The team at Tidelands Health Women’s Center helps families navigate pregnancy and childbirth every day. Now, one of the practice’s physicians – Dr. Monica Selander – has invited us to be part of the journey as she and her husband, Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Earl Han, welcome a second child to their family. Follow us on Facebook, check out our Twitter feed and stop back here often to get the latest updates.
Pregnancy. Labor and delivery. Nursing. Sleepless nights.
Bringing a new baby into the world presents a host of changes for mothers. For many, returning to work is one of the biggest emotional and practical hurdles.
Fortunately for Tidelands Health OB-GYN Dr. Monica Selander, who recently returned to her role at Tidelands Health Women’s Center following the birth of her second child, Luna, she has stayed quite busy.
“I really miss the girls when I’m at work, which is why it’s good to be so busy,” she says. “As soon as I walk through the doors, my focus is on my patients and their care needs.”
Luna was born in late June to Dr. Selander and her husband, Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Earl Han. Dr. Selander returned to work recently after spending three months at home with Luna and her big sister, 2-year-old Nora.
The experience has been different the second time around. When Nora was born, Dr. Selander returned to work after six weeks instead of 12 to complete her medical residency. And she was apart from Dr. Han, who was temporarily living in another state to complete his medical fellowship.
“Both times it was hard, but it was hard in different ways,” Dr. Selander says. “This time, I’ve bonded more with Luna and with Nora, too.”
While their parents work, Luna stays at home with a nanny and Nora goes to day care.
“She’s a 2-year-old with lots of energy and it’s good for her to be around other kids,” Dr. Selander says of Nora.
As a strong advocate for breastfeeding, Dr. Selander works in time during the day to pump breast milk, but it can be a challenge.
“It’s hard in an unpredictable field like ours, but it’s a priority, so I make the time,” Dr. Selander says. “Fortunately, I have great patients and co-workers who understand and support me.”
A worthwhile challenge
Regularly pumping is essential if, like Dr. Selander, moms plan to continue nursing once they return to work, says, Dr. Xaviera Carter, an OB-GYN and colleague of Dr. Selander’s at Tidelands Health Women’s Center.
“Pumping is important to keep the supply of breast milk going, and we encourage mothers to pump at least once every three hours,” she says. “However, once or twice during a workday can be sufficient if a mother is making up for the lost pumping sessions outside of work hours.”
Working while caring for a newborn at home can be exhausting for any woman, Dr. Carter says.
“It’s important for moms to eat well, stay hydrated, get mild or moderate exercise when they can, continue taking prenatal vitamins and, if possible, sneak in some time to nap whenever possible,” she says. “If a partner or a support person is at home, one way to get mom more sleep is to give the baby a bottle of breastmilk instead of feeding directly from the breast.”
Indeed, Dr. Selander says returning to work has not been without its challenges, but she is glad to be back caring for patients.
“It’s been really rewarding working with patients again,” she says. “They’re the reason I got into this field in the first place.”