Labour & birth
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The first hours

Time to get to know your baby and get some well earned rest!


Posted: 2 June 2005
by ThinkBaby

You might feel like you’ve just gone twenty rounds with a sumo version of Mohammed Ali, but when you see your baby for the first time you’ll most probably feel a unique rush of emotions with exhaustion tempered by relief, exhilaration and joy. This emotional cocktail will probably be enough to sustain you for a while after birth so that you can get to know your baby and, if you’ve chosen to breastfeed, get breastfeeding underway. Your baby will be very alert for the first hour or so after birth, so the more of that time you can spend with her, the better.

If there are no complications the midwife should be able to place the baby on your stomach almost immediately after birth, giving you both precious first moments of skin-to-skin contact. Very soon afterwards, when the cord has been cut and your baby given a health check and a clean-up, you should be able to start breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your new baby, besides stimulating milk production, breastfeeding releases ‘love hormones’ that make you feel contented and loving towards your child, while for baby the sucking, physical contact and maternal scent are calming and reassuring.

Don’t worry too much about knowing what to do, your baby has a natural reflex to root for your breast and suck. It may take a while for you both to get the hang of things, or she may latch on and settle in straight away. You midwife will be able to help you work out a feeding position that works well for you both.

If your partner is present for the birth the first hour is a good time for him to be involved, holding and cuddling the baby while your carers help you deliver the placenta, clean you up after the birth and repair any tears and so on. If you’ve been under a general anaesthetic for a caesarian you might want your partner to have bonding time with the baby before you come round.

If you are in hospital, after the first hour together your baby will probably be whisked off for a more detailed examination and a bath, giving you time to collect yourself and spend time with your partner and get in touch with close relatives. Some of the postpartum aches and pains may now be more noticeable without your baby to distract you: the hospital staff should be able to help you with ice packs and painkillers if necessary.

Birth is also tiring for your baby and she’ll most likely sleep in long stretches for most of the first twenty-four hours. While your hormones will draw you to your baby and you'll want to spend lots of time holding and cuddling her, you also need plenty of rest, so if at all possible try and enjoy the peace and quiet (unless you’re unlucky enough to be stuck on the labour ward surrounded by the ongoing birthing dramas of other mothers) - it might be the last chance for plenty of sleep in quite some time.


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Discuss this story

i am having a caserian no choice dont know what to expect in the first few hours

Posted: 14/11/2007 at 21:38

Hi Hayley Im also having a ceserian. When you having oyurs done im going in on the 18th of december. Had an emergency one on my first but this time im a little nervous cause i was knocked out last time. Ive spoken to people and they said its ok.


Posted: 15/11/2007 at 11:34

hi i am having mine next friday but i dont know what to expect im pretty scared about

Posted: 15/11/2007 at 13:25

hi ladies

i also have to have an elective section with my 2nd, as i had an emergency section with my son which i was wide awake with. it really isnt bad at all. i barely felt the epidural ( this was my 3rd day of labour though so i didnt give a damn lol)

harry was a big baby and i have narrow hips so he wasnt descending and they decided to get him via caeserian. so anyway the spinal block was a sinch, just made me sit up straight and put like a sticker on my back with a hole in and felt the teeeeinest scratch and then like a cold water trickle running down my back.

then they dry shaved me (i would advise you do that yourselves first, much more didnified) 

then put some iodine where there planned to to the inscision, put the curtain up, and then the anaesthatist went through a series of tests to check i was fully numb, i wasnt sure and i actualy felt the first cut, so if your not 100% tell them and they will dose you up more  

they were cutting for about 10 mins as there are lots of layers of fat and skin to get through, and they used liema  laser pen to to the cutting as it clots the blood straight away, kind of cauterises is it as it goes along,

then they take the baby out, and all i can describe the feeling is like when your bags full of crap and your rooting around trying to find your phone or your purse! lots of digging and rooting about, its a very odd feeling. if your waters arent burst they will burst them, then out comes the bundle of joy! they cut the cord and lifted him over the screen for me to see then went and checked him over. they will score the baby a mark out of ten for the apgar score chart, checking his colour respitory responses etc.

then they wrapped him up and put him next to me. i did want skin on skin which i didnt get which did dissapoint me, but after  3 days of labour i didnt tell them. it didnt enter my head to. if you want this, then tell them! then they spent 20 mins sewing me up, that was annoying cos  i just wanted to hold my boy and take it all in, i was weeled off to recovery and then i started to shake very badly, i wasnt expecting it and it s a perfectly normal reaction but i didnt know so i was scared. this went on for maybe an hour, and i was shaking too bad to hold harry, but they insisted it was normal, and when i warmed up it  went away.

my spinal block didnt wear off for a few hours and in the morning i realised i had been catheterised, as i hadnt had a we in 14 hours, which was unexpected but ok. when i tried to move i did feel like i had been hit by a tram, but as soon as i held my biy i ddint care. they will encourage you to get up and walk arounf which seems harsh but nessesesary unfortunaltly. then your fist wee is a bit hard too. i wont lie it all hurts the day after, but after the first day i was up and around fine.

i would take lots of disposable pants as you will do alot of bleeding that usually goes everywhere but the maternity pad!

honestly it rreally isnt too bad i promise, and they save lives! thats the most important thing. xxx


Posted: 15/11/2007 at 14:14

thanks for the information it still seems scary how long do you have to wear  catheter for is it long

Posted: 15/11/2007 at 14:39

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