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Postpartum Services

New Baby, New Needs for Mom

We are here for new moms


We know that being a new mother can be an overwhelming experience whether it's your first child or your fourth child. Our postpartum services are here to help new mothers navigate this experience whether their baby was delivered at Children's Mercy or their baby was delivered elsewhere and is now a Children's Mercy patient.

All postpartum services are coordinated by board certified family nurse practitioner, Melissa Liddle, and offer our new mothers helpful tools, tips and equipment that can help them through the stress of bringing a new life into the world.

Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is imperative for functioning. As a mother of a newborn, and quite likely a newborn who is requiring hospital care, I want your primary focus to be on you.

Melissa S. Liddle, FNP-BC

How to request postpartum services


We want to meet the needs of postpartum mothers whose children are patients at Children's Mercy, but want to do so in the safest and most efficient way possible. If you did not deliver at the Fetal Health Center, here are the steps we recommend:

  • Call your primary obstetrician (the doctor who delivered your baby).
  • If contacting your primary obstetrician is not possible, please call the Fetal Health Center at (816) 234-9330.
    • This would be for a non-urgent complaint as a signed release of information for medical records must be completed and records must be received prior to scheduling an appointment.
  • If you cannot wait 24-48 hours to schedule an appointment with the Fetal Heart Center, contact your primary obstetrician or go to the closest emergency department.
  • Back pain
  • Bleeding heavier than a normal period, or large clots bigger than a quarter, soaking more than 1 pad per hour
  • Chills, aches or pains
  • Fever higher than 100.4°F
  • Headaches
  • Incision from a c-section that becomes more painful
  • Incision from a c-section that becomes red, swollen, begins to open or has increased drainage
  • Increased sadness, crying that doesn’t stop, or inability to care for yourself or baby
  • Increase in scary thoughts, inability to sleep when the baby sleeps, or changes in appetite
  • Increased worry or anxious thoughts, irritability, or trouble concentrating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain, redness or swelling in your leg(s)
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Red, painful lump in your breast(s)
  • Stiches in or around the vagina from a vaginal delivery that open or worsen in pain or drainage
  • Vaginal discharge that has a foul smell or looks like tomato soup
  • Vision changes
  • Behavior changes or hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure, 160/110 or higher
  • Obstructed breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or swelling in your face, arms, or legs
  • Seizures
  • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or others

Our Services

New Baby, New Needs for Mom

  • Lactation Services
  • Self-Care for Emotional Health
  • Healing from Delivery

Lactation Services


Children’s Mercy has a lactation team, including nurses who are certified to provide you with personalized education in breast feeding and pumping. Please ask a member of your child’s healthcare team to get in touch with a lactation nurse if you are having any issues breastfeeding your baby.

The following resources are also here to provide you with the support that many postpartum moms typically experience with their breasts. 

Breastfeeding is one of the most important things you can do for your baby. Below are resources to provide you support:

Successfully making and keeping a milk supply for your baby can be stressful and emotional. We've put together these resources to help you:

The decision or need to stop providing breast milk is also difficult and we want to support you in this process with the resources below:

How you eat can affect how good you feel and your ability to make milk. This resource will help in making nutritious choices:

Some medications that you take can go into your breast milk and affect your baby. Use these resources as well as your healthcare provider in making decisions about taking medications, including supplements:

Breast pain can be emotionally draining and stressful. It can contribute to difficulties with pumping and feeding at the breast. 

Below are resource to help new moms with breast pain and other common problems they may encounter after giving birth:

Please contact your healthcare provider for breast pain that is persistent and that concerns you.

Self-Care for Emotional Health


With a new baby in the hospital, it can be easy to put care for yourself at the bottom of the list of all the things needing your attention. It can be easy to feel like the only way to get through the hospital stay is to keep moving forward. But it’s just like the advice you get when flying on an airplane: you need to secure your own oxygen mask first before you can take care of your child. Here are some simple ways you can care for yourself.

Sleep helps restore the brain and body, keeps the body’s immune system strong and reduces tension. While every new parent is impacted by less sleep than usual, there are some things you can do to maximize rest.

