Postnatal Support – 7 things you should know

What kind of postnatal support should you expect your doctor to provide you? Here are 7 items your doctor should discuss with you during your postnatal examination visits.

1.      The lochia, its color and duration

The doctor will want to know whether or not the uterine bleeding is persisting if you are breastfeed­ing, and if you are not, whether you have had your menstruation.

The menstruation is distinguished from the lochia by a sudden heavier flow, starting from about the 28th day after delivery. Most women will be advised to wear an external sanitary pad to avoid possible infection during this initial period.

2.      Breastfeeding mums

If you are breastfeeding, your doctor would want to find out if you are having any problems related with it. Generally, the lochia or uterine bleeding stops more quickly for a woman who is breastfeeding. This is due to the rapid involution of the uterus caused by hormones released as a result of breastfeeding.

If you are not breastfeeding, your lochia could continue for as long as four to six weeks, in the form of a brownish discharge. The first menstruation could appear on the 28th day following delivery, and the flow is heavier and longer. When it ends, there is usu­ally no further uterine bleeding.

3.      Pelvic discomfort and discharge

Your doctor will also ask if you experience pelvic or perineal discomfort and the amount and color of any vaginal discharge. If you had an episiotomy or stitches during the delivery, the doctor would want to know if you still feel any pain or discomfort.

4.      Bowel habits

Where your bowel habits are concerned, your doc­tor would be interested to know if they have returned to normal.

Stress incontinence or leakage of urine, especially on coughing or sneezing, may begin during pregnancy and continue after delivery. It may also occur for the first time after delivery, due to weakness of the pel­vic floor muscles. These muscles should return to nor­mal if pelvic floor exercises are performed regularly.

5.      Weight

If you have gained any excess weight during your pregnancy, you could ask for appropriate advice regarding weight loss. Women who are breastfeeding are generally not encouraged to go on crash diets as it could suppress milk flow.

6.      Sex

Sexual intercourse may be resumed any time after delivery. But for most women, the inhibiting factor could be fear of pain from the episiotomy. The epi­siotomy would usually heal after about a week but soreness and discomfort could continue for up to three weeks.

For women who have undergone a Caesarean sec­tion, the abdominal incision would take about two weeks to heal. If there are no medical complications, sexual intercourse could resume after that.

However, most women find that it takes up to six to 12 weeks after delivery before their libido returns to pre-pregnancy levels. In addition to physical and hormonal factors, a woman’s libido could be further dampened by fatigue, anxiety, a crying baby, lack of sleep and financial worries. Patience, communication and love should gradually overcome most postnatal sexual problems.

7.      Contraception

It is very rare that a woman ovulates within six weeks after she has delivered. Even for women who do not breastfeed and have their first menstruation 28 days after delivery, studies have shown that ovulation rarely occurs prior to the first menstruation. Since the risk of pregnancy during the first six postnatal weeks is extremely unlikely, the types of contraception that can be used before the postnatal check-up include condoms, spermicidal jellies or creams.

Though breastfeeding may reduce the possibility of getting pregnant, it is not a recommended form of contraception as ovulation, and hence conception, can occur several weeks before your first period. Contraceptive methods such as the intrauterine device, the diaphragm or the pill may be used after consultation with your doctor.

New motherhood

Best Books for Preschoolers

Best books for preschoolers

Your child is now much more independent (or so he thinks!) and in possession of a strong imagination. He also knows that life can be both happy and sad and that the world both friendly and unfriendly so books that confront and solve problems happily are just what he needs. Look for books which have:

  • longer and longer stories which are more demanding
  • stories about friends as they are now an important part of a preschooler’s existence
  • themes on family relationships especially between siblings
  • stories about daily activities, for example, My Playgroup or Going Shopping
  • “special situation” themes such as going to the hospital, the dentist or the doctor. These will help children deal with these situations in real life.
  • lots of facts. Preschoolers are interested in what things are and how they work so anything to do with animals, trains, planes, birds, etc will go down very well.
  • folk and fairy tales but keep them simple and not too gruesome. Children of this age need to understand that there is both good and evil in the world but that  good triumphs in the end.
  • nonsense verse and play on words. Children love silly words and crazy situations.

You do not have to go out and buy a whole pile of books  use your local library and experiment.
See which books go down well and do not flood your child with too many choices, otherwise he will be overwhelmed. You will probably find that your child will ask for his favourite story again and again and again…

Baby communication

Best Books for Toddlers

Best books for toddlers

Your child will be starting to use a few words now and by the age of three will probably be a real chatterbox. So choose books which have these characteristics:

  • longer stories and more detailed pictures (toddlers enjoy examining pictures in detail so do not rush them)
  • rhyming text
  • stories about naughty children. Toddlers can identify with them.
  • stories about everyday family life. Toddlers are
    much more a part of the family now so they need to see themselves in familiar situations.

