After Childbirth: Coping and Adjusting at Home With Your Baby

Overview

It's easy to get too tired and overwhelmed during your first weeks after childbirth. Be sure to rest whenever you can, and accept help from others.

  • Be kind to yourself.

    Your new baby takes a lot of work, but your baby can give you a lot of pleasure too. Don't worry about chores for a while. Allow your friends or family to bring you meals or help you at home.

  • Limit visitors.

    It's okay to limit visitors to as few as you feel you can handle or to ask them not to visit for a while. It's also okay to set a limit on how long they stay.

  • Ask your partner or a friend or family member to help feed the baby so you can rest.

    If you breastfeed, you can collect and store your breast milk so that others can help feed your baby with a bottle. Experts usually recommend waiting about a month until breastfeeding is going well before offering a bottle.

  • Choose healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

    Also, drink enough fluids throughout the day. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and other foods.

  • When you feel ready, try to get some exercise every day.

    For many people, walking is a good choice. Don't do any heavy exercise until your doctor or midwife says it's okay.

  • Reach out to other new parents.

    Ask your doctor or midwife or your child's doctor to suggest support groups for new parents. Hearing that someone else is having the same experiences you are can help.

  • Watch for changes in your mental health.
    • It's normal to have some sadness, anxiety, and mood swings after delivery. You can always call the Maternal Mental Health Hotline at 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262) for support. If these mood changes last more than a couple of weeks, talk to your doctor or midwife.

Don't be afraid to call your doctor, midwife, or lactation consultant with questions. That's true even if you don't know what's bothering you. They are used to parents of newborns calling. They can help you figure out if there is a problem, and if so, how to fix it. If you have the baby blues for more than a few days, call your doctor or midwife right away.

Nutrition for breastfeeding

Eating well during breastfeeding helps you stay healthy. Eat a variety of grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy or dairy alternatives, and protein foods. Avoid fish high in mercury. And limit alcohol and caffeine. Your doctor or midwife may suggest eating more calories each day than otherwise recommended for a person of your height and weight.

Credits

Current as of: July 10, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Join Us

We believe that health disparities will continue to exist, only if we allow them to continue. Knowing how to take charge of your health care system is critical to getting the best health care possible.