Bringing your new baby home is exciting, thrilling, and scary! For the first few days after your birth, many people are around helping you and your new bundle of joy. Once home though, many realize that taking care of your new baby is 24 hour work and the help you had is no longer there. In addition, between days 3-6 your milk starts to come in more and managing breastfeeding can become a challenge. Most women know that their milk will begin to come in more fully, but many do not realize to the extent that it can increase. This can lead to engorgement if the breasts are not properly drained via breastfeeding. On the other hand, if a mother's milk does not come in as fully as needed, she may not realize that her baby is not getting enough milk at each feeding. This can lead to a baby that does not gain weight appropriately and can be more sleepy than normal. In addition to breastfeeding, women are also dealing with hormonal changes and less sleep and many try to take on more tasks than are needed (i.e. cleaning, washing, emailing, cooking, engaging with guests that stop by, etc.).
So...how can a new mother try and make coming home the best experience she and her baby can possibly have? Here are a few tips:
These tips along with the advice of your primary care physician will help you and your new baby get on a positive path. For those of you that have different words of advice, please feel free to share in the comment section. Best of luck to all the new mothers out there!
~ Heather Shabestari, IBCLC
Heather Shabestari, BS, IBCLC, CEIM, is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM). Her lactation training was completed through University of California, San Diego and an 8 month internship at Kaiser Permanente's outpatient lactation department.