How your baby's growing
Now that your baby's awake for longer periods during the day, you can use these times to support his sensory development. Try singing your favorite lullabies or playing music.
You don't have to limit yourself to children's songs. Fill the house with your favorite music and watch as your baby expresses his pleasure through coos, lip smacks, and jerking arm and leg movements.
- Learn more fascinating facts about your 6-week-old's development.
Your life: Sex after the baby
You're tired beyond belief. Your sexual desire is nil (thanks to readjusting hormone levels, particularly if you're breastfeeding). Everyday life with a baby is so different from the life you were living when she was conceived that those days seem a dream. Just because your doctor proclaims you physically ready for intercourse doesn't mean the rest of you is ready to go along, even if your partner is.
Whether or not you feel like making love, you and your partner can still focus on loving one another. According to a University of Wisconsin study, 65 percent of women did some sexual touching with their partner during the first month after childbirth and 34 percent performed oral sex, while only 17 percent had intercourse.
Here are a few common postpartum concerns about sex:
Will intercourse hurt?
If you had stitches due to a tear in your perineum, an episiotomy, or a difficult delivery, you might still feel tender. It may be months before the soreness goes away.
If you're recovering from a cesarean section, you may still feel sore along your lower abdomen, where you have the scar. The missionary position may put pressure there and feel uncomfortable, so consider other positions.
If you're breastfeeding, changes in your hormone levels may lead to vaginal dryness. If so, try using a lubricated condom or a water-based lubricant.
Has my vagina been stretched out?
The vagina is very elastic, expanding to accommodate a baby and often returning pretty close to pre-pregnancy size afterward – but it's normal for it to be larger than it was before. How much larger depends on various factors: how big your baby was, how many children you've had, and whether you do Kegel exercises regularly to help strengthen your vagina's muscle tone.
Will my partner still be attracted to me sexually?
If your partner seems distant or less interested in sex himself, remember that he's going through a lot too. It's likely he's exhausted and stressed by the new demands of having a baby in the house. Talking frankly about your feelings and all the weird changes having a baby brings can draw you closer. If the time's not yet right for sexual intercourse, you can still cuddle, kiss, hug, and please each other in other ways.
Learn about: Fever
Why does my baby have a fever?
This may be your baby's first fever, so you're probably nervous. But take heart in knowing a fever is a sign that your baby's immune system is doing its job in fighting an infection. When your baby becomes ill because of a virus or bacteria, her body responds by raising its temperature. A fever is actually a good thing rather than a problem in and of itself.
Should I call the doctor?
Until your baby reaches the 3-month mark, you should always seek medical advice if:
- Your baby has a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
- Your baby looks pale or flushed, is listless, or has no appetite, or if her behavior and appearance have changed in ways that worry you.
When you call your doctor, it's important to tell him how high your baby's temperature has gone, how you took it, and what other symptoms your baby's having. Based on this information, the doctor will determine how serious your baby's fever is and tell you whether it's safe to give her medicine.
Be sure not to give your baby medicine before talking to a doctor – it can be dangerous to give her the wrong dosage, and medication can mask your baby's symptoms, making it hard for the doctor to give appropriate care. If the fever is higher than 100.4 degrees, the doctor will probably ask you to bring your baby to the office to be examined and treated.
How can I make my baby more comfortable?
- Cool her off by removing layers of clothing or giving her a sponge or tub bath with lukewarm water for about five to ten minutes. This will reduce her body temperature as water evaporates from her skin. Avoid cold baths, which may cause your baby to shiver, raising her core body temperature even more.
- Feed her regularly and offer extra feedings to help prevent dehydration.
- If the doctor recommends it, give your baby the appropriate dose of acetaminophen.
- Never try to cool a baby by putting rubbing alcohol on her skin, as it can be absorbed into her bloodstream and cause seizures or other serious problems.
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