Now that you have gone through the arduous 40 weeks of pregnancy journey and the formidable task of delivering your baby, it is finally time to bring home your bundle of joy!
For most first time parents, this is a period of anticipation and excitement, but it can also be a time of uncertainty and stress. Many women start experiencing a sense of desperation now that they no longer have the support from the nurses in the hospital and will be all alone with her baby. It does not help that you have to deal with the excruciating pain from the episotomy wound (and for some, the caesarean wound) and the pain from the breast engorgement, which makes it almost impossible to sit up and walk properly, not to mention to care for a newborn.
The following tips will help you get through this seemingly darkness period of your life while maintaining your sanity and health.
Tip #1: Get help!
Do not be embarrassed to ask for help. Rally those around you to help in one way or another. Ask your mother, mother-in-law, father, father-in-law, aunties etc. Do not underestimate the importance of family support. One of my friends came down with chicken pox 2 weeks after giving birth and her father took over as the main caregiver for her newborn. If you do not have any reliable and experienced people to help you out, consider getting a confinement lady. An experienced confinement lady is an expert when dealing with newborn and can be an invaluable source of advice and help for new mom.
Tip #2: Get enough rest!
No amount of books you read or pre-natal classes you attend can prepare you for the exhaustion, frustration and even desperation of being a new parent. The sleep deprivation is horrific. I can still remember the 3-hourly feed that my eldest son insisted on till he is almost 6 months old! Do not underestimate the strain pregnancy placed on your body. You need plenty of rest during the confinement period to let your body to recover from the sheer exhaustion of childbirth so that you can be strong enough to take care of your newborn. A sleep deprived mom is a tired, emotional unstable, agitated and ill-tempered mom.
A confinement lady can help to take over the caring over the newborn so that you can get plenty of rest. Most mothers let their newborn sleeps with the confinement lady in the first few weeks so that she can take over the night feeds. This allows the mother to have sufficient rest at night. There will also be someone to help with other children and ensure that things are taken care of around your home until you are able to care for everything on your own again.
Tip #3: Eat well!
Having a confinement soup after delivery is crucial in helping you regain your health and prepare you for breastfeeding. Do not dismiss the benefits of confinement meals. Chinese herbs commonly found in confinement soup such as Chinese angelica root (dang gui) and ginseng, are used as a tonic to nourish the blood and to improve uterine function. Ginger, black and white peppers are also liberally added to some soups and confinement dishes to eliminate “wind” from the body. Dried red dates and wolfberries are added to confinement tea to nourish the blood and to eliminate fatigue. An experienced confinement lady will be able to prepare delectable and nutritious confinement meals for you to ensure that you regain your health without gaining extra pounds!