Having a baby can turn your life upside-down. If you’re struggling to handle the heightened stress and fatigue of being a new parent, you’re not alone. Up to 80 percent of mothers experience “baby blues” during the first week or two after giving birth, and 15 percent develop more serious postpartum depression. Here are some practical tips to help you find time for yourself while also taking care of your newborn.
- Relax your standards: You’ve got more important things to worry about than deep cleaning and cooking gourmet meals. So let the dust collect. Fold the laundry tomorrow. Clean the bathroom with a quick swipe from a wet wipe. And serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or cereal for dinner.
- Get out of the house: If you’re going stir-crazy stuck at home, take the baby out for a walk. If possible, let someone you trust take the baby so you can run errands or get your hair done.
- Accept help: There’s no need to go it alone. If family members or friends offer to help, take them up on it! Ask them to hold the baby, fold the laundry, bring dinner over—whatever will help you the most.
- Adopt healthy habits: Resist the urge to count caffeine as a major food group. Instead, focus on eating healthy food, staying hydrated, and resting when you can. Nap when the baby naps, and work out a nighttime schedule with your partner that allows you both to maximize the amount of sleep you get.
- Set a schedule: Loosely plan how you’ll spend the morning, afternoon, and evening, designating a window of time to check items off your list. Be flexible and realistic so you can stick to your schedule most days.
- Develop a support network: Keep in touch with your parents, siblings, or friends who have also had babies recently. You might also join a support group where you can commiserate with other new parents.
- Nurture friendships: Just because you’re a new parent doesn’t mean your relationships have to fizzle out. Ask your partner or someone else you trust to watch the baby so you can go out for lunch with a friend.
- Maintain a sense of humor: Try to smile, even when things don’t go quite right. The spills, spit-up, and burst diapers are easier to handle if you can laugh it off.
- Keep some perspective: The newborn days won’t last forever. When you’re surrounded by chaos and almost at your wit’s end, remember that this too shall pass.
While parenting a newborn can be tough, it’s also the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. If you’re ready to experience this for yourself, contact Dr. Joshua Green of the Center for Vasectomy Reversal about having your past vasectomy reversed. We are leaders in helping men become fathers through safe, effective medical intervention. To learn more about vasectomy reversal, please contact our Sarasota, FL clinic at 941-894-6428 or schedule a free consultation online.
During pregnancy, you probably daydreamed about your baby’s arrival bringing happiness, pride, and love into your home. So if you’re feeling sad, hopeless, or depressed after giving birth, you may be confused, upset, or even guilty that your daydreams haven’t become a reality. It’s important to understand how common these feelings are and what treatments are available for postpartum depression (PPD).
Postpartum depression is not the same as “baby blues.”
Up to 80 percent of mothers experience “baby blues” during the first week or two after giving birth, which may cause mood swings, anxiety, crying, and difficulty sleeping. This is not the same as postpartum depression, which affects about 15 percent of mothers, whether they have other children or not. The intensity and long-lasting nature of postpartum depression can make it difficult to care for yourself and your baby.
Some symptoms of PPD include:
- Depression or severe mood swings
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Excessive crying, irritability, or anger
- Difficulty bonding with the baby
- Fear of being a bad mother
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Low energy
- Feeling guilty, shameful, or worthless
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of self-harm or hurting the baby
- Suicidal ideation
There are many risk factors for PPD.
Any mother can develop postpartum depression, but these factors may increase your risk:
- History of depression or other mood disorders
- Unwanted or difficult pregnancy
- Premature birth
- Having twins or triplets
- Recent stress, such as divorce, relationship issues, or death/illness of a loved one
- Serious health problems
- Lack of an emotional support network
- Drug or alcohol misuse
- Sleep deprivation
- Poor diet
Men can get postpartum depression, too.
Up to 25 percent of new dads experience depression after a baby is born, a condition known as paternal postpartum depression. Men with financial instability, relationship issues, a history of depression, or a partner with PPD are most at risk. If you’re a new father experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, contact your doctor for help.
Treatments are available for PPD.
If you notice signs of postpartum depression, treat it with these tips:
- Take antidepressants or other medication prescribed by your doctor.
- Seek counseling from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional.
- Practice self-care, such as eating well, exercising, meditating, and getting massages.
- Communicate with your partner about how they can help.
- Join a support group where you can commiserate with other new parents.
While postpartum depression and other pregnancy complications are always possible, you and your partner may have made up your minds about becoming parents. If you previously had a vasectomy, the first step is to have it reversed. Dr. Joshua Green of the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is a leader in helping men become fathers. To learn more about vasectomy reversal, please contact our Sarasota, FL clinic at 941-894-6428 or schedule a free consultation online.
