Googly, Woogly, Woosh!

The first 40 days after delivery are important as might be told by your family members, if you just had delivered a baby.

The first 40 days are known as a confinement period which means a time when you recuperate, gain strength and bond with your new baby. It's quite natural to feel that this period is too long and either you may want to get out of the house before that or you may find the practices during these days are too restrictive.

Every moment of this precious period must be enjoyed the fullest by utilizing maximum time you get for yourself and your newborn baby before setting up yourself in the mad rush of life again. As your body will be going through a lot of transition during these first few days of motherhood, here is how you can make the most of your confinement time to help you recover well.

Quick Recovery

It all depends on your birth experience. You may feel well again fairly soon after the birth, but if you had a caesarean or an assisted birth, it can take a long time before you become free from any aches and pains.

The best practice is to allow your body to heal at its own pace. It is pretty under your own control which can be done by resting, eating well and looking out for the signs of an infection or other postnatal complication.

With a newborn, rest may not be something that can be easily managed as the little one probably wants to be fed every two hours throughout the day and night. There is also a tendency to pass urine and motions quite frequently in the newborns. This is why confinement is such a popular postnatal practice advised by the experts.

Post-natal Depression and its Management

Giving birth is an amazing achievement, and every mum responds in her own way. The new mother may either feel alert and happy - physically, mentally, and emotionally or she may feel bruised and battered, exhausted, disappointed and even depressed.

Post-natal depression or baby blues is a common accompaniment feature of delivery, which is reflected in the form of severe mood swings, sadness and guilt.

The most important first step in managing postnatal depression is recognizing the problem and taking action to deal with it. The support and understanding of your partner, family and friends plays a big part in your recovery.

However, to benefit from this, it's important for you to talk to those close to you and explain how you feel. Bottling everything up can give rise to strain in your inter-relationships, particularly with your partner, who may feel ignored

Support and advice from social workers, counselors or self-help groups can provide good advice about how to cope with the effects of postnatal depression, and connecting with other women suffering with the same emotional disturbance is very reassuring and relieving.

Exercise

Exercise has been proven to help depression, and it's one of the main treatments for mild depression. It should be conducted under the supervision of a qualified fitness trainer. 

Treatments

Psychological therapies are usually recommended as the first line of treatment for mild-to-moderate postnatal depression for women with no previous history of mental health conditions. Some common ones are enlisted below:

  • Guided self-help
  • Talking therapies
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal therapy

Consult your doctor and speak out all of you concerns. With the right treatment, you will feel better again.

Post-natal Breast and Nipple care

After birth, the breasts of the mother become larger and heavier, and may become tender as they start making milk. Here are some of the tips for caring and protecting your breast after delivery:

  • Always wear a cotton nursing bra which can allow you to use one breast at a time. It can also help in massaging the breast if it is required.
  • A bra without an underwire is highly recommended.
    In order to protect the breast leaking, breast cotton pads must be used.
  • If there is severe engorgement, then a warm shower or warm hot towels just before the breastfeeding helps in easing the flow.
  • Warm compresses on your breasts before feedings, and cool compresses after feedings help in removing the tenderness.
  • Try not to use soap or any other harsh chemicals on the nipple as it can contaminate the milk and can be taken inside by the baby.
  • If your nipples feel sore, try changing your breastfeeding position and get help to make sure your baby is latching on correctly.

Eating well Post-delivery

Good nutrition is critical in the post-natal period to help you recover and keep up with the demands of motherhood. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, proper nutrition is important for your recovery from childbirth and are prerequisite for maintaining adequate milk supply, therefore, be sure to include plenty of calcium, protein, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E in your diet to aid in your full recovery and help you maintain your strength.  An extra benefit of eating a healthy diet is that proper nutrition will help you cope better with the inevitable fatigue that the new demands of motherhood bring on.
Most mothers require roughly 500 extra calories per day during lactation to keep up with the demands of breastfeeding.  Remember, the baby will take nutrients from your body; so be sure to eat well so you can support you and your baby.  Dieting during lactation is not appropriate because you need to recover and your baby needs proper nutrition.  While breastfeeding, you can still lose weight if you eat a balanced, healthy diet adequate in calories and nutrients.

Remember to focus on the following in your diet:

Calcium:  Your calcium stores were depleted during pregnancy to help your baby grow and develop.  Make sure to eat plenty of calcium rich foods to replenish your stores.
Omega 3s:  Omega 3 fatty-acids are critical for your baby’s brain and eye development.  If you are breastfeeding, try to incorporate foods high in omega 3s, such as salmon, sardines, walnuts, chia and flaxseed.  They also play a role in the weight loss.
Antioxidants:  Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to get the necessary antioxidants to help keep your body as healthy as possible. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals, preventing cellular damage involved in aging, cancer, and a variety of other diseases.
B-Vitamins:  Eat plenty of whole grains and dark greens to ensure your body gets the B-vitamins it needs to maintain proper metabolic pathways.  B vitamins play an important role in carbohydrate metabolism, red blood cell formation, and work to promote healthy nerves.
Fluids:  Make sure to drink a lot of fluid (water especially), because if you are breastfeeding, then you may be depleting your fluids through the milk which you are producing.  
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and medications:  Most everything you eat or drink goes directly to your baby through breast milk, so always be careful and avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking. Try to avoid self-medications.
Exercise:  Consult your doctor before opting for any exercise program.

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