So, this blog aims to always share advice to Dads and new parents as I live through it. With that in mind, I thought it might be handy to do a quick little blog on a few of the early baby appointments & paperwork Ruth and I did or brought Erin to in the first 5 weeks.
I'll say this from the outset, these are just the people we went to see and were recommended to us by friends. There are fantastic people offering all these services throughout Ireland.
Straight out of the door of the CUMH, standing in the fresh air after a whirlwind 15 hours that saw Erin arrive and me officially becoming a Dad, I stood outside with a cooler bag in hand with a placenta on ice.
Slightly bemused to why I was outside but such were the COVID restrictions.
First job or appointment. Meet the wonderful Trish from Placenta TLC, hand over the placenta and let her do her thing when it comes to Placenta Encapsulation.
Now, placenta encapsulation isn't for everybody, but my wife wanted to try it as she had done a lot of research on its benefits. Things like aiding recovery, bringing in your milk, increase energy and combatting post-natal depression.
Ruth's recovery has been fantastic and she's healed really well. Her energy levels are great, her mood is great and with regards to bringing in her milk? Well... I've already spoken about how she could literally be my cash cow.
My wife is as sceptical as I would be with certain things. Will they do anything? Is this just a placebo effect and what have you? However, Ruth is seeing the benefits from taking them and would definitely recommend them.
Even if it happened to be just a placebo. It's only taking 2 capsules three times a day, it's that easy. So, it's not the biggest inconvenience.
The next appointment we had for Erin was to see Frank Kelleher in the Cork's Children Clinic on the Model Farm Road. He was recommended to us by a close friend who told us his nickname was the 'Baby Whisperer' for the great work he does.
In case you haven't been reading the other blogs, Erin was born using forceps. Baby's born using forceps can often, at times, pull a muscle in their neck and let's call a spade a spade, they can't tell anyone they've got a sore neck. All they could do is cry and you wouldn't have a clue as a new parent what that cry meant.
What tends to happen (baby's born with forceps) is that a newborn will have a tight side of their neck and could avoid turning their head that way to feed. If your partner is planning on breastfeeding, this can be troublesome as the baby could prefer to feed on a particular breast as it's more comfortable for them to do so and in turn, avoid the other breast or not feed as well on it.
This can lead to engorgement, issues with latching and the baby is still going to feel uncomfortable.
Now, Erin was feeding really well while in the hospital but we wanted to book her in as soon as possible just to be sure and get her checked out. Early the better as they say. Frank essentially realigned her and loosened the muscles in her neck and checked her once over.
We've since had another check-up with Frank and Erin is "flying" in his words. Frank also recommended changes to Ruth's diet for breastfeeding and supplements for the baby to take. One last thing, with covid restrictions, only one parent can go inside with the baby. But Frank has a set up should you want to watch via video call.
For the majority of the appointment I was listening in on loud speaker.
Often times they will not diagnose tongue-tie in the hospital just FYI. It was actually Frank who spotted it for us. Lots of babies have Tongue-tie and some are affected by it and other babies are not.
Tongue Tie can be a big factor in breastfeeding as it can affect a baby's ability to latch and take in milk. Just something to note if your partner is planning on breastfeeding lads. So, we booked Erin in with Deirdre O'Leary in Tongue Tie Cork.
Erin indeed had a tongue-tie and it was stopping her tongue from reaching the roof of her mouth and thus inhibiting her ability to feed as well as she could. Deirdre was fantastic and the procedure was quick and didn't bother Erin a whole lot.
The difference in her latch was immediate. Deirdre also shared a few tips to Ruth on breastfeeding, latching etc. She was brilliant and we'd highly recommend her should you suspect your little one has tongue-tie.
Ultrasound for Blocked Milk Ducts.
Ruth attends an Free online lactation coffee morning on Wednesday's with Claire Boyle. She was discussing having issues with a blocked milk duct which can be painful and difficult to express.
Ruth was recommended to get ultrasound and physiotherapy with Aisling in Focus Physio in Ballincollig. Ultrasound is a pain-free method to help unblock the milk duct as opposed to digging the fingers in to massage it out. This is a different ultrasound as opposed to the one used to see your baby. They use a small device that emits ultrasound which is absorbed by the muscle or tissue.
Should your other half be suffering from a blocked milk duct, this could help gents.
Also, Ruth loves the lactation coffee mornings. It was set up for Mums to talk about breastfeeding and anything else going on in their lives. So, if you think your partner might be interested, here are the details. It's also a fantastic way to connect with new mums.
Public Health Nurse.
You will have a call and a visit from your Public Health Nurse a couple of days after you get out of hospital. We have a lovely woman Eleanor as our public health nurse. They will come to your home to check the baby's weight, height etc. to make sure they're where they should be.
They also check on your other half and also discuss any issues you may be having with feeding or any concerns that you may have as new parents.
Am I doing this right? Wrong? Should I be doing this? What's best for...? All these types of questions. Eleanor was brilliant, she gave us tons of info over the phone and in person to put our minds at ease and what to expect in the coming weeks.
2 Week GP Visit
This is a standard appointment just for your GP to make sure everything is fine with your little one and nothing untoward has popped up. You should book it in as soon as you leave the hospital fella's and normally the receptionist will immediately book in the 6-week check-up for your baby & wife too. As well as an 8-week appointment for the baby's vaccines.
The next thing you'll need to do is organise the birth certificate. So you don't have to go looking. You'll find all the info on that here, and then you'll have to either post or email it to the civil registrations service.
It's a very straight forward process and will take you all of about 5 minutes to do. Once the birth certificate is issued it will also come with the baby's PPSN number.
You'll need this for the next piece of paperwork.
Under 6s GP Visit Card.
This is such a great service and is quick and easy to get once you have your child's PPSN. All you'll need then is your own PPSN, your child's PPSN and your GP's name. You'll all find the details here.
I'd try and make sure to get the birth cert done as quick as possible so you can get the GP card as early as you can. The 2-week check-up, the 6-week check-up and vaccines are all free in Ireland.
But should you need any more additional visits for your tot you'll be charged if you don't have one. So best to get it sorted early.
Also, get onto your health insurer at the earliest point possible to add your baby to your policy. A lot these appointments would be covered.
Ruth met with a lactation consultant in the CUMH. There are two consultants Veronica & Susan. It was free but I think the service is free to avail for the first 6 weeks of baby's life. However, the teach a free breastfeeding class on Monday evenings for expectant and new parents.
That's it so far.
That's been it so far with regards to appointments and paperwork. But I reckon these are the main ones in the early weeks, well they were for us, as you want to avoid your baby being in pain or uncomfortable from childbirth. You want them to feed well so they maintain weight and develop accordingly. Lastly, you want to ensure should anything arise and requires a GP visit, that you are covered, have one less thing to worry/think about and have that peace of mind.
Hope it helps.