The first 24 hours after your baby are CRAZY.
You’re never quite as prepared as you thought you were.
So much goes on and so many people come in and out that it will feel like a 6 lane highway.
But knowing exactly what to expect can make things a little bit easier and a lot more enjoyable.
Below is EVERYTHING you can expect during the first 24 hours. I’ve got you covered. You’ve got this.
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The First 24 Hours | What To Expect Right After Delivery Of Your Baby
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What Happens With Baby First
Once your babe is born he’ll be given to you. Skin on Skin contact is very important and you should be the first to meet your baby. You’ll get to hold your baby for a while and even try breastfeeding if that’s your plan.
I got to hold my second baby for an hour before handing him over. He latched on to the breast right away and he had no trouble at all.
After a while, they will take the baby and clean him, put ointment on his eyes and give him Vitamin K drops.
The ointment prevents eye infections and Vitamin K is important because it helps his blood clot.
After these steps are taken they will put a hospital band on your babe and then take ink footprints of him.
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What Happens With You First
While you’re holding your sweet babe the nurses will begin to massage your stomach to help your birth the Placenta. This is not fun and for me, it was pretty painful.
It feels like a dull ache and more labor pains but the discomfort is numbed by the fact that you are finally holding onto your baby.
Once the placenta is out they will go ahead and cut the umbilical cord if they haven’t already. In my case, they waited till I had birthed it but it all depends.
Your doctor or midwife will begin giving you stitches if your perineum has a tear after the placenta has been birthed. They will also monitor your blood pressure and your blood loss to make sure you’re ok and that everything is going according to plan.
You and your baby will stay in the birthing room for two to three hours post-birth and you’ll be able to eat and clean yourself up some. Then they’ll move you to the postnatal ward for a one to two-night stay. If you had a C-section you will stay for four nights.
They want you to stay so they can monitor your recovery and watch the baby as well to make sure he’s healthy and thriving.
*** If you want things to go a specific way during the first few hours after birth be sure to include it in your birthing plan. Here’s a free one you can print out right here. Make sure everyone sees it so they all know just what you want.
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So What Happens Next?
You make it to your recovery room and you’re wondering how things will go from here.
Well, first of all, you’ll get settled in and they’ll take the IV out of your arm if they haven’t already. They usually leave it in until now just in case there is an emergency or they feel the need to administer some medication to you.
Speaking of medication, You’ll feel pretty beat up during this time so when they offer your pain meds, go right ahead and take them. You’ll need them.
They’ll want you to use the bathroom pretty quickly so they can make sure everything is functioning properly. If you had an epidural they’ll wheel you in the bathroom to pee on this stand-up wheelchair device. Or perhaps a regular wheelchair depending on where you go to have your baby.
They often use the stand-up device because they want you to use your legs as quickly as possible after the epidural. It just promotes recovery and healing and it lets them know you’re alright.
It’s not fun to use the bathroom the first time. You’re likely numb and you can barely do it or you’re not and it burns like a mother. These are not fun moments but you have to get the job done.
As far as your uterus goes, you’ll be having cramps that can be as bad as labor pains. This is caused by your uterus shrinking up and the pain is worse when you breastfeed.
The breastfeeding causes the uterus to contract more, and that’s a good thing. It just doesn’t feel so great.
If you’re torn down there it will swell up really bad like an open rose and it is super uncomfortable. Even if you don’t tear you will be really swollen.
They’ll offer you these mesh underwear and pads along with ice packs to sit on to help keep you as clean and comfortable as possible. You will bleed heavily for the first 24 hours with some big clots.
Then after that, it will slow down some but you will bleed for about six weeks total.
Your tummy will still be pretty big and it will take some time to go down. Maybe even a couple of months, it just depends on your body.
These will help everything shrink back into place nicely.
For added cleanliness, you can use this product right here to help you get through tough times as well. This product is good for when you’re on your period too and you need to feel fresher.
Read this article to learn how to be more comfortable during the worst of your postpartum period.
What’s Next For Baby
Your baby will stay with you so you can bond and respond easily to their needs. You will begin your breastfeeding journey ( if you intend to do so ) at the hospital and you will practice a lot. When the baby isn’t nursing he will likely be sleeping.
Babies are very tired after birth, he will probably sleep most of those first few days, so get rest when you can.
While you are getting to know baby make sure you are skin to skin often. This releases hormones like oxytocin that are good for you both. It helps your baby thrive better too.
Your baby should be able to recognize that you’re his or her mother by the sound of your voice and heartbeat. It’s a familiar sound and it brings great comfort to your babe.
When he is awake he will hear you and likely try to turn his sweet little head towards you. When he nurses your colostrum will taste familiar like the amniotic fluid in the womb and this will also be comforting.
The staff will take your baby’s blood at some point. They usually squeeze it from the heel of the foot.
Most of the time the baby isn’t bothered by this. A couple of mine slept through it.
Other times baby may not like being squeezed at all. He may cry or fuss. Just be there to comfort him through it so he knows you are there when he needs you.
While you are in the hospital your chosen Pediatrician will come in and do an overall health exam of your baby.
This will get them started with the doc and she will see him several times over the next upcoming months. You’ll have doc appointments as much as twice weekly for the first few weeks.
If you want you can have photos done in the hospital. Most hospitals offer this so that you have photos of your newborn right after birth.
Be sure to take something nice for your baby to wear if you plan on doing this.
What You Need To Do Next
You’ll need to set up your baby’s insurance set up. You can go ahead and do this while you’re in the hospital or you can wait till you get home.
Either way, it’s a crucial next step in setting up the care of your baby, so take care of it as soon as possible. Perhaps your partner can do this so you can attend to funner things.
You’ll need to fill out a birth certificate at some point while at the facility. They give you that and some other paperwork to fill out.
They’ll also likely give you pamphlets on how to cope during postpartum depression or during periods of purple crying.
You may also receive information on breastfeeding recourses as well.
When you’re ready to leave make a double check on the car seat. Make sure it’s tight and properly installed for baby’s safety.
Once you get home you may feel a bit overwhelmed. I know I did each time I brought one of my babies home. Hormones really start to set in too. It can feel somewhat scary. But hang in there.
Make sure you have a really good support system and someone there that can help at least the first week or so. You’ll be SO grateful for them. You’ll see…
Good luck mama! I hope this was helpful.
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