Mommy Diaries Off Air

PART II: Post-Labour: What to Expect

February 28, 2016

For my husband, our stay felt like a vacation at PCMC. For me, yes it did as well, minus the contractions and the aftermath of giving birth: sheer exhaustion. That’s why people say you need all the energy before going into labour.

My view for the 3 nights I was in the hospital

At PCMC, the baby is hardly in the nursery except for the routine morning care/jabs/check-ups/etc. The baby is basically in the room with you throughout your stay in the hospital.

Here’s a quick run-through on what to expect next:

1. Breastfeeding

As soon as you’re wheeled into your room from the labour room, the nurse will ask you to breastfeed the baby. They will guide you on how to hold the baby and how to breastfeed correctly. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt or anything, it should be a wonderful experience.

I had hardly handled any newborns before being pregnant myself, but I guess when it comes to your own child, it comes naturally. I was more confident than I thought I would be.

Body milk supply will be low early on (for the first week or so), which is very normal. It’s not even milk perse, but what is called colostrum. Once supply turns into actual milk, the baby’s stool should be changing in color from green-ish to yellow/golden.

2. Post-birth Bleeding

It will be similar to a heavy flow period at first. It will subside within the first month after giving birth. After all, Aunty P did not stop by for 9 months!  

3. Diaper-Changing

Next, you will learn to change your baby’s diapers. I was being kinda spoilt because I called the nurse in for that each time. I was very exhausted, I decided to let myself off the hook for the first few days in the hospital.

4. Crying

Your nights will never be the same again.

The nurse will tell you to feed the baby every 4 hours. But some babies ignore this rule, and want to be breastfed on demand which literally means any time.

Since having the baby, I have deleted all my alarms in my mobile as I can now count on the baby for that. Hehehehehe. Sleep deprivation and being zombified are synonym to becoming parents. Now I really understand how it feels!

5. Monitoring

Nurses will be monitoring you round the clock, checking your blood pressure and temperature level.

6. Doctor’s Rounds

The gynae will conduct his/her daily check-up on you in your room to ask on your condition as well as the newly-allocated paediatrician to check on the baby. It is also during the first 2 weeks that the baby is monitored for jaundice.

7. Brief session with the physiotherapist

The physiotherapist will teach you how to do simple pelvic exercises (kegel exercises), to be done during the 6 weeks before the first post-natal follow-up with the gynae. This is to prevent what is called, a uterine prolapse.

8. F&B

The food is not all that bad either but there are certain things on the menu your confinement lady will not agree to.

Two different types of medication will be given to be consumed after meals. One, a painkiller for any post-labour pain and two, a liquid medication to soften stool.

Pancakes for breakfast
Steamed fish with rice for lunch

9. First check-up with the paediatrician

About a week after delivery, the baby’s first check-up with the paediatrician will be scheduled. This will be a quick consultation session, before the next check-up in 6 weeks time.

Quick tip (for those delivering at private hospitals): I’ve heard that if you open a pregnancy book (buku merah) at a government clinic (klinik kesihatan’s and the likes), there will be a designated nurse who will come by your house after your due date, regardless whether you went for follow-ups or not. This will be very helpful as the nurse can assist with handling and caring for the baby, as well as checking the little one for jaundice.

10. Confinement

For Malays, the 44-day house arrest begins. Okay, not house arrest but a duration with many, many restrictions. Having not gone through this before, confinement was a whole new realm for me.

It’s all in the name of healing, so don’t deny yourself that right. 🙂

(i) Restricted dietary plan – Food intake must be monitored and restricted to certain foods, to help with the recovery process, mostly internally.

(ii) Physical movement must be reduced – This is very important as too much abrupt movement or heavy lifting could cause bleeding which will see your re-admission to the hospital.

(iii) In-house confinement care – Depending on your preference, you can choose to be in the care of a confinement lady for any length of time or even acquire for one to stay in with you.

She will literally bring the spa to your doorstep; I absolutely love it. Here’s her typical routine:

For the baby
1. Bathing
2. Bertungku and light application of ointment (minyak urut) – A super mini and super cute tungku is used. One of the functions of this practice is to prevent baby flatulence.

For the mother
1. Sauna – To sweat out the toxins in your body.
2. Tangas
3. Herbal Bath
4. Massage Therapy (berurut) – Provides absolute relief to the body / Body Scrub (lulur) – Leaves your skin baby-smooth!
5. Bertungku – To ‘position’ your uterus back into place.
6. Application of a homemade herbal paste called param, pilis and tapel on the body, forehead and stomach respectively. The function of the tapel is to get your stomach into its original look and color. (The area tends to get blackish after being stretched during pregnancy.)
7. Wearing of the bengkung (traditional waistband) – To help you get back in shape, especially in the abdominal area.
8. Jamu – Confinement’s version of a healthy juice to boost energy and help recover. Not my cup of tea, but they say it’s good for you!

After each session, you just wanna sing and I paraphrase, “What a feeling!!!”.

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