opt for protein-rich foods, such as lean meat, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils and seafood low in mercury. Choose a variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables. Wash your fruits and vegetables to reduce exposure to pesticide residue.
Eating a variety of different foods while breast-feeding will change the flavor of your breast milk. This will expose your baby to different tastes, which might help him or her more easily accept solid foods down the road.
To make sure you and your baby are getting all of the vitamins you need, your health care provider might recommend continuing to take a daily prenatal vitamin until you wean your baby. READ MORE
Drink frequently, preferably before you feel thirsty, and drink more if your urine appears dark yellow. Have a glass of water nearby when you breast-feed your baby. Caffeine in your breast milk might agitate your baby or interfere with your baby’s sleep.
If you follow a vegetarian diet, choose foods rich in iron, protein and calcium. Good sources of iron include lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, peas, dark leafy green vegetables and dried fruit. To help your body absorb iron, eat iron-rich foods with foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits.
For protein, consider eggs and dairy products or plant sources, such as soy products and meat substitutes, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Good sources of calcium include dairy products and dark green vegetables. Other options include calcium-enriched and -fortified products, such as juices, cereals, soy milk, soy yogurt and tofu.
Consider supplements. Your health care provider will likely recommend a daily vitamin B-12 supplement. Vitamin B-12 is found almost exclusively in animal products, so it’s difficult to get enough in vegetarian diets. Vitamin B-12 is essential for your baby’s brain development.
If you don’t eat enough vitamin D-fortified foods — such as cow’s milk and some cereals — and you have limited sun exposure, you might need vitamin D supplements. Your baby needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Too little vitamin D can cause rickets, a softening and weakening of bones. Tell your doctor and your baby’s doctor if you’re also giving your baby a vitamin D supplement.
ALLERGIC RESPONSE BY BABY:
Certain foods or drinks in your diet could cause your baby to become irritable or have an allergic reaction. If your baby becomes fussy or develops a rash, diarrhea or congestion soon after nursing, consult your baby’s doctor.
Remember, there’s no need to go on a special diet while you’re breast-feeding. Simply focus on making healthy choices — and you and your baby will reap the rewards.
“The difference between hope and despair is a good night’s sleep.”
As a new parent, you may feel compelled to dedicate every available hour tending to your baby’s needs. But don’t forget that parents have needs, too — especially when it comes to sleep.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
The human body requires physical rest in order to function properly, 11 to 12 hours for babies and children and 8 to nine hours for adults. Lack of adequate sleep can lead to hallucinations, anxiety, physical weakness, trouble concentrating, and irritability, among many other things. These symptoms and the inability to fall or remain asleep could very well trigger the onset of depression, particularly in new mothers who often experience disruption in their sleep pattern.
As many as 80 percent of women diagnosed with postpartum depression suffer from insomnia and feel the effects of sleep deprivation. In fact, insomnia could be an early warning that postpartum depression is near.
Fortunately, parents’ sleep deprivation eases once their child begins sleeping through the night which for most babies, begins at around 3 months old mark.
GET SOME REST
That’s easier said than done when the house is a mess, the baby’s screaming, and you’re exhausted. Life is chaotic for the first few months, but new parenthood is not the time to try to live up to the unrealistic ideal of the “perfect parent.” Some new moms feel intense pressure to meet their baby’s every need, maintain a spotless house, and cook three meals a day — all while dealing with postpartum physical discomfort and hormone-related mood changes. Letting go of these impossible ideals and asking for help can let new parents relax, rest, and focus on those precious early moments with their baby.
When sleep deprivation is not addressed, the consequences can sometimes be devastating. The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research found that infant abuse may be more likely for sleep-deprived parents, who may feel they are at their wits’ end and shake or hit a crying infant. Also, co-sleeping parents who are exhausted may be less aware of the baby sleeping next to them.
TIPS ON HOW TO GET MORE REST
As tempting as it is, DO NOT try to catch up on chores while the baby is sleeping. Easier said than done, but try.
Ask a loved one to watch the baby, pitch in with housecleaning, cooking, laundry, or babysitting older children while you nap.
While trying to nap, resist the urge to peek at the clock.
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
If you’re nursing, learn how to feed your baby while lying down on your side.
If you use formula, have bottles of room-temperature water and powdered formula next to your baby’s crib or at your bedside.
Consider putting the baby’s crib or bassinet next to your bed — this will save a lot of nighttime trips to the nursery.
Working parents might consider cat naps at lunch time.
Limit the number of visitors you have during those first few weeks or months. Having to entertain a steady flow of guests can take time away from your naps and from bonding with baby.
If you have a spouse or partner try sleeping in shifts, and have your partner take over some of the night-time feedings by bringing the baby to you, changing her diaper, and rocking her to sleep afterwards.
If you can afford it, hire a weekly care service for a month or two (or more!). It can allow you to avoid strenuous chores while you recuperate and adjust to having a new child.
If you haven’t yet given birth, lower your sleep debt now by getting extra sleep in advance, so that after your baby arrives, the sleep deprivation won’t feel as overwhelming. Sleeping more now can mean the difference later between feeling merely sluggish and feeling truly awful.