BLISS AND BLUE*
If life with your new baby is getting you down, you’re not alone. As a society, we put a lot of pressure upon ourselves, creating preconceptions on how we should feel or how things should be. The notion that you will immediatly fall in love with your new baby differs from reality formore than 50% of new mothers. It really is very normal that the bond between the mother and baby will develop over a couple of weeks.
New mother goes through some major changes that make them vulnerable to depression and anxiety
Physical -a dramatic drop in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in your body may contribute to the "Baby Blues” . Hormones produced by your thyroid gland also may drop sharply and can leave you feeling tired and depressed. Changes in your blood volume, blood pressure, immune system and metabolism can contribute to fatigue and mood swings.
Emotional - when you're sleep deprived and overwhelmed, it can be difficult to handle even minor problems. You may be anxious about your ability to care for your newborn. You may feel less attractive or struggle with your sense of identity. You may feel that you've lost control over your life. Any of these factors can contribute to the "Baby Blues".
Lifestyle factors can also lead to the “Baby Blues”, including a demanding baby or older siblings, difficulty breast-feeding, financial problems, and lack of support from your partner or other loved ones.
The good news, being a mother doesn't mean the rest of your life is over. Give yourself permission to "not be perfect” and to enjoy the breaks from your baby. It does get better, and nearly all of the desperate and sad new moms I encountered got more relaxed and bonded beautifully with their baby as they both started sleeping more. There's no shame in getting a baby sitter or asking your significant other to take over for a little while. Once you change the mindset that you need to do everything all by yourself, a lot of your anger, resentment, and frustration will subside.
Here are some ways to help the bonding process along:
• Skin to Skin contact with the baby
• Eye to eye contact (baby may try to mirror your movements)
• Singing or humming to baby
• Bathing the baby
• Mimicking baby's cooing and other vocalizations
• Using a baby sling or carrier
• Letting baby use touch to explore your face
*The Blues should be gone by about two weeks after delivery. If they continue any longer you should contact your doctor, as you may be suffering from Postpartum depression. If this is not treated, the symptoms may become chronic.
Sleep - Coordinate naps with those of your baby, and let someone else feed your baby pumped milk from a bottle while you catch a nap. Teach your baby to "night nurse" while you both doze in bed together. Trade off night shifts with your partner to get a little more rest. A white noise machine emulates womb sounds and help the baby sleep for longer periods of time.
Hydration - Drink enough water. Dehydration not only causes irritability, but it also leads to anxiety. If you're breastfeeding, you need to get your daily eight cups of H2O. Get in the habit of keeping a bottle or glass of water nearby and sip on it as baby nurses.
Selfcare, communication and support - When a mood swings suddenly may descent upon you, ask for help. Take a breather by handing over the little one to your husband, friend or relative, and walk into another room for a bit. Just make sure that they know WHY you’re walking away before you go, so that they won’t feel left in the dark. Communication will also help to prevent the bottling up of anger until it reaches a boiling point. Unloading frustration upon someone might lower stress for a mili-second, but afterwards we feel bad about ourselves.Venting to other moms who have been there or are going through the same thing is very therapeutic!”
Me Time - for a few minutes every day (even if it is only 15 minues). Forget about chores, "just let go” and let your place be a mess for the time being. Take a nice bath, a mini-nap, get an RAF™ session, watch a funny movie or chat with a friend. You need that time to remember that you are still ”YOU”. In time, try your best to schedule each week for things you enjoy. Watch a movie at home with friends so you don’t feel you’re losing touch, or de-stress by getting your nails done. Planning one thing each week to look forward to will lift your spirits.
Exercise - incorporate small chunks of exercise into your life by walking with the baby in the stroller to the grocery store, doctor and anywhere else. If the distance is too far, park the car or get out of other means or transportation a few blocks away from where you have to be.
“Breathe” It lowers your heart beat and anxiety level, and reminds you that "You can do this, even though sometimes it feels like you can't.”
Nourish yourself physically and emotionally - Self-care in the early days of motherhood is mostly about paying attention to your basic needs and re-assessing priorities.
