Articles - You and Your Baby

Home Care for You, the New Mom

You will be busy with the baby so adequate rest is important. Set aside a rest period for yourself, both morning and afternoon, preferably when the baby is asleep. Requesting help with household work is a good idea. Strenuous activities should be avoided for at least two weeks. It is best not to lift anything heavier than the baby during this time.

Sometimes women experience emotional irregularity during the first several weeks after delivery. These episodes might include crying easily, becoming discouraged, feeling overwhelmed, and sometimes feeling inadequate. Changes in hormones, fatigue, adjustments to the new baby, and changes in the family structure all contribute toward your feelings. Try not to worry about it. Share your feelings with your loved ones and get more rest and support from family members and friends.

It is very important that you continue eating a well-balanced diet, one that includes fruits, vegetables, milk products, bread, cereals and meat. If you are breast-feeding, you will need to eat a diet that provides 500-600 more calories a day than the diet you followed before you were pregnant. You should also drink at least 8 glasses or 48 ounces of fluid daily. Finish your supply of prenatal vitamins and iron pills. If you are breast-feeding, continue prenatal vitamins throughout the breast-feeding period. Be sure to take any other medications your doctor prescribes. If you are anemic, a diet high in iron is suggested. This would include liver, other meats, eggs, fish, dried fruits (such as raisins, prunes, and apricots) dark leafy greens, peas and beans, whole grain breads and cereals.

You should wear a bra that gives you good support. Your milk will generally come in within 3 to 5 days after you have had your baby, regardless of whether you are breast feeding or not. Mothers who have elected not to breast-feed should wear a bra night and day for a week, or until the milk has dried up. Some leakage of milk is normal. Try not to express milk manually. For relief of engorged breasts, use small ice packs (ice wrapped in a washcloth) for 30 minutes, 4 times a day. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) may be used for discomfort. Avoid hot showers or any other from of breast stimulation for 20 days or until your breasts are soft and the milk supply disappears.

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