The first day after birth is both emotionally and physically challenging for new mothers. On one side is there is the excitement and delight on seeing the new addition to your life. On the other hand there is the physical pain of labor and the anxiety whether you can be the “perfect parent” for your baby.
As soon as a baby is born the neonatal team take over. The baby’s body is kept warm and is dried of all the moisture. To help the baby breathe freely, all fluids are sucked out from his nose and mouth. This is when a baby starts crying. This normally happens within 30 seconds to 1 minute after birth. A small simulation in the form of rubbing the baby’s back is done to help the baby cry. Earlier babies used to be lifted up by their leg and patted on the back to aid in crying. But nowadays this method is used very rarely.
The baby is then examined as per the Apgar Scoring System. Here the baby is examined against five parameters- its heartbeat, breathing effort, muscle tone, reflexes and color. This scoring is done to evaluate a baby’s physical condition and whether any additional medical assistance is required or not. If the scoring is found not favorable, the baby may be taken to neonatal intensive care unit for further examination. In addition to this baby’s height, weight and head circumference will be measured. The baby will be provided a shot of BCG either the same day or the following day. Depending on the hospital, a blood test will be done for checking the boold group, sugar levels, hypothyroidism and other diseases either on the same day or the next day.
Once the baby’s Apgar Score is evaluated he may be placed on your breast for feeding. Always remember to feed the Colostrum, the first discharge that comes from the breast. If you had a caesarian section, then the baby will be brought to the postoperative unit along with you for feeding. Since it is a new experience for first time mothers and babies, a nurse might help you in this. You may have to insert the nipple inside the baby’s mouth as he/she may not be able to do so on their own. Some babies may not suck properly initially. You need not worry as gradually they will get used to the process.
If you observe the baby closely you can see that when awake, he/she will stare straight at your face. A newborn baby has blurry vision of about 8-15 inches. He/she will sleep through the major part of the day and you need to wake them up every 2-3 hours for feeding by tickling their ears or feet.
A new mother normally goes through a wide range of emotions and it varies from mother to mother. While some mothers will be all excited to see and hold the baby others might feel sad and drained after the physical exertion. All that a new mother requires is a good moral and emotional support from her better half and other family members.