Although experts believe breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants, breastfeeding may not be possible for all women. For many women, the decision to breastfeed or formula feed is based on their comfort level, lifestyle, and specific medical considerations that they might have. Mothers who've had breast surgery, such as a reduction, may have difficulty with supply if their milk ducts have been severed and certain medical conditions or medications may make breastfeeding unsafe. Women should always check with the doctor about the safety of taking medications while breastfeeding, including over-the-counter and herbal medicines. The bottom line is that breastfeeding should be a safe and comfortable experience for both mother and baby. Mothers who breastfeed should be able to do so publicly and mothers who feed their babies formula should not be challenged or critized by overzealous breastfeeding proponents. Whether with breast milk or formula, feeding is a time to bond with your baby.
Postpartum Reflexology is a mulit-sensory therapy with compassionate dialogue to relief physical and emotional stress. It has helped mothers to trust their instinct and calibrate their life
FEEDING WITHOUT GUILT
Bottle or Breast
Breast milk doesn't cost a cent, and antibodies are passed from a nursing mother to her baby, which can help to lower the occurrence of many conditions, and as a group, breastfed infants have less difficulty with digestion than do formula-fed infants. Breastfeeding is a supply-and-demand process. Compression and massage can help prevent and clear clogged ducts and stimulate your milk-producing glands. In addition try putting the baby to the breast every 1 to 2 hours for a 24- to 48- hour period, frequent nursing and hands-on pumping during the day can help to increase milk supply. Even if the baby is not getting much milk at each feed, the sucking action stimulates milk production in the mother's breast. A nursing mother will usually need 500 extra calories per day and should eat a wide variety of well-balanced foods. This introduces breastfed babies to different tastes through their mothers' breast milk, which has different flavors depending on what their mothers have eaten. and helps for the infants to accept solid foods more easily.
Standard iron-fortified baby formulas are nutritionally complete foods for normal infants, that are manufactured under sterile conditions and a nutritious alternative to breast milk. Though they don’t provide the antibodies that breastmilk does, they duplicate mother's milk by using a complex combination of proteins, sugars, fats, and even contain some vitamins and nutrients that breastfed babies need to get from supplements. Formulas containing DHA and ARA have been shown to provide visual and mental development similar to the Formulas containing DHA and ARA have been shown to provide visual and mental development similar to the breastfed infant.
Sore nipples are usually due to one or both of two causes:the baby is not positioned and latched properly, or the baby is not suckling properly, or both.Especially if you’re a first-timer It’s normal for your nipples to feel sore when you first start to breastfeed, but if the baby has latched and the pain lasts longer than a minute into your feeding session, check the positioning.To reposition the baby, put your index finger inside his mouth while taking him off your breast, tickle his chin or wait until he yawns so his mouth is wide open and try to achieve a latch where baby’s mouth covers more of the areola below the nipple rather than above. When correctly positioned, his chin and nose touch your breast, his lips splay out and you can’t see your nipple or part of the lower areola.
Clogged Milk ducts are not harmful to your baby because breast milk has natural antibiotics. That said, breastfeeding should be enjoyable for mom and baby, and there’s no reason why you have to suffer. If you're making milk faster than it's getting expressed or a nursing bra that is too tight can cause clogged ducts. The tissue around the duct may become swollen and inflamed causing a blockage. Solution: warm compresses to your breasts and massage them to stimulate milk movement. If you start feeling feverish and achy, that’s a sign of infection and you should see your doctor.
Engorgement/high milk supply - If your breasts feel hard, swollen, throbbing, lumpy, uncomfortably full, or painful, you are likely engorged. The swelling may extend all the way to your armpit and you may even run a low fever. Engorgement can make it difficult for your baby to latch on deeply, which can lead to painful nipples and a low milk supply. Engorgement can also lead to serious health concerns, so call your healthcare provider if your breasts are hard and painful, if you run a temperature greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit, or if your baby has problems breastfeeding.
Mastitis is a bacterial infection in your breasts marked by flu-like symptoms such as fever and pain in your breasts. It’s common within the first few weeks after birth (though it can also happen during weaning) and is caused by cracked skin, clogged milk ducts, or engorgement. Solution: The only sufficient way to treat the infection is with antibiotics, hot compresses, and most importantly, frequent emptying. Use hands-on pumping, making sure the red firm areas of the breast and the periphery are softened. Call your healthcare provider if your breasts are hard and painful, if you run a temperature or if your baby has problems breastfeeding.