Establish a Sleep Routine:

  • Try to go to bed around the same time each night and keep lights dim as you get ready for bed.
  • Allow a few minutes before bed to unwind by doing something relaxing – drink a cup of tea, read a few pages of a book, write down some thoughts from the day, etc. Find what works for you and use the same thing before bed each day. This will create a routine that signals your brain that it’s time to sleep.
  • Consider using a relaxation technique as part of winding down. Relax Melodies, Calm and Breathe are all apps that have voice-guided exercises you can listen to.
  • White noise can help make it easier to stay asleep. White Noise or Relax Melodies are apps that offer different forms of white noise.
  • Avoid blue light from devices like a smart phones or tablets before you sleep. Blue light has been shown to make it harder to get quality sleep. (There are apps that will eliminate blue light.)

Your appetite may be different than when you were pregnant – that’s normal. It can also be hard to find the time or support to eat the way you would like. Aim to eat small snacks that have a protein, fat and carbohydrate element to them throughout the day (peanut butter and crackers; an apple and almonds; string cheese and grapes). Stash small snacks in your bag to have them handy when pumping breast milk or sitting down at your baby’s bedside. Keep taking a prenatal or multi-vitamin as the many nutrients in vitamins can benefit you now.

Other Tips:

  • If you are pumping breast milk for your baby, you can access meal vouchers with the milk bank that can be used on a meal or snack items in the cafeteria.
  • Keep a water bottle with you at all times and refill it frequently (or ask your support person to do this for you).
  • Ronald McDonald Room (RMR) is available to you during the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. They have a kitchen stocked with snacks and often have meals served daily. Visit RMR on the second floor of the hospital.
  • If you are staying at Ronald McDonald House, you have access to grab-and-go snack items each morning in the kitchen area. Make sure to pick up a couple of items for times when you may not be able to step away for a full meal.
  • The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Parent Resource Room, and the Nourishment area on 3 Henson have water refill stations and often have snacks available for families.

Moving your body is an important part of healing from pregnancy and childbirth. Exercise keeps bowels moving, lessens stiffness, improves mood and helps with sleep quality. Be sure to talk with your provider about what level of movement is appropriate for you. In general, women can begin or resume exercise as soon as they feel able to do so. Start slow with walking and stretching, and listen to your body. Early on in your recovery, simple things like getting up to do some light stretching or taking a walk back and forth down the hall, are good ways to move your body.

Other tips:

  • If you are staying at Ronald McDonald House (RMH), use the sidewalks between RMH and the hospital for a short walk. Go at your own pace and be smart about the weather and time of day.
  • There is a walking track and park just to the North of the Hospital. The park has benches, a small covered pavilion and a few pieces of outdoor exercise equipment. Getting outside for even a few minutes each day has proven to help moods.

Even if you are usually able to do things on your own, now is a time in your life when every little bit of help makes a big difference. Say, “Yes” when people offer to help you. Accepting help is a sign of strength. Have a ready-made list of items people can choose from if they offer to help: Walk the dog, do the dishes, take your older child out for a few hours, fold some laundry, bringing you some grab-and-go snacks like granola bars, hummus cups with cut-up veggies, etc.

Other tips:


Adapted from:
Fourth Trimester Project – newmomhealth.com
March of Dimes – marchofdimes.org
University of Michigan Depression Center – depressioncenter.org

Kara Hansen, LSCSW, LCSW, PMH-C

Postpartum Emotions


It’s common for women who have given birth to feel a range of emotions; after all, you have just grown and given birth to a brand-new human being. The physical toll that labor and delivery takes, combined with sleeplessness and major hormonal changes, can leave many new mothers feeling overwhelmed or with mood changes.

The “baby blues” is the time right after birth up to two weeks after birth, in which up to 80% of new moms experience sleep loss, irritability, are easily moved to tears, and may feel happy one moment and sad the next. This period of time can also be marked by feeling anxious and being unable to focus. This is normal for the "baby blues." Most women notice these symptoms start to go away and get better by the two-week mark.

If you notice any thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or your baby, then what you are experiencing is more than the "baby blues." You should talk with a doctor immediately.

About 20-30% of women with a baby in the hospital will experience a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD), often more commonly referred to as Postpartum Depression (PPD). PMAD can occur anytime two weeks postpartum or more, up to a year following childbirth.

