The postpartum time is a time of learning how to care for this new life and dealing with his or her needs, and also a time of great physical healing for you. Here are some tips on taking care of the both of you.

Linda Jenkins


Caring for your newborn
Visitors may be pleasant, and in some instances necessary, but restrict them! They take energy, too. With adequate rest, this first tenuous period will pass more smoothly. Re-thinking priorities will be a necessity now. A dirty house is easier to treat than a depressed mother or cranky child. If that dirt really bothers you, however, maybe a high school student would be less expensive than a professional cleaning firm. Relatives as helpers work well for some while not for others.

Stock your freezer with enough food to get you through the first two weeks with only the briefest of trips to the store and kitchen. Soups, one-dish meals, stews and casseroles are nutritious, and if ready to go directly into the oven, they will allow you to get a decent meal on the table and improve your outlook about feeding the family.

You're not only parents
When it comes to taking care of yourself, Some couples feel sexual desire long before the standard four or six- week check-up. If this is the case with you, talk to your health care provider, as advice varies considerably from one to another. All are in agreement, however, that conception is possible quite soon after delivery, even though you are nursing or have not had a menstrual period.

Simple means of birth control such as vaginal foam or suppositories (available at any drug store without prescription) for the woman, and/or a condom (rubber) for the male, is advisable. Although one or both partners may feel strong sexual needs before that check-up, others are often relieved to have the medical restriction. Here, again, fatigue and tension are large contributors. A candle-lit dinner out, away from the demands of baby and home, might be a delightful addition to other suggestions of intimacy already made.


Trading time with a friend in caring for each other's children may be a help. Each of you will be able to do whatever you like, be it an extra nap, or some quiet shopping. This can make a big difference in your outlook.

You're not only parents
Having a baby is always a unique experience. Some women who thought themselves ideally suited to motherhood as a full-time job found themselves living in conditions far less than desirable. Others who may have had successful careers, interrupting them only briefly for childbirth, may find themselves wanting to stay home indefinitely to be with their child. Each woman, and every woman, will have her own highs and lows where child-rearing is concerned. Each new day is filled with different experiences, new hurdles and new joys. As one father said: "We are given children so that we may grow." Perhaps some days you won't feel the need for that much growth experience, but this is often the case in learning.

Some of your toughest courses in school may have taught you the most. One of the most difficult jobs on this earth, parenting, may also be the place where you learn the

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