After the delivery of the baby, the love and attention of the care takers and the family members is directed towards the baby, but as a mother you need special care of your own body. The changes that have occurred in your body over the last nine months need about six weeks to reach normalcy, which is a gradual transition.
Women with vaginal birth have a hospital stay for 3-4 days. During this period the bonding between the mother and baby occurs and breastfeeding cycle is developed. Patients may have stitches in the vagina, which need proper wound care.
The hospital stay is for about 4-5 days following a Cesarean section. The effect of anesthesia wanes out in a few hours. On the first day, the baby can be breastfed in 3-4 hours following delivery. It is possible to mobilise from the second day.
The vaginal stitches require that adequate genital hygiene be maintained. It should be washed twice daily with water and antibiotic ointment should be applied 4-5 times a day. The sanitary pad should be changed regularly. The stitches are not required to be removed, but they dissolve in about 4-6weeks. Occasionally one may feel the stitch thread, but no attempts should be made to pull it.
The Cesarean section wound is located in the lower abdomen, at the level of a bikini line. The dressing is changed on the fourth day with a plastic dressing, making bath and shower possible without wetting it. The stitches are self – dissolving. After 7-10 days of surgery, the wound can be kept uncovered. Care must be taken to avoid undue rubbing at the wound site, instead it should be wiped gently after bath to pat dry.
Breast milk provides the most ideal composition of the nutrients required by the infant for growth and development. It also guards the baby against many infections, thereby providing immunity to the baby. It is advised to breast feed the baby exclusively at least for six month, there after it can be continued as a supplement till 1 – 2 years.
It is natural and contains a right balance of nutrients designed specially for the baby, being gentle on baby’s immature kidneys and digestive tract. For the initial six months Exclusive Breast feeding is recommended. That advantage to the mother is, it protects the woman from breast cancer. Any medicine can pass through the breast milk to the baby hence any medicine should be consumed with physician’s advice during this period. Alcohol intake should be avoided to ensure baby’s safety. There are a very few conditions where breast feeding is contraindicated like HIV positive mother.
Pain relief medications and antibiotics should be continued for a week after discharge from the hospital, whereas nutritional supplementing medicines should be continued for at least 3 months after delivery while breastfeeding. After 6 weeks following delivery, appropriate contraceptive advice should be followed for proper spacing between children.