Congratulations on your new arrival!

Everything’s different now that your baby is here. For a new mom, life can be busy. Knowing the right things to do for your health and your baby’s health can help you adjust to your new life.

  • Having a healthy body will help you prevent illnesses. Being healthy and staying healthy is even more important now that you’re a mom. You want to be there for your baby. Here are some important things you can do.

  • Breastfeed.

    Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression. Breastfeeding can also help you to lose the baby weight. Find breastfeeding support resources in Delaware.

  • Wait before having another baby.

    Plan to wait at least 18 months before you consider getting pregnant. It’s better for your health and your baby’s.

  • Know what your birth control options are.

    Now is the time to determine what type of contraception is right for you, your partner and your new lifestyle. It is important to make a plan before you and your partner resume sexual activity. Get tips on postpartum birth control.

  • Understand what’s happening to your body now.

    After you give birth, your body continues to change. Some of these changes are painless, some are more uncomfortable. Here are some things you may experience.

  • Stay healthy through routine healthcare provider visits.

    Go for your postpartum checkup six weeks after your baby is born. At this visit, your health care provider checks to make sure you’re recovering well from labor and delivery. Find a health care provider. This is the visit that can help you stay healthy for life. This will help if you choose to have another baby or not.

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  • Stay active and exercise.

    When you’re caring for a newborn, finding time for exercise can be hard. Some days you might feel too tired to exercise, but start slowly and do what you can. Seek the support of your partner, family and friends. Include your baby, either in a stroller while you walk or lying next to you on the floor while you do abdominal exercises. Exercise after pregnancy might not be easy — but it can do wonders for your well-being, as well as give you the energy you need to care for your newborn. Healthy women should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week — after pregnancy.

    Exercise can be easy! Consider walking your baby in the stroller for 30 minutes most days of the week or joining a postpartum exercise group.

    Take time to strengthen your pelvic floor. Exercising your pelvic floor will help you strengthen your muscles after childbirth.

  • Plan to lose the baby weight.

    Exercise and healthy eating are the best way to shed the pounds. Check with your health care provider to learn what would be a healthy weight for you. Breastfeeding burns about 600 calories per day. Breastfeeding will help your figure bounce back after pregnancy. Find a health care provider.

  • What is your “emotional health?” It’s how you feel about yourself and the relationships you have with other people, and how you deal with your problems. You’ll find great tips here on how to stay positive and upbeat, and how to handle life’s pressures.

  • Ask others for help.

    You don’t have to do this alone. Let your partner, friends and family support you by telling them what you need.

    You can get more info on how to connect with people around you at Bright Futures — A woman’s guide to emotional wellness.

  • Encourage your partner to be involved.

    Man Up, Plan Up is a website that can help your partner understand his role in parenthood and how to help you.

  • Make time for yourself.

    You’re busy with your baby and a million other things but you still need to make time for you. Don’t let guilt keep you from asking for help from your partner, family or friends. Take ‘me’ time every day and do things you enjoy. A shower or bath, a walk outside, a breastfeeding support group, or simply relaxing with music or a favorite TV show is a way to be kind to yourself. Don’t forget to nap when the baby naps. Getting as much rest as possible will help you recover from childbirth.

  • Understand and be aware of postpartum depression.

    Changes in mood are normal after having a baby. You should be aware of how you feel and reach out for help when you need it. Get help identifying if your baby blues are postpartum depression. Medical professionals are available to help. Find a medical professional near you.

  • Emotional
  • Healthy Eating.

    Even though fast food or sweets may be tempting, maintaining a healthy eating pattern will help give you the energy you need to recover from childbirth and feel your best. Tips on healthy eating. Find a listing of local farmers’ markets.

  • Be kind to yourself.

    Having a baby can often throw the “to do lists” out the window. Taking care of your baby and yourself are most important. Give yourself a break if you don’t get everything you hoped to get done accomplished in a day. Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization and yoga.

  • Get help managing the challenges of motherhood.

    Having a baby changes your life. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious sometimes. Remember to give yourself a break and take this time to bond with your baby and stay connected to your partner. Here are tips to help manage the stress of new motherhood.

