Childcare and You

Childcare and You

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Postpartum Care – Tips for Work-At-Home Moms

Ideally, postpartum care for a new mother should last for minimum six weeks, in order to restore her body totally from the strenuous effort of childbirth. However, not all new mothers can afford the luxury of indulging in a relaxed period of postpartum care, especially if she lacks adequate family support of her parents or her in-laws. As a work-at-home mom you should be conversant with postpartum issues and plan a schedule that will enable you to take adequate rest and sleep without disturbing your baby’s schedule.

Use a postpartum belt to help your uterus get its pre-pregnancy shape back. Postpartum belts must be worn right after childbirth for a month or two, in order to support your lower abdomen, as you may feel it sag soon after delivery. While you sit up to feed your baby, the belt will give an added support to your stomach and abs and prevent you from slouching forward. The belt reduces vaginal gas, strengthens your spine and pelvic muscles.

Sleep whenever your baby goes to sleep. The week after childbirth should be used to catch up on sleep and rest in order to regain your strength because you are going to need all your body resources to meet the demands and challenges of looking after your baby.Sleep deprivation will affect your health badly.

Meet with your doctor for postpartum baby blues. It is normal to feel a wide range of emotions ranging from anger, sadness, tearfulness and depression because of the hormonal imbalance after childbirth, for a couple of weeks or maybe more. These feelings are short-lived and will go away within a week after birth. But if the anxiety attacks continue, confide in your husband and meet up with your doctor.

Use hot or cold packs for relief from pains. Childbirth is no small feat and your body has achieved that feat. During childbirth, all your body muscles have got to work to assist you in smooth delivery, so it is natural to feel acute pain and aches all over. But the pain will gradually diminish and you can use hot/cold packs to boost your circulation and provide relief.

Eat a nutritious and balanced diet to nourish your body. Your diet must include all the vitamins, minerals, iron, good fats and fiber. However, avoid cold foods for the first couple of weeks. Take care to eat foods that will not cause postpartum gas. (read Postpartum Foods for New Mothers). Drink plenty of water, to keep your body hydrated, especially if you are nursing your baby.

Take supplements of Iron and Calcium for at least six months after childbirth - Nursing your baby takes its toll on your health which cannot be compensated with food alone. Supplements of calcium with vitamin D and iron is essential to strengthen your bones and teeth. The early rays of morning sun is healing. So, take your baby out to soak in the early morning sun rays that is a rich source of vitamin D.

Hire a domestic maid to do household chores. You will have your hands full with your baby, so a domestic maid will simplify matters. Alternatively, you can hire the services of a doula to give you much needed emotional support to help you cope with this new addition in your life.

Chart out a schedule about basic work like feeding, sleeping and bathing your baby. This will give you an idea of what you will be required to do and plan other chores around that. You will gradually get into a routine and will be able to juggle between your baby and other household work with ease. 

Learn to multitask in an organized way - After a month of proper rest, sleep and diet, you can get back to your work. This is easier said than done, I know, especially when it is easy to get distracted with your baby around all the time. In order to have a quiet time to work, you will need to create a structured schedule of your baby’s sleeping and playing hours and work around it. In time, you will be adept at it and become more organized and productive. Maintain a appointment book or an old fashioned calender or a file cabinet or blackberry or whatever works for you, to simplify your work. In addition, you could have a nanny care for your baby for a couple of hours or more during which time you can do your work.

Take your spouse's help in doing simple chores - like feeding the baby, changing diapers or playing with your baby, before he leaves and after he gets home from work. As a result, the father-baby bond will be strengthened too. Looking after a baby requires team effort and it is not advisable for you to take on all chores concerning the baby, upon yourself. Discuss openly with him about sharing tasks like baby care, office work, personal work, time out for being together etc., and make a detailed plan.

Take a break once in a while - You need to get out of the house at least once a week in order to recharge your batteries. After spending so long indoors looking after your baby, you need a break. Leave the baby with your husband, head off to the nearest park, relax and enjoy the change in place and scenery.

Try nursing your baby while you work on your desktop - This may work only as long as your baby is tiny and can be strapped to you in a baby sling and you can still work on your computer. It saves time on days when you are pressed for time. 

Talk to other new work-at-home mothers for additional tips - Discuss your issues with other new mothers and exchange notes for useful information and advice.

Do simple breathing exercises to improve physical and mental well-being - Yogic breathing techniques is a powerful stress buster and an absolute must during postpartum care. Regular practice will energize, invigorate and revitalize you with energy to do physical activity throughout the day. Do it first thing in the morning when you get out of bed, so that you are energized for the rest of the day OR before going to bed. (read Pranayam – Yogic Breathing for Your Body and Soul)
Although motherhood is fraught with challenges and demands, you are able to rise up to meet it as soon as you pick up your soft bundle of joy in your arms.

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