Congratulations! There’s nothing better than taking your baby home and snuggling up for those first few weeks.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps.
- Ask family and friends to help with cleaning, making meals and other household chores.
- Eat well and drink a lot of water.
- Get some regular low-impact exercise, such as short walks, to keep your energy level up and clear your head. However, be sure to avoid hard activity for at least the first six weeks.
- Watch for postpartum depression.
Get help when you need it
In the beginning, breastfeeding is not always easy for mother or baby. To help with this issue, many hospitals have lactation consultants to help moms learn good breastfeeding skills.
If breastfeeding hurts, if you feel frustrated or if you’re unsure about anything, ask your provider for help. Many hospitals also offer breastfeeding support after you leave the hospital.
Your baby’s pediatrician can be an excellent source of assistance as well. Check out the Every Ounce Counts website for more breastfeeding help.
the safe way to sleep
During the first few months, your baby will sleep between 15 and 20 hours a day. Babies sleep safest when all caregivers (including grandparents, babysitters and day care providers) follow the ABCs of safe sleep:
- Alone: Babies should sleep alone, without parents, siblings or stuffed animals.
- Back to sleep: Babies should sleep on their backs. The Back to Sleep national campaign has reduced SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) deaths in America by 50%. It’s hard for babies to breathe when they sleep on their sides or bellies, and they can suffocate.
- Clean and clear crib: The safest place for a baby to sleep is a crib with a tight-fitting mattress and no toys, blankets or baby bumpers. Dress your baby in a light onesie and try to keep the temperature around 70 degrees, as babies don’t regulate their temperatures well and can easily overheat.
If your baby is not sleeping in a safe place, he or she can easily slide into a position that won’t let him or her breathe. To make sure your baby is safe:
- Never let your baby sleep in a car seat, swing, bouncy seat or stroller.
- Never put your baby to sleep on a pillow, sofa, quilt, rug or other soft surface.
- Never put your baby to sleep on a couch or armchair.
Keep your baby safe and sound
As your baby grows, there will be more dangerous things around them. Avoid danger by always keeping an eye on your baby.
Before they can even crawl, babies can move around. They can roll, slide and fall when you’re not looking. Always place babies on firm, flat, enclosed surfaces.
If you need to put the baby down, be sure to use harnesses or belts that come with changing tables, high chairs and swings.
During the summer months in Texas, babies can easily overheat because of their poor temperature regulation. Never leave a baby in a car unattended. Not only is it against the law, but it also creates a real risk of death. This can be dangerous on a cool, spring day, too.
Never take your eyes off children around water. Babies can drown in just an inch of water. Bathtubs, pools and even buckets can be serious drowning hazards. Always make an adult responsible for watching your baby while playing near water.
protect your baby from infections
Get immunized yearly for flu and stay up-to-date on all of your vaccines. Whooping Cough or pertussis is a serious infection that is making a comeback. It can cause death in babies who are too young to be vaccinated, but don’t yet have any natural protection to fight this infection.
Remember to ask anyone who may touch or be around your baby to get vaccinated for flu and pertussis including parents, grandparents, day care workers and siblings.
If postpartum depression is a concern for you or your loved one, click here or call the National Institute of Mental Health toll-free at 1-866-615-6464.
Learn more about SIDS prevention by visiting the Room to Breathe website.