Having a new baby is an exciting time in your life! Here is some information on caring for yourself and your new baby.
Moms need to learn to not only prioritize their baby, but themselves as well. You need to make sure you are taking care of yourself so that you can take care of your baby. Your body is highly dynamic and will undergo many different changes immediately after the baby is delivered. These are both physical and hormonal. Your provider and nurses are there to help not only answer your questions, but also help teach you and your baby how to adapt this new phase of life.
Your healthcare provider can help you with lactation, or breastfeeding. They can help you make sure the baby is latching and getting the milk. They will teach you to look for certain signs that the baby wants to feed and listen for clues that it is getting milk such as swallowing sounds.
You can track whether your baby is getting enough milk by counting wet diapers. Signs of effective breastfeeding are at least three stools per day after day 1 and at least six wet diapers per day by day 4. You can tell your baby is getting enough milk when you see a change in stool color from dark to yellow by day 5. The baby should be having 3-4 stools per day by the fourth day of life.
The most important thing is to make sure the baby is latched on properly. A poor latch cannot only lead to nipple pain, but also painful breast engorgement and poor nutrition for your baby.
If you are experiencing pain or engorgement, your provider will want to see you in the clinic to work on latching techniques and possibly set you up with a lactation consultant to help you get the most out of your feedings. If your breasts are engorged, the provider will want to determine if this is something we should be concerned about or if it is best to just keep on feeding the baby as you have.
Not only is every mother’s experience different, but each pregnancy is unique in how it affects the mother. Let your provider know if you are feeling overwhelmed. Every mom has a different threshold for stress and it is okay to feel a bit of anxiety and stress in dealing with a newborn.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed after a week, even with help, it may be appropriate to return to your provider to determine if there is something more serious going on.
Are you thinking about hurting yourself, your baby, or someone else? If so, please go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
It is ok to ask for help and support. Your healthcare provider is here to help you, whether this is your first baby, or you are an experienced mother.