While research fully supports breast milk as the best option for infant feeding in terms of your baby's overall health and development, your decision regarding how you wish to feed your baby needs to be based on what you feel is right for you and your baby. Whatever you choose, you will be supported by the healthcare professionals.
The online video Bump to Breastfeeding on the best beginnings website follows the journey’s of real women through pregnancy and is designed to encourage women to breastfeed, describing the benefits and offering hints and tips to help women through any difficulties they may encounter.
Best beginnings website
The online video on Bounty's website has a close-up look at the ‘latching on’ technique plus tips on positioning and a practical checklist you can turn to at any time of the day or night.
What is vitamin K and should my baby have it?
Vitamin K is a naturally occurring vitamin in the body which is essential for helping blood to clot and skin to heal. Babies have low stores of Vitamin K at birth, and they are used up quite quickly over the first few days of life. When your baby establishes milk feeding, the stores of vitamin K build up. Research shows that vitamin K given to newborns has significantly reduced the risks of bleeding associated with a vitamin K deficiency in newborns.
Caring for your baby
After you have given birth you will be given support to feed your baby, shown how to change nappies and bath your baby.
Caring for yourself
After you have given birth, you’ll understandably want to give your baby lots of attention. Even so, it’s important to take a little time for yourself. By regaining your fitness, you’ll feel good and have more energy. Looking after your pelvic muscles is essential, both following birth and throughout your life.
A leaflet is available from the Maternity Unit on the exercises you can do.
Post-pregnancy exercise on NHS Choices website
Getting enough rest
You should try to sleep when your baby is asleep during the day and night. Make sure that you accept offers of help from friends and family.
Contact with health care professionals
A midwife will visit you up to 10 days following the birth of your baby and up to 28 days if required.
What should I report to my health care professional?
If your baby experiences problems with feeding, appears to be constipated or is crying a lot, then you should speak to your midwife when she visits you.
If your baby is less than 28 days old and appears floppy, very sleepy, disinterested in feeding or feels hot or cold, you should contact the Maternity Unit for advice. They may be able to help over the phone with advice or suggest the baby see a medical practitioner.
If your baby is older than 28 days and you feel your baby is unwell, seek medical advice immediately from your GP. If it's an emergency, you should go to the Emergency Department.
Some women recover more quickly than others both physically and emotionally following the birth of their baby. It may take longer to adjust to the emotional changes than the physical changes of becoming a mother.
If you are anxious or you feel that you have not fully recovered from your pregnancy or birth, you should seek advice from your healthcare professional.
Common concerns are:
- breast problems
- pain around the birth canal
Where can I go to meet other mothers and get support with my breastfeeding?
There are regular baby cafés where you will have access to a midwife and health visitor for support, reassurance and an opportunity to meet other breast-feeding mothers. Your midwife can give you details.
Both you and your baby should have a further medical check-up by your GP about 6 weeks after delivery.
Your health visitor will visit you at home soon after your midwife hands over your care. She will provide help and advice on all aspects of child care including development assessments, immunisation and minor childhood illnesses.
Registering baby's birth
You have a legal duty to register your baby’s birth within 3 weeks of delivery. For hospital births this is done at the St Helier Registrars Office. If this is not done, a fine of £2 will be charged.
If you have a home birth the baby's birth will need to be registered in the parish of the birth. You will need to ring the parish hall in advance.
When registering your baby you need to bring:
- marriage certificate (if presently married)
- birth certificates or passports (if not married)
- divorce decree absolute papers (if not presently married)
- deed poll papers (if any)
There will also be a form to fill in and a charge of £10 for a full birth certificate and £5 for a shortened one.
If possible, try to avoid calling between 2pm and 4pm on a Thursday when the birth register might be out of the office.
Baby blues or 'third day blues' is a recognised short-lived mood change following the birth of a baby. It affects a large proportion of women.
Postnatal depression is different to baby blues. This usually starts within 4 - 6 weeks after birth, and inlcudes symptoms such as:
- feeling low (depressed) on most days
- not interested in or able to find pleasure in things you used to eg playing with your new baby
- loss of interest in sex
- being very tired with loss of energy
- problems sleeping despite being very tired
- loss of appetite
If you are worried speak to your midwife or GP. Postnatal depression usually resolves itself and can be treated with different methods.
The association of post natal illness website
When can I have sex?
It could be some months before you wish to resume sexual intercourse following childbirth, both because of the demands of a newborn baby and tiredness.
Most women will resume sexual intercourse by 8 weeks after childbirth. There does not seem to be much difference as to how soon you resume sexual intercourse whether your baby was born vaginally or by caesarean section.
If you have had stitches or bruising then you may experience some discomfort or pain initially. Sexual activity can also be affected by the influence of your hormones.
It is important to inform a healthcare professional of any difficulties experienced during sexual activity following childbirth. They will be sensitive, understanding and be able to provide the support and advice you require.