Pain After Birth

by Guest
Posted August 5 2010 05:51pm
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You may or may not have pain after a vaginal birth. Bruising in and around the vagina can be uncomfortable. A vaginal tear, with or without stitches, can be painful. An episiotomy is usually painful after birth. However, any pain in your vagina that is not improving, or is getting worse may be a sign of infection or another problem. You need to have this problem treated by your healthcare provider.

Abdominal cramping is experienced by women when the uterus continues to contract after the birth of the baby. These contractions help to seal the blood vessels from the area where the placenta came off. These contractions also help the uterus begin its process of healing and returning to its pre-pregnant state. Women who are breastfeeding may feel the after pains more after the baby breastfeeds.

Urinating after a vaginal birth may feel a little uncomfortable at first. However, pain or burning when you pee usually means that you have an infection. It is very important to tell your healthcare provider about this—so you can get the necessary prescription for treatment.

It is not unusual for new mothers to have some soreness in their lower legs, especially if they had some swelling in their legs and feet following the birth. It is important to watch for pain, tenderness,redness and/or a lump in your leg. This could be a blood clot; in which case, you would need to see your healthcare provider right away for advice and treatment.

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Shaken Baby Syndrome

by Maxine
Posted August 25 2010 05:50pm
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It may be hard for you to believe, but some parents, grandparents, babysitters, nannies and other caregivers can become so unnerved by a baby's inconsolable crying that they can lose control and shake a baby to try to stop the crying. And the outcome is often damaging, and sometimes fatal. Below, you'll learn more about Shaken Baby Syndrome, including some of the dangerous results, how it occurs and what you can do to reduce the chance of it happening to your baby.


What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs when a baby is violently shaken, which results in traumatic injury, usually to the brain or spinal cord. The shaking is not accidental, but an intentional form of child abuse. The injuries are a result of violent force and can result in permanent brain or spinal cord injury or even death.

Still not sure what activities are capable of causing Shaken Baby Syndrome? Read through the list of everyday activities below. These do not result in the types of injuries that Shaken Baby Syndrome does. 

  • Bouncing your baby on your knee
  • Swinging him in a baby swing 
  • Carrying her in a backpack while running 
  • Tossing him in the air
  • Vigorous use of these activities could scare your child and/or could cause harm if they are done before a child has good control of their head and neck muscles or able to control their balance. Use caution when you do these activities and watch your baby’s cues to determine if they like the activity or have had enough of it. 


What are the results?

Your baby's brain contains more water than yours does and is not yet as insulated as your brain is. It is actually more like jelly and, therefore, more easily damaged.

During a violent shaking, a baby's head turns and flops uncontrollably, causing the brain to strike and push against the inside of the skull. This causes internal bleeding and a great deal of damage. The results, both short- and long-term, are usually severe and permanent. It can result in death.

In the short-term, a shaken baby or child displays some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Stops breathing
  • Becomes extremely irritable 
  • Has seizures 
  • Becomes very limp or very rigid 
  • Becomes very drowsy or unconscious 
  • Vomits 
  • Becomes unable to suck, swallow, eat or drink

In the long-term, if a baby survives a violent shaking, the following results can occur:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Physical disabilities 
  • Trouble seeing or blindness 
  • Trouble hearing or deafness 
  • Trouble speaking or inability to speak 
  • Paralysis 
  • Cerebral Palsy 
  • Seizures 
  • Behavioural problems

Many times, along with head and spinal cord injuries, there are bruises, broken ribs and broken bones in the arms and legs, depending on how the baby was grabbed.


How does it happen?

The most common reason given for shaking a baby is the baby's crying. A typical baby under the age of 9 months may cry up to 3 hours a day. It is not uncommon for a baby of this age to cry more than this or to have a sensitive temperament. Not all crying has a specific cause like hunger or a soiled diaper and it can take a lot of time and patience to console your baby.

Babies are born not knowing how to soothe themselves. They need their parents to help them learn how. Some babies learn relatively quickly while others are more high strung; periods of intense crying can be part of how they communicate for several years.

A baby that cries and cries can make anyone feel frustrated and helpless. Sometimes, inconsolable crying makes adults feel inadequate, guilty or angry. Some parents or other caregivers have no one to give them a break at a critical point in a crying episode. By now, you've probably had a taste of how tiring it is to take care of a baby and when you or anyone caring for your baby is tired, these feelings can be harder to control. All of these feelings put a baby at risk of being shaken.


What other factors put babies at risk?

