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Health & Baby

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After Childbirth: Coping and Adjusting - Topic Overview

You can take measures to make your life easier in the days and weeks after childbirth (postpartum period).

Accept help, seek help

You may be exhausted from the delivery and from being up at night with your baby. Don't expect that you'll be able to keep the house spotless and do all the household errands too.

Many employers now offer paternity leave to allow fathers to stay at home after a child is born. If not, a relative or friend may volunteer to stay and help out with cooking, cleaning, and running errands. Allow your friends to bring you meals or do chores.

If you are having trouble with postpartum blues that last more than a few days or develop into signs of postpartum depression, call your doctor right away.

Limit visitors

Everyone will want to come see the baby right away, just when you're at your most tired. It's okay to limit visitors to as few as you feel you can handle or to ask them not to visit for a while. It's also okay to set a limit on how long they stay.

Get extra rest

Sleep when your baby sleeps. Even a short nap helps.

If you breast-feed, learn how to collect and store some breast milk so that your partner or babysitter can feed the baby while you sleep. Because both you and the baby have to learn how to breast-feed, you may want to wait a few weeks before you start pumping breast milk. For more information, see the topic Breast-Feeding.

Eat well

Good nutrition is key to regaining your strength and health. If you are breast-feeding, you need to eat 500 additional calories a day over your prepregnancy diet. This is the time you are truly "eating for two." Most women who breast-feed can eat a healthy diet and still lose weight.

Drink extra fluids

Drink an extra 5 cups (1183 mL) to 8 cups (1893 mL) of noncaffeinated liquids each day. A good rule to follow is to have a glass of juice, water, or milk each time you nurse.

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