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Integrative Family Health Clinic in Bolton and the Greater Caledon Area
4-22 Simona Drive
Bolton, ON
new parents with newborn

New Mom and New Family Must-Knows

Don’t pick up the baby too much because you will spoil them!

Make sure you lose all your pregnancy weight or it will never come off!

Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep with the baby in your bed!

All these and many more well-intentioned tips from family, friends, and TikTok can be helpful at times, but more often than not, they can increase the expectations of an already overwhelmed new family. 

Welcome, first-time parents, to the postpartum period!

Postpartum is a time of great change and vulnerability. It begins immediately at time of birth for up to 12 weeks. For many, the journey to becoming parents was stressful enough. From the time of conception, to the mental and physical demands of preserving life within the mother’s body, the journey to this point has not been easy, but it’s time to enjoy a life changing experience.

As a nurse practitioner but most importantly, as a mother myself, I know that the care that a woman and her family receives during the postpartum period may impact the rest of their lives.

Postpartum care is not straightforward, it is the merging of care that sees for the health and wellbeing of mother, newborn, and the family unit, all while considering social and cultural influences. Let’s discuss each of these individually.

Must-Know #1: Mother’s Health

This is a period of returning to normal, or better explained, adapting to the new normal. This is a time of great change, with an extensive list of health considerations for the woman. The mother’s health must consider the physical recovery from pregnancy and labor, to the mental and emotional wellness needs related to maternal-infant bonding and changes within the partner roles. The mother is learning and coping with a lot of change, this is a time that requires a lot of love, patience and compassion.

Must-Know #2: Newborn Health

Postpartum newborn care focuses on supporting the infant to adjust to their new world. For the months leading up to the time of birth, the babe had everything it needed to survive at their fingertips. Out of the womb, the newborn’s body is adjusting to a new environment full of harsh experiences. The baby is learning they must cry to communicate their needs, they are learning about feelings of hunger, cold, or need for skin-to-skin, feeling closeness and the need for love. Your new baby is doing a lot of learning and coping with change, this is a time that requires a lot of love, patience and compassion.

Must-Know #3: Husband/Partner (New Parent) and Family Health 

This is a time where families adapt physically, psychologically and socially to their newly established family unit. In immeasurable ways, the new family has forever changed. From sleepless nights, to mental and emotional stressor of uncertainty, confusion and role change, the husband/partner and those close to the new family are learning and coping with change, this is a time that requires a lot of love, patience and compassion.

In essence, the postpartum period is a time when mothers and their new family acquaint themselves with one another while adapting to their changing bodies, environment and roles. Although stressful, we were created for this! We must trust our ability to not only give birth, but to raise families. When considering how dynamic postpartum care is, it is crucial to leverage the support from those around you (the village). We must humbly accept their help, practice self-compassion, prioritize health, sleep and family bonding. Instead of struggling to meet the demands of social media, or a well intentioned loved one, trust that your maternal/paternal compass is working just fine and out of love, do what feels right for you and your family.  

Expanding the Village: How Nurse Practitioners Can Help

Postpartum care is not just the concern of the woman and child, but for the health of those who will play important roles in the care and wellbeing of the family. Nurse practitioners and your healthcare team can help during this period of change by helping:

Mothers
  1. Monitor physiological postpartum changes including breasts, vaginal, uterine, etc. 
  2. Support with breastfeeding
  3. Provide mental and emotional wellness screening and care
Newborns

Monitor physical health  milestones, including:

  • feeding
  • length
  • weight
  • reflexes
  • milestones
Families
  1. Assess and support families at addressing health concerns
  2. Provide anticipatory guidance

If you have postpartum or newborn health questions and would like to discuss them in an unhurried appointment please feel free to book a new family appointment with me. If you would like to learn more about how a nurse practitioner can support your family’s health please feel free to book a free 15 minute discovery call.

A healthful life starts here. Book an appointment with our primary care providers today.

Pediatric Physiotherapy: Never Too Soon to Start

Are you concerned that your baby might be delayed in their movement development? Worried that they might not be rolling, sitting, crawling, or walking yet? Are you worried that the way your baby is moving doesn’t look right? Do they only roll to one side, are they sitting slumped forward or W-sitting, are they crawling abnormally or walking only on their tip-toes? This article is all about how pediatric physiotherapy can help, and when you should get started.

developmental milestones of infants and children in pediatric physiotherapy
Source: Pulsenotes

Comparing your baby to their peers, checking in with your doctor or pediatrician, or completing published developmental milestone checklists are all helpful strategies to get a reading on how your baby is doing with their motor development. 

Still, you may be left feeling worried that your baby is slower to develop their movement milestones or you may be wondering if they’re moving normally. In these cases, parents like you often feel like they have no direction on how to help them. What’s more, there’s the added pressure to have your baby walking by the time they start daycare.

What is pediatric physiotherapy?

Pediatric physiotherapy can help you understand your child’s movement development and help your child reach their movement milestones. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to work with a pediatric physiotherapist, and the sooner you start, the better for your child’s development.

The earlier, the better

Movement is not pre-programmed into your baby’s brain. It won’t just turn on once your child reaches a certain age. Movement is a response to your baby being hungry and curious — they may see or hear something interesting, they may want to grab or explore something, they may feel the push of gravity or the surface below them, they may feel off-balance and want to right themselves, and they may want to engage socially.

There are so many systems that need to integrate well in order to result in normal movement development. The earlier your pediatric physiotherapist can identify the systems that may be impacting your child’s movement development, the earlier movement delays and abnormal movement patterns can be prevented. 

How does pediatric physiotherapy help?

By doing a movement screening, your pediatric physiotherapist will: 

    1. Assess for abnormal movement patterns that could lead to developmental delays
    2. Assess for existing movement delays
    3. Assess for deficits other systems that affect movement, including:
        • muscle tension
        • muscle weakness
        • balance difficulties
        • coordination difficulties
        • sensory difficulties
        • movement asymmetries
        • weak core strength or activation
        • poor body awareness
        • delayed protective and equilibrium reactions
        • hyper- or hyposensitivity to touch or pressure 
        • hyper- or hyposensitivity to movement
        • high or low muscle tone

Once it’s clear which factors are contributing to your child’s abnormal or delayed movement, your pediatric physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan to make sure that all of your child’s systems are working together to develop normal and age-appropriate movement.

During pediatric physiotherapy sessions, your child will have in-office treatment sessions until they meet their movement milestones.

Parent education is key to following through and continuing the benefits of in-office treatment. You will also be well-equipped with exercises and strategies to help with your child’s normal movement development in their home environment.

Long-term benefits of pediatric physiotherapy

The benefits of pediatric physiotherapy are both immediate and long-term. Not only will you see immediate benefits in your child’s movement development, but early intervention means that you can prevent further delays in movement development.

Pediatric physiotherapists recommend early intervention to improve your child’s confidence as they move through their environment. With better integrated systems, your child’s movement will be better coordinated and have improved balance. Improved movement for your child also means they will have better interactions with their environment and peers.

Remember, the earlier the interventions, the sooner you and your child can see the benefits.

If you’re ready to get started, our pediatric physiotherapist at Wildflower Health & Wellness is currently accepting patients in the Bolton, Caledon, and Peel regions.