Dru Campbell, Head Midwife and Lactation Consultant at HealthBay Clinic speaks to Mums Like Us and shares her invaluable advice.
• Antenatal Classes
Before you have your baby, I highly recommend booking onto class with your husband. Not only will this provide information about your childbirth and baby care options, but it will also give you the opportunity to meet other couples who are expecting babies around the same time as you. Meeting other parents and making friends will be imperative for support in the first few weeks and months following the birth of your baby.
• Babies feed a lot
It can come as a big surprise that babies feed so frequently in the first three months of life. Babies whether they are breast or formula fed usually feed between eight and twelve times in twenty four hours. Your baby may be very busy feeding at night time and this is normal as your prolactin levels (milk making hormone) is at its best between 1am and 5am. The night feeds are important in establishing your milk supply.
• Look after yourself
Looking after a newborn baby is a 24-hour a day, seven day a week job and this can be very tiring. Making sure you are looking after yourself will help you through this time. Ensure you are adequately hydrated, eating nutritious food and rest when you can.
• Ask for help
Ask for as much help from family and friends as possible. Hours of work goes into caring for a newborn baby so you need to be supported and looked after. Ask others to make food for you and help to look after your baby so you can rest.
• Find a supportive Midwife and Paediatrician
We recommend at HealthBay that you see a Paediatrician and also a Midwife within the first week of coming home. Check ups with the Midwives are every week for the first four weeks. An appointment with a Paediatrician is then recommended at six weeks of age, three months, six months, nine months and twelve months. Midwives usually see babies monthly after two months of age and can assist you with breastfeeding, provide baby care advice, administer vaccines and answer any questions you may have.
• Your baby will want to be with you at all times (this is normal)
It is very common that your baby wants to be held at all times. The first three months of life are often explained as the fourth trimester whereby babies are adapting to life outside the womb. Baby wearing is a wonderful way for you and your husband to provide reassurance to your baby. As the weeks go on, your baby will find it easier to be placed in a cot or bassinet for sleep.
• Your postnatal visit to your Obstetrician/Gynaecologist
Ensure that you see your Obstetrician/Gynaecologist for your postnatal check up to ensure that you are recovering well physically post giving birth.
• Meeting up with other supportive mums will help
Getting out of the house and meeting up with other supportive mums will help you to talk about your experiences of caring for a newborn baby. Motherhood is often portrayed as the ‘white background’ where everything is rosy. Motherhood is not like this in reality and some days can be very hard. In our Antenatal Classes we recommend that every Mum finds a group with babies around the same age and talk truthfully about how they are feeling. This communication is very important as there may be others that are feeling the same way and can provide you with support. Some Mums feel as if they are not the same as others if they are not coping. Believe me, every Mum goes through both easy and hard times.
• Be aware of the signs of postnatal illness and how to get help if needed
If you are experiencing any feelings of depression or anxiety, it is very important that you seek help as soon as possible. Postnatal illness is a treatable condition and it is important to receive support and guidance from qualified health care professionals. There is also a wonderful, supportive group called ‘Out of the Blues’ which can be accessed on Facebook, email or telephone and is run by Mums who have suffered with Postnatal Illness.
• As your baby grows
As your baby becomes older you may find that you wish to sign up for swimming classes (usually after four months of age), music and or sensory/developmental classes. This will be a lovely way to spend quality time together. If you are back at work, then spending time singing, talking and playing with your baby when you can, will assist with developing a wonderful bond between you and your child. There are many events around Dubai which you can sign up for free, meet other Mums and gain valuable information.
By Dru Campbell, Head Midwife and Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), HealthBay Clinic