Tip one: After you nurse baby, lay them flat in your hands and jiggle their bum, to help settle the food, and bring up air bubbles. Then, sit them up or lay them on your chest, to burp them. It should get a burp out a little easier, and help prevent them from spitting up. Tip two: When side lying to feed, roll up a little wash cloth and prop it under baby's face to keep baby's face in line with the nipple, and also to soak up milk. Tip three: Newborns sleep A LOT during the first three months (fourth trimester)....except at night, am I right?! So if your baby sleeps all day, only waking to nurse or look around for a few minutes before dozing off again, don't be worried, this is normal. Tip four: Swaddle...or baby wear. It will save your sanity. Babies often don't like being swaddled at first, but if you can "force" it on them, they will start to accept it and then it's a total game changer. Just make sure that when you swaddle, you leave the pelvis (hip) area loose. Baby's legs naturally bow out to the sides, and you don't want to prevent this from happening. As far as baby wearing goes, it's best to take a class on how to do it properly, because there are many variants that can make it unsafe for baby. Photo by Loni Bourne Photography
Postpartum Depression – It’s very important to keep a mental or paper record of negative thoughts and behaviours. If they get worse over time, then you need to let someone you trust, know of these changes, or seek help from a professional. This is nothing to be ashamed of, and is more common than you would think.
Placenta Encapsulation - This is a great one to look into and research. The placenta is very rich in nutrients and is thought to lessen postpartum mood disorders, increase milk supply, and balance hormones.
Breastfeeding/Bottle-feeding – Choose whatever is right for you. Breastfeeding can be challenging at first, but if you can stick with it, it’s well worth it (also very cost effective and convenient).
Your postpartum body: Hair loss - normally starts about 3 months postpartum and can continue for many months afterward. Uterine contractions - generally last the first few days after your baby is born, your uterus will continue to contract back to it's normal size. You may feel these (especially while breastfeeding) or you may not. Postpartum Bleeding - Bleeding after you have a baby is generally heaviest the first week, where you will need to use thick pads, then it starts to lighten up and can last up to 6 weeks.
Postpartum belly binding - Belly binding or wearing a girdle postpartum, can be a great way to bring your core muscles and organs back to their pre-pregnancy state.
Swaddling/Babywearing – These are things that are extremely helpful with a newborn baby. Babies go through what is called the “fourth trimester” where it's important to help them feel safe and secure like they did in the womb. This will make your postpartum life much easier!
Sleeping arrangements – Everyone will tell you something different, but you need to do what works for you, plain and simple - whether that’s co-sleeping or having baby in a crib, in his/her own room.
Circumcision (if you have a boy) – This is a very personal choice, which you should research first, but if you do choose to have your baby circumcised, make sure you have the funds ready to pay for it, and talk to your doctor or midwife about where to have the procedure done.
Meals – Making meals for the family, after having a baby, can be a very daunting task, so consider making up some freezer meals beforehand.
Other children – How will your other children react to a new baby? Who is willing to help you out with your older children when you need a break? How can you make the transition of bringing a new baby home, easier on the family?
Take care of yourself - Remember to take it easy for a while, eat healthy, and if you have any health concerns at all or you just don’t feel well, talk to your family doctor.
Whether or not to breastfeed your baby is a personal choice, so don’t let anyone make you feel bad for either breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. You do what’s right for you and your baby.
Even if you choose to exclusively breastfeed your baby, it’s okay to change your mind, or to supplement, if need be. Do not feel guilty about not giving your baby “the best option”, because they’ll be eating gum off the sidewalk and sand at the playground in a few years anyways!
Before baby is born , you may want to stock up on washable or disposable nursing pads, because you will go through a few pairs per day. Having a good breast pump is another must-have, because it allows you to stock your freezer with milk, in case you need to leave the baby with someone for a few hours or overnight. It’s also a great way to build up your milk supply if you aren’t producing much - the more you pump, the more you’ll produce.
After baby is born , one of the first things you should do is check for a tongue or lip tie, since it is becoming more common, and it can be really frustrating to get a good latch if baby has a tongue or lip tie. To do this, just swipe your pinky finger under baby’s tongue, and make sure there is space there, where baby has good tongue flexibility. You can also ask your health care provider to check for this after baby is born.
Getting the first latch can be a bit tricky at first. What you’ll need to do, is grab your breast from the base, and squeeze to the nipple to get out a little colostrum. Next, while “sandwiching” your breast with one hand, bring baby's head up to the nipple with your other hand. Coming up from under the breast, you’ll want your nipple pointing to the top of baby’s mouth. Now, you can “tickle” baby’s bottom lip with your nipple, and then once his/her mouth is nice and wide, bring baby’s mouth up and around the whole areola. To know that baby is getting milk, you’ll hear a little clicking noise as they swallow, you’ll also see his/her cheeks sucking in.
If nursing feels uncomfortable or pinchy, you’ll need to adjust the latch by putting your finger in the corner of baby’s mouth, to break the seal.
When baby is latched on, make sure his/her bottom lip is out (not curled in). To do this, just put your finger on baby’s chin, and push down, to bring that bottom lip out.
A few nursing positions to look up, would be;
Biological nurturing, or laid back nursing
The first few days after your baby is born, you will be producing colostrum, which is a very nutrient rich substance, and because baby’s stomach is still so small, they don’t need very much to fill them up, so don’t be concerned if your milk hasn’t come in yet.
Once your milk does come in (generally a few days after birth), you might feel very engorged, this is a good time to stock up the freezer with extra milk (or even donate some) by pumping out some of the excess, just remember that the more you pump, the more you’ll produce. If your breast are hard and tender and you just need a bit of relief, put a warm cloth on your chest, this will help relax those milk ducts. You could even sit in a bath with baby, and just let some of the milk drain