After Pregnancy

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 a 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:

When to have another child is a personal choice and there are many things to think about before you make the decision 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 amount of 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

Family Planning

One way to make sure that your pregnancies are spaced is to use trustworthy birth control methods. Most of the birth control methods can be used while breastfeeding and are not harmful to their breastfed children. However, some forms can be harmful to 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.

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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.

 

It took nine months to gain the weight, let’s talk about realistic expectations for losing it.

Continue taking care of your mouth after your baby is born. Most babies get the bacteria that causes cavities from their mom or dad. Keeping your mouth clean will lower the chances of spreading these bacteria. Do not share utensils, cups or toothbrushes with your child. Also, do not lick a pacifier that falls on the ground and then give it to your child as this will spread the bacteria that causes cavities from you to your child. Keep getting oral health care after pregnancy, practice good oral hygiene, and eat healthy foods.

It is also important to take care of your baby’s oral health. Some great 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 ag
e one. It is also important to clean your babies mouth twice a day. Take a soft, damp, clean cloth and gently wipe and stimulate the gums. This will remove bacteria from the mouth and stimulate blood flow. Ask your pediatric health professional to check your baby’s mouth starting at age 6 months, and to provide a referral to a dentist for urgent oral health care.

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.