As a parent, you must always keep in mind that you hold your child’s well-being in your hands. Breastfeeding remains the primary source of your child’s diet. Aside from breastfeeding, keep yourself informed about what kind of vitamins you and your baby need to avoid birth defects and other pregnancy-related complications in the future.
Your child’s future greatly depends on how you care for your body. You should immediately quit all your bad habits once you get confirmation of your pregnancy from your first ultrasound. Ask your doctor about taking supplements with essential minerals like iron, folic acid, calcium, and vitamin D. Prenatal vitamins play an important role in developing your child’s brain and body. However, taking medicine is not enough—a balanced diet can be beneficial for you and your baby. Never skip your appointments with your doctor and keep your immunization records updated.
Delivering your baby
There are three stages in delivering your child to this world and you and your partner should be in sync when the time comes. Some cases are different than others because women have different body types and various levels of pain tolerance. Here are the different phases each mother goes through during a vaginal delivery.
1. Early labor and active labor
- During early labor, you may feel mild, irregular contractions. Your vagina may also excrete a clear, bloody discharge also known as the mucus plug.
- During active labor, your cervix dilates from 6 cm to 10 cm. You will experience longer and stronger contractions. Your water may break during this time
2. Birth of your baby
- This is when the real work begins. First-time mothers and those who’ve taken an epidural may take longer to deliver their baby. The final process in this phase is when your doctor cuts your baby’s umbilical cord.
3. Delivery of the placenta
- The placenta is usually delivered a few minutes after childbirth. Once it’s out of your system, your health care provider will assess your placenta to check if it’s intact. Your doctor will also examine your vaginal region to see if you need stitches.
Breastfeeding for the first time
Breastfeeding promotes a unique bond between the mother and her baby and gives the most nutrients to your child. Breastfed babies tend to be healthier and have a stronger immune system. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding since it reduces the risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Consult your doctor about your overall health and if you are fit to breastfeed your child.
Proper storage of milk
Storing your breast milk is part of the sanitary process that you need to follow to ensure your baby is getting them most out of your milk. Freezing your milk supply is generally recommended most especially when you are producing more than what your baby is consuming. The lifespan of your milk depends on your storage method:
- Room temperature - Six to eight hours
- Insulated cooler bag – 24 hours
- Refrigerator – Five days
- Freezer compartment of your refrigerator – Two weeks
- Freezer compartment of your refrigerator with separate doors – Three to six months
- Chest freezer – Six months to one year
How your partner can help
Remember that you are not alone in this journey. Be vocal with your partner about your physical and emotional needs so you can be the best mother for your baby. Take a breather once in a while and treat yourself to your favorite dish or just simply take a moment for yourself to relax and unwind. Seek support from your family and friends because they are at the best position to help you welcome your child to this new life.