What is normal for mum and baby in the first few weeks after birth? We chat to Dru Campbell, Head Midwife at Health Bay Polyclinic on Al Wasl Road (www.healthbayclinic.com) to find out…
Sutures (stitches) are usually made of a dissolvable material and take between ten days and three weeks to dissolve completely. It is important to keep the area clean and dry for it to heal well. You can take a mild pain reliever, which is safe to take when breastfeeding. Change your pads frequently and inform your Midwife or Obstetrician if you feel severe pain or have any concerns.
Following the birth of your baby, you will experience vaginal bleeding known as lochia. As the uterus heals and returns to normal, the lochia will slow down and change from fresh blood to a brown discharge. You can bleed up to six weeks after the birth and it is usually heavier in the first two days. It is important to change your sanitary pads regularly and inform your Midwife or Obstetrician if you pass any clots.
If you are breastfeeding and if you have sore or cracked nipples, it is recommended that you see a Midwife or Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to ensure your baby is attaching correctly to the breast. You can also gently rub breast milk onto your nipples and use a lanolin-based cream between feeds.
Caesarean Wound Care:
The type of suture material (stitches) used by your obstetrician for your caesarean wound may vary. It is extremely important to keep your wound clean and dry. Bathe as normal using a non-perfumed soap and pat dry the area afterwards, allowing air to get to the site. If you notice oozing, redness, odour or you have a fever, please contact your Midwife or Obstetrician.
After the birth of a baby, about 70% of women experience the ‘baby blues’. This is triggered by hormonal changes. The symptoms are usually mild and include crying or irritability. Postnatal illness (PNI) however is more serious and usually requires professional assistance. PNI is described as symptoms of depression and/or anxiety after the birth of a baby – and it is a treatable condition. Contact your Midwife or Family Practitioner (GP) if you are having any of the following symptoms: feeling low or unhappy for much or all of the time, irritability or anxiety attacks, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, unable to enjoy activities of daily living, feeling you are not coping with caring for your baby.
You don’t need to bath your baby everyday, however it is a good idea to give your baby a ‘top and tail’ wash on a daily basis. This is cleaning your baby’s face and bottom daily with cotton wool and water.
You baby will have a cord stump that measures about 2cm, with a clamp at the end. Use cooled boiled water or bath water to clean the cord stump once or twice a day. Speak to your Midwife or Paediatrician if you notice that the area around the cord site appears red.
All babies cry. The most common reasons are hunger, a wet or dirty nappy, wind or gas, being too hot, cold or uncomfortable, being tired, or wanting cuddles. Sometimes babies simply feel overwhelmed by all the new sights, sounds and sensations in the early weeks of life and need time to adjust.
Whether breast or formula feeding, babies will typically feed between eight and twelve times in a twenty-four hour period. If you are experiencing any challenges with breastfeeding, it is vital to contact a Midwife or Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) for support as soon as possible.
Babies normally pass urine once in the first 24 hours of life. By day three to four (once the milk changes) your baby will pass urine between four and six times a day. The stools will start off as meconium, which is black in colour and sticky in consistency. After two days, it changes to a green or brown colour - and by day five, a yellow mustard colour. It is very common for your baby to pass frequent, liquid stools in the first weeks, especially if you are breastfeeding.
The amount of time that babies sleep varies greatly. It is recommended that you place your baby on their back to sleep, dress your baby as you would yourself for sleep with one additional layer, have the room well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature, and do not use duvets or quilts as this can overheat your baby and increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
When to contact your Paediatrician:
Contact your Paediatrician if your baby has a fever of 38’C or above or if the baby’s skin appears jaundiced (yellow) and if he or she is not waking well for feeds.