If you find yourself devoting all your time and energy to your newborn, it's time to make a change. When you neglect your own health, conditions such as insomnia, fatigue or depression may be easily triggered, said the Department of General Obstetrics and Gynaecology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.
Ms Pauline Wee, assistant director of Nursing, and Ms Catherine Chua, senior principal physiotherapist at the Rehabilitation Department, both from KKH, give tips on how mothers can care for themselves during this period:
As a newborn baby has no fixed schedule and needs to be fed seven to eight times a day, a new mother who is breastfeeding can be overwhelmed by exhaustion. She may not be able to get six to eight hours of solid sleep until the baby has settled into his own schedule a few months down the road. The mother should try to catch some sleep when her baby is sleeping, and relieve herself of all responsibilities other than feeding the baby and taking care of herself. This is because sleep deprivation will affect her breast milk.
A new mother should have a balanced diet of five to seven servings of whole grains, pasta, rice or cereal, two servings each of fruit and vegetables and two to three servings of meat and low-fat dairy to make sure she has enough protein, iron and calcium. These are important nutrients, especially for postpartum and breastfeeding mothers. Those who are breastfeeding need an extra 500 calories on top of their daily 1,800 to 2,000 calories.