Baby Care & Child Health Problems

Part I
BABY CARE

VIII
Tips for New Mom

One of the greatest milestones in a woman's life is becoming a mother. No other single event brings about as many changes and as much responsibility for her, as this one. Having a baby gives a woman a sense of fulfilment and enormous joy. At the same time, it has been seen that the first-time mothers get overwhelmed by the changes that take place in their life as well as their body, after the baby is born. The life of a woman changes completely with the arrival of the baby and the amount of work she has to cope with, leaves her completely exhausted. While nothing can equal the joy that motherhood brings, new mothers often find themselves in a demanding situation.

New mothers have the challenging task of caring for their babies, even as they have to care for themselves and ensure that they recuperate from the strains of delivery as soon as possible. After all, only a healthy mother will be able to ensure a healthy growth and development of her baby. However, a huge responsibility, such as that of a child, can certainly baffle the new mother and make her feel anxious and frustrated. In order to help all the new moms out there, we have provided a number of tips in our related chapters. These tips will prove extremely useful for all the women in the world, after the birth of their child.

1. Going Back to Work after Baby

Some new mothers will not be able to stay at home with their babies for long. They may have to return to their jobs after three or four months. However, you should try to stay at home for as long as you can. If you can work part-time or from home, nothing like it! The newborn needs your attention and care and no one else can give your baby the motherly care that only you can give. At the same time, you will have to get back to work sooner or later. You can't avoid work for long no matter how much you want to be with your little baby. Eventually, both the mother and the baby will have to learn to live without each other for 8 to 10 hours of the day. Here are some things you can do to prepare yourself and your baby, so that going back to work after baby is easier for both of you.

A working mom with baby

Working after Having a Baby

 Before you join work, start leaving the baby for some time with someone who would be with the baby in your absence. This will make them get used to each other and the baby will not miss you terribly, when you are not around.

 You could even give yourself a trial run of travelling back to work. This will give you confidence that you can travel again. Since you have been at home for quite some time, it is better to get a hang of office work once again.

 These physical separations will help both the mother and the baby, once the mother returns to work.

 During your maternity, keep in touch with your colleagues by phone or by e-mail. This will help you to maintain the same comfort level in rejoining after a long period of time.

 Be aware of what is going on in the office. Keeping yourself informed will only help you to be in touch, so that you look forward to joining office after the break.

 You can make some short visits to the office before your official joining date. This will help you get to know what is happening at office and will be seen as a proactive step to getting back to work.

2. Health Tips for New Moms

New mothers need to take special care of their health, along with attending to the needs of the new born. Since they have also gone through a lot during their pregnancy and delivery, physically as well as emotionally, it is important to give ample attention to the health front, so that recovery is quick and you are back to your normal healthy shape in just a matter of some days. Keeping hale and hearty is essential as a new baby can exhaust you very soon, making you feel tired and jaded. Here are some very useful health tips for new moms.

Keeping Fit

Nowadays, everyone wants to get back into shape soon after the baby is born. Mothers would like to regain their original slim figures within a few months. Though it maybe difficult to find time and exercise with a newborn, mothers who make the effort feel much better, as your energy level increases as well. If you cannot go to an organized exercise class, find time to do a few exercises at home or simply dancing at home can do the trick. Other ways to exercise are:

Getting back into shape after child birth

 Taking a walk is a good option; you could take your baby along. If the local park has a smooth pathway, you can use a pram or a baby sling.

 Some pools have creche facilities, so you can leave your baby there and swim without worrying. Swimming once or twice a week is good enough.

 Join other postnatal exercise classes at the local gym.

 Attend postnatal exercise classes conducted by the child health clinic.

Healthy Diet

As you will be breast-feeding the baby, you will have to eat well. It is possible to lose weight by following a healthy diet. Even while snacking, make sure that the snacks you eat are healthy. Try some of these:

 Vegetable soup with whole wheat or whole meal roll.

 Hummus eaten with breadsticks or sliced raw vegetables.

 Toast and baked beans.

 Toast and scrambled eggs.

 Tuna sandwiches.

Eat plenty of vegetables, fresh fruits and drink enough water. Increase your calcium intake by drinking a lot of milk and increasing consumption of dairy products.

Socialising

Most new mothers feel more reassured and gain confidence when they interact with other women in the same situation as they are. Try to form a group of new mothers, discuss problems and share solutions with each other. Others ways to socialise with new mothers are:

 Meet regularly at each other's house.

