It is important to continue the good nutritional habits practiced during your pregnancy. Drink plenty of fluid and continue your vitamin and iron supplements until your six-week postpartum check or until you stop nursing.
If you are nursing, you will still need approximately 400 to 500 extra calories a day (2,500 -3,000 total) concentrating on a high protein and calcium intake to provide adequate nutrition for your baby.
We do not recommend diets while nursing unless you are given specific instructions to do so.
Breast feeding can be a wonderful experience for you and your baby, but it often takes patience and diligence. Breastmilk is the perfect food for your new baby and we recommend it exclusively for the first six months of life.
You should wear a supportive nursing bra at all times and keep your nipples clean and dry. Warm water is all you need to clean your nipples and they do not need to be cleaned before or after each feeding. Never use soap or alcohol on your nipples. Also, allow nipples to air dry and make sure they are completely dry before replacing your bra. Change nursing pads when wet and do not use pads with a plastic liner as they may promote infection. If you develop dry or cracked nipples, you may use lanolin.
If you experience painful engorgement (full, hard, and tender), you may use Motrin® and warm compresses or showers to promote milk let-down prior to nursing. Feeding more frequently or hand-expressing or pumping a small amount of milk prior to nursing may be helpful.
If you choose not to breast feed, you can still promote love and trust with your baby through bottle feeding.
Your breasts may become engorged as they fill with mature milk but using ice will help limit this process. Minimize nipple stimulation by using a snug fitting bra. Do not use a breast pump or manually express milk unless you choose to bottlefeed your breast milk to your baby (this is a great option!). Avoid letting the shower hit the breast directly.
Caution: If you develop redness, tenderness, or fever greater than 101, please contact our office immediately.
CAUTION Heavy, bright red bleeding, especially associated with clotting, should be reported.
You may resume exercising as soon as you feel you can. Those who had a cesarean section should avoid heavy lifting (more than 20 lbs) and specific abdominal exercises for six weeks.
All patients are encouraged to gradually work up to an exercise program. Walking and Kegel exercises are an excellent place to start.
You should avoid intercourse for six weeks to allow time for vaginal tissues to heal. Using a water-based lubricants such as KY Jelly®, slight position changes, and extra gentleness will help with discomfort during intercourse. If you are breastfeeding, your vaginal tissue may be drier and more sensitive due to the decreased amount of estrogen in your body. Again, a lubricant can help.
CAUTION: Remember to use adequate means of contraception even if you are breast feeding. We can revisit this topic before hospital discharge or at your postpartum visit.