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First Day After Childbirth: What To Expect

Chief Editor | Published on February 21, 2023

Congratulations, you are officially a parent! Now what? Your first day with your baby will probably be an exciting but also exhausting day for both you and your baby, as your body recovers from childbirth.

Bonding With Your Baby

Different hospitals have different procedures, but your baby will most likely be handed to you right after he or she is born if you are both in good condition after vaginal delivery. The nurse will then wipe the baby clean and swaddle him or her in a towel to ensure your baby stays warm and dry.

At this point, some mothers may be thrilled to bond with their baby, while others may not feel up for it as they are still tired from labour. No matter what you are feeling, remember to take things slow and try to establish more skin-to-skin contact with your baby. This will help to keep your baby warm and make him or her feel secure, as well as foster bonding. In the event that extra observation is required, don’t worry if your baby is not handed to you straightaway; there will be plenty of time for you to bond with your baby later.

While your baby is resting on your chest, an Apgar assessment will be carried out to measure your baby’s heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, colour and reflexes. A score of 7 and above, with the maximum score being 10, means that your baby is doing well.

If you had a caesarean section, your baby may be handed to your partner after birth while you are still in the operating room, before being brought to you when you are ready.

Breastfeeding Your Baby

You may start to breastfeed your baby soon after delivery, and this may happen while you are in the birth room or recovery room. The first milk you produce is called colostrum and is like liquid gold for your baby; containing antibodies to protect your newborn against disease.

Most people assume that breastfeeding is easy, but it is normal to find yourself encountering problems at first. Don’t panic if you have trouble breastfeeding — your baby may not be able to find your nipple or stay on it at first, but he or she will usually learn to nurse within the first hour.

If you still find yourself having trouble breastfeeding, do not hesitate to ask for help from the nurses in the room. After you move into a post-partum unit, you can ask for a lactation consultant to give you more tips on breastfeeding.

Recovering From Labour

Childbirth can be emotionally and physically draining, so it is only natural for you to feel exhausted and even a little irritable. Be kind to yourself and take this time to rest!

Right after delivery, you will find yourself having bloody vaginal discharge, also known as lochia. The bleeding can be heavy during the first few days and you should wear a sanitary pad instead of a tampon to minimise your risk of an infection. You will need to change this pad regularly, so disposable underwear can come in handy to avoid ruining your underwear. If you are breastfeeding, you may notice heavier and redder bleeding. Additionally, you may feel afterpains (contractions of your womb), especially while you are breastfeeding.

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