If you deliver vaginally at 38 weeks-plus and your baby looks great and is nursing well--assuming you're breastfeeding--both of you can leave the hospital within six to 12 hours of delivery (depending on your hospital's policy and your own health, of course). One caveat: Since you probably won't have the benefit of a visit by the hospital's lactation consultant, I believe an early discharge mandates a follow-up house call by a consultant on the second or third day to make sure you and your baby are doing well.
Its normal for babies of this age to get full and gassy, but rest assured that as her intestinal tract matures, shell have a much easier time. That said, I have had great results decreasing a breastfed baby's gastric distress by changing the moms diet. Eliminating dairy products, eggs and peanuts can make a huge difference; these protein-rich foods can make breast milk harder to digest. If you do eliminate dairy and are worried about getting enough calcium, take a calcium-magnesium supplement.
If your newborn has at least three yellow stools and six wet diapers a day and is gaining weight properly (1 ounce per day until about 3 months of age), chances are you're producing enough milk and don't need to pump. In fact, pumping when you have an adequate milk supply can be detrimental, says Corky Harvey, M.S., R.N., a certified lactation consultant and co-owner of The Pump Station in Santa Monica and Hollywood, Calif. Heres why: If you produce so much that your baby doesn't take it all in a feeding, the unreleased milk can lead to clogged ducts or mastitis.
There is no right answer to the questions surrounding bed-sharing. From your baby's point of view, there's no doubt shell be happy if you invite her into your bed. If you don't, however, she wont take it too personally, and she will get used to sleeping in her bassinet. So, the choice is yours.
Hospitals function best on routines. However, it seems your hospital wants to take your baby and tabulate his "numbers" far too often. If you have a premature or sick baby, these interventions are necessary. If not, your baby is much better off in your room, being held in your arms and nursing often. Healthy full-term babies almost never need to go to a nursery and can stay with their parents 24 hours a day.
Moms have a clearly defined role when their babies are born: Breastfeed, cuddle and take naps with the baby. But fathers often aren't quite sure where they fit in. Your husband probably is wondering if he should be proactive and offer to feed the baby with a bottle of pumped milk, change diapers, rub your neck or just stay out of the way and keep quiet.
Research shows that routine clamping of the umbilical cord immediately after birth, rather than waiting for the cord to stop pulsating, deprives the baby of red blood cells and iron stores. A literature review in the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health looked at nine studies that had been done over the past 20 years. This research suggested that immediate clamping may reduce the amount of red blood cells a baby receives by 50 percent.
No. "It takes at least three to six months for your genitals to get back to normal," says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of the Berman Center in Chicago and co-author of For Women Only (Henry Holt & Co.). A perineal tear or episiotomy can cause a tight feeling in the vagina, which can persist even after the site has healed (usually four to six weeks after a vaginal birth). To help combat the tightness, you or your partner can gently stretch the area using fingers that have been well lubricated with K-Y Ultragel or Astroglide (available at drugstores).
It's normal to experience a roller coaster of emotions after childbirth, says Steven Dubovsky, M.D., professor and chairman of the psychiatry department at State University of New York in Buffalo. Not only are your hormones still running high, but your entire life has changed. You have a new identity and more responsibilities. You might be overcome by the magic of childbirth yet regret that it did not go as planned (especially if you had a Cesarean section). You might feel insecure about being a parent.
More than 490 parenting books are available at Amazon.com. But there is only one real authority on your baby: you. "The key is to focus on your baby and learn his rhythms, needs and temperament," says Libby Colman, Ph.D., a social psychologist and the author of seven books on pregnancy and parenting. She suggests that for the first two weeks after giving birth, you should spend time with just your baby and partner. Later, being around people who have children of similar ages and a similar parenting philosophy can help reaffirm what you're doing.
You can enjoy visits from family without compromising your own well-being or that of your new baby. You just have to set limits for yourself and others. Try to lower your expectations, think "less is more" and do only as much as you want. Ask that no more than two family members visit at a time, or that each one bring something you need.
Nipple confusion can be a problem for many breastfed babies if they are given a bottle too early, even if it's filled with breast milk. Here's why: Infants coordinate their jaw, cheek and swallowing muscles in a specific way when they are breastfeeding. With a bottle, their feeding patterns are completely different--a bottle, for instance, gushes milk into a baby's mouth, and the child needs to move his tongue to control the flow. Not so with the breast.
The average newborn sleeps a total of 14 to 18 hours a day, older infants from 13 to 14 hours, says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center, Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and author of Sleeping Through the Night: How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, revised edition (HarperCollins). "The best way to judge whether or not your baby is getting enough sleep is to look at his behavior throughout the day," Mindell says. "If he sleeps 11 hours and is perky and happy, that's enough."