The first 24 hours

If the birth was straightforward, you may be back home with your newborn the same day - so what happens next?

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    Newborn babies are often alert for an hour or so after being born, before falling into a long, deep sleep. This is thought to be nature's way of letting you both recover from the birth. Enjoy it while it lasts, let that post-birth adrenaline subside, and get some sleep! 

  • YOU

    Hang on to those big knickers as you'll be passing blood - like having a heavy period - in the first 48 hours. Make sure you've got plenty of maternity pads and big black pants to hand.


    If you're keen to breastfeed, it's good to get your baby started as soon as you can. At this stage, your breasts don't contain milk, they produce colostrum - a thick, yellow substance containing all the nutrients your baby needs for the first few days. 

  • YOU

    You will probably be feeling sore whether you had a natural delivery or a Caesarean - painkillers will help. If you've torn or had an episiotomy, you may be bruised for a weeks. Don't panic, things will get back to normal. Many women find it takes five weeks for the pain and bruising to subside.  

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    Enjoy having a good cuddle with your newborn. Skin to skin contact is important for bonding with both mum and dad, and is hugely pleasurable for baby and parent. 

  • YOU

    While elated at the birth, it is common to feel so tired and sore that you can't cope with a baby immediately. Make sure you have help on hand - your partner or your mum maybe - to ensure that both you and your baby are loved and looked after in those important early hours. 

Last updated on 31 July 2009


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