A little angel has just entered your life. The first weeks after bringing your baby home are incredibly exciting, emotional, and challenging for all the family. If you've never had a child before and this is your' new mom' experience, this period could feel tiring and stressful. Your emotions will likely range from pure joy to irritability and anxiety as you enter a new phase of your life.
Healing From Childbirth
The first weeks after birth are a time for primary connection with your little one and a period of healing for moms. Once again, your body goes through many changes while you are preoccupied with your lovely (and hungry!) newborn. Everything feels new, at least strange, and may lead to numerous questions.
Postpartum Period: What to Expect?
What to expect during these early weeks and how to handle it? This adjustment period in a new mom's life is called puerperium, usually lasting six weeks. Puerperium is characterized by several physical changes, as your body gradually returns into a non-pregnant state, followed by emotional adjustment both to the postpartum period and the new life overall. You may experience:
Vaginal discharge (lochia) – Vaginal discharge is normal over this period. As your uterus sheds, returning to its pre-childbirth form, the release starts bloody; the bleeding is typically heavier over the first week. Over time, the discharge becomes lighter and changes from bright red to yellow. If you experience pain, fever, or lochia producing an odd smell, call your GYN.
Postpartum cramps – It is normal to experience contractions in the first ten days after childbirth, for your uterus returns to its normal position and shrinks in size. Some women even need to take over-the-counter pain relief, but it is mandatory to consult with your doctor, especially if you are breastfeeding
- Do not take over-the-counter meds on your own if you are breastfeeding
Perineal pain and painful urination – Women who have given birth vaginally will likely experience pain in the perineum, especially if they had an episiotomy and got a few stitches. Your healthcare provider will know the best treatment for your particular case. In general, cold packs and a comfortable position could ease the pain. Painful urination is expected over the postpartum period as your urethra and bladder were under extra pressure during pregnancy.
Tender and swollen breasts – As your breasts fill with milk, you may feel discomfort. If you are breastfeeding, the tenderness will subside once you get used to the feeding routine. If you opt for formula, the pain usually lasts about ten days. A comfortable bra and clothes will help relieve the tenderness.
Elementary Tips for New Moms
The postpartum healing process could be stressful, but that is only a part of new moms' challenges! As you finally come home with your little bundle, the whole family has to adapt to new circumstances. Parents need to talk to one another and share their concerns. The adaptation period is unique for every new mom and newborn.
The postpartum period will be easier for everyone if you stock up on essential supplies before childbirth. Essentials for moms may include pads, witch hazel pads, peri bottle, sitz bath, pain-relieving spray, nursing pads, baby carrier, and comfy clothes. Requirements for newborns may consist of: diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, baby soap, formula and bottles (if needed), nighties and other baby clothes, nasal aspirator, crib or bassinet, mattress, and mattress cover, and swaddle.
Be Flexible With a Newborn
Every baby has its own pace of getting used to new circumstances. Sleeping and eating patterns are unique for each little one. While you may think about a sleeping/feeding schedule, it is not possible in the earliest stage. Do not obsess with rigid patterns; let the baby lead you, learning little ones' cues.
Sometimes, it is not unusual to feel disconnected from the situation and your baby. Sleepless nights, challenging days, new routines, and much more could contribute to such a feeling. It is normal. Bonds between a baby and a mother develop gradually. Be patient and not too hard on yourself.
Take Advice and Accept Help
Build yourself a support network that would include family and friends; talk with them in advance to know how much they can help. You may also consider a lactation consultant or a postpartum doula. Connecting with other new moms could also be of great help. You can exchange experiences, learn from one another and go through this exciting but challenging phase together.
- Keep in mind each baby is different, so take advice with caution.
Take Care of Yourself
Have some space for yourself and do relax things, even if it is quick. A nice, warm shower, reading a few pages of your favorite book, a phone call to your best friend, or a cuddle with your partner would do the trick. A healthy and nutritious diet is a must. Take naps and rest as much as possible.