The following situations put babies at risk because they generally cry a lot and/or they require caregivers to have lots of patience:

  • Born a twin, triplet, etc.
  • Born prematurely 
  • Born with a low birth weight (less than 2500 grams or 5.5 pounds) 
  • Born with a medical or congenital condition 
  • Are withdrawing from their mother’s substance abuse
  • Lack good bonding with parents or caregivers 
  • Are boys under 2 years of age

Babies are also at risk if the parents, or other caregivers, such as nannies or in-home care providers, are in the following situations:

  • Lack support from family, friends or the community
  • Face challenges, such as low education, low income or other money problems 
  • Are experiencing marital or family difficulties 
  • Are violent with others or other children 
  • Have mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression 
  • Have substance abuse issues 
  • Are single parents 
  • Are experiencing stress


How can it be prevented?

You're taking the first step right now by learning all about Shaken Baby Syndrome!

Now, take the next step and think about how you feel when your baby cries for a long time. Do you feel unable to cope to the point where you feel almost out of control? Do you feel as if you have tried everything you know how to do? If the answer is yes, then keep your baby safe!

Guidelines for yourself, when your baby is inconsolable, or you are nearing the end of your patience:

  • Stop, take a deep breath and count to 10.
  • Put your baby in the crib or another safe place. 
  • Leave the room. 
  • Find a place to take a time out for yourself. 
  • Ask for help. Try to call a friend or relative to come over and be with you, to provide a little relief. 
  • Call a crisis hotline or your doctor. 
  • Check in on your baby every 3 to 5 minutes. If you're upset and can't concentrate, use a timer to remind you. 
  • Wait until you are calm and in control before going back to your baby.

Good advice for your baby's caregiver:

  • Remind sitters, nannies and other caregivers that it is even more likely that your baby will become inconsolable with them or anyone besides you, the parents.
  • Write out instructions on how you want the caregiver to respond if your baby starts crying inconsolably. 
  • Arrange for a backup or support person to be available during an emergency, and encourage your baby's caregiver to call that person, should your baby become inconsolable. 
  • Try to remain available to return early, should that become necessary.


Do you have more questions about Shaken Baby Syndrome? Ask our expert, Dr. Richard Volpe for more information on Inflicted Infant Head Trauma (a.k.a. Shaken Baby Syndrome). 


Where can I get more information or help?


EMERGENCY CHILD ABUSE: 1-800-422-4453 (1-800-4-A-CHILD)
Child Abuse Prevention Centre: 1-888-273-0071
National Centre on Shaken Baby Syndrome
Canadian Paediatric Society

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Breastfeeding When Mom is Out

by Maxine
Posted July 27 2011 02:52pm
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When you start breastfeeding you might worry that it will be impossible to go out for an evening or return to work or school while you’re responsible for feeding your new baby. Many moms know that breastfeeding is best for their child’s healthy development and they want to breastfeed, but they worry that doing so won’t be possible with their commitments or lifestyle.

The good news is that you can continue to provide breast milk for your baby even when you can’t be there. With some preparation and planning it’s possible to make breastfeeding work even when you aren’t always available.

“Many women want to continue breastfeeding their baby and they should,” says Kris Langille, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “Continuing to breastfeed your baby during periods of separation helps to keep you and your baby close. Also, it helps to keep him healthy, which can mean that you’ll be less likely to miss work, school or an evening out because of a sick child. And, of course, breastfeeding saves money, which is always tight when you’re a new parent!”

When you’re planning to be away from your baby for a few hours you want to prepare for the separation. Continue to breastfeed your baby whenever you are together. This includes feeding just before you leave and when you return. Breastfeed as often as possible on days you are with your baby to help to keep up your milk supply.

To provide breast milk for your baby, even while you're away from him, you'll need to do the following:

  • Express or pump milk from your breasts. As long as you continue to breastfeed, if you express or pump regularly, your breasts will continue to produce milk.
  • Safely store the breast milk in a cooler or a refrigerator. 


Langille recommends that, if possible, you allow yourself a 2-week head start, not only to learn how to pump easily but also to give your baby time to adjust to a new way of feeding. Your baby also needs to adjust to having someone other than you giving him milk. This lead time also allows you to build up a reserve of breast milk that you can store in the freezer. Breast milk can be safety stored in a deep freezer for 6-12 months, in a two door fridge/freezer for 3-6 months and in a 1 door fridge with freezer compartment inside for up to 2 weeks.

This is also a good time to get your baby used to the new feeding routine, as long as your baby is over 6 weeks old. You need to be sure that baby is successfully feeding on the breast before offering breastmilk by another route. Offer at least one of these feedings a day, preferably during the time of day that you expect to be away. Don’t be surprised it your baby isn’t thrilled at first. It takes some babies awhile to adapt to a different feeding method.

Whoever will feed your baby while you’re away will need to know your preferred feeding method, as well as how to prepare breast milk by thawing it, for example. Keep in mind that some advance preparation time gives you the opportunity to go over the details and practice the feeding method with the caregiver.

