What is considered postpartum care starts right after birth for about six weeks.
During this time, a mother’s body goes through hormonal changes and her uterus returns to normal size.
Other health changes during the postpartum period can include the forming of colostrum (that ooey gooey goodness that will so nourish your baby).
Yet days after this, when your breasts begin filling with breast milk, many mothers experience swelling breasts that are firm, sensitive and painful.
This is called breast engorgement, and luckily will go away in most cases after a few days.
How Long Does it Take to Heal?
As you could imagine, every mother is different and what is considered postpartum care can end earlier for some and extend past six weeks for others.
Subsequently, how long it takes to heal can often depend on the type of birth you had. Cesarean section healing is unique from vaginal births.
And, depending on your positioning during birth, you may have experienced tearing. Don’t worry mama, you will heal soon.
Where is Baby at During the Postpartum Phase?
Well, first of all, postpartum baby will have her or his umbilical cord for about 10 days. So, it’s a good idea during that time to stick to sponge baths for bathing. How about diaper changes? Baby is still sensitive, so you may want to stay away from baby wipes at first, using just warm water and cotton balls. Try to make sure baby is air dried before putting the diaper on to avoid rashes. Use ointment or coconut oil as needed. (More tips here.)
Also, taking care of and looking our for initial illnesses is considered postpartum care. Be alert if your baby shows signs of drastic changes in feeding (especially refusing to eat), very watery bowel movements, excessive irritability, rashes or red swelling, fever over 100.4, or excessive sleepiness. When in doubt, contact a professional or call your doctor. Always better to be safe!
Special Notes for Dads.
Dads, you might be feeling a little left out, but taking care of fathers is also what’s considered postnatal care. In addition, dads emotionally need to be strong and use their physical strength to help mom while she’s recovering. Dads, don’t take anything too seriously during this time. Mom’s emotions are strong in so many ways. And, with a weakened physical state, it’s going to be difficult the first few weeks. Hang in there. And, consider professional postpartum care to help with a few overnights or just to hold baby while chores and errands get done. It makes life a lot more manageable.