Your First Week With Baby - Day 4 - Body Reset
With your mature milk in completely, or at least almost there, your body is going to be going through a reset now. Here are some things that may be happening for you.
After some trauma through delayed food consumption (you can eat in labour you know, despite what you hear...) putting your rectal muscles through a massive workout through pushing and sitting and resting for a few days, your bowels are ready to resume full function. To make bowel movements easier consider:
Staying well hydrated
Eating fibre rich foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables
Taking a stool softener (anything over the counter or what the hospital has suggested)
And my tried and true, coffee in the morning (yes you can have caffeine)
That first bowel movement will freak you out. The last time you used those muscles you got a human. I promise you won't get another one and you won't tear your stitches. While geographically close together, the perineum and rectum are independent of each other.
With your mature milk in, your body and baby are trying to find the right balance for your supply. While this is happening you may find your breasts are full and engorged. Try not to pump them empty unless you are looking to increase your supply. You can hand express a little off to relieve the pressure but pumping will only make the situation worse. Other things that will help include:
Wearing a supportive (without underwire) bra, even over night can make you feel better
Staying well hydrated (see the trend happening)
Cold compresses between feedings
Warm compresses just before feeding
Hand expressing around the areola to soften that area for baby to latch better
If you begin to experience localized pain in your breasts, if you find a lump or experience a fever, contact your care provider as you may have developed mastitis and will need antibiotics.
During the final weeks of your pregnancy, your body released a hormone called Relaxin. This hormone makes the ligaments in your body stretchy, particularly in your pelvis to allow for the pelvis to stretch and open to allow baby to pass through. Once baby is born, no more relaxin and the ligaments will need to solidify again. This can make you feel like you have been hit by a truck. Ways to help this all over body ache include:
Taking Tylenol & Ibuprofen, which the hospital likely gave you.
You should have some on hand at home too and continue taking for at least a week.
Take warm baths with epsom salts or even just a warm shower
Rest as much as you can
With baby, they are also going through a bit of reset. Relaxin actually affects them too and they can feel achy and uncomfortable for the first time in their life. Skin to Skin can help with that as they will have a higher pain threshold when they are skin to skin or nursing.
This also means baby maybe more vocal during this period. Feeding is getting under control and they can focus on other things in their development. They will try to communicate their wants and needs through crying. Here are some ways to calm a crying baby:
The 5 Ss by Harvey Karp
Side lying - holding baby in your arms tummy to tummy with you facing in or back to tummy facing out
Swaying - rocking side to side while holding baby
Shushing - shhhh close to baby's ear or using a white noise machine
Suck - this can be at the breast or using a pacifier if you like.
Sing or talk to baby - they love the sound of your voice and it helps keep them calm and makes them feel safe
Skin to Skin with baby (See the trend happening)
Check their diaper
Check if they are too hot or too cold (feel the back of their neck to see how they may be feeling temperature wise)
Dim the lights as it's possible they may be feeling over stimulated
Feed them (in the first 2-3 weeks what they likely are looking for is food)
Just pick them up and hold them or wear them in a wrap.
Babies aren't as complicated as they seem. They need food and to feel safe and protected. This can all be accomplished on your chest.
You've almost made it through the first week. Hang in there!