Symptoms are different for everyone and may include:

  • Feelings of anger and irritability
  • Lack of interest in the baby
  • Being overly worried about the baby
  • Not being able to sleep or eat well
  • Feeling sad and crying
  • Feeling guilt, shame, or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest, pleasure or joy in things you used to enjoy
  • Feeling anxious or panicky
  • Thoughts of harming self or baby 

Mothers who have infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit are at risk for developing PMAD. Other risk factors that can increase the chance of experiencing PMAD are stressful relationships, having multiple babies, a history of infertility treatment, or major recent life events such as a new job or move.

The good news about PMAD is that early detection is helpful and treatment works. If you are concerned about your mood or coping, talk to a trusted loved one and get help. People to get help from include your doctor and/or a therapist, or contact your social worker in the hospital for help. Your social worker can talk through your concerns with you and help connect you with therapy in the hospital or close to your home.

Ways to treat PMAD include:

  • Self-care strategies such as increased sleep, regular exercise and time outdoors
  • Medications
  • Therapy – especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Interpersonal Therapy
  • Support groups (online or in person) or peer support
  • Coping skills – relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, mindfulness

Other resources:

Parents with a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit are at increased risk of experiencing symptoms of traumatic stress, sometimes rising to the level of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Post-traumatic stress symptoms are most often caused by real or perceived trauma during delivery or postpartum, including having a baby in the NICU. Women with complications during childbirth or a history of trauma are at increased risk of experiencing postpartum post-traumatic stress symptoms.

Symptoms are different for everyone and may include:

  • Intrusive re-experiencing of a traumatic event – visual images in your mind that pop up frequently
  • Flashbacks or nightmares
  • Avoiding things associated with the trauma including thoughts, feelings, people and places associated with it
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Persistent increased arousal – irritability, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response
  • Feeling a sense of unreality and detachment

If you notice that you are experiencing some of the above symptoms, talk to your hospital Social Worker, your doctor, or a therapist to get help.

Adapted From:
Postpartum Support International, www.postpartum.net

Kara Hansen, LSCSW, LCSW, PMH-C

Healing from delivery


Just as it takes months to grow a baby, it takes months to recover and heal from pregnancy, labor and delivery, which are a lot of work for a woman's body. We don't want you to be scared or confused, so please use this information to prepare and support you in taking care of your postpartum body.

Vaginal delivery


A vaginal birth is not easy and pain due to an episiotomy, tearing, stitches or stretching of your vagina during labor and delivery is common. It's normal to be nervous and uncomfortable. Call your healthcare provider if stitches from delivery in or around your vagina open or become increasingly painful or have increased drainage. Please use the information below in the discharge instructions to support your healing process.

Cesarean section delivery


A cesarean section (c-section) is a major abdominal surgery. Moms who have had c-sections need extra rest and care to heal. It is important to call your healthcare provider if your incision becomes more painful. Also notify your provider if your incision becomes red, swollen, starts to open, or has increased drainage. Please use the information below in the discharge instructions to assist your healing process and remember to contact your delivery provider with questions or concerns.

Important Note: Your staples should be removed within 1 week of delivery.

It is very important to keep all of your follow-up appointments. Call your health care provider’s office to reschedule if you cannot keep your appointment.

Discharge instructions after delivery


We have put together a list of special considerations to aid in your healing process, whether you have had a vaginal delivery or cesarean section delivery.

In the event of an EMERGENCY, do one of the following:

  • Call 911 or activate your local EMS
  • Go immediately to the nearest adult hospital with an emergency department

To reach Labor and Delivery:

  • Phone number: (816) 234-9330
  • Ask to speak with a labor and delivery nurse
  • The unit is open and can be called 24 hours per day, 7 days per week
  • If necessary, the nurses can contact the Fetal Health Center physician

To reach the Fetal Health Center Outpatient Clinic:

  • Phone number: (816) 855-1800
  • Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Messages left after 4 p.m. will be returned the following business day
  • Please state your name, date of birth and reason for your call 

Patient Portal: The Fetal Health Clinic has transitioned to the Patient Portal for all electronic communication. We do not use email. We have made this transition to ensure that your electronic medical record is complete and accurate.

