This post contains affiliate links please see bottom of page for disclosure.
A New Mothers Postpartum Instructions from a Midwife
These are the instructions I give to my home birth families right after the birth. They are the basics of what is normal in the first few hours/days after having a baby.
- Bleeding: Abnormal bleeding is soaking a pad within ½ hour or less or passing several large clots in a row. A few golf-ball size clots are normal. Call your care provider if discharge has bad odor. It should smell like your period.
- Massage your uterus every hour for the first day. Make sure it stays firm like the size of a grapefruit or becomes so with massage, especially if your bleeding increases. You can do this your self easily while sitting on the toilet. The below picture gives an idea of where and how the uterus is if you are laying down.
- For the next few days empty your bladder at least every two hours while awake. A full bladder can increase blood flow.
- Call your care provider if temperature rises, you have chills, flu-like symptoms or increased pain in the uterus. You may experience a mild increase in temperature with breast engorgement which should only last 24-36 hours.
- Eat high protein and high fiber foods. Avoid chocolate, caffeine, and spicy foods.
- After pains: You may take up to 2,000 mg calcium per day and/ or ibuprofen (400-800 mg) every 4-6 hours. Many women are surprised at the intensity of after pains.
- Nurse your baby often (every 2-3 hours) until your milk comes in to assure adequate colostrum intake and to establish your milk supply. Drink an additional 8 ounces of water with each feeding. Start nursing for 5 minutes and gradually increase to where you empty the breast. It is important to get all the milk from a breast because the end milk, which is called the hind milk, has more fat in it. Remember that proper positioning during nursing is the most vital step to avoid soreness. Vitamin E oil or lanolin applied to your nipples can promote healing and ease redness. If engorgement is a problem place cabbage leaves in your bra to reduce swelling and pain. If there is pain past the first few seconds of the baby going on the breast then the latch may not be right. Get help with this as soon as possible. Don’t think it will get better and wait. With the right help most women can breastfeed successfully. I recommend you contact your local La Leche League for help with breastfeeding. All new moms should read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League as a starting point for breastfeeding.
- It is normal for you to feel more emotional and weepy around when your milk comes in. Make sure those around you are aware of this as well. Take your placenta pills or take BHI Calming as needed. Make sleep a priority and nurse often. If you feel like you are in a dark hole or want to hurt your baby tell someone.
- Take a sitz bath for a tender bottom. This is where you soak just the bottom in warm water to clean it or for comfort. Add ¼ cup salt to promote healing. Do NOT use any soap as it interferes with healing and adheres to wounds.
- You may take extra vitamin C (1,000 mg 3-6 times per day) for three weeks to aid in healing perineal tears.
- Use warm water in peri bottle when urinating to dilute urine and avoid stinging. You may add a few drops of lavender essential oil if you like. Gently pat dry.
- Support your perineum for the first few days when having a BM by wrapping fingers in toilet paper and applying pressure on your perineum.
- Continue vitamins as normal while nursing. Start taking Chlorophyll if you are not already taking it. See my blog what supplements to take in the postpartum.
- Exercise: Wait until your 6 week postpartum check to begin a rigorous exercise program. Walking or mild exercise is encouraged when perineal tear have healed.
- Intercourse; It is recommend you wait until bleeding has stopped, tears have healed, and you feel ready.
- Rest!!! Do nothing but rest and take care of your baby for the first week. After that time add activity as you feel up to it. Be sure to rest when you get tired and do not overdo it! If your bleeding increases you need to decrease your activity.
I hope this summary helps you to know what is normal and what to expect or even what questions to ask. Postpartum can be a beautiful time of bonding and recovery from labor. Be empowered to ask questions and know what is normal.
Please send me a message or make an appointment with me if you have any questions. I love supporting moms in the postpartum season.
Picture are copyright by creative commons for free use. MothersLove by VinothChandar CC2 flickr.jpg (https://www.flickr.com/photos/matheuslotero/6938845011)
Please schedule a 30 minute consultation with me a Licensed Midwife and Functional Health Coach. I will take your unique health situation into consideration to empower you in your health.