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Surviving week 2 with your new baby: Meeting your health visitor

Surviving week 2 with your new baby: meeting your health visitor

This is often the week when you get your last visit from the midwife...and you meet your health visitor for the first time.

MEET THE EXPERT: Dr Ellie Cannon is a GP, mum of two, and author of Keep Calm: The New Mum’s Manual (£10.99, Vermilion).

Don’t stress about bottle versus breast

‘Do what’s right for you, whether it’s breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or a mix of the two,’ says Ellie. ‘Breastmilk has its advantages: it contains antibodies, it’s linked with fewer allergies and tummy and ear infections, it’s convenient, and it’s free. But it doesn’t make your baby cleverer, it doesn’t make you and your baby closer, and might not be right for you.’

Get help with breastfeeding

Some mums and babies find breastfeeding easy. Most don’t. If you’re having problems, get help from someone you trust who has breastfed a child. It could be a friend, relative, midwife, health visitor, or lactation expert. Call the National Breastfeeding Helpline, daily from 9.30am to 9.30pm, on 0300 100 0212.

Trust your instincts if you decide to bottle feed

Start by giving your baby the correct number and size of feeds for his age. But then trust your instincts. If you think he wants more milk one day, give him more. If he wants less, give him less. Recommendations are based on an average baby’s needs, but your baby might not be average. 

Watch your baby breathing

A newborn’s breathing can be noisy and fast with pauses of up to six seconds between breaths. ‘Get used to how your baby breathes, so you know what’s normal for him,’ says Ellie. Don’t feel neurotic if you watch to see if he actually is breathing while he sleeps - we all do it. And you’ll still be doing it in five years’ time...

Weather the baby blues

Mental health charity MIND estimates that 85% of women get the baby blues. ‘There are good reasons why,’ says Ellie. ‘You’re experiencing a major life change, you’re tired and your hormones
are all over the place.’ Simple steps will get you through:

  • Don’t do too much. If someone offers to help in any way, be it making dinner or holding your baby while you sleep, say yes. ✓ Nap when your baby naps. ‘Tiredness increases anxiety,’ says Ellie. ‘The more sleep you can snatch, the better you’ll feel. And if you really can’t sleep, sit on the sofa, close your eyes and let yourself rest.’
  • Drink water. Research has shown that even mild dehydration adversely affects mood and the ability to think clearly.
  • Eat balanced meals regularly. ‘And if you fancy chocolate, have chocolate,’ adds Ellie. ‘Now is not the time to be thinking about dieting.’
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