Sleep when your baby sleeps, even during the day.
It is normal to feel very tired for the first 2 weeks. Your body has gone through labor, delivery, and many physical changes and it needs extra rest for healing. Resting lowers your metabolic rate and allows nutrients and oxygen to be used for healing instead of for energy. For the first 6 weeks try to get as much rest as you can. Plan some rest periods during the day. Take a nap or lie down and get off your feet for at least 30 minutes each day. Sleep when your baby sleeps, even during the day.
Caring for your newborn 24 hours a day puts new demands on your energy level. Your sleep patterns will change to allow for at least 2 nighttime feedings. Use common sense about what must be done around the house and what can wait. Avoid getting too tired (exhausted). Getting too tired can hinder breast-feeding because it affects the let-down ref lex and your supply of milk. Also, getting too tired can make the baby blues worse and slow down healing. Don’t try to be a hero. Ask your partner, family, or friends for help when you need it.
A Final Note
You can speed your recovery by resting when you can, eating well, and doing a few safe, moderate exercises. You can ease the frustrations of breast feeding and newborn care by having the phone numbers of a lactation specialist, perinatal nurse, or other support person. If you need professional help, ask for it. The members of your healthcare team are there when you need them.
It also may help you to know that you are not the only new mother who has gone through the physical and emotional changes you are going through at this time. On your baby’s first birthday, you will remember where you were this time last year and wonder, “Where did all the time go?!”
More about Self Care After Vaginal Birth
Introduction to Self-care After Vaginal Birth
Preventive Self Care
Physical Changes and Healing
Activities and Healthy Exercise
Nutrition and Diet
Sexual Relations and Sexuality
Family Planning and Birth Control
Normal “Baby Blues” or Postpartum Depression
Your Postpartum Check-Up
Get as Much Rest as You Can
When to Call Your Doctor
Getting enough sleep is very important. If you are bottle feeding, ask your partner to do the night feedings a few nights a week so you can get 6 to 8 hours of continuous sleep. If you are breast-feeding, ask your partner to bring your baby to you in bed, and then take him back to his crib when the feeding is over.
You can make resting more appealing by renting a video of one of those “girl movies” and watching it for 30 minutes at a time.
If you have questions about your newborn or how to feed and care for your baby, call your pediatrician.