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Growing Healthy Podcast

Nov 12, 2017

AK - Maria, do you remember those first few days post partum?
MK - I sure do

AK - Today's episode is all about what women wish they'd known about the first few days after having their baby.  But before we get into that, just a little reminder.

MK - Alicia, I know that you are doing post-partum group visits, which I think is just invaluable.  You reached out to some new mom's and here's the top 5 things they had to say about what they wish they knew about in those first few days after having their baby.

1)Breastfeeding: This is a new skill set for both mom and baby...and takes some time for both to learn.  Do not get discouraged, make sure you ask for help with your latch if it is painful.  Public health and at our clinic lactation consultants early on can improve the latch to help minimize damage to your nipples.  Milk coming in occurs around day 2 after a vaginal delivery and 3 days after a cesarean section.  It can be quite dramatic, and uncomfortable as your breasts have probably never been this large before.  It also can affect latch, so make sure you ask for help if you are struggling.  Some women find if they express/pump some milk off it can relieve some discomfort and make the latch a bit easier.  babies vary in how much they need to eat and how often.  In the early days it can take one hour to feed your baby, and they may need to eat every 2 hours.  This will improve over time, as baby gets more efficient. The let down can be fierce, and you can leak that precious milk everywhere! a couple of products I have just heard about that I wish I knew about are the Haakaa or Milkies
a way to catch that milk from the opposite side that would otherwise be lost to a nursing pad....oh yes...and dont forget the nursing pads!  disposable or save some of those t-shirts!  You need to keep well hydrated and eat thourhgout the day.  It takes an extra 500 calories to create food for your wee little one....and all that fluid production can lead to constipation in have lots of water around everywhere, and you may need to add a little prune juice to the mix!  most women are started on stool softeners in the hosptial...make sure you keep that going for a few days!

2) Bleeding - most women bleed like a heavy period for 2-5 days and then it gradually decreases over the following few weeks, when you go home it will probably increase a little bit, but as long as it is trending downward that is fine. This is a result of your uterus cramping back down to its normal size.  The release of oxytocin while breastfeeding can lead to this cramping, which in some women can be quite uncomfortable.  There will be some clots passed, but as long as heavy persistent bleeding does not follow (ie soaking a pad hourly for 3-4 hours) than it is most likely normal.  We recommend nothing in the vagina for 4-6 weeks, so generally means you need to wear a pad.  As your flow gets lighter you may want to switch to reusable or cotton pads with out the mesh covering as it can be very irritating on an already sensitive vagina! Speaking of sensitive vaginas...yours will be sore!  use a peribottle (squeeze bottle given to you in hospital) and have epsom salt soaks a couple of times a day (try this sitz bath tub).  Even if you have a  c/s your vagina will probably need a little tlc.  When we are breastfeeding, we are not producing the estrogens that keep our vaginal tissue plump and it can be quite dry and irritated by the pads and the sitting for long periods of time.  

3)Baby blues: you have just gone through a huge event both physically and emotionally and that can take it's toll!  Also your hormones are changing significantly during the first few days after birth and you are not sleeping much.  All of this added up can lead to some baby blues.  Most women experience some of this.  For some it is much worse.  Make sure you ask for help.  Try to not have too many visitors in those first few days, and if you do put them to work!  If you continue to struggle with your mood past the first week, please seek help from your health care provider. This includes worry or anxiety, you are going to be worried about your baby, checking them when they are asleep to make sure they are still breathing is completely normal while you settle in to get to know each other...but if it is interfering in your ability to enjoy this time....then seek help.  Add to this the huge life changes, everyone trying to give you advice, tell you you are doing things wrong can be quite overwhelming.  Make a plan with your partner/support system prior to delivery about how you can communicate in a safe and respectful manner, and think about what your parenting goals are going to be for that first month, and how to plan to support each other during this challenging but amazing time! Remember you are not alone, most moms go through challenges during this time.  Talk to friends, families and ask for help.

4) Sleep: You will not sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time for the first 4-6 weeks, unless you are one very lucky sleep when you can!  during the first few weeks babies sleep more during the day and are up more at night, they then start to figure out their days and nights, and as they are growing sleep for longer windows at night. If you are able to, try to get a longer chunk every few days, this requires a supportive partner or friend, and either just a quick breastfeed or pumped bottle or formula.  We all need at least a 3-5 hour chunk of sleep to keep going.....

5) Focus on your priorities.  The laundry can wait, take out is just fine at this point, you can scrub your floors later.  Your job is to focus on your family and get things off to the best start.  Get your helpers in to cook you some meals (or do it before baby and freeze them as you can).  Gift certificates to restaurants are great asks for a baby shower...

Epsom Salts
Sitz Bath Tub
Disposable Nursing pads
Reusable nursing pad
Stool Softener (safe in pregnancy/breastfeeding)
Cotton postpartum pads