By Ms Pauline Wee, Assistant Director of Nursing, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
Congratulations on the arrival of your newborn.
We have prepared this to give you useful information on coping with the first few weeks after your delivery.
Caring For Your Baby's Umbilical Cord
Keep your baby's cord clean and dry at all times. Use a cotton wool or bud (dampened with cool boiled water) to clean the cord. Always clean from base upwards using a clean piece each time after your baby's bath and when it is wet. The cord will gradually drop off within a week.
Caring For The Episiotomy Wound
Episiotomy is the cut made at the perineal region during childbirth. The stitches take about one to two weeks to heal and dissolve. The area should be kept as clean as possible by washing with water after each urination and defecation, and using clean sanitary pads.
Caring For The Caesarean Wound
Always keep the dressing on your operation site dry. You may remove the dressing as advised by the nurses.
You are advised not to carry or lift heavy objects for about two months. This will allow your wound to heal adequately.
Go to the nearest polyclinic or general practitioner if the wound is red or there is smelly discharge.
Lochia is the 'bloody' discharge which begins right after delivery. During the first couple of days, the bleeding can be quite heavy but it will gradually decrease.
The colour of lochia usually changes from bright red to pink to brown, and may become yellow before it disappears completely, which is usually three or four weeks later.
Please consult your doctor should the lochia suddenly become heavy and red again after disappearing.
Breastfeeding - Care For Your Breast
Breastfeeding is contributed by Cynthia Pang, Senior Lactation Consultant, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
You should wear a supportive nursing bra during breastfeeding. To prevent breast engorgement,
• Feed your baby on demand every two to three hourly, including night feeds
• Massage your breasts before every feed
• Express your breastmilk every three hourly either with your hands or a pump if your baby is not feeding directly from the breast
• Apply cold cabbage leaves once or twice or use cold pack on the breast in between expressing if your breast is hard and painful
If in doubt, please contact KKH’s lactation consultant / counsellor through the Hospital's operator at telephone: 6225 5554. You may also make an appointment to see the consultants at the Lactation Clinic.
Eat a variety of foods from the 4 food groups (rice and alternatives, fruits, vegetables, and meat and alternatives) to maintain a healthy diet.
If you are breastfeeding:
• Continue having 2 - 4 servings of milk or high-calcium foods daily
• Do not go on a strict diet to lose weight until your baby has been fully established onto semi-solid foods (at about 6 months of age)
• Drink plenty of fluids
• Limit to 2 cups of tea or coffee a day
• Avoid alcohol and tonics containing alcohol for the 1st week after delivery or if your baby has jaundice. From the 2nd week onwards, if your baby doesn't have jaundice, you may consume up to 30 ml (2 dessertspoons) a day of alcohol or tonics containing alcohol, after you have breastfed your baby.
Relax and Exercise
It is important for you to relax and rest during the confinement period.
You should rest your back as much as possible to recuperate from the delivery. Try to catch some rest when your baby is asleep. If you have other children, you may want to engage them in quiet activities such as reading stories to them.
You are encouraged to do some postnatal exercises as it will help firm up the abdomen and muscles around the hip and thighs. Regular postnatal exercise classes are conducted during the weekends at the Hospital. For enquiries, please contact KKH’s Patient Education Centre at tel: 6394 1268. A fee applies.
Before you leave for home, you will be given an appointment for a postnatal check-up, four or six weeks after your delivery. The check-up may be done at KKH’s women's specialist clinic, the KK Women's Clinic (Ang Mo Kio) or the polyclinic.
As a Pap smear is done during the check-up, you should notify the clinic if you are menstruating.
You and your husband should decide how soon to resume sexual activity. You may resume as long as you are up to it.
If you are tired or feel sensitive on the perineum after a tear or an episiotomy, you may wish to discuss with your spouse and explore other ways of expressing your affection.
You can register your baby's birth at most hospitals. You are advised to register within 14 days of your baby's birth.
You are required to bring the following documents for registration:
• Original marriage certificate
• Parents' identity cards
• Birth notification form which is given at the ward.
This featured article is contributed by the KK Women's and Children's Hospital. To read more please visit www.kkh.com.sg/HealthPedia.