Whether it's Dad, a relative or an outside-the-home caregiver, everyone should feel comfortable and confident about the new feeding arrangements. The best way to do this is to acquaint your baby with other feeders before you are gone for long periods of time. He needs time to get comfortable with the new arrangement, too. Remember you're asking your baby to make three big adjustments:

  1. Your baby must start drinking breast milk in a whole new way. 
  2. Someone else will be feeding your baby. 
  3. Mom will be away for long periods of time. 


The number of times you’ll need to express or pump milk depends on the amount of time you will be away and the age of your baby. Usually, you pump or express as often as you feed. Choose a place where you are most comfortable; the more relaxed you are, the better the milk flows, sometimes having a picture of your baby with you will help. Once you've mastered pumping, and if your pump allows, try pumping both breasts at the same time. This will help to cut back on your pumping time. Don't worry if there are daily differences in milk supply; this is normal.

Langille explains that while hand-expressing breast milk is great for relieving engorgement, most moms prefer to use a manual or electric pump. These take less time and you'll have more success getting sufficient quantities of milk. There are a wide variety of pumps available on the market, some better than others and some more expensive than others. Renting a breast pump is another option you may want to explore, especially if you only plan to pump for a short time.

Some things to consider: 

  • Manual pumps require more hand strength and dexterity.
  • Electric pumps will provide an electrical outlet which may or may not be in a convenient location for you to pump.
  • Portability if you plan to take your pump with you, to work or school, for example, you will need a pump that’s easy to transport.
  • If you're busy, shop for a pump that's easy to use and quick to clean.
  • Once you have expressed or pumped breast milk, make sure you store it properly. If you are at home, store it in the fridge or freezer. If you are out, use a cooler with ice or store it in a refrigerator at work or school. 


Check information you may have received from your doctor, midwife, healthcare provider or breastfeeding classes which contain clear instructions on how to safely collect and store breast milk, pumping and expressing breast milk. Other good sources of information include a Lactation Consultant, the breastfeeding clinic or the LaLeche League. Learn more about breastfeeding support options. 

And take a look at our article about Breastfeeding While at Work or School for information on how to deal with this common situation.


What method did you use to breastfeed while you were away from your baby? What worked best? What problems did you have? Share your story with other parents just like you by leaving a comment below.


More information on breastfeeding »

Ask Our Expert!
Do you still have questions about breastfeeding? Our expert, Attie Sandink, is a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Ask Attie a Question!



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Breast Discomfort After Birth

by Maxine
Posted August 5 2010 05:52pm
Filed under:

For women who are breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding women may have all-over breast discomfort when their breasts begin to fill with milk, usually between 3 to 5 days after birth. This is usually relieved with breastfeeding. Wearing a good support bra without underwires or a nursing bra will help as well. Sometimes, though, your breasts can become too full of milk or engorged, if the period between feedings is too long or your baby is not drinking enough during feedings. This can be quite painful and if your breasts remain engorged, you may develop an infection of the breasts called mastitis.

Another source of pain for breastfeeding women is a blocked milk duct. This will appear as a tender lump in your breast and, if it is not unblocked, an infection may develop in the milk duct.

Signs of these infections include flu-like symptoms such as fever and/or chills, muscle aches and generally feeling unwell. You should contact your healthcare provider right away, as you will have to treat the infection.

For women who are not breastfeeding:
Women who are not breastfeeding may experience engorged breasts, leaking of breast milk and breast pain. These symptoms may appear between 3-5 days after your baby is born; some women may have breast pain for up to 14 days. Wearing a good support bra without underwires or a good sports bra continuously for the first 72 hours will help. Ice packs that are put on the breast for 15 minutes and left off for 45 minutes may also ease the discomfort. Cool cabbage leaves that are placed around the breast and inside the bra will help with engorged breasts. Talk to your doctor about the use of oral pain medications to ease the breast pain. 

Medications to suppress the milk production are no longer recommended due to their side effects.

Nipple Pain
A common complaint of breastfeeding women is sore nipples. This can happen even with all kinds of breastfeeding help and support. The pain is most pronounced when your baby latches on but should subside a few moments into the feeding. This tenderness usually disappears within the first couple of weeks.

If nipple pain or burning is present all during the feeding, and releasing your baby and re-latching does not improve or eliminate the discomfort, you may have a yeast infection. It is important to see your baby’s doctor, as you will both need medication for treatment. You do not have to stop breastfeeding.

Your nipples should never be cracked and/or bleeding. If they are, you need to consult with a breastfeeding specialist, such as a Lactation Consultant or Public Health Nurse, either at a breastfeeding clinic or at home. They will be able to help you with your baby’s latch and positioning, which will prevent further nipple cracking.


If you're pregnant or thinking about having a baby, check out www.welcometoparenting.com. These interactive, online prenatal and parenting classes will provide information on pregnancy, labour and delivery, your relationship and a community of expectant and new parents just like you! Watch the overview video!



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