The First 24 Hours: What Happens After Birth?

1:20 PM

Having a baby is an exciting time in anyone’s life, yet it can be a confusing one as well. There is a lot of conflicting information, and you might not be sure as to exactly what is going to happen. The pregnancy and the birth are well covered online, in books, and of course your doctor or midwife will be able to help you. Yet those precious moments after the birth are not always talked about. However, they are extremely important, and enjoying them can make a big difference as to how you see parenthood going forward. Here are some useful tips and information to help you prepare.

Skin to Skin Contact 

The very first thing that will happen after the nurse and doctors check for birth injuries is for skin to skin contact to occur. This is when the baby is lifted up onto the mother’s chest and they can cuddle. This sounds lovely – and is – but there is another reason for it to happen other than just being a pleasant experience for both baby and mother.

Skin to skin contact is a wonderful way to start the bonding experience, and if it is missed out right at the start, many mothers do have a more difficult time bonding with their child. So, it is important to request it if it seems to be taking a long time to happen. Another reason for skin to skin contact is to start the mother’s milk supply. This can take a little while to come in so the sooner you start the better.

First Feed 

After a little while, it is a good idea for the baby to take its first feed. This can be a difficult thing to do, even if it is entirely natural. As mentioned above, sometimes it takes longer for the milk to be ‘let down’ than others. Even if this is the case, allowing the baby to suckle so that they understand how to feed is also important, so it is worth trying even if there is no milk yet.

The nurses will be with you to ensure everything is going well, and if there is no milk they will be able to suggest how to help you. It might be that formula is required for a little while so that the baby receives some sustenance. This can be upsetting for mothers who intended to breastfeed from the start, so it is crucial to be aware that this might be the case and to have a backup plan.

Going Home 

Once the medical staff are happy that you and your baby are well, it will be time to go home. This can suddenly feel very daunting, especially if this is your first child. This is why it is useful to get everything ready at home before the birth. If you do this, you’ll know that you’ll go home to a neat and tidy house, with everything you need for your baby where you can find it including spare diapers, bottles and formula in case you want or need it, clothing, and a place for the baby to sleep.

In reality, apart from a car seat if you have a car or some other way to carry your baby if you don’t drive, that’s all you need at the beginning.

Once you get home, the first 24 hours are going to be a learning curve. You’ll start to understand what your child needs and when they are going to need it. The best thing you can do is enjoy the experience and take rests and sleep when you can. If you have someone to help you then all the better as you need to recover and be fit so you can look after your baby.

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