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Postpartum - Page 3

Healthy Pregnancy Newsletter
Healthy Pregnancy Newsletter - Growing Mom

In these first weeks after birth, you will need to take good care of yourself, especially if you had a cesarean birth. Your body has undergone many changes, and you will need plenty of rest and good nutrition to help your body heal and rebuild your strength.

Getting the rest You need

Every new parent soon learns that babies have different time clocks than adults. A typical newborn awakens about every three hours, and at this time will need to be fed, changed, and comforted. Especially if this is a first baby, parents can become overwhelmed by exhaustion.

While you may not get a solid eight hours of sleep for several months, the following suggestions may be helpful in finding ways to get more rest now:

  • In the first few weeks, helpers can relieve a new mother of other responsibilities so she can focus on feeding the baby and taking care of herself.
  • 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 doing postpartum exercises, as advised by your health care provider.
  • 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.

Good nutrition for you

A healthy diet helps promote healing and recovery. The weight you gained during pregnancy produced energy stores for your recovery and for breastfeeding. After birth, good nutrition will help you be healthy and active, and enable you to care for your baby.

Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, a healthy and balanced diet is important. 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 meals that include choices from all of the recommended groups from the food pyramid.

Although most mothers want to lose their pregnancy weight, extreme dieting and rapid weight loss can be a health hazard for you, or for your baby if you are breastfeeding. It can take several months for a mother to lose the weight she gained during pregnancy. This can be accomplished by cutting out high-fat snacks and concentrating on a diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits that are balanced with proteins and carbohydrates. Exercise also helps burn calories, and tone muscles and limbs.

Along with balanced meals, breastfeeding mothers should increase fluids. 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 a pitcher of water and even some healthy snacks beside your bed or breastfeeding chair.

Consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if you want to learn more about postpartum nutrition. Certified lactation consultants can also help with advice about nutrition while breastfeeding.

When will my menstrual period start again?
If you are breastfeeding, your menstrual periods will be delayed for several months, usually as long as your baby is breastfeeding several times a day. However, you should not rely on breastfeeding for birth control. You may begin to ovulate (release an egg) without having a menstrual period, which means you can become pregnant. If you are not breastfeeding, you can expect your menstrual periods to begin within one to three months after birth. Your health care provider can help you choose an effective method of birth control.


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