Congratulations! Whether you’re jumping for joy, still in a state of shock, or feeling a mixture of both – we’re here to support you every step of the way to help you have a healthy pregnancy.
Make sure you’re sitting comfortably, take a deep breath, and let us guide you through the early days. Here are some ways to ensure both you and your baby stay healthy.
- Visit your doctor or nurse; regular visits to the doctor during pregnancy are aimed to ensure that the health of the pregnant women and the growing foetus is well maintained. When all stays well and proper care is taken, the pregnancy is generally low risk.
- Keep healthy; it’s time to cut out alcohol, caffeine and smoking (including passive smoking) as these will prevent the baby from developing properly. Make sure you eat a nutritious diet and do some light exercise – below are some videos and infographics on how to achieve this.
- Track your baby’s development: knowing what stage of development your baby is at will allow you to become more aware of your baby’s changes. Below shows the development of a fetus and the signs/symptoms that come with it – if something doesn’t seem right and you can’t get to a doctor straight awat, use our online talk to discuss with other women or our Live chat system to speak to an adviser .
Handling a Newborn
If you haven’t spent a lot of time around newborns, their fragility may be intimidating. Here are a few basics to remember:
- Wash your hands before handling your baby. Newborns don’t have a strong immune system yet, so they’re at risk for infection. Make sure that everyone who handles your baby has clean hands.
- Support your baby’s head and neck. Cradle the head when carrying your baby and support the head when carrying the baby upright or when you lay your baby down.
- Never shake your newborn, whether in play or in frustration. Shaking can cause bleeding in the brain and even death. If you need to wake your infant, don’t do it by shaking — instead, tickle your baby’s feet or blow gently on a cheek.
- Make sure your baby is securely fastened into the carrier, stroller, or car seat. Limit any activity that could be too rough or bouncy.
- Remember that your newborn is not ready for rough play, such as being jiggled on the knee or thrown in the air.
Breastfeeding is a natural and cost-effective way to feed babies AND it improves health, promotes child development, strengthens the immune system and ensures your baby’s survival:
- Water, sugar-water, juice, and electrolyte drinks are not needed—don’t give them unless you are instructed to do so by your doctor.
- Cow’s milk or goat’s milk should also not be fed to a baby younger than one year of age. These milks are high in protein and salt, and are harder for babies to digest.
- Newborns are constantly hungry. Your breasts work on supply and demand. The greater the demand, the more milk your body will produce. Your baby is helping your body to learn how much milk it needs to make. As long as your baby is making at least five or six wet diapers a day, your supply is just fine.
- Nipples are already a sensitive area for most women, and after three hours of non-stop nursing, nipples can feel downright raw. While pain can be due to a bad latch, in the beginning, it can be just as likely that you need to get used to nursing. Your own breast milk is the best remedy – rub some on.
You’ll probably decide before you bring your baby home whether you’ll use cloth or disposable diapers. Whichever you use, your little one will dirty diapers about 10 times a day, or about 70 times a week:
- After each bowel movement or if the diaper is wet, lay your baby on his or her back and remove the dirty diaper. Use the washcloth or the wipes to gently wipe your baby’s genital area clean. When removing a boy’s diaper, do so carefully because exposure to the air may make him urinate. When wiping a girl, wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid a urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Diaper rash is a common concern. Typically the rash is red and bumpy and will go away in a few days with warm baths, some diaper cream, and a little time out of the diaper. Most rashes happen because the baby’s skin is sensitive and becomes irritated by the wet or poopy diaper.To prevent or heal a rash, apply ointment. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after changing a diaper.
- If the diaper rash continues for more than 3 days or seems to be getting worse, call your doctor — it may be caused by a fungal infection that requires a prescription.
For the first year of life, your baby will only need to be bathed every 2-3 days. Sponge baths are a good way to help you and your baby become accustomed to the new routine. Limit bathing to sponge baths—not tub baths—until your baby’s umbilical cord drops off.
Having a baby is stressful—no matter how much you’ve looked forward to it or how much you love your child. Considering the sleep deprivation, new responsibilities, and lack of time for yourself, it’s no surprise that a lot of new mthers feel like they’re on an emotional rollercoaster. The baby blues are perfectly normal, but if your symptoms don’t go away after a few weeks or get worse, you may be suffering from postpartum depression. There’s plenty you can do to feel better, though, and get back on the road to happy motherhood.
There’s no prescribed treatment for postpartum depression, but there are some way you can help yourself:
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. Include physical activity, such as a walk with your baby, and other forms of exercise in your daily routine. Try to get adequate rest. Eat healthy foods and avoid alcohol.
- Set realistic expectations. Don’t pressure yourself to do everything. Scale back your expectations for the perfect household. Do what you can and leave the rest.
- Make time for yourself. Take some time for yourself and get out of the house. Do something you enjoy, such as a hobby or some form of entertainment. You might also schedule some time alone with your partner or friends.
- Ask for help. Try to open up to the people close to you or speak to women on our safe ‘Talk‘ system. Alternatively you can chat to us privately on Live Chat.