  • The Patient Portal is for non-urgent concerns and questions
  • It is staffed Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.. Messages can be sent for ANY Fetal Health Staff member and will be addressed in three working days
  • These messages will be saved into your medical record
  • Select “Fetal Health Center” under the “Send a Message” section
  • The nurses will triage these messages to the team member who can best address your needs

Call your health care provider immediately if you have the following symptoms:

  • Back pain
  • Bleeding heavier than a normal period, or large clots bigger than a quarter, soaking more than 1 pad per hour
  • Chills, aches or pains
  • Fever higher than 100.4°F
  • Headaches
  • Incision from a c-section that becomes more painful
  • Incision from a c-section that becomes red, swollen, begins to open or has increased drainage
  • Increased sadness, crying that doesn’t stop, or inability to care for yourself or baby
  • Increase in scary thoughts, inability to sleep when the baby sleeps, or changes in appetite
  • Increased worry or anxious thoughts, irritability, or trouble concentrating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Pain, redness or swelling in your leg(s)
  • Red, painful lump in your breast(s)
  • Stiches in or around the vagina from a vaginal delivery that open or worsen in pain or drainage
  • Vaginal discharge that has a foul smell or looks like tomato soup
  • Vision changes

Put nothing in your vagina – NO SEX, DOUCHING OR TAMPONS until at least 6 weeks after delivery or until the bleeding stops.

Call 911 if you have the following symptoms:

  • Behavior changes or hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure, 160/110 or higher
  • Obstructed breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or swelling in your face, arms, or legs
  • Seizures
  • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or others

Follow these guidelines on physical activities:

  • Ask family and friends to help with the housework
  • Focus on taking care of yourself
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Increase your activity a little each day
  • Minimize stair climbing
  • No driving for 2 weeks, or while taking pain medications
  • No lifting anything heavier than 15 pounds
  • You may go for a ride or a walk daily

Headaches after epidural or spinal anesthesia are rare but can happen 1-2 times out of 100. Usually, a headache from anesthesia happens 24 to 48 hours after the epidural or spinal anesthesia.

Symptoms of headaches from anesthesia can include:

  • Neck pain
  • Pain in the front of the head
  • Pain that is worse when you sit up or stand and gets better when you lay down
  • Pain that is worse with bright light or loud noises

You may have a period as early as 4 weeks or as late as 6 months. It is possible to become pregnant before you have your first period.

Put nothing in your vagina – NO SEX, DOUCHING OR TAMPONS until at least 6 weeks after delivery or until the bleeding stops.

Pregnancy and delivery are hard on your body. Below are guidelines to help with bowel and bladder changes:

  • Avoid constipation
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and drink 6-8 glasses of water a day
  • Hemorrhoids can be relieved by a sitz bath, TUCKS® pads, or Dermoplast® spray
  • It is common to have leakage of urine that normally goes away with little or no treatment
    • Wear unscented sanitary pads and talk about this problem with your health care provider

Visit the New Mom Health website for additional resources.

Breast feeding is NOT a form of birth control. Talk to your health care provider about the best birth control choice for you.

Your vaginal discharge normally changes from bright red to brownish-pink to yellowish-white. Discharge may last as long as 2 to 6 weeks. Continue to use the peri bottle until your vaginal bleeding stops.

You can find a clear description of your birth control options here.

Follow these guidelines to help with your physical self-care:

  • You should shower or sponge bathe. If you had a c-section, do not take tub baths for at least two weeks.
  • Keep incision clean and dry; pat your incision dry after your shower or sponge bath.
  • If your incision opens, sponge bathe only and call your health care provider immediately.
  • Use the peri-bottle filled with warm water to cleanse your vaginal area every time you use the bathroom until your bleeding stops. Pat yourself dry from front to back.
  • Wear a clean, non-scented sanitary pad.

Visit the New Mom Health website for more information about taking care of your body at this time.

The postpartum period is full of stress and anxiety. You may have mood swings or crying spells caused by the sudden change in hormone levels after delivery. This is normal for the first 1-2 weeks after delivery. This is called the "baby blues." Do not be afraid to ask for help from your family and friends. If these feelings get worse or you feel you do not have control of them, call your health care provider.

Please navigate to the Self-Care for Emotional Health section of this page for more information.