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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YOUR BABY

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!

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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.

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YOUR BABY

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.

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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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YOUR BABY

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.

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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.

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