Are you finding that weight gain is an ever-maddening obsession? When you were pregnant, you may have worried you were gaining too much weight, and now that your baby’s here, you may worry that he’s gaining too little.
After the first couple of weeks, babies gain an average of one to two pounds a month for the first six months, then about one pound a month from six months to a year. But it’s important to remember that no baby grows “on schedule” according to any chart. Normal, healthy weight gain can vary widely from baby to baby.
So how can you tell if your baby’s getting enough to eat? Just call it the “soggy bottom” rule: Each day, breastfed babies should soak at least six to eight diapers and formula-fed babies four to six. Your baby’s caregiver will also record his weight at checkups and plot them on a growth chart, so try to relax and let your caregiver “weigh in” with the news.
Your six-week checkup
Your turn! You’ll meet with your caregiver around this time so she can see how your body is recovering from pregnancy and birth. This is your chance to bring up issues you’ve been concerned about, for example, any bleeding or aches and pains you’ve had, breastfeeding issues, safe exercise, and if it’s OK to have sex. Keep track of your questions ahead of time so you don’t forget.
And how are you doing, anyway?
Your six-week checkup is also a chance to take stock of how you’re doing emotionally. Don’t be shy. If you’ve been feeling down, let your doctor know. It’s natural to hit a temporary low after the emotional excitement of giving birth. But about 15 percent of women fall into a more serious postpartum depression (PPD), which can last for several weeks or months. If you’ve had symptoms like anxiety, sadness, exhaustion or insomnia for over two weeks, tell your caregiver. You may have postpartum depression, and it’s important to seek professional treatment for your own sake, and the baby’s.
Did you know?
Ten percent of men suffer paternal prenatal and postpartum depression. Here’s how to recognize the signs.
Read more: Post-traumatic (childbirth) stress disorder>
Let’s talk about sex
Your caregiver will also talk to you about your baby-making plans for the future — more specifically, birth control. Even if you’re breastfeeding, you could get pregnant anytime. Even if you’re breastfeeding, you could get pregnant anytime, so think about your birth control options.
Or maybe sex is the last thing on your mind these days. Don’t worry — your sex life isn’t extinguished forever. The most important thing is to talk to your partner about how you feel regarding sex. If you’re nervous because you still feel sore, for example, let him know and reassure him that it has nothing to do with your feelings for him. Take the time you need to heal and to rekindle that sexual spark.
Tips from the trenches
“I said to myself over and over in the night, ‘It will get better, it will get better…’ And it did help me.” Anna – mom of one
Two in the tub
Most babies love going in the tub with mom or dad. And if your baby isn’t too keen on bath time, taking a bath together is a great way to help him feel more secure in the tub. Just make sure someone’s nearby to help you get him in and out of the tub safely. Once you’re in the tub, you can hold your baby with your arms and support his weight on your legs.
Read more: Skin to skin with baby>
Originally published on Oct. 20, 2011.