One of the questions our teachers often receive from new mums who have attended their classes is when a new mum should expect her first period after the birth of her baby. Unfortunately, this isn’t a question with a straight answer! Everyone really is different, and while some women report having their period as early as 5 or 6 weeks after birth, others may not see it coming back for a couple of years!
So let’s dig a little deeper into this topic, and we’ll explain what happens to a new mum’s body after birth.
When not breastfeeding…
Women who do not breastfeed report their period returning anything between 5 weeks and 3 months after birth. While it is possible that if a woman’s period returns this early after giving birth, she may not actually be fertile for the first few cycles, this is definitely not true for everyone! In fact, if a woman’s period returns 5 weeks after the birth of her baby, there is a possibility that she may be ovulating and be fertile 2 weeks before that, so effectively only 3 weeks after giving birth. It’s always worth remembering that because you do not know when your period will return (but you’ll be ovulating approximately 2 weeks before the first day of your period) you may want to use contraception in case you are fertile. Unless you’re planning another baby very soon, of course! Continue reading →
We all know that vitamin D is important and that sun exposure can do wonders for our vitamin D intake. But is there more to it? What does vitamin D actually do? Is it recommended that expectant mums and new babies take supplements? And if so, why? What can too little or too much vitamin D do? We have tackled some of these questions in this blog post.
What is vitamin D and where do our bodies get it from?
Vitamin D helps us keep our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. According to the NHS Choices website, in the UK from about March/April through to September, most people who regularly spend time outdoors can get enough vitamin D. This happens because our amazing bodies can create vitamin D through direct exposure of our skin (just think forearms, hands or lower legs) to the sun (without sunscreen). This is especially easier in the hours between 11am and 3pm. Short bouts of exposure of 10-15 minutes are enough for light-skinned people, but people with darker skin will need to spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D. For the rest of the year though, from October to March, we just can’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone. So if we can’t get it from exposure to the sun, where else can we get it from? Continue reading →
During pregnancy your breasts start producing a small amount of milk, ready for the birth of the baby. This early milk is called colostrum, and you may or may not notice little drops of it leaking from your breasts towards the end of your pregnancy. If you’re not, don’t worry, as your body is producing it, even if you can’t see it!
Colostrum is the milk that your baby will have for the first 3 or 4 days before your ‘full milk’ comes in. Not a lot of it is produced, so if you express it into a bottle, don’t worry if you can only see a little of it – this is all your baby needs. Remember that their stomachs are tiny! Colostrum is thick and sticky, it may appear buttery yellow in colour, and it’s full of antibodies. That’s why it’s also nicknamed ‘liquid gold’. The antibodies that colostrum contains provide your baby with protection against infections that mum has built up an immunity to. Continue reading →
In our BabyNatal Practical Baby Care classes we talk about the ‘Golden Hour’, which is the term used to describe the first hour after the birth of a baby. We love talking about what typically happens during this time, and one of the things that we encourage parents to consider, if at all possible, is to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies.
Having skin-to-skin contact simply means having your baby’s bare body on your bare skin (normally on your chest). If your baby has literally just been born, they may still be partially wrapped in a towel, which helps them stay warm.
Skin-to-skin contact isn’t just for the first few minutes or hours after birth though – when you’re at home with your baby in the first few days and weeks of their lives, you can continue to take some time to enjoy skin-to-skin contact with them – and it’s ok for them to be wearing a nappy… because you just never know! In order to keep yourself and (especially) your baby comfortable and warm, you can always cover yourself with a light blanket or large muslin, depending on the temperature in the room you’re in. Continue reading →
One question that often comes up in our BabyNatal Colic and Calming workshops is whether dairy allergy or lactose intolerance could cause colic. This is certainly a possibility (although there are others), and the advice that we give parents in our classes is to work with their health professionals to look at the baby’s feeds to try and accommodate these allergies or intolerance.
The good news is that a lot of babies do grow out of allergies or intolerance as their digestive system matures, but if this is an area of concern for you at the moment, here’s some information that you might find useful.
What is cow’s milk allergy?
Cow’s milk allergy is a reaction from the immune system to one or both the proteins contained in cow’s milk (casein and whey). It should not be confused with lactose intolerance, which is the inability to digest the milk sugar found in milk (including breast milk).
Cow’s milk allergy is the most common food allergy in infants and young children in the UK, and it can occur in both breastfed and formula-fed babies. Continue reading →
A baby’s weight is one of the first things people ask about your newborn (after you’ve told them whether you had a boy or a girl, of course!) Weight tends to be an indication of how ‘healthy’ a baby is, when in reality the weight of a baby at birth depends on many factors, including mum’s own weight and diet, mum’s ethnicity and whether the baby is her first or a subsequent baby (first babies tend to be smaller than their siblings). Continue reading →
My daughter Emily is 19 months old, and up until a couple of weeks ago, she would wake somewhere between 1 to 4 times in the night between 9pm and 7am. The wakings would vary between 20 minutes to over an hour at times, and with each waking she would only settle with me (mum) with a breastfeed. We tried having Daddy going in to her to settle her back to sleep, but she would just screams and screams until I would go and feed her back to sleep. We tried many different ‘gentle’ things to help her sleep – later bedtime, earlier bedtime, later naps, earlier naps, baby massage, more food, banana before bed, more drinks, warmer clothes for bedtime, a comforter, white noise, night light, bedtime routines, bedtime story, no TV in the run up to bedtime… You name it, we tried it! Continue reading →
More and more families are choosing to holiday at home, and camping has always been a great way to do so. Low cost and the ultimate chance to leave the gadgets at home and enjoy some family time! The arrival of a baby doesn’t mean that the tent has to be packed away. Natal HQ even managed a camping trip last May with their 5 week old! Here are our top tips for camping with your baby… Continue reading →
In celebration of International Breastfeeding Week, one of our Natal teachers shares her personal story of returning to work while breastfeeding. Thanks to Laura for sharing this story of how she made breastfeeding and work, work for her!Continue reading →