Give your body time to heal. Joy Pascua, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Metropolitan Medical Center in Sta. Cruz, Manila, and a diplomate member of the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS), says, “Some women can recuperate and return to work within four weeks, but ideally, six weeks is the minimum recovery time. But you still have to watch out for signs of bleeding, especially if you went through C-section.”
Get plenty of rest. Don’t lift heavy objects or do rigorous activities. Dr. Pascua warns against ehiscence, or the reopening of the wound (C-section) due to pressure. This could lead to infection if not attended to properly. Though resting should be your default setting, you need a bit of activity, too, such as walking. Drink plenty of fluids. Eat sensibly. Take multivitamins. Exercise.
Taking care of baby: Take this time to get to know his unique personality. Soon enough, you would have forged a deep bond with your baby, one that will last a lifetime.
The next 30 days Get back in shape Get clearance from your doctor before resuming or starting any fitness program. Moms generally need a minimum of four weeks of rest after delivery, or to wait until the bleeding stops, before exercising, says Regina May delos Reyes, a Stott Pilates fully-certified instructor. One of the recommended forms of pre- and post-natal exercises, Pilates helps promote faster recovery, while toning muscles and trimming off weight. Doing Pilates will also give you an energy boost.
Get updates about your job. It’s best to use your leave to the fullest, says Sally Macogay, head of the human resources department at Orange and Bronze Software Labs in Makati City.
Prepare to leave your baby. It’s best to slowly train yourself to let go.
Perhaps the most important thing to put in order now is how to feed your baby, especially if you’ve been exclusively breastfeeding. Gloria Ramirez, M.D., M.H.A., chairman of the Breastfeeding Committee at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and co-inventor of the tabletop breast milk pasteurizer, says you can continue giving breast milk beyond your maternity leave if you learn the proper way of extracting, storing, and offering breast milk to your baby.
The secret to producing more milk is the complete emptying of your breast every time. A mother, in fact, is capable of producing more milk than what her baby needs. So practice pumping, and while you’re at it, donate your excess milk at the Milk Bank for unfortunate babies whose mothers cannot breastfeed for medical reasons. And happily add this to your list of accomplishments while you’re on maternity leave.
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Joy Pascua, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist at Metropolitan Medical Center, Sta. Cruz, ManilaSally Macogay, head of the Human Resources, Administration, and Legal Department, Orange and Bronze Laboratories Ltd. Co., penthouse, Carlos Valdez Bldg., Aguirre St., Legaspi Village, Makati City
Gloria Baens Ramirez, M.D., M.H.A., founder of the Milk Bank at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center