The changes having a baby brings can get pretty overwhelming. Know what to expect when your baby arrives.
WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES
Getting Used to Baby’s Schedule – Give Yourself Time
Every baby is a little different; so even though you’ve heard what life is like from your friends who have just had babies, allow your little one to teach you what kind of schedule to expect over time. According to Dr Leo Dengjin, paediatrician at Thomson Paediatric Centre, a baby in the first month of life spends between 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping. “This does not mean that there will be a lot of freed-up time for the parents, as the baby will require three-hourly feedings.” Note that breastfed infants who are fed on demand may require more frequent feeds.
If you want to know if your breastfed baby is drinking enough,
the doctor says that a good gauge is to monitor the
number of wet nappies produced over 24 hours.
“Five or more wet nappies in a day is a fairly good indication that the baby is getting sufficiently fed. Breastfed infants may also pass stools up to six to seven times in a day.”
If you’re wondering what else will take up your time, Dr Leo says, “Add on daily baths, diaper changes, the occasional fussing, doctor visits in the first two weeks for jaundice, health checks and vaccinations over the subsequent months, parents may find themselves on their feet most of the time! This is especially taxing on the mother who may already find herself physically exhausted from nine months of pregnancy and also trying to recover from the stress of childbirth.”
Know What to Expect Emotionally
Pregnancy and delivery come with a whole slew of crazy hormonal shifts. Feeling emotional or overwhelmed is a very normal part of delivering a child. “While many mothers will experience some baby blue symptoms such as tearfulness or sadness in the first few days, parents should seek professional help if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks”, says Dr Leo, as postnatal depression affects roughly 10 to 15 per cent of women after childbirth.
According to the doctor, symptoms of postnatal depression may sometimes be hard to detect as “some mothers may find themselves withdrawn or unwilling to speak to their partners about what they are experiencing”. He adds that some of these symptoms may include: (1) insomnia, (2) difficulty concentrating, (3) abdominal discomfort, persistent body aches or headaches, (4) anger or resentment towards other members of the family, (5) feeling detached and emotionally distant from the baby, or (6) intrusive thoughts of physical harm or death of the baby. “When in doubt, seek professional help early."
Know When to Call the Doctor
New mums are often worried and tend to want to take their babies to the doctor at the slightest sign of trouble. You may or may not try to hold yourself back from calling your doctor every time you have a worry.
Dr Leo says there are few situations that definitely warrant a visit. “Parents should definitely schedule an early visit with their doctor if their child has significant jaundice, or if the baby has lost significant weight from birth (more than 10 per cent of birthweight), or if their baby fails to regain their birth weight by two weeks old. Any problems related to nursing should also warrant a visit. Find out from the clinic nurse which are the quieter clinic hours and schedule your visits during those periods, so your doctor may have more time to go through the baby’s care and health, and you may also potentially avoid exposing your newborn to other older children at the clinic whom may be seeing the doctor for infectious problems such as flu and fever.”
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