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Preparing for Parenthood - Getting ready to meet your new baby!
Try and use the few weeks of maternity leave to top up on rest, whilst getting the balance
right with movement to help your baby into the right position.
Equipping the nursery
- Sleeping: carrycot, moses basket, crib or cot. Mattress with waterproof cover, fitted sheets, cellular blanket, swaddling shawls. Consider new D shaped cots so you do not have to get
out of bed after a feed.
- Transport: buggy that can lie horizontal, baby sling, car seat
- Bath: baby bath/seat, cotton wool, large soft towel, blunt nail clippers
- Changing nappy: mat (disposable ones available from Boots etc)
- Other: Bouncing chair, muslin squares
Although the Clapham area have an abundance of nurseries, it is worth having a look around them and choosing one that you think will work for you before your baby arrives. The waiting lists can be long so start picking up the local free magazines to see which ones are either near home and/or journey to and from work, discuss with your partner who will do the drop off and pick ups. Make sure you ask the nursery what their policy is if you get back from work late, some start charging after 10 minutes!
If you are considering a private school you will need to get your name on the waiting lists as soon as your baby is born. For state schools, check their catchment area if you are thinking of moving property.
Stock up the freezer
With nutritious food, and ask friends and family to send food rather than flowers when the baby arrives, it is amazing how much time a newborn takes up and your meal times can sometimes get over looked.
Before your baby is born you will be told to sit, upright, open and forward to help baby get into the optimal position for labour, but once baby is born it’s best to be laid back!! You can now snuggle backwards into your sofa, surround yourself with pillows and lay your baby on your chest and let them lead the way (www.biologicalnurturing.com).
Frequently asked questions on feeding baby during the first few hours
How soon after birth should I try to feed?
Research shows that getting skin to skin with your baby as soon as they are born is really important to help bonding and to increase hormone levels (oxytocin and prolactin) which will help your milk come in. It is important for a baby to get at least a few drops of colostrum within the first few hours. Frequent small feeds helps to establish a good milk supply early. Research indicates that babies who breastfeed 10 or more times per day during their first day of life are less likely to develop exaggerated jaundice during their first week.
How long will it take for my milk to come in?
Normally milk comes in around day 3 or 4 this can be accompanied by baby blues (lots of tears), but don’t worry this is not necessarily a sign of post natal depression, just your hormones readjusting to your body’s amazing physical achievement of giving birth to your baby.
Is it right that baby wants to feed every hour?
It is normal for a baby to want to breastfeed long and often in the early days. During the first two weeks of their life baby’s have no idea that they are now separate from their mummy. They love to be on your chest, they many not necessarily want to feed every hour but they certainly want to hear your heart beat.
Make the most of your partner’s paternity leave
Sometimes new mums think the only way dad can be involved with a new born baby is to provide a bottle feed but actually there are LOTS of things ways dads can help YOU whilst you recover from the birth of baby and get lots of rest with baby close by which will increase your oxytocin levels. The hormone of love which is key to helping your milk come in to feed your baby. Your partner can cook or defrost (!!!) lovely food for you and make sure your water glass is topped up. Think about what chores are important to get done, to keep you relaxed and when baby does cry they can take over the cuddles, and obviously there are always dirty nappies!!
You may be very emotional, lots of tears are quite common so make sure your partner keep the guests at bay or just for short visits. Depending on the length of your labour, you will all be tired so take advantage of the short time you have together and snuggle up on the sofa, baby’s love skin to skin time with daddy too.
Your baby has no concept that they are separate from you. This is a psychological feeling of being linked; without consciously thinking, they expect to be attached to you as they were in your womb, and at a deep reflex level they expect to receive everything they want and is unaware that you may not understand that. It is not until week 4 they learn to predict certain things such as your face and voice, or feed when they smell your milk.
You’ll feel after pains as your uterus contracts, most strongly when you breastfeed.
Painkillers may be required, but ask your midwife. Your vagina may feel stretched and
bruised, and tender for a few days if you had stitches, with a stinging feeling when you pass urine. This can be eased by pouring lukewarm water on the area as you urinate and bathing
in a warm bath perhaps scented with healing herbs comfrey, calendula, marigold, tee tree oil,
You may have a sore throat from shouting and stiff muscles as if you have run a marathon.
Pelvic pain may arise if the bones and joints were under strain during birth. Ligaments are still soft so the joints are still wide but they will close over the next few weeks.
Home visits from midwife - day 2 or 3
Should be on second day at home, but call your hospital if they do not visit. This may be the only visit at home you will get from a midwife as they are now encouraging women to visit drop in centres instead. However if you do not feel able to get out do tell them.
- Baby checks during first visit: umbilical cord, weight, heel prick test
- Mother checks: talk about any concerns, check stitches
Some babies don’t cry much until day 2 or 3 when they have the new experience of digestion.
A newborn baby usually sleeps between 16-19 hours each day, waking up every 2-3 hours to eat and sometimes napping for less than an hour at a time. It is unusual to sleep for more than 4 or 5 hours at a stretch.
Health visitor will visit around day 10. They will go through any health concerns you have and tell you when they will be at your local GP and when you need to take your baby for her first check up and injections.
First trip out consider taking
2 changes of clothes for baby, 3 nappies, muslin, one change of shirt for mum (baby may vomit, your breasts may leak), breast pads.
Talk about your birth experience and how you are feeling about your baby. Almost all mums are physically able to breastfeed, but it can take a little while to get the hang of it. It really helps to get someone to show you different ways to hold and feed your baby. Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed at first. It does get a lot easier. By about six weeks most babies settle down into a pattern and feed less often. And, if you need a break you can express milk so someone else can help.
Breastfeeding groups are a great way to make new friends as well as sharing the ups and downs of looking after a new baby. Don’t be afraid to ask for the support and information that YOU need in order to make feeding your baby a relaxed and happy one. No problem is too small, if something is worrying you, the chances are other mothers will have felt the same.
Your child, your teacher, your baby can teach you to…
- Enjoy the moment
- Hear your inner voice and be patient
- Laugh and feel overwhelmed with joy
- Cry and feel low, and rise again into happiness
- Prioritise, placing love and happiness at the top of the scale
- Trust your instincts and be open, yet with boundaries
- See the influence of your own childhood on your present life
- Respect your body as a life source for you and your child
- Manage your time efficiently, value your community and delegate
- Enjoy your feminine aspect
- Share and give time to your relationship with your partner
- See your parents in a new light, and transform your relationship with them
- Believe that you are a wonderful, powerful human being