Neonatology adjective After birth
Pertaining to events occurring after birth, usually within
1 year of childbirth
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Wisdom For A Healthy Postpartum Experience
by Sara Skiles, CD (BAI)
You've carefully selected your birth place and care provider, lovingly written out a birth plan, taken your childbirth classes and worked hard to eat healthy and exercise because you hope to have the best, safest birthing experience possible. However, how much preparation have you put into a healthy and enjoyable postpartum period?
Those first 6 weeks of having a new baby in the home are precious, but they can also be rough for new parents: sleepless nights, breastfeeding struggles, and inadequate support during recovery are all too common. These tips for creating a postpartum plan can help make the transition into parenthood a little easier!
KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT
A lot of new mothers are unprepared for the realities of life after birth. What nobody tells you is that you may experience various discomforts after giving birth, such as sore nipples, a sore perineum, hemorrhoids, and chafing due to sanitary pads. You may be one of the lucky moms who doesn't need to worry about these things, but just in case, try to stock up beforehand with an all natural soothing balm, a peri bottle to fill with warm water and use during urination, and witch hazel in liquid or wipe form. You may also wish to prepare a stock of “padsicles”: spread 1 teaspoon witch hazel and 1 tablespoon pure aloe vera over an extra large maxi pad, re-fold, wrap in foil or plastic and place in freezer.
PREPARE FOR BREASTFEEDING
Breastfeeding may be beautiful and natural, but sometimes it doesn't come so naturally to the mother and baby. Learning as much as possible and creating a support system BEFORE the birth can help you succeed. Kellymom.com, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Dr. Sears' The Breastfeeding Book are some excellent reading resources. Start attending your local La Leche League meetings while still pregnant, and write down the numbers of some lactation experts you can call if you need help. Set up a “lactation station” in your favorite area of the home – gather a basket for your breast pads, nipple balm, water bottle, nursing pillow, book, healthy snacks, breast pump and whatever else you might need or want while sitting down to breastfeed.
HAVE A GOOD SUPPORT SYSTEM IN PLACE
A great support system and the willingness to delegate responsibility can really help you to get the rest and care that you need when recovering from birth. If you have any friends, relatives, church family or any other supporters who offer to be of help, be sure to say yes! You may even wish to consider writing up a list of chores for visitors to select from – don't be shy about getting the help you need. Also consider hiring a postpartum doula. Postpartum doulas are specially trained to help you adjust to parenthood and can provide breastfeeding support, light housekeeping, emotional support, resources and information, and detect the signs of postpartum mood disorders.
Did you know that it takes at least 8 weeks for your uterus to return to normal after giving birth? Resting is extremely important for that inner healing. Overdoing it after birth keeps those ligaments from going back to normal and could result in uterine prolapse, extended bleeding and even lead to needing a hysterectomy later in life. Creating a postpartum plan with these tips can help you get the rest you need. Be cautious about stairs, vacuuming, heavy lifting and talk to your care provider before resuming light exercise. Take good care of yourself and you will be better able to care for your sweet babies!
Sara Skiles is a certified birth doula, postpartum doula and belly casting artist. She lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband and son and enjoys art, cooking and blogging at www.WichitaDoula.com when she's not working with new families.