Taking care of yourself as a Parent
Becoming a parent changes your life. It is vitally important to take care of yourself so you can take care of your family.
Especially for Mums!
A healthy balanced diet is always important, especially after giving birth. Use the food pyramid to help you choose a daily balanced diet. Choose three servings of milk, cheese and yoghurt. To avoid constipation, especially if you had stitches or bruising, eat foods high in fibre, such as vegetables, fruit, wholemeal, wholegrain or brown varieties of bread, cereals, pasta or rice. Aim to drink a lot of water each day, at least 8 cups, especially if breastfeeding.
SMOKING / DRINKING ALCOHOL
If you gave up smoking during your pregnancy you gave your baby a great start. Try to stay off cigarettes as smoking around your baby can contribute to cot death. Help and support is available on www.quit.ie or pop into Brookes Pharmacy and talk to one of our Pharmacists who would be happy to help! or alternatively, talk to your GP.
If you stopped drinking alcohol during your pregnancy now may be a good time to look at your drinking habits. Do you know your limits? Do you know what a standard drink is? Find out more at www.yourdrinking.ie.
Six weeks after your baby is born, you are due for a routine postnatal check by your doctor, including a breast check. If you have not had a recent cervical smear test before your pregnancy then you should discuss your need to have one with your doctor at your postnatal check-up. Use this time to talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns you have about yourself or your baby.
You may feel tired or strained due to lack of sleep and coping with your new role as a parent. Most new mams feel baby blues a few days after the birth. This is mainly due to a change in your hormone levels. As your body starts to return to normal, these feelings pass. Remember that some level of baby blues is natural and common. Often a new mother’s best resource is someone nearby she can talk to such as a partner or close friend.
POSTNATAL DEPRESSION (PND)
Postnatal depression is a term used to describe feelings of depression you may get after you have a baby. About 10-20% of women are affected by postnatal depression in the first few months after giving birth.
After the birth you may:
- Feel panic, anxiety, dizziness, a fast heartbeat, sick in your stomach or sweaty
- Be afraid of being left alone with your baby
- Feel resentful towards your partner
- Feel tired but unable to sleep
- Have no appetite or you may over eat
- Find it hard to concentrate
- Lose interest in sex
- Have no interest in yourself or your baby
If you or your family notice some of these signs, then speak with your partner, a family member, doctor or public health nurse. Remember, postnatal depression does not last forever and the sooner it is recognized, the sooner you will get better
Especially for Dads!
Nothing prepares you for being a dad like the hands-on experience you get after your child is born. Being a father is the most special, rewarding and exhausting role you will ever have. You and your partner need to support each other at this time more than ever before.
This includes working out how you will share things like:
- Getting up at night to feed your child
- Bathing and feeding your child
- Discussing who is able to take time off work to care for your child if he or she is sick
The important thing is that you and your partner talk to each other about both of your needs and the things you both like doing best.
Both Mums & Dads!
Some gentle exercises can help increase your energy levels and help you manage the added work in your life following the birth of your baby. Build physical activity into your daily routine with your baby by:
- Going for a walk with your baby, inviting your partner or a friend along gives you a chance to spend time together
- Going swimming once you feel ready
FAMILY PLANNING AFTER CHILDBIRTH
It is possible to become pregnant again soon after the birth of your baby, even if your periods have not returned. Now is the time for you and your partner to decide on a method of family planning that you are both happy with. You can get information on family planning and contraception from your midwife, doctor, public health nurse or practice nurse. For more information see www.thinkcontraception.ie
REST & RELAXATION
Extra rest is important for both parents, especially after your baby is born. In the first few days at home, try to:
- Limit the number of visitors who call to see you and your new baby
- Have a rest or a sleep when the baby sleeps
- Accept offers of help with routine shopping or housework
- Allow some of the housework to go undone for now and focus on your baby and yourself
- Prepare and freeze meals ahead of time to cut down on daily housework
LOOKING AFTER YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Relationships can become strained between parents, especially when you are tired and tense. At times, you may feel that it is hard to cope with your role as a parent and to balance this with work and other interests. Take care of your relationship by:
- Saying a caring word or doing something for each other
- Letting your partner know that you appreciate their support in parenting and caring for your relationship
- Talking openly together and sharing your feelings in a calm and
- Accept offers of help from family and friends
For further advice & support, please don’t hesitate to contact Brookes Pharmacy on 023-8841136, by popping into the pharmacy, or by contacting us through email or social media!