The first couple of months after giving birth can feel overwhelming. If you’re a new mom, there’s a lot to learn. Experienced mothers need to care for their new baby and their older children. To stay on top of all this, you need to watch out for yourself, too.
3 Tips for Busy Moms
1. Put a priority on sleep. Close your eyes whenever your baby naps. The dirty dishes or laundry can wait. Ask a relative or friend to help out around the house for a while.
2. Pay attention to your body. You will go through changes after giving birth. Some may cause discomfort. For constipation, drink lots of water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. If your breasts feel achy, try wearing a supportive bra.
3. Check in with your doctor. It’s just as important for you to visit the doctor as it is for your new baby. You should have a postpartum checkup after giving birth. Your doctor will examine you and make sure your body is recovering. This is also a good time to ask when you can begin exercising again and when it’s safe to have sex.
While many new moms feel irritable and sad at times, these “baby blues” often pass within a week. If you’re sad or upset most of the day for at least two weeks, you might have postpartum depression. Talk with your doctor right away.
Breast milk has nutrients your baby needs and even helps protect against infections. But breast-feeding is good for you, too.
- Breast milk is completely free and ready, no matter where you are.
- Breast-feeding helps you lose the weight you gained during your pregnancy.
- When you breast-feed, you build a special bond with your baby.
If you choose to breast-feed, it takes practice—just like any new skill. Proper positioning will make it easier: Sit up or lie on your side. With your free hand, make a “C” around your breast with your thumb on top and the other fingers below. Tickle your baby’s lips with your nipple until baby’s mouth opens wide. Place your nipple and about 1 inch of your breast all the way in baby’s mouth as you pull baby’s body close.
Know Your Newborn
Even well-prepared moms may be surprised by a few things that are normal in newborns:
- Cord Color—Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will turn yellow and then brown or black, before falling off on its own
- Soft Spots—Two areas, called fontanels, on your baby’s head will remain until the bones in the skull knit together. When your child cries, they may bulge. The soft spots may also pulse along with your baby’s heartbeat.
- Rashes—Tiny white bumps, or milia, on your baby’s face will go away in a few weeks. Scaly whitish patches on the scalp, known as cradle cap, usually clear up in a few months.
Skin Care Tips
- Prevent dry skin. Bathe baby every 2 or 3 days and apply a petroleum-based moisturizer.
- Clean your newborn's eyes, nose, and outer ears gently with a cotton ball dipped in warm water. Don't use soap.
- Clean all areas that touch the diaper with a damp washcloth. Or use alcohol-free baby wipes. Apply a zinc-oxide or petroleum-based cream to prevent diaper rash.
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