Caring for mum
The first few weeks after giving birth can be very tiring, and if you had a Caesarean Section you will still be recovering. It’s important that Mums make time to eat well, drink plenty of fluids and rest as much as possible. Some helpful tips include:
- Set up a feeding area – a comfortable chair, a small table with a drink and snacks, the remote control or a book nearby.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps.
- Limit visitors and take advantage of offers of help from family and friends – making meals, general housework, shopping, helping with older children. Sticking a ‘chore-list’ on the fridge or cupboard can be a great way of reminding people of the type of help you’d really appreciate.
Breastfeeding is a skill that you and baby need to learn. There are some simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of experiencing difficulties.
- In the early days, ask your midwife, public health nurse, local Breastfeeding Support Volunteer or Lactation Consultant to check that your baby’s position and latch are ok.
- Feed your baby frequently and on demand. Feeding early (when your baby shows early feeding cues) and often (10 or more times a day) in the first few days can help with the feeling of fullness and engorgement when your milk comes-in.
- Allow your baby to finish the first breast before switching sides. This means waiting until they fall asleep or come off the breast on their own. Don’t limit your baby’s time on the breast.
- If your baby sleeps for more than 4 hours during the day in first few weeks pick them to feed. Some babies will feed quite happily while still asleep.
- Care for your nipples:
- change breastpads frequently to stop moisture staying on your skin;
- do not wash your nipples too frequently – daily bathing or shower is plenty;
- after each feed hand express a little milk, and gently rub into your nipple and leave it to air dry.
- If your nipples are particularly sensitive you can use a breast shell (not a nipple shield) to protect them from rubbing against your clothes. Place a breastpad over the breastshell to soak up any leaks.
- Do not introduce other teats, bottles or soothers until after breastfeeding is well established. It usually takes about 4 – 6 weeks for Mum and baby to establish breastfeeding.
- If you begin to experience any pain when breastfeeding contact your midwife, public health nurse, local Breastfeeding Support Volunteer or Lactation Consultant to assess the cause - catching a problem early is better in the long run.
The first week or two at home can be very busy, and getting out and about to a support group may be the last thing on your mind. Breastfeeding support groups are a great way of meeting other Mums who have had similar experiences. Groups may be organised by trained Public Health Nurses or breastfeeding support volunteers, and usually meet once a month. Click here for detail of groups in your local area
If you’re recovering from a Caesarean Section you will not be able to drive for the first six weeks – ask a friend or family member to take you to the group meeting.