Congratulations on your childbirth! You have delivered a healthy baby. Family and friends have been trooping in and there are countless congratulatory messages on your phone and on social media. You are happy, actually intrigue, but deep down you are asking questions. What should I do now? Now that the baby is here, what’s the next step?
Here are possible answers to your unasked questions about childbirth:
It’s not strange to feel sore and tired for a few days or even a few weeks, especially if you had a caesarean section. You may experience bleeding and pains as your uterus begins to shrink, so have your sanitary pads ready as this could go on for weeks. Don’t worry, you will be yourself again, so do not overexert yourself.
In the first few weeks after childbirth, you will spend most of your time feeding, diapering, and comforting your baby and this may feel overwhelming right? This is absolutely normal as you are yet to come to terms with what you are actually doing. It will get easier with time and soon you can find out what your baby needs and even what each cry means. You will also find that your baby sleeps more at night than during the day and is awake at night. Overtime, your baby will then form a routine.
You will have the milk flow. This may not be immediate but not long after childbirth, you will be producing colostrum which is perfectly suited to meet baby’s needs. Your baby will look to feed within an hour of birth. On an average, a baby feeds around 5-10 minutes or 20-30 minutes on one or both sides of the breast.
In feeding your baby, correct positioning is important. Check the shape of your nipples each time the baby is done with breastfeeding. Your nipples should look round and not distorted in shape.
To ease the pain of engorged breasts, fill two newborn diapers with water, freeze them and fit into your nursing bra between feedings for 20 minutes.
Remember, breastfeeding is a learning process for you and your baby, so there is nothing to feel anxious nor embarrassed about.
You will naturally develop an emotional bond with your baby simply by nursing and spending time together. This is why skin to skin contact with your baby is very important after delivery. Your baby may need lots of cuddling to get used to life outside the comfort of the uterus.
You are exhausted. A new delivery will ignite lots of excitement but it will also come with tiredness, physical discomfort, and unwavering hormones. You may be happy and also wonder at a lot of things. You may be sad too. You will be exhausted by the bunch of new responsibilities, overwhelmed and you will be exhausted from the lack of sleep. This may lead to postpartum depression if not checked.
You may be nervous when giving baby a first bath as they tend to be slippery. Just as a guide, work around the umbilical cord first because the faster it dries, the sooner it will fall off. Gather the bath supplies and have them within arm’s reach, this way you can have one hand on the baby at all times. After the bath, place the baby on a towel and gently wash the areas that need cleaning with a warm washcloth and baby bath wash.
You will do dirty diapers now. The first poop is not solid stool, just dark and almost liquid. The more your baby eats, the more the feces will change from brown to green to yellow. Babies wear about four to eight diapers a day, pooping at least three to six times a day, as they start to gain weight.
Hey, you just had a baby, that’s no mean feat. Don’t get yourself worked up.