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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.