How you are going to feed your baby is one of the biggest decisions you will make during pregnancy. We know that breast milk can give your baby the best possible start in life. Many medical authorities, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend that babies get only breast milk for the first six months of life.
In Utah, most new moms try and breastfeed, but the decision is yours. In this section, we hope to help you make the best decision for you and your family.
After you deliver your baby, the hormones in your body are adjusting. Several hormones are involved in maintaining your pregnancy, and after the baby is delivered, those hormone levels change. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, tearful, or sad once your baby arrives. This usually starts around the third day of your baby’s life and goes away within a couple of weeks. However, sometimes it does not go away or becomes worse. In addition, some people start to develop these feelings once the baby is one to two months of age. If your feelings last for longer than expected and you find it difficult to care for yourself or your infant, you might have what is called postpartum depression.
Community and national resources that can help:
Having another child is a personal choice, and there are many things to consider before you decide to add to your family. One thing you should consider is how far apart in age you would like your children; this is known as birth spacing. Birth spacing is the time between the birth of one baby and the beginning of the next pregnancy.
Planning enough time between pregnancies increases the chance of good results for both mom and babies. Experts agree that waiting 18 months before getting pregnant with another child is best for the health of mom and baby.
Waiting 18 months: benefits to mom
- Her body has enough time to recover from pregnancy and birth
- She has more time to regain health and energy
- Mom has time to rebuild her nutritional storage, especially folic acid
- Reduces the risk of maternal death, high blood pressure, bleeding during pregnancy, and early bread of the bag of waters
Waiting 18 months: benefits to the new baby
- The new baby has an increased chance of being born on time and not too early.
- The new baby has a higher chance of weighing enough at birth instead of being born too little.
One way to make sure that your pregnancies are spaced is to use reliable birth control methods. Most birth control methods can be used while breastfeeding and are not harmful to breastfed children. However, some forms can be harmful to the milk supply. If you are breastfeeding and want to use a hormonal method, it is suggested that you use a progestin-only pill (mini-pill), the birth control shot, the IUDs Mirena and Skyla, or the birth control implant. If you do not want to use a hormonal method, you can use any of the barrier methods, natural family planning, or the lactational amenorrhea (LAM) method.
When you are ready to plan another pregnancy
When you are ready to have another baby, getting ready early will help you and your baby have the healthiest start. Just like your preconception health before your first pregnancy, your health between babies is important. Before each pregnancy, you should see a doctor for a check-up (making sure any problems you had with your last pregnancy are discussed), get any health problems under control, and review the safety of any medications you are taking. Get back to a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and begin taking a vitamin with folic acid.
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It is also important to take care of your baby’s oral health. Some important ways to take care of your baby’s teeth are to clean their mouth twice a day, breastfeed for the first 6 months and then feed them healthy foods and go to the dentist by age one.
Before your baby has teeth take a soft, damp, clean cloth and gently wipe and stimulate the gums. This will remove bacteria from the mouth and stimulate blood flow. After the first tooth comes in brush the tooth with a soft child size toothbrush and a smear (half a pea size) of fluoride toothpaste. Ask your pediatric health professional to check your baby’s mouth starting at age 6 months, and to provide a referral to a dentist if needed.
Infants should never be put to bed with a bottle. The sugar in formula, and breast milk can still cause cavities. Going to bed with a bottle can cause many sever cavities in the mouth often referred to as baby bottle mouth decay. The only liquids that should be in the bottle include formula, breast milk and water. Juice, soda, tang and kool-aid should never be put in a baby’s bottle or into a sippy cup.
What does it mean to have gestational diabetes?
- Having gestational diabetes means your blood sugar levels were higher than normal during pregnancy.
- At least half of all women with gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and can be prevented with lifestyle changes. To learn more about reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, click here.
- Your child has a higher than normal chance of developing diabetes.
- It is important to have your blood sugar levels tested after pregnancy to make sure they have returned to normal.
If you had Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy, you and your child have a lifelong risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
You can lower your risk by choosing a healthy lifestyle. It is important that you schedule and keep your appointment for your postpartum checkup 6-12 weeks after delivery. Be sure the doctor tests your blood sugar level during this visit. While at this visit, ask your doctor:
- What is my blood sugar level now?
- What is my risk for diabetes?
- What can I do today to lower my risk for diabetes?
- What can I do today to avoid gestational diabetes in future pregnancies?
If you don’t have a postpartum provider and need a referral, call the Baby Your Baby Hotline at 1-800-826-9662.