    • Accept help: Your partners, family and friends are there to help. Ask for help and accept help. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, it just means you’re human.
    • Rest: Nap when your baby naps. The laundry and housework will all be there after a nice refreshing nap.
    • Healthy eating: Even though fast food or sweets may seem appealing, staying on a healthy eating pattern will help give you the energy you need to recover from childbirth and feel your best. Get tips on healthy eating.
    • Baby yourself: Take time each day to do something for yourself. A good book, a walk, a nice bath, listening to music or chatting with a friend are all great options to help you feel like yourself again.
    • Couple time: Make time to reconnect with your partner. Establish or make new habits to make sure you spend quality time together. Whether it’s talking at home or going out for a date night, finding time for just the two of you will keep your relationship strong.

Looking for more information on how to stay well? Visit the 4th Trimester Project.

  • Now that your baby’s here there are things that you can do to make sure that your baby is healthy and happy. Here are some important things you should know:

  • Breastfeeding really is best.

    The nutrition and natural immunities that come from you benefit your baby. If you’re having trouble with breastfeeding, contact these Delaware organizations for help.

    Delaware law protects your right to breastfeed in any public location. Tips on breastfeeding when out and about.

    To download materials from the Breastfeeding Coalition of Delaware, click here.

  • Give your baby a safe space.

    When you’re tired it might seem easy to take a quick nap with the baby on your bed or on the couch. Wake up! You or your partner sleeping with the baby puts the baby at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This risk is even higher if you or your partner is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Remember that babies are safest when they sleep in their own crib and on their back. If you need help finding a crib, you have help. Talk to your health care professional and ask them to refer you to the “Cribs for Kids” program.

  • All babies cry.

    Really — all babies cry and sometimes you may feel like joining in. When a baby who is otherwise healthy cries for more than 3 hours per day, more than 3 days per week for at least 3 weeks, it is a condition defined as colic. Colic usually goes away on its own.

    Tips for treating colic

    • Walk with your baby or sit in a rocking chair, trying various positions.
    • Try burping your baby more often during feedings.
    • Place your baby across your lap on his or her belly and rub your baby’s back.
    • Put your baby in a swing or vibrating seat. The motion may have a soothing effect.
    • Put your baby in an infant car seat in the back of the car and go for a ride. The vibration and movement of the car are often calming.
    • Play music — some babies respond to sound as well as movement.
    • Place your baby in the same room as a running clothes dryer, white noise machine or vacuum — some infants find the low constant noise soothing.
    • Some babies need decreased stimulation and may do well swaddled, in a darkened room.

    Caring for a colicky baby can be extremely frustrating, so be sure to take care of yourself, too. If you need a time out — take one. It is OK to put the baby down in the crib and take time to relax. If at any time you feel like you might hurt yourself or the baby, put the baby down in the crib and call for help immediately.

    If the baby has a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or more, is crying for more than 2 hours at a time, is inconsolable, isn’t feeding well, has diarrhea or persistent vomiting, or is less awake or alert than usual, call your health care provider right away. You should also call your health care provider if you’re unsure whether your baby’s crying is colic or a symptom of another illness.

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  • Your baby’s growth and development.

    Tracking your baby’s growth and helping her develop through play is something that can help her reach her full potential. Learn more information about your baby’s growth and development.

  • Never shake your baby.

    Shaken Baby Syndrome, known as Abusive Head Trauma, can be caused by direct blows to the head, dropping or throwing a child, or shaking a child. Head trauma is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States.

  • Smoking affects your baby.

    Smoking has serious negative effects. It causes many diseases and has even been linked to life-threatening conditions and death. Learn how to create a smoke-free environment for your baby.

  • Get free information on your phone through texts.

    Text4baby is a free mobile information service for new moms. It offers loads of great tips to help you and your baby stay healthy. It’s a simple way to help make sure your baby gets the best possible start in life.

    When you sign up by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE for Spanish), you’ll receive free SMS text messages every week right up to your due date and beyond.

  • Protect your baby through vaccines.

    You can protect your baby against disease by having him vaccinated. Vaccination is also called immunization or baby shots. Vaccinations start at birth. Protect your baby by getting him all the recommended vaccines on time. More information on the vaccination schedule.

    Adults around the baby should also make sure they are up-to-date on vaccines.

  • Take your baby to the health care provider, even when healthy.

    Well-child visits with your baby’s health care provider help to catch any problems early and keep him or her healthy. The provider will check on your baby’s growth and development and let you know what your baby should be able to do based on his/her age (like roll over, sit up, crawl, etc.). They will offer you immunizations to keep your baby from getting sick. See your baby’s doctor when he or she is 1 month old, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 15 months and 18 months.