Congratulations on the birth of your baby/babies!

This is a time of change, adaptation and growth (& lots of cuddles and snuggles).

Taking the time to get to know the newest member of your family is extremely important. Your baby has their own personality, and it will take time for you to get to know them as well as giving them the opportunity to get to know you!

Another factor to consider is giving you and your partner the opportunity to get to know each other as parents, and if you already have children or fur babies, it is a time of change for them as well.

With regards to pets, it can be a good idea to prepare them during pregnancy.

We are family has some great suggestion to help your 4-legged family members –

http://www.wearefamily.vic.gov.au/

This page will focus on the first few months after birth.

Even if this is not your first baby, this time will be unique as you, your baby, your partner and any other family members get to know one another.

I love the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’, this is so true!

What does your village look like?

Who do you have around you for support?

What does support look like?

These are all great questions and worth exploring with your partner/family before baby is born.

Mother

After having a baby, women experience a number of changes physically, mentally and emotionally.

Having an understanding of these can help you prepare for this period in time.

Physically a woman’s body goes through a number of changes after birth e.g., healing from birth, breast changes, uterine and lochia changes, as well as changes in muscle sensation. It is also important to be aware that emotionally mothers can experience many ups and down, the baby blues within the first days for example. If mums’ experiences feeling overwhelmed, disconnected or alone for any longer than 2 weeks, this would be a good time to seek further support.

Other topics worth thinking about include:

  • Contraception

  • Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Self-care

  • Connecting with your community

Baby

During the first few months of life, babies experience a multitude of changes. Feeding is often one area that has many fluctuations. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding either expressed breastmilk or formular, all babies will have different feeding patterns. Becoming aware of your baby’s feeding cues can be helpful for you and baby. Feeding is also a great time for bonding with your baby.

Being aware of the general growth and development changes for baby will assist you with knowing that baby is going well or when to seek further support. For example, when babies are well, they generally wake for feeds, are well settled when sleeping and active when awake.

Other topics to consider include:

  • Sleep

  • Settling

  • Bathing

  • Parenting groups

Partner/support person

This can be a challenging role, especially if support has not been discussed before baby has been born. Remembering it takes a village to raise a child and looking out for ques of when to ask/accept support is very important. There are many factors to consider such as when will you return to work, what family/friends are available to support us, what is available within the community?

Health check ups

1-2 weeks

Your local Child and Family Health nurse will arrange to see you at home in the first 2 weeks after baby’s birth. They will check the health of you and baby and provide you with information about support services in your area.

6-8 weeks

Generally mum and baby will both have a health check-up around this time.

For mum’s it’s a good time to see how her body is recovering from birth and also to discuss other topics such as pap smear and contraception. This check is usually done with your General Practitioner or Obstetrician.

Babies will have a health check-up at this time to see how they are growing and adjusting to their new world, as well as their next immunisation if you choose to have this done. This check is usually with the child and family health nurse or General Practitioner.

There are a number of places/people who can offer support to you and your family during the first few months after birth including –

  • Midwife

  • Obstetrician

  • General Practitioner

  • Child and Family Health nurse

  • Emergency department of your local hospital

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