After the birth of her baby, the mother will usually stay in hospital for several days. The length of time varies, depending upon how she is, how the baby is, and if there were any complications at birth, but usually five to six days is sufficient. This is a valuable time for the mother to rest and regain her strength, and to become emotionally adjusted. She gets rest from the chores and problems of her home and family. A good maternity unit will see that she has a close contact with her baby and is taught how to feed him,him and change his nappy. She will also be able to ask about anything which is worrying her about her own health or that of the baby.
But however well they have been instructed in the hospital, most mothers are nervous and lack confidence when they first get home and the responsibility of a tiny baby is entirely theirs and their partners’. There will be a lot of work to do and it is essential that the mother has:
• plenty of rest
• good, plentiful food and fluids
• fresh air and exercise.
These things will help her to regain her normal health, and to get over the hard work of giving birth. She will be dependent upon the willing help of her partner, relations and friends. If her partner can get paternity leave, or if her parents or parents-in-law can take over some of the housework for a week or two, this is a great help.
Within a few weeks she should have developed a daily routine, fitting round the baby’s feeds and bathtime, and the needs of the rest of the family. A typical daily routine may be like this:
6.00 a.m Baby’s first feed of the day.
6.30-7.30 a.m Another hour in bed.
7.30 a.m.Get up, prepare and eat breakfast with the family.
8.30 a.m.Partner and children go to work and school; clear breakfast things.
9.00 a.m.Prepare baby’s bath and bath baby.
10.00 a.m. Feed.
10.30 a.m. Wash nappies and do other washing.
11.00 – 11.30 a.m. Mid-morning break and rest.
12.30 p.m. Go shopping or do housework.
1.30 p.m.-2.00 p.m. Prepare and have lunch.
2.00-3.30 p.m Clean and feed baby.
3.30-5.00 p.m. Rest and play with baby; go for walk.
5.00 p.m. Housework; prepare evening meal.
7.30 p.m. Evening meal.
8.30 p.m. `Top and tail’ baby; give bedtime feed. Hopefully the evening is her own to relax, spend time with her partner and rest of the family.
10.00 p.m. Feed baby.
This is only an example of the sort of routine a mother can establish, and will vary according to how often the baby needs feeding, whether or not he is a fretful baby, and what the needs of the rest of the family are, but if she tries to organise her time she will get through much better. She should always be able to break her routine if she wishes, so that if it is a lovely day and she feels like going for a walk she should do so and leave the chores for later.