 Establish a babysitting circle.

 Take care of each other's children.

 Go out together.

 Having a well-established social circle and play group for your children.

 Visiting mother and baby clinics together.

 Joining together local sports centre for postnatal exercises or baby swimming classes.

3. Marital Relations after Childbirth

With the arrival of the baby, the relationship between husband and wife will undergo a change. There may be some initial strain and tensions in the relationship, though there is nothing that the two partners cannot solve by taking out time for each other and talking things out. After childbirth, each partner has his or her own expectations and apprehensions. Some of the things that men worry about after childbirth are earning enough for the family, the kind of father they will make and the fear of feeling left out as his wife will be devoting all her time to the baby. At the same time, a woman too has her own apprehensions and fears regarding whether her husband will support her for whether the baby will affect her relationship with spouse.

Relations with Spouse after Baby

After parenthood, it becomes very difficult for both partners to find time to spend together as a couple. A newborn baby takes up all the time of both the mother and the father. Though it may seem that the baby is affecting your relationship, it is not so. Neither does a baby damage a good relationship, nor does he/she improve a bad one. It is ultimately up to the partners to find time for each other, no matter how difficult it is or how tired they are. Here are a few things you can do to keep your relationship alive.

 Talk to each other about how you feel and also regarding your problems.

 If you disagree on something, then just agree to disagree. Do not try to always have the last word. This will make things worse; do not let your ego get in the way of the relationship.

 For some time, each day, continue to think of your partner as your lover and not the father or mother of your child.

 Spend time with the baby together, play and cuddle the baby together. This will give you quality time as a family.

 Once a week, ask a friend or a family member to take care of the baby for a few hours, so that both of you can spend some time together alone.

Sexual Relationship Post Childbirth

Sexual relationship maybe affected to a great extent once the baby is born. Since this important aspect of your relationship is affected, it may take a toll on your bond. As a new mother, the demands of your baby, exhaustion, unhappiness with bodily changes after childbirth and the effect of breast-feeding on sex drive can make you feel withdrawn from sex after childbirth. Your partner may feel that you have only time for the baby and not for him. While you may feel that everyone is only making demands on you and you don't have any time for yourself. Taking out time to improve your sexual relationship will help you and your partner.

Let's Remember

·      There is no right time to restart your sex life. You can begin wherever you left.

·      Just lying together, cuddling together and spending time together can improve your relationship and make you comfortable with your body.

·      If sex in painful even after the vagina heals, you should consult your doctor.

·      The vagina is an elastic and supple tissue, which heals quickly.

·      A woman's body was created to bear children and the human body has great recuperation powers.

·      If you still feel that you and your partner are having problems with your sexual relationship, take advice from an expert counsellor.

4. Travelling with a Baby

Though you may be travelling less frequently, once you have a baby till he/she is a little old, it does not mean that you stop taking holidays because of the little ones. But, you will have to make elaborate plans well in advance. It is quite natural that you will want to go for a weekend outing nearby with your family and the little one. Travelling with your baby can be really enjoying if he/she luxuriates the surrounding with you. And your baby can only enjoy the outing if he/she finds the atmosphere compatible. Being away from home is a big change in routine for both, you and your baby, so you will have to plan ahead, even anticipate problems and be prepared to deal with them, so that the entire family enjoys a good holiday. Taking advice from parents, who have taken their children on holidays, is a good idea. Here are a few tips about things that worked for other parents while travelling with a baby. To make the journey comfortable and enjoyable for him/her, you need to carry some safety accessories necessary for your infant.

Travel Accessories for Babies

 You will have to pick up some baby wipes for a quick wipe-up for infant while travelling in the flight.

 While selecting the baby travel safe seat prefer the bulkhead seats, if your baby is an infant. These seats are meant for babies kept in bassinet.

 It is a better idea to carry milk and other food for your babies, as your baby may feel hungry anytime during the journey.

Baby's travel bag

 If your infant is breast-feeding or bottle-feeding, feed him/her during take-off and while landing. It will prevent the noise to reach his/her ears and he/she will feel comfortable while having milk.

 Carry fragranced bags so that you can dispose the diapers in the toilet bin after putting the diapers in the bags.

 Carry a set of clothes for your infants handy as you might need to change in the flight. He/she may spoil the dress while being fed or otherwise. Therefore, be prepared for such a situation.

Tips on Travelling with a Baby

 You may use the toilet before boarding the plane, as the bathroom in the aerodrome is quite spacious and clean compared to the flight toilet.

