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Dad’s Return to Work

by Maxine
Posted August 4 2011 01:00pm
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These days, new dads often have the opportunity to take time off work and spend time with their new baby. While only one parent can take Maternity Leave in Canada (unless the family has twins), fathers often receive a few weeks or even a month or more of paternity leave from their company. Some also choose to take their vacation time to coincide with the new birth.

This is a great opportunity for families to bond and for the new baby to get to know both parents, but it can be tough when it’s time for dad to return to work. Dad might find it difficult to leave his family, even if it’s just for a few hours and a new mom might worry about taking on the responsibility for the baby all alone.

Although there is an increasing number of dads using paternity leave, a majority return to work a few days to a few weeks after the birth of their baby. For both parents, this will mean a huge change, not only in terms of what you do, but also, what you might be feeling.

Dad returning to work can affect the routines and schedules that you have put in place to manage your new roles—who gets up with baby in the middle of the night, or who takes baby to the doctor or who prepares lunch. Balancing your lives around the reality of home and work will be an important challenge for both of you.

New moms may experience the following range of reactions to dad's return to work:

  • Fear ("How will I manage without him?") 
  • Anger ("Why does he get off so easy?") 
  • Worry ("How will Dad manage to work with so little sleep?") 
  • Sadness ("I am going to miss Dad being around all the time.") 

 

Likewise, new dads may go through the following emotional reactions as well:

  • Guilt ("I should be at home helping out with our baby.") 
  • Sadness ("I am going to miss being at home.") 
  • Relief ("Work is so much easier.") 
  • Worry ("I hope Mom is doing okay with our baby.") 

 

To help you both deal with dad's return to work, our experts have created a list of strategies to help both parents cope.

  • Clearly talk about and mark on the calendar when Dad is supposed to return to work.
  • See if Dad's work will allow him flexible hours, and talk about the best time to be at home and the best time to be at work.
  • Talk about the various routines necessary to care for your baby. What can Dad do when he is at home?
  • Plan to accept support from others when Dad returns to work, rather than right after your baby is born, while Dad is home.
  • Share your feelings with each other about how Dad's return to work may affect each of you.
  • Plan a few Fridays or Mondays off Dad, if you can, so you can have some shorter work weeks immediately after you return to work.
  • Keep track of key "baby" moments, Mom, to share with Dad when he gets home.
  • Accept each other's feelings and understand that this is often a difficult transition for moms and dads to make…and you can find a new balance that works for all three of you.

 

How did you cope when your partner returned to work? How did you manage roles and responsibilities? How did you feel? Leave a comment below and share your story with parents just like you!

 

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Safety: How Do I Make My Home Fire Proof?

by Guest
Posted August 5 2010 12:12pm
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Here is a list of basic safety precautions in the case of fire in your home. In addition to the points below, be sure to look carefully around your house for yourself, to see if there are any additional actions you can take to fire proof it for you and your child. But begin by making sure that:

 

  • There is at least 1 smoke detector per floor

  • If the smoke detector is in the hall, the bedroom doors are kept open

  • Any room with bunk beds has a smoke detector - this is a must because smoke rises and the person in the top bunk will be quickly overcome with smoke

  • Escape routes to leave all areas of the house have been planned

 

 

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Postpartum Red Flags

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 05:44pm
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As new parents, you should consult a doctor immediately if mom has any of the following signs:
 

  • Heavy, bright red bleeding from the vagina that soaks through a new regular-absorbency pad in less than an hour and/or large clots (the size of a loonie or bigger)
  • A temperature over 38°C (102°F) or chills/shivers that don’t go away
  • Foul smelling discharge from the vagina
  • Pain or continued pain during urination, difficulty urinating or urinating too often
  • Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath
  • Lasting significant pain in the vaginal area
  • Flu-like symptoms and sore breasts, which could indicate mastitis or breast infection
  • Cough or chest pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Cracked and/or bleeding nipples, which requires the attention of a Lactation Consultant
  • A very red or swollen Caesarean incision, discharge or pus leaking from the incision or continued pain in the incision
  • Pain or tenderness, redness or a lump in the leg, which may indicate a blood clot
  • Sudden onset of severe headaches, blurred vision or dizziness
  • Symptoms of the “baby blues” that continue after the second postpartum week and are getting worse (Symptoms vary from feelings of inability to cope, frequent crying, mood swings and fatigue.)

 

In addition to contacting your physician, you may want to contact a service, like Postpartum Adjustment Support Services-Canada. If you are in Canada, call 1-800-897-6660 for information on services near you.

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Breastfeeding When Mom is Out

by Maxine
Posted July 25 2011 07:10pm
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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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