Baby blues – temporary sadness after childbirth
After childbirth, it’s common for the mother to experience mood swings. Approximately 50-70% of all new mothers experience what is commonly referred to as the baby blues or maternity blues.
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Mood swings typically begin around the third day after childbirth. The cause is believed to be a major hormonal change in the body after having given birth. The symptoms usually include sadness mixed with feelings of happiness, fatigue, anxiety, sorrow, and difficulties concentrating. The baby blues can come and go but will usually not last for more than two weeks after childbirth. It can be good to know in advance that you may experience the baby blues after childbirth and to know that you have support from people around you and the health care personnel.
If the sadness does not pass, you can talk to your nurse at your local Child Health Care Centre, midwife, or staff at your Health Care Centre. It is common to suffer from postpartum depression and help is available!
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Straight after birth, the newborn baby tends to be awake and alert for about two hours, which is when the baby breastfeeds for the first time.
Getting the baby to latch on to the breast
It is important that the baby can latch on to the breast properly as this will reduce the risk of sore nipples, uncomfortable breastfeeding, engorgement, insufficient amounts of milk and slow weight gain in the baby.
The first days of breastfeeding
The breastfeeding pattern differs from child to child. Some babies sleep almost the entire first day after birth, while others want to feed straight away and often. Although your priority is not on yourself, make sure to sleep when the opportunity presents itself, eat well, and ensure that you get enough fluids.
Bleeding and discharge after giving birth
After giving birth, it’s normal for the mother to bleed, for up to eight weeks. Most of the bleeding is from where the placenta comes away from the wall of the uterus. This happens to all women, whether the birth was vaginal or by cesarean section.
The uterus will shrink back down to its normal size after delivery. The contractions are called postpartum pains, or simply afterpains, and are similar to period pain.