 Before going to catch a flight, check the health of your child with a doctor. If he/she is unwell, it is better to postpone the trip, till the baby recovers fully.

 Don't depend on the flight attendant for heating the milk bottle. They may not understand the adequate temperature required for the milk bottle of a baby.

 You can carry some books specially meant for infants, as they can be a good pastime for them while travelling.

 While booking a holiday, find out what facilities the tour operator provides. Children, who are two years or below, usually travel for free. Also check whether your baby will require a passport.

 Find out what kind of childcare facilities the operator provides, such as baby cots, prams, highchairs, etc., so that you do not have to carry these things with you.

 Once you decide on the holiday location, consult your doctor about the vaccination your baby requires before you decide the holiday dates. If there are vaccines to be taken, it is best to take them a little before the holiday date. Some vaccines cannot be taken together and may need a few weeks in between. So, you will need time to vaccinate your baby.

 The most difficult part of your holiday will be the journey, and with a small baby, it will not be easy. You should book an air cot well in advance. Get seats that are together, so that you have ample space on the flight. Book meals for your children in advance, it would help if they could be served before you are served.

A couple with small baby on a trip

 If you are hiring a car, ask the company to provide you with a baby seat, so that you don't have to carry one.

 Take toys for the journey, old and new ones, so that the baby will be occupied and will not get tired of the journey.

 There could be delays on the way, so you should carry enough snacks for the baby, especially drinks, milk powder, hot water etc. It is better if the snacks don't consist of sticky food, as they are messy.

 It is easier to travel if you are breast-feeding, you don't have to worry about sterilized bottles or clean water to make bottle-feeds.

 Take your baby sling or back carrier, it will occupy less space and it will be easy to carry the baby around.

 If you are holidaying in a place where the weather is hot, make sure that you carry sun block for your baby as his/her skin is delicate and more likely to get sunburns.

 While booking your holiday, you can book a hotel that provides childcare facilities such as nannies, creches, etc. You should check them before using them and only avail them when you are sure your baby will be well taken care of.

 You may use the toilet before boarding the plane, as the bathroom in the aerodrome is quite spacious and clean compared to the flight toilet.

 Don't depend on the flight attendant for heating the milk bottle. They may not understand the adequate temperature required for the milk bottle of a baby.

FAQs

Q-1. I am a working woman. My daughter is now four months old. I have to join work soon. When can I put her in a care centre?

Ans. If yours is a joint family, then it would be better if you could hire a nanny for the baby who could care for the baby under the vigilant eye of other members of your family. But if you have to put your daughter in a care centre, then it is advisable that you wait till the time she weans away from exclusive breast-feeding. Although it is preferable that you delay sending the baby to the baby care centre at least till the baby is toilet trained and he/ she is able to tell you about her day at the centre to some extent.

Q-2. How do I choose a good care centre for my baby?

Ans. While choosing a care centre, keep these things in mind:

 The centre should be close to your home or workplace.

 The centre should have a favourable child and child caretaker ratio e.g. 2:1 for very small babies is better.

 The place should be clean, spacious and well-ventilated.

 The kitchen and toilets should be hygienically maintained.

Q-3. My baby is eight months old. When I get back home from work, I feel too tired to breast-feed the baby. What should I do?

Ans. Your baby is old enough to not to depend exclusively on breast-feeding. Give her other foods along with breast-feeding. Completely stopping breastfeeding would not be advisable as mother's milk is highly nutritious for the baby. Rearrange your work at home in such a way that you get some time for breast-feeding the baby.

Q-4. I have a demanding job, a small baby at home and household chores to attend to. After completing all these tasks, I get so tired that hardly find any time for my husband. This has irked my husband and lately he has begun snapping at me and the baby. What should I do?

Ans. You cannot do everything alone. You are also a human being. Make it clear to your husband that he must share some of your responsibilities if he expects some time lone with you. If he agrees to share your responsibilities, then it would be better for your relationship.

Q-5 After my delivery, I have put on lot of weight. In a month, I will be joining office but recently I found out that I do not fit in any of my old clothes. What should I do?

Ans. You have two options – either get back into shape by exercise and controlled dieting or buy new clothes which may fit you. The first option is definitely better though it may not be as easy as it sounds. However, some effort on your part may show you good results. Join a Yoga or Aerobic class. Go for regular walks. Do postnatal exercises which keep you fit. Eat healthy diet and avoid snacking on high-carb foods.