Taking your baby home for the first time is a big transition for everyone in the family. The first few days can be challenging but be patient with yourself and remember you've got this, and we've got you.
To take care of your baby, you have to take care of yourself. Here are a few of our postpartum recovery tips.
Ice Ice Baby
To relieve swelling and discomfort, ice your perineum every couple of hours for the first 24-hours post-birth. Also, a peri bottle is great for rinsing your perineum with warm water.
You have enough things to think about after you bring your baby home. Ruining your favorite pair of lingerie or stretchy pants shouldn't be one of them. Purchase a package of postpartum underwear to help catch bleeding, which can happen 1-6 weeks after delivering.
Feel like you just ran a marathon? Well, having a baby is pretty close. If you're achy from pushing, it is normal! Taking acetaminophen or using a heating pad can help.
Keep Things Moving
Do not be alarmed if you experience constipation after giving birth. Drinking fluids, eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, going for walks, and using gentle stool softeners for bowel movements will all help you to stay regular. Walks will also help boost your mood and energy levels!
Why Am I Crying (Again)?
Hormones and lack of sleep can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, including feelings of emptiness or sadness. Postpartum depression isn't a character flaw or weakness. 1 in 8 women experience it. However, if you are experiencing intense hopelessness or anxiety for more than two weeks postpartum, please reach out to your provider.
Give Yourself Some Grace
You did it! You navigated a lot over the past several months, and in turn, experienced one of life's greatest miracles. You deserve to give yourself some grace. Relish the sweet moments with your little one. Fill your camera roll with baby pictures. Never feel guilty about taking a nap. There will be good days and hard days, but never forget what a wonderful parent you are!
Develop a Cry Plan
Crying is one of the many ways babies communicate with their parents. It can pull at your heartstrings. It can also wear at your nerves – especially when your baby cries for an extended period. This is why it is so important for all parents to develop a plan for handling their baby and themselves when the crying gets tough.
Here is a step-by-step guide to developing a plan that works for your family:
Step 1: What is your baby telling you?
If your baby is crying, they may be trying to tell you something. Check your baby's needs.
- Are they hungry?
- Is it time to eat?
- Does your baby need to be burped?
- Do you need to change their diaper?
- Is your baby sick? Go and see a doctor if you are at all concerned.
Step 2: Try to Calm your Baby
As you learn what works best to calm your baby, make a list. Refer to your list when your baby is upset and see if any of the tactics help. Here is a list to get you started.
- Swaddle your baby
- Try rocking them back and forth
- Go for a car ride
- Put on white noise
- Practice skin to skin contact
Step 3: Take a Timeout
It is more important to keep yourself calm than to keep your baby quiet. Feeling frustrated is okay. Shaking your baby is NOT! It is important to understand that no parent plans to shake their baby – it happens when parents feel overwhelmed. Having a clear plan can help you avoid this from ever happening. Shaking your baby, even for a moment, can lead to serious injury, head trauma, or even death.
Here is a list of suggestions to try next time you feel overwhelmed.
- Get some fresh air
- Take a shower
- Put on a TV show
- Take deep breaths
Step 4: Know who to Call
Sometimes when your baby is crying, you just need to step away for a moment. Have a list of people you can call to give yourselves a short reprieve. If your baby cries for more than three hours, contact your doctor.
When you leave your baby in someone else's care, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this person want to watch my baby?
- Have I had a chance to watch this person before I leave them alone with my baby?
- Is this person good with babies?
- Will my baby be safe in their care?
- Have I gone over my care plan with them?
Believe it or not, how your baby sleeps can go a long way in keeping them safe. Following these tips will help you remove potential hazards and help your baby have sweet dreams.
- Always place your baby on its back for bedtime and naps
- Keep the crib free of pillows, bumper pads, blankets, loose bedding, and toys
- Make sure nothing covers your baby's head
- Use a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib
- Have your baby share your room, not your bed
Remember, tummy time is important for your baby's development. It makes their neck, head, and shoulder muscles stronger. Just make sure you practice tummy time when your baby is awake, and you are watching.
Get more helpful tips here.
Protect Your Baby, Get Vaccinated
When preparing for your baby's delivery, there are many items to check off your list—properly installing their car seat, setting up their nursery, and ensuring you have plenty of diapers and wipes on hand. But there is one very important thing many parents forget – making sure they are up to date on their vaccines.
Newborns are still developing their immune systems, so they cannot fight viruses as easily as all of us. This is why it is so important caretakers reduce the risk of their children being exposed to certain diseases. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure you are current on the following vaccines:
- Flu vaccine
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine
Vaccines can also offer your baby protection. Talk to your doctor to learn more about when you should vaccinate or child, or click here.