Top tips on recovering from birth and coping the first few days with your newborn

Recovering from Birth
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Nothing – but nothing – can prepare you for the mind-blowing impact of having your baby. Your nether regions will be very sore, your breasts will be tender, huge and unfamiliar, and you’re likely to be hormonal.

As the nation celebrates the arrival of the new Prince, it’s important to remember that for Kate and for other mums the next few weeks will be a strange, dreamlike twilight zone, where night and day merge into one, and you wander around in an exhausted but (hopefully) euphoric haze.

Recovering from BirthAs a new mum you’ll never know tiredness like this again, but there will be days when you’ll be so bursting with love for your baby, you’ll cry.

Immediately after the birth

If you gave birth in hospital, try to make the most of your time there to rest and learn about caring for your baby. The midwives will spend as much time with you as they can, helping you breastfeed and teaching you how to bathe the baby and change his nappy.

Back home with baby

Many mums spend a day or two in hospital after the birth, which means they get home just as their milk kicks in, the baby blues hit and everyone wants to come and visit. Try these coping tips:

  • Forget about housework and cooking, just sleep when you can.
  • Remind yourself continually that this chaos won’t last.
  • Remind yourself that you need to rest to make milk for your baby (write it down and ask your partner to read it to you every morning).
  • Don’t get hung up on bath times. If your baby loves a bath (and dads are just as good at doing baths as mum) then great. If he really doesn’t like being bathed, just ‘top and tail’ (wash face and bottom) for a few days.
  • Don’t worry about daytime versus night-time clothes – your baby won’t know the difference. As long as he’s clean, he doesn’t need to be in a new outfit twice a day.
  • If your baby is fractious, experiment with different holding positions and – if that fails – hand him to someone else. Quite often a calmer pair of arms (and a body that doesn’t smell of breast milk) will settle him. If there’s no one else around, place him in his cot/Moses basket, check he’s safe, then walk away for a few minutes. Sometimes babies get over-stimulated and just want a bit of time on their own to cool off.
  • Don’t torture yourself by trying to remember how many times you were up during the night so you can play ‘competitive exhaustion’ with your partner or other mums. Far better to just float through the night in a half-sleep daze with the lights dimmed and the clock turned to the wall. After a while you’ll wake up in the morning unable to remember whether you were up in the night or not.

Your post-birth body

Having been through birth, your body will need time to recover. You’ll be bleeding quite heavily (even if you’ve had a c-section), and your breasts will probably leak. Don’t expect to feel sexy! Your bedtime outfit will include: a sleep bra to hold breast pads in place; huge knickers stuffed with an industrial-size sanitary pad: and a big nightie to cover the whole lot up when you’re pacing the corridors all night. But rest assured, it will pass. Bleeding stops after about a month (sometimes much sooner), the leaky boobs will settle down once feeding gets into a rhythm, and eventually, your baby will adopt a sleeping routine which means you can spend most of the night in bed, ideally asleep!

Click here to see Mothercare range of treats fit for your newborn prince our princess and limited edition Happyland Royal Baby Set.

Helpful Tips and Advice to Help You and Your Baby Enjoy Breastfeeding

National Breast Feeding Week
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Breast Feeding Week23rd – 29th June is National Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding has multiple benefits for both mother and baby, but this doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get the hang of it as soon as your baby is born. In fact it can prove a little trickier than you may think at first. But with a bit of perseverance and determination, breastfeeding can soon become second nature to you both and once that nirvana has been reached, you’ll not want to stop! Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby – available both on demand and at the right temperature – but it can also be quite daunting for new mothers to know exactly where to begin. That’s why it’s of paramount importance to look after yourself and to ensure that both you and your baby are involved in both a relaxing and rewarding experience.

Here are a few quick tips to keep your energy and milk levels topped up.

- Ensure you are drinking plenty of fresh and filtered clean water daily – this will help to keep milk levels up and, most importantly, give you and your baby the hydration and energy you need through this demanding time.

- Small but frequent meals are often the best way to keep you active and energised.

- Try and stay relaxed and have feeding stations spread around the house. Place some soaked dried fruits and snacks there for when you need to feed – and always have a fresh glass or bottle of water to hand.

- One of the most of soothing experiences for you and your baby can be to feed your baby lying down on your side. Try this both during the day, as well as at night, as it will give YOU a well-deserved rest as well.

- Massage your mammaries. It is important to regularly massage your breasts – before, during and after feeds. This helps the milk to flow downwards and prevents the ducts from getting blocked. Start from the outside of the breast and move inwards towards the areola and nipple, using small soft circles. Massage under your arm and around the collarbone area as well if this is area is feeling hard.

- Try some baby massage. As well as the physiological benefits for your baby, there are also many benefits for the mother. Baby massage helps stimulate the hormone prolactin in mothers, which helps encourage lactation.

- Most importantly relax. Although breastfeeding can be demanding, learn to go with the flow (pun intended!) and enjoy this precious time with your baby.

As part of the National Breastfeeding Week, baby experts Mothercare are hosting a number of activities both in store and online in conjunction with the Royal College of Midwives. They are also offering some top breastfeeding deals including ‘Buy one get one half price on selected nursing bras and tops’ and ‘Save 1/3 on Innosense breast pump’ The offer expires on 2 July 2013 though so you’ll need to hurry!