Meeting Your Baby and Recovering: The First 12 Hours

In This Article:

Hours seven through 12 after birth

Parents with newborn baby

Nothing compares with the moment when you meet your baby face to face.

7 hours

This might be the first chance you've had to look at your baby's tiny toes, scrunched-up legs, or fine head of hair. There may be traces of greasy vernix on his skin. Perhaps he has long, flaky fingernails that need trimming or a downy fuzz of hair called lanugo on his back. He's unique and gorgeous.

8 hours

If your baby is awake, he may be hungry. At this stage, you're producing nutrient-rich colostrum, a fluid containing antibodies. Position him at the breast: he should open his mouth wide and take the entire areola, known as "latching on." Breast-feeding stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin, which contracts the uterus. This can cause afterpains, more noticeable in second and subsequent births, which can feel like contractions. The only consolation is that with each contraction, your uterus-and hence your abdomen-shrinks back down.

9 hours

If you're up to it, you might be ready for visitors, either at home or on the unit, to admire your baby. Don't let them tire you out, though.

10 hours

Your baby's newborn checkups will take place when he is between 4 and 48 hours old. A staff pediatrician at the hospital will examine him from top to toe; listen to his heart, check his hips (and testes in a boy); and ask about the contents of his diapers.

11 hours

In many hospitals, you can spend your first night as a new family together, since rooming-in with the baby is a common practice and new dads often sleep over. This lets the nurses see how mother and baby interact. If you need to get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep after a long or difficult labor, a nurse can collect the baby from you.

12 hours

After a whirlwind of agony, ecstasy, and sheer hard labor, you need to rest when you can. If your baby is sleeping, fend off visitors, draw the curtains around your bed, or take the phone off the hook, and sleep.

After a cesarean

Your recovery

Although you've had major surgery, you'll be encouraged to get up to get your circulation going. After an epidural, this will be as soon as you've regained the feeling in your legs. After a general anesthetic, you'll be encouraged to get up when you no longer feel sleepy, usually within an hour. You won't be able to shower yet, but your nurse or midwife can give you a bed bath to help you freshen up.

You'll probably feel very tired and sore, so ask for help with positioning your baby at the breast, and take pain medication when you need it.

 Previous   1   2   Next 

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

Pregnancy Day by Day

Tell us your due date to receive our daily newsletter and find out what is happening in this day of your pregnancy!

Already a member? Log-in here

Name of the Day


Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

© 2000-2015 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved.