3-weeks-ago, I gave birth to my last born. Even though I am already a mom of two, everything still felt very new to me.
If you are a first-time mom, you’re probably curious as to what to expect in the very first week as a new mother and have many questions like what will breastfeeding be like or what will baby’s behaviour be like?
You could feel a whole range of emotions – from blank exhaustion to total elation which is entirely normal and a part of the process of being a mom. Huggies expert Lynne Bluff, internationally certified childbirth educator, is here to give you a brief description of what to expect within the first ten days.
What to expect in the first ten days after giving birth:
Babies are aware and are taking everything in:
Many parents are surprised to see how alert a new-born really is. Right after birth, a new-born’s eyes are open quite a bit and babies spend a lot of time studying faces – especially their parents. Your baby may turn or react to the sound of your voices. In fact, babies are able to “mirror” you (copy what you are doing). It is fascinating what a new baby is able to do – give it a try and watch carefully as you interact and connect with your new baby.
During this time your baby is using all its senses, including smell and touch, this allows the baby to identify you and differentiates you from other people that they may meet. You may feel tired and emotional, so make sure you sleep or rest when baby rests. It is recommended to keep visitors to a minimum at this early time to allow you and your partner to connect as a new family and to let your baby get used to being with you. You might want to use this time to rest or watch educational videos – and to get to know your new baby.
Skin to skin contact:
After the birth, skin to skin contact with your baby is very important. Place your baby skin to skin on your chest immediately after birth as smell is important both for mom and baby. Allow your baby to go through the nine instinctive stages. This will include baby finding the breast, latching on to the nipple and breastfeeding all by himself/herself. Baby is initially alert and likely to feed well and as a result may have a long sleep.
Some babies are sleepy and may only want a few feeds in the first 24 hours – others are more awake and will want to feed more frequently. Try to offer the breast to your baby every 2 hours or so to help get breastfeeding well established and the milk flowing well. Each baby is different and as you grow together you will be able to tell what they want and need.
The correct positioning, attachment and latching while breastfeeding is very important. Check the shape of your nipples each time the baby comes off the breast. Your nipples should look round and should not look squashed, pinched, flattened, ridged or distorted in shape. If this does occur, ask for assistance with your next feed or contact a lactation consultant.
You can find a lactation consultant in your area on www.expectantmothersguide.co.za. Once latched, breastfeeding should not hurt your nipples, if it is sore while the baby is latching, something is wrong. Take baby off the breast and re-latch him/her. Remember that although breastfeeding is a natural process, it is a learned skill and you and your baby are learning together.
How to hold a new-born:
It’s also essential to learn how to hold a new-born baby properly. There are a variety of correct ways to hold your baby, from the snuggle hold to the face-to-face hold, depending on how you want to interact with your baby. Just remember that it’s important to be calm and confident before you pick up your baby, so they are relaxed before you make a connection. Remember your new baby is not a fragile china doll about to break into a million pieces. Hold him/her firmly and confidently and they will feel secure in your arms.
It is important not to bath your little one for the first few days to allow the good bacteria on your baby’s skin to be there and keep the skin healthy. Use natural baby products that look after your baby’s microbiome. New-born’s don’t need a bath every day. In fact, a lot of babies get rashes and dry skin from too many baths. Your little one only needs a bath once or twice a week. After a few months, daily baths are fine but it is important to use a moisturizer after bathing.
Nappy changes and umbilical cord care:
Your new-born baby will poo several times a day and wee every one to three hours. Wetness doesn’t bother most babies, so don’t expect him or her to cry or show discomfort every time they need changing. You need to check baby’s nappy regularly. Use Huggies My First Nappy, a size 0 disposable nappy specially made for New-borns (up to 4kg). Not only does Huggies My First Nappy provide the gentlest protection but it has a quilted triple absorption liner and an umbilical cord cut-out to help protect your baby’s new skin.
The umbilical cord cut-out encourages healing and easy cleaning for new moms. Umbilical cord care is always a worry for new moms but with this feature, moms can rest confidently that they are giving their babies the best. Huggies My First Nappy also has fasten anywhere tabs to help provide a snug fit and a wetness indicator to show when it’s time to change.
“The first few days with your new baby can be a very emotional time for you and your partner. There’s a lot to learn and do as new parents. Remember that everyone is different and every experience is different. So, take it easy on yourself and be patient, becoming a mom is a journey and you and your little one will learn together,” concludes Bluff.