WOMAN 2 WOMAN:The new mother - taking care of yourself after birth

 “Giving birth is so painful! I had never experienced such pain! I shouted like a mad woman and even abused the doctors and nurses who were trying to help me,”   Peace, a “fresh” mother of a 2 week old baby lamented when I visited in hospital.

 “Giving birth is so painful! I had never experienced such pain! I shouted like a mad woman and even abused the doctors and nurses who were trying to help me,”   Peace, a “fresh” mother of a 2 week old baby lamented when I visited in hospital.

“Looking at my baby now has made me almost forget the pain but I think it will take me long to give birth again,” she said.

You have heard it from the horse’s mouth, giving birth is painful! But the pain can actually get worse if a mother does not take care of herself after birth.

The postpartum period (period after giving birth) begins after the delivery of the baby and ends when the mother’s body has returned to its normal state. 

This period involves the mother progressing through many changes, both emotionally and physically, while learning how to deal with all the changes and adjustments required with becoming a new mother. It also involves the parents learning how to care for their newborn. 

A mother needs to take good care to rebuild her strength. You will need plenty of rest, good nutrition, and help during the first few weeks.

Babies have different time clocks than adults. A typical newborn awakens about every three hours and needs to be fed, changed, and comforted.

Especially if this is their first baby, parents - especially the mother - can become overwhelmed by exhaustion. While a solid eight hours of sleep for you may not happen again for several months, the following suggestions may be helpful in finding ways to get more rest now.

In the first few weeks, a mother needs to be relieved of all responsibilities other than feeding the baby and taking care of herself.

Resting
Sleep when the baby sleeps. This may be only a few minutes rest several times a day, but these minutes can add up.
Save steps and time. Have your baby’s bed near yours for feedings at night.

Many new parents enjoy visits from friends and family, but new mothers should not feel obligated to entertain. Feel free to excuse yourself for a nap or to feed your baby.

Get outside for a few minutes each day. You can begin walking and postpartum exercises, as advised by your physician.

After the first two to three weeks, introduce a bottle to breastfed babies for an occasional night-time feeding. This way, someone else can feed the baby, and you can have a longer period of uninterrupted sleep.

Nutrition:
A mother’s body has undergone many changes during pregnancy, as well as with the birth of her baby. She needs to heal and recover from pregnancy and childbirth. In addition to rest, all mothers need to maintain a healthy diet to promote healing and recovery.

The weight gained in pregnancy helps build stores for your recovery and for breastfeeding. After delivery, all mothers need continued nutrition so that they can be healthy and active and able to care for their baby.

Whether they breastfeed or formula feed, all mothers need to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Most lactation experts recommend that breastfeeding mothers should eat when they are hungry.

But many mothers may be so tired or busy that food gets forgotten. So, it is essential to plan simple and healthy balanced meals. A mother’s diet should include whole-grain foods, vegetables and fruits especially fresh fruit juice. But the list for healthy foods goes on and on.....

Although most mothers want to lose their pregnancy weight, extreme dieting and rapid weight loss can be hazardous to your health and to your baby’s if you are breastfeeding.

It can take several months for a mother to lose the weight she gained during pregnancy.  Along with balanced meals, breastfeeding mothers should increase fluid intake.

Many mothers find they become very thirsty while the baby is nursing. Water, milk, and fruit juices are excellent choices. It is helpful to keep water and even some healthy snacks beside your bed or breastfeeding chair.

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