As your child grows older, the time will come to wean them off breastfeeding. Remember, weaning doesn’t need to be all or nothing. Even cutting back on the number of times you breastfeed each day is a step in the right direction. In fact, it’s usually best to wean your baby gradually, both for your own comfort and to help your baby adjust to the change. Use these tips to help ease the transition from breast to bottle.
When to Wean Your Baby off Breastfeeding
There is no set age when a child should stop breastfeeding. As long as both of you are still benefitting from it, you can breastfeed as long as you like. Many mothers choose to wean naturally, allowing the child to outgrow the need at their own pace. For many babies, this happens between nine and 12 months old, though some children continue to show interest well into their toddler years. Still, when and how you choose to wean is totally up to you.
Age-by-Age Guide to Weaning
Following age-appropriate guidelines can make the weaning process easier. Here are some tips to help guide you:
- How to wean at 0 to 3 months: Babies often wean more quickly at this age because they’re less aware of what’s going on around them. An easy method is to offer a bottle of breast milk at the start of each feeding and eventually replace nursing sessions with bottles.
- How to wean at 4 to 6 months: Start substituting bottles at your baby’s least favorite feeding session. If your attempts don’t work, see if a support person can get your baby to take a bottle. Sometimes it helps if you’re not in the room during feeding time.
- How to wean at 6 to 12 months: Solids are an option at this age, so begin offering baby food instead of nursing sessions. Experiment until you find something your baby really likes.
- How to wean a toddler: If your older child hasn’t lost interest in breastfeeding yet, it may be helpful to explain that big kids don’t nurse, and it’s time to be done. Other tips include changing up your routine, offering snacks and drinks, and distracting your child with activities and games.
Tips to Make Weaning Easier
- Offer bottles of pumped breast milk rather than formula, if possible.
- Pump milk as needed to prevent your breasts from becoming painfully engorged.
- Shorten and gradually reduce daily nursing sessions.
- Only nurse your child when they ask, a technique called “don’t offer, don’t refuse.”
- Get rid of the “nursing chair.”
If you and your partner are ready to have a baby, but you’ve had a vasectomy in the past, start your journey to parenthood by scheduling a vasectomy reversal consultation with Dr. Joshua Green. Our staff provides concierge-level care and friendly interactions to help our clients feel well cared for. To learn more, please contact the Center for Vasectomy Reversal in Sarasota, FL at 941-894-6428.
Babies usually start teething between four and seven months old. If your baby has begun cutting those first few teeth, the experience may be unpleasant for both of you. Try these tips to soothe your baby’s aching gums safely and effectively.
- Offer a cold teething ring: Keep teething toys in the fridge or freezer so they’re ready to go when your child needs them. For safety reasons, choose solid plastic over gel-filled teethers, and inspect them after each use to ensure no parts are breaking off.
- Apply chilled items: Most babies love the feel of something cold on their sore gums, so keep a selection in your fridge or freezer at all times. Get creative with what you offer, from frozen washcloths to binkies to bottle nipples.
- Rub your baby’s gums: If your usual solutions aren’t available, try simply rubbing your child’s gums with your fingers (be sure to wash your hands first). If you’re at a restaurant, soak a few metal spoons in ice water and rotate them out to help your fussy baby.
- Offer frozen fruit: This option provides your child with a tasty, healthy treat. Try freezing bananas, mangos, or watermelon. Then, to prevent a choking hazard, place the frozen fruit in a mesh feeder before handing it over to your child.
- Get creative with mesh feeders: Fresh fruit isn’t the only thing you can place in a mesh feeder. Other ideas include peach or pear fruit cups, fruit pouches, ice cream, and yogurt. Freeze these items in ice cube trays so they’re a manageable size to place in a mesh feeder.
- Let your baby chew on everyday objects: Not every child likes having cold things in their mouth. If your baby refuses your frozen offerings, try giving them a toothbrush, wooden spoon, or clean cloth diaper or burp rag to suck on. Just be sure to monitor your child to prevent the risk of choking.
- Cuddle with your baby: Sometimes, extra cuddle time with Mom or Dad is the biggest comfort for a teething baby. Sit in a comfortable chair, hold your baby close, and sing songs or read stories together to distract them from the pain.
- Ask your pediatrician about medication: If you find your other soothing methods ineffective, medicine may be an option. Ask your child’s doctor for recommendations and to confirm the dosage. Also, be aware that some teething tablets contain belladonna, and numbing gels may contain benzocaine. The FDA has linked these substances with dangerous side effects in babies, so you should avoid them.
Are you and your partner talking about having a baby? Even if you’ve had a vasectomy, parenthood may still be in the cards. Start your journey by scheduling a vasectomy reversal consultation with Dr. Joshua Green. Over the years, Dr. Green has helped hundreds of men become fathers who would have otherwise been unable to. For more information, please contact the Center for Vasectomy Reversal in Sarasota, FL at 941-894-6428.
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