Congratulations on your new baby! Hope all is going well. Typically we see you at 6 weeks post-delivery unless there are specific reasons to see you sooner. Your physician will let you know if he or she wishes to see you prior to 6 weeks.
At this visit, we do an exam to make sure that you are healing well. We screen for postpartum depression at that visit and we also discuss contraceptive options. Please visit our contraception page for information about different contraceptive options.
After delivery, you can expect to have some bleeding and cramping for 4-6 weeks. It will be the heaviest during the first 2 weeks and may include some clots during that time. You should use pads and change them on a regular basis. We recommend that you avoid tampons until after 6 weeks postpartum. We also recommend that you avoid sexual activity until after your 6-week post-delivery visit.
You may notice some increased swelling the first few days after delivery. This is normal and may last up to a week. Walking will help mobilize the fluid.
You may have some vaginal discomfort for 4-6 weeks following delivery. Warm baths, pain medications, and topical medications (Tucks pads, Epifoam) may help. Use a squirt bottle with warm water to clean the vaginal area without wiping. You should not put anything in the vagina for 6 weeks.
Increase your activities as you feel that you are able. You may drive once you are off pain medications—typically about a week.
If you had a C-section, please watch your incision. You can bathe or shower, just dry your incision well. A cool hairdryer can help with this. The incision may appear swollen, slightly red or firm. If you have drainage from the incision, increasing redness, or fevers greater than 100.5°, or you experience bleeding that soaks more than 1 pad per hour for 2 consecutive hours, please call the office for an appointment.
Please call the office to schedule your postpartum visit—typically 6 weeks after the baby was born.
Many women will feel some “baby blues” after delivery with sadness, easy crying, anxiety and increased worry. The “baby blues” typically peak around the fifth day, post-delivery, and usually completely resolve by the end of the second week.
For some women, these symptoms can be more persistent and bothersome and could lead to postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is characterized by changes in appetite, energy level, sleep, libido and mood beyond what should occur postpartum. It can happen to any new mother, no matter how happy she is about her new baby.
If you feel like you are more down than you should be, we will be happy to see you in the office for evaluation. If you feel hopeless or feel like you could hurt yourself or your child, call us immediately.
Visit www.mayoclinic.com and type in postpartum depression for more information regarding this condition.
Breastfeeding your baby
Breastfeeding is one of the best things that you can do for your child. And though women have been doing it for many years, it can still be very difficult at first. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first 6-12 months of life. While you are in the hospital, one of our lactation consultants will see you and help you with any potential breastfeeding problems.
Benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding supports a strong bond between mother and child. Once you are comfortable with nursing, it is very convenient and is very economical. Breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs and also provides some immunity from mother to child leading to fewer upper respiratory infections, allergies, ear infections and decreased seasonal illnesses, including the flu. For you, breastfeeding helps you lose the weight that was gained during pregnancy.
Wash your breasts daily with warm water and mild soap. Allow your nipples to air dry. Avoid strong lotions and soaps as they may cause irritation. If you notice nipple cracking, you may apply lanolin after every feeding. You want to make sure you baby has a good latch-on. You want the baby’s mouth to be wide-open and his mouth to be around the nipple and the areola.
Hold the baby so the head faces your breast straight on. Once latched correctly, you may feel some gentle tugging, but it should not be painful. Nurse from both sides with each feeding. Nurse as long as the baby wants, usually 10-30 minutes. Once the baby is latched-on, you will likely feel the milk “let-down” after several minutes. After this, you should be able to hear/see the baby swallowing (to know he is getting milk).
At first, your baby will need to nurse every 2-3 hours, typically feeding 8-12 times in a 24-hour period. Depending on the situation, when the baby is a newborn, you may need to wake him up to feed him if it has been more than 4-5 hours. Later, you can allow him to sleep for longer if he will. Most babies will lose some weight over the first week, but then gain it back quickly.
Your pediatrician will be monitoring his weight to make sure that he is gaining appropriately. They will also give you guidelines for monitoring wet and soiled diapers to make sure that he is getting enough. If you have concerns about feeding frequency, please discuss them with your pediatrician.
Visit www.breastfeedingonline.com for more information. The Nursing Mother’s Companion is a great book to read. In addition, feel free to call the lactation consultants at The Nursing Mother’s Place at 704-384-7515 for more information or to schedule an appointment.