Thrush is a yeast infection in your baby’s mouth, which can also spread to your breasts. It causes incessant itchiness, soreness, and sometimes a rash. Your doctor will need to give you antifungal medication to put on your nipple and in baby’s mouth -- if you’re not both treated at the same time, you can give each other the fungi and prolong healing.
Postpartum Reflexology is a multi-sensory therapy that is effective for:
~ Postpartum healing process
~ Reduce pain and speed up recovery after c-section
~ Reduce swollen legs and feet
~ Re-balance hormones and regulate mood swings
~ Stimulate milkflow
~ Heal residual headache due to epidural
~ Reduce pelvic and back problems
~ Boost and maintain energy levels
~ Reduce stress and stabilize libido
~ Relieve constipation
~ Sooth baby’s crying and stimulate bonding process
~ Relieve Anxiety
~ Relieve postpartum depression
~ De-stress with relaxation of the body and mind
HOW TO STIMULATE THE PRODUCTION OF MOTHER’S MILK*
*Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements while breast feeding
Fenugreek** seed is the leading galactagogue, a substance that increases milk supply. **Do not take fenugreek if pregnant. If you are diabetic or asthmatic.
Blessed thistle***(Do not confuse this herb with Milk thistle) is highly favored as a galactagogue. It is often used in conjunction with Fenugreek. ***Do not take blessed thistle while pregnant and avoid if you are allergic to ragweed.
Nonalcoholic Beer**** As far back as the first century, beer has been promoted as a galactagogue. In Germany, Ireland and Belgium new mothers traditionally would consume dark or stout beer to stimulate the milk supply. Regular consumption of alcoholic beverages during breastfeeding is not generally recommended, but a glass of nonalcoholic beer is likely to be safe and might be effective for some mothers. ****The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that nursing moms avoid alcohol with the possible exception of the occasional small drink. The AAP also suggests waiting two hours to breastfeed after having a drink. (The alcohol will clear from your breast milk just as it clears from your bloodstream
PARENTING IS TEAMWORK
Common ground - Communication
Couples are often surprised that they are arguing about so many “little things” once they have a child. It even can get pretty heated when your partner wants to parent differently than you do, as though he is saying that your way is wrong.
Solution: The first thing you both can do is verbally decide that you want to be parenting as a team. Though this may seem obvious, just that verbal agreement can relieve a lot of stress. Once you have an understanding, you need to make the rules. Write those rules down, and make categories such as sleep, food, discipline, baths, bottle washing, and whatever else is appropriate in your situation.Then negotiate the points where you differ, and try to meet in the middle.
Caveat: Certain parenting styles may work for one child, yet conflict with the personality of another.
LOVE AND SEX AFTER BABY
No matter how well prepared you are, parenthood changes the dynamics of your relationship, especially for first time parents,. A baby can initiate feelings of confusion and inadequacy among fathers, and anger and exhaustion in mothers. While their body may still be healing and not ready for intercourse, new mothers might be so tired and busy that they find themselves somewhat less emotionally available, and getting back into the sexual swing is pretty far down on the list, while fathers/partners may be feeling jealous or intimidated by the new relationship moms have with the baby.
It might be comforting to know that your are not alone and that most new parents have 75 percent less sex than before the pregnancy. Don't panic, it will all balance out. It is just hard at the beginning for mothers to understand why the father wants to be romantic, when her priority is tending to the baby. What makes this more difficult is that many parents are afraid to admit that they are struggling with the birth of a child when it’s supposed to be the happiest time of their lives.
Here are some tips to nurture your relationship and rekindle intimacy. The key is taking time to communicate and reconnect.
Intimacy is more than just sex - it’s the link between two people that creates security and passion in their relationship.
Learn how to communicate and establish intimacy outside the bedroom. Showing your partner that you care in small ways will equate to big payoffs in your relationship and rekindle things in the bedroom.
Take time to cuddle - and explore with other forms of sexual intimacy.
Be creative - act like a teenager, spontaneity brings the spark back into your sex life. Shower together
Quality - Make sure that you take enough time to get into the mood. You don't have to have sex every night, figure out what timing is right for your relationship.