Again, nursery ryhmes and novelty books are perfect as well as alphabet and counting books to get your child used to letters and numbers.

Language Development

Baby Book Ideas

Baby Book Ideas

It is never too early to start your child looking at books and at this age babies adore bright and bold pictures that are simple but visually stimulating. The best type of  books to go for are those that have ei¬ther no text (for very young babies) or very short text centred around everyday happenings like eat¬ing. bathtime or playing.

  • Board or cloth books are ideal as they have colourful pictures and are substantial enough for babies to grasp and chew on. Look out for books about babies as babies love to see what other babies get up to!
  • Nursery rhymes are popular too as babies adore rhythm and rhyme. The flow of the words will really help your baby tune up those lan¬guage skills.
  • Novelty books like pop ups and lift the flaps will always go down well as the surprise element delights a young reader.
  • Books that show you how to play finger games are very useful.

Feeding a One Year Old

Feeding a one year old

It is important to prepare foods including vegetables to suit baby’s level of development. It is not unusual to find some babies rejecting their bowls of cereal or pureed food at one year of age as they look for something more challenging to experiment with. Also, if you keep feeding your child bowls of cereal and pureed vegetables and meat, he may get rather “lazy” with his feeding habits and reject food that offers a coarser texture than what he is used to.

Chopped foods should be quite suitable by the time baby is approaching one. Such vegetables as carrots and potatoes can still be boiled till they are tender, but instead of grating them, cut them into tiny cubes or use a food processor to chop them up.

Even spinach and other leafy greens can be boiled till tender and chopped roughly (with the stalks removed, of course) before being mixed into your baby’s food. Avoid varieties of stringy or fibrous vegetables as they can cause choking. Use the chopped vegetables with porridge, boiled egg noodles, mee sua or chopped macaroni for a variation of meals.
By the time your baby turns one, he might be managing fine with finger foods and under supervision, you could let him hold a carrot finger (boiled till tender) to nibble on.


Baby Food and Storage of Baby Food

Feeding 7 month old baby

Feeding 7 month old baby

By the time baby turns six or seven months, he may be ready for something a little coarser in texture and that is when you can experiment with mashing food instead of straining it. At this stage, potatoes can be introduced. Remember to boil them such that they are soft and fluffy when mashed. Mashed potatoes can be rather dry to swallow so it is a good idea to mix 40 to 50 ml of infant formula with it. Alternatively, try creamed corn (available as baby food in bottles) which goes delightfully with mashed potatoes. This combination supplements the largely starchy potato with the vitamins found in cereal-type foods.
Another tasty vegetable that makes a great soup is winter melon (the one with a light green skin and a crisp white interior). Boiled with chicken bones, the winter melon cooks to a tender translucent colour, after which you can mash it up with a fork and mix into cereal or rice cereal. Sometimes, for variation, you can boil washed, cleaned florets of cauliflower in chicken stock until they are soft and tender. Well cooked cauliflower is easy to mash and is a tasty complement to the flavour of meat or fish in baby’s meal.
Between seven and nine months, when baby has sprouted a few teeth and is ready for minced meat, you can use the same vegetables but give baby that little extra to grind his teeth on by grating carrots, melon, pumpkin or other hard vegetables instead of mashing them. Bear in mind, too, that you will have less difficulty dealing with this stage of feeding if you serve baby mashed food prior to moving on to this stage.

Tomorrow we shall discuss on Feeding a one year old baby

Teaching Parenting Skills

Feeding Baby Food

When and how do you start feeding baby food?

Vegetables can form part of baby’s diet as early as the first months of weaning, which may be at the age of between four and six months. What is important is the method of preparation. At the onset of weaning, all vegetables, like other foods, should be strained. By straining, we mean cooking the vegetable till it is tender (not overcooked until it becomes yellowish and mushy) and soft enough to be rubbed against a sieve and crushed into tiny fragments that can be safely swallowed and digested by baby.
Vegetables creamed with a little formula also make a good starting food because of the smooth consistency. The familiar taste of formula (or even breast milk) in baby’s first solids will probably ease the transition to the new taste and texture.

The process of straining at the start of weaning applies to all vegetables, from bulky ones like carrots to leafy ones such as spinach. The most commonly used vegetables at the first stage of weaning include carrots, corn, peas and sweet potato. These are excellent starters because of their natural sweetness and baby should take to them fairly easily if they are well strained, pureed or creamed.
Check out the supermarket shelves too for ideas on what vegetables to wean your baby onto. If you lack confidence to prepare baby’s vegetables at the early stage of weaning, you can make use of bottled baby food that comes with no artificial seasonings or preservatives.

Tomorrow we shall be discussing about Feeding a 7 month baby

Teaching Parenting Skills

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