The postpartum period is considered to be the first six weeks after giving birth. During this time period there are so many things happen and changing with you and your baby.
Your body will go through many things, such as healing after childbirth and hormonal mood swings. You mayl also be learning the new process of parenthood, which may include breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, and the overall adjustment to being in charge for another tiny human being’s life. Or perhaps you are just learning your new schedule with three children now, instead of two. Regardless if this is your first child, or your fourth, everyone’s experience is different.
There are a few recovery milestones that you should expect to go through along your journey. We will highlight some of the things that you can expect from both your mind and body.
Week One Postpartum for Mom
- Post-vaginal delivery – If you delivered your baby in the hospital you will most likely stay there for at least 24 – 48 hours. After your delivery you may notice some pain around your vagina depending on whether you tore or not. Soreness and bleeding around the perineal is normal.
- Slight contractions – You may notice small contractions for some time after birth, especially when breastfeeding. These contractions are just the uterus contracting back to it’s pre-pregnancy size.
- Bleeding – You will notice bleeding postpartum. For the first week the blood should be bright red. However, eventually it will turn brown much like the end of your period.
- C-section delivery- It is important to take care of your stitches after delivery. You may notice that movement can be difficult and your incision painful in the weeks postpartum. You may discover that it is hard to get in and out of bed or to move around the house. However, it is important to move around, at least in a small amount, to help avoid blood clots while healing.
- Emotions – You may notice that your emotions are all over the place after birth. It will take your body some time to readjust with your hormone levels again. You may find that the sleep deprivation newborns can bring can make for a lot of tears and feeling as if things are not working correctly. This is very normal and most new moms find themselves crying over things such as diaper changes or that your favorite show is no longer available on Netflix. You may also find yourself feeling things such as fear, joy, doubt, jitters, and hypersensitivity. However, if you notice your sadness reaching higher levels than you think it should make sure to reach out to your doctor.
Recovery and symptoms during your first week home may be relieved with some helpful tips and tricks. Just try to keep in mind that your body just went through a major change and it will take time to heal and return back to normal.
Week One Postpartum for Baby
The first week of your baby’s life is a special time that you only get once. It may even feel very overwhelming at times. You might find yourself feeling as if you couldn’t imagine life without your precious new addition. While not much time has passed in their first week, your little one has already gone through quite the week of growth and development!
Your baby has been working on the skills that are needed to help survive outside of the womb. These skills are things such as digesting, suckling, and setting up their digestion and immune system with good flora.
Your baby heavily relies on a sense of touch and a sense of smell. Thus showing skin- to-skin contact is truly vital and should be done as much as possible. Babies are developing their reflexes during this first week and it is normal for them to appear as if they are startled or shivering.
During the first week newborn’s breathing can be irregular and have normal episodes of apnea, where they stop breathing altogether. While this can be very frightening to witness, it is normal and it is important to always monitor your baby for a problem and to follow safe sleep guidelines. However, if the apnea lasts longer than 10 seconds, you should consult a doctor immediately.
Within the first week, you can also anticipate to see the following milestones:
- Lift their head briefly while on their tummy. Newborns have poor head control and will need their head supported at all times. But you can usually expect to see them attempt to lift their head up on their own.
- Have a spontaneous smile. This can occur within the first few days of your baby’s life. This is different than the type of smile you do in response to something, babies will develop that smile when they are about one – two months old.
- Focus briefly on objects that are nearby. Your baby should be able to focus briefly on objects that are near the face and up to about 12 to 15 inches away. This is usually the distance that your breastfeeding baby can look at your face. However, their vision will still not be mature until a few more months has passed.
- Have equal movements of the arms and legs on both sides of the body. A one week old should move both sides of their body equally. If you notice your baby is moving one arm or leg more than the other could be a sign of weakness or injury.
Your Baby’s Growth
At birth, a newborn is classified in one of three ways : (SGA) small for gestational age, average for expected age, or (LGA) large for gestational age. At delivery the medical staff will measure the exact height and weight of your baby and then evaluate for that age. Most babies that are born full-term and weigh between 5.11 and 8.5 pounds. A low birth weight is classified as anything less than 5.8 pounds and a high birth weight is anything over 8.8 pounds.
During your baby’s first week it is normal for them to lose weight. The weight they lose is usually the excess fluid from pregnancy and delivery. Most babies are considerably lighter by the time that you are discharged from the hospital. The American Academy of Pediatrics says most babies will lose about one-tenth of their initial birth weight during the first five days of their life. You should watch to make sure that your baby slowly regains their weight over the next ten days to be back to their original birth weight. As your baby reaches their birth weight again, they should continue to gain 20-30 grams every single day.
When to be Concerned
Throughout the first week of your babies life, they will sleep a lot. However, if they do not wake for feedings or have a change in activity levels you will want to speak with your baby’s doctor. If you notice any additional symptoms such as a fever or yellowing skin you should also contact your baby’s doctor right away. Fevers can be a sign of a serious infection in a one week old, so make sure to go straight to the ER or contact your doctor right away if you notice one.
Things to Remember During Week One Postpartum
Don’t forget to take things one step at a time. You will have plenty of time to figure out parenting, it does not have to happen all at once. Remember to focus on what is important. You and your baby need time to rest and recover. Make sure to get as much rest as possible during this time period for both you and baby.
Do not forget to nourish your own body during your healing process. You may find yourself focusing on your baby’s needs and forgetting about your own. Do not forget that you need to eat properly, perhaps even more if you are breastfeeding! Your body has been through a huge feat over the past week. Make sure to drink plenty of water and focus on healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins that will help your body heal.
Enjoy every moment! This is the only time you will have your first week of memories and experiences with this particular baby. Try to enjoy every single moment of it!