Baby is here! The birth is over, you are probably wondering how the first moments of your newborn are in the open air? What are the first steps taken? How are the first hours going? The first day of this tiny baby's life is both exciting and exhausting for both of you. Here we explain baby's first aid, what he