Postpartum period

The first moments with your newborn baby

Congratulations on the birth of your child. Enjoy the first moments together with your newborn. Whilst you are with us in the women's clinic, we will take care of everything else.

The term «postpartum» refers to the period immediately after childbirth through the first six weeks after the delivery. It is a very critical phase. Not just because the baby is here now depending on you and releasing a whirlwind of emotions in you, but also because there is a lot going on in your body. In the first few days after the birth, the body starts to produce milk and the uterus begins to return to its pre-pregnancy size.


Have faith in your body! It is a miracle of nature and these changes happen automatically and naturally.


Your body is now producing different hormones than those during your pregnancy. This hormonal change supports the return to your pre-pregnant state, it stimulates lactation and influences your feelings towards the child. Nevertheless, it is important that you allow yourself plenty of rest during this initial period after the birth. Let yourself be pampered and ask for help from others. But above all, listen to your body and do not overtax it. In this brochure, we provide you with some useful tips for the postpartum period and those first few weeks with your baby.


We wish you all the best!

The mother

The pelvic floor is weighed down and weakened during pregnancy and childbirth. It is therefore important to strengthen the muscles again after the birth. Start trying to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles in the first days after the birth. There are some exercises and tips to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles on the following pages. We recommend that you attend a class to help your recovery, eight weeks after giving birth at the earliest. Give your body some timeout until then! It is never too late to start a class. However, starting too soon is detrimental.


Classes held at the See-Spital are listed on our website

The lochia discharge usually lasts no more than four to six weeks. It is caused by the process of the uterus retracting to its normal size. The tissue where the placenta has detached itself in the uterus is healing and this releases blood, secretions, and small pieces of dead tissue. The lochia is heavy and bloody to begin with, but then it becomes visibly lighter and changes in consistency and colour.


For your personal hygiene, we recommend that you:
–  Only use water or pH-neutral products to clean your genital area, but no soap.
–  You can shower after childbirth, and of course you can enjoy a deep relaxing bath if you feel you need one.
–  Use panty liners instead of tampons.

When you lactate, you may experience your first menstrual bleeding, and it may be heavier, longer or weaker than before you were pregnant.
Breastfeeding is not a safe form of contraception! Discuss «contraception» with your doctor or healthcare professional during your postnatal check-ups.

Pelvic floor exercises

1. The «trunk» exercise
During lactogenesis or when breasts are engorged:

1 exhale slowly        2 inhale slowly

2. The «ballerina circles» exercise
To stimulate the circulation and for thrombosis prophylaxis: lying on your back, make giant circles with your foot.
3. The «tick-tack» exercise
To regain the feeling in your pelvic floor:

Gently tense your pelvic floor «tick» and then release «tack».

4. The «tree trunk» exercise
To strengthen your gluteal and pelvic floor muscles:

Relax the muscles from your heel to your buttocks, like a tree trunk, so that your knees lift off the ground.

Put a pillow under your belly to alleviate the pressure on your chest.

5. The 4/4 stroke exercise
Pelvic floor muscle training in a position with least strain and stress:

1 tighten pelvic floor at the left buttock – and relax
2 tighten pelvic floor at the right buttock – and relax
3 with a rounded back (cat hump) bring your buttocks slowly together – keep squeezing
4 «suck» your tensed pelvic floor towards your head – and release

Tips for the pelvic floor

Tip 1: Sitting down and lying down
Always sit up and lie down over your side.

Tip 2: Pushing the pram
Keep your posture upright and engage your pelvic floor. Keep the buggy near to your body.

Tip 3: Lifting and carrying
Stand with your legs hip-width, your back straight and knees bent. Squeeze your pelvic floor and pull your navel in. Lift the load close to your body as you exhale.

Tip 4: Changing nappies
Keep your posture upright and engage your pelvic floor. Stand close to the changing table.

Tip 5: Sneezing and coughing
Keep your posture upright. Actively squeeze your pelvic floor and turn your head to the side when you cough or sneeze.

Tip 6: Cleaning your teeth
Keep your posture upright with one foot out in front. Engage your pelvic floor and pull your navel in.

Tip 7: Emptying your bladder
Keep your posture upright. Place your feet firmly on the ground. Release your pelvic floor muscles and let the urine flow out. Do not push! Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles when washing your hands.

Tip 8: Emptying your bowels
Relax and curve your back. Place your feet firmly on the ground. If you need to, push a little to ease out the stool as you exhale. Engage your pelvic floor muscles when washing your hands.


Breastfeeding at least 6 to 8 times in 24 hours is ideal. It may be that your baby will want to be breast-fed at shorter intervals in the evening. UNICEF/WHO and the Swiss Society of Paediatrics recommend that children be breast-fed without additional fluid intake during the first six months of life.
Your child's intake of fluids
If your child is exclusively breastfed, the amount he/she can drink is unlimited. Your child’s own naturally satiated appetite and his/her weight gain in line with normal expectations confirm he/she are taking in a sufficient amount of nutrition. You may experience phases when you produce too much milk or too little, for example, if your child has a growth spurt.
Tips when you have too much milk
–   Latch on your child as often as possible.
–   Drink peppermint and/or sage tea.
–   Massage your breasts to release the milk.
–   You may also use a pump to relieve the excess.
–  14 days after childbirth, the amount of milk you produce should regulate itself.


If you have any problems, talk to your lactation consultant.

Tips for when you do not produce enough milk
–   Latch your child on frequently.
–   Drink plenty of fluids and drink breastfeeding tea three times a day.
–   Have a healthy diet.
–   Massage your breasts (e.g. with Weleda Stillöl®).
–   Rest plenty and avoid stress until you are producing enough milk again.
How to care for your breasts
Check your breasts regularly and make sure you are being sufficiently hygienic. Moisten your nipples with your milk before and after latching on. Changing positions while you breastfeed and latching the baby on and off properly helps prevent the nipples getting sore. Avoid engorgement: Your breast should be soft after breastfeeding.
Sore breasts
If you are experiencing «unusual» pain, your breasts are excessively warm, you have headaches, aching limbs, a skin rash or a fever, please contact your midwife, doctor or lactation consultant and observe the following:

–   Empty your breasts (breastfeed more frequently: every three hours, massage the milk out of your breasts, use a breast pump).
–   Massage your breasts gently.
–   Before breastfeeding apply moist warm compresses and after breastfeeding a quark wrap.

Make sure you eat a balanced and full-value diet and drink enough fluids (according to how thirsty you are). Do not start slimming when you are breastfeeding. The following applies in principle: What you are not able to digest well, can lead to bloating and flatulence in your child.
Advice on breastfeeding
If you have any questions about breastfeeding or any difficulties breastfeeding, you can always arrange a personal consultation with our qualified lactation consultant. Three personal consultations are covered by the basic insurance of your health insurance scheme during lactation period.
Shelf life of breast milk
At room temperature
At 27° to 32° C                            12 hours

Mature breast milk:
at 15° C                                       24 hours
at 19° to 22° C                            10 hours
at 25° C                                        4 to 6 hours

In the refrigerator
Mature breast milk
at 0° to 4° C                                  3 to 5 days

Mature breast milk:
In the freezer compartment          up to 2 weeks
Freezer/chest freezer                     3 to 4 months
at temp. below -19° C                   6 months

Lactation Consultant See-Spital: Tel. 044 728 17 87 if there is no answer: Tel. 044 728 17 22

The Baby

Powdered milk
If you are not able to breastfeed and your child is fed with an adapted powdered milk, it is important that you carefully follow the instructions on the packaging. As his/her daily intake of fluids, your baby needs about 1/6 of his/her own body weight in the first few weeks.
If your baby spits up the milk,
–   burp your baby well after each feed (in an upright position)
–   give your child more frequent and smaller portions
–   raise the upper part of your child’s body when he/she lays down (put a mattress underneath)
–   in the case of severe vomiting consult your paediatrician.
Bowel movements
In the first four to six weeks, breast-fed infants have at least one or two stools a day, after this they may only have a bowel movement once a week. Infants fed with powdered milk should have a bowel movement at least every other day.
Care of the navel
After the umbilical stump has fallen off, you may notice some blood on your baby’s nappy. If this happens several times, consult your paediatrician or midwife. When the navel is wet, disinfect it twice a day with alcohol (70%).
Prepare the bath for your baby without adding any products (exception: breast milk). Using scented cosmetics may increase the risk of skin allergies and is therefore not recommended for newborns. A bath once or twice a week is sufficient for good personal hygiene.
Nail care
Fingers and toenails should not be cut in the first four weeks after the birth; apply creams with lanolin ointment, such as Purelan®.
Sleeping position
Nowadays it is advised to lay babies on their backs. A room temperature of 18 to 20 °C is ideal.
You can go for walks straight away. Dress your child in clothes that are suitable for the respective season. Cold hands are normal. The temperature of the baby’s skin on the neck and forehead are indicative of the body’s temperature. Protect your child’s face from direct sunlight and the wind by placing covering on his/her head.

Health tips

Blocked and runny nose
Drizzle breast milk or 1 to 2 drops of NaCl 0.9% (available in pharmacies) into your child’s nose several times a day.
Watery eyes
Clean red and/or watery eyes every day with fresh water or breast milk, moving the pad or cotton wool from the outside of the eye towards the nose. If the condition does not improve after two days, please contact your paediatrician or family doctor.
A rectal temperature above 38 °C is not normal in newborns and infants. Please contact your paediatrician/family doctor the same day.
Red or sore buttocks
Change your baby’s nappy more frequently. Allow his/her bottom to dry in the air. Do not use wet wipes and use nappy liners. Dab the buttocks with breast milk or sage tea and then treat the red area with a greasy cream. Cover sores, open areas with a paste containing zinc. If there is no improvement consult your paediatrician or family doctor.
First visit to the paediatrician
We recommend that you schedule your first visit to the paediatrician four weeks after the birth.

Early infant crying

Early infant crying
Early infant crying is a normal stage of development during the first three months. This is due to the fact that a newborn’s central nervous system, which is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle, has not developed yet.
The infant is not yet able to have a deep sleep. This can lead to fatigue and increased reactivity. As a consequence, they cry to express the effect of these excessive demands.


The well-known «three months of colic» are not the cause of this crying, but rather a consequence of it, because while they are crying air can get into the gastrointestinal tract.

–   All newborns are affected by infant crying, but not all to the same degree.
–   The crying is more prevalent during the first three months.
–   Within a period of 24 hours, the crying lasts on average for two hours, increasing in the evening and late afternoon.
–   While the baby is crying, you will see what appear to be expressions of pain on his/her face.
–   The crying phases usually peak 6 to 8 weeks after the birth, after which they start to decrease.


When infants cry more than usual for more than four months, there may be other reasons for this, which should be examined by a paediatrician.

How do you help your baby?
–   Carry your baby around in different positions, for example in a sling.
–   Massage his/her belly in a clockwise motion.
–   Lay your baby down on his/her tummy on warm wraps until he/she has calmed down, for example, on a cherry stone bag.


Then place him/her on his/her back again to go to sleep.

How do you help yourself?
–   Talk with other parents or professionals: Just talking with someone and sharing your stories can help alleviate the strain.

–   Acknowledge the fact that your child cries and do not take it personally: A crying child is often perceived as something negative and «must» be reassured as quickly as possible. The crying helps your child deal with the stressful situation he/she is in.

–   Help your baby with his/her sleep-wake cycle: Let him/her sleep in light rooms during the day and in the dark at night. Do not overwhelm him/her with too much stimulus.

–   If it becomes too much, set out a few strategies: In conjunction with a lack of sleep, the crying can make you very fraught and strain your nerves. It is therefore worthwhile to find some solutions that will help you deal with it. For example, you can place your baby in the cot and leave the room so that you can take some time to relax, or call someone close to you, etc.

–  Re-evaluate your own attitude to crying: A crying baby in child birth is a sign of a healthy and vibrant newborn. Ironically, in the period after childbirth, crying is often interpreted as something negative, and suddenly everyone sees it as a sign of a possible disorder or illness.

Points of contact
Mütter- und Väterberatung Schweiz (Parents’ Advice Service)
Tel. 044 382 30 33


Parent emergency line Switzerland
Tel. 0848 35 45 55


Schreibabyhilfe Society (Help with crying babies)


Emotional First Aid

Shaken baby syndrome
Shaken baby trauma is a massive injury to a child’s brain caused is by shaking the child and thereby moving its fragile brain back and forth. Typical symptoms are internal bleeding and nerve damage, which can lead to severe disabilities or even death. Lesser symptoms can manifest themselves in the form of behavioural problems, which do not become apparent until the child has reached school age.

The illness of «shaken baby syndrome» was not officially recognised until 1972 and is still a taboo subject. In Switzerland, 14 children are affected out of every 100,000 live births. The number of unreported cases is high.
Crying was recognised as the main cause for shaking infants.

Private practice midwives

Freelance midwives
Care from the midwife is paid for by the basic insurance until the 56 day (8 weeks) after the birth. This means: A midwife will come to your home once a day, if necessary. She will perform checks with you and your child and clarify open and new questions you may have.

Please contact a private practice midwife in your area at least 10 weeks before your due date.

Advice for the parents
During the initial, often unexpectedly busy time with your baby and toddler, you can seek the assistance of the Parents’ Advice Service in your municipality. The parenting consultants (i.e. qualified with a specialist degree) will support you as parents after the postpartum period and discuss any questions you may have about the development, nutrition and health of your child, as well as any questions regarding your mutual well-being.
Counselling services in your municipality
You can seek advice from the local maternity services or baby clinics in your area by calling the Horgen district advice line (see below) or through individually arranged house calls.
To find out about or to arrange appointments in the See-Spital catchment area, please call the central advice line of the Horgen district: Tel. 043 259 92 40.
The consultancy service for parents is free of charge.
Further information
For more information you can visit 
Children emergency service
If you cannot reach your paediatrician in the event of a medical emergency concerning your child, please call the emergency number: 0900 57 57 57 (CHF 3.00/min.). This number is for the Children’s emergency service situated on the left bank of Lake Zurich. A paediatrician from the Lake Zurich leftbank region can always be reached in their clinic on the Children’s emergency service number, from 8 am to 10 pm.
On the same number, from 10 pm to 8 am, you will be put through to a doctor from the clinic for children and adolescents in the city hospital of Triemli.

In the event of a life-threatening situation, please call the Rescue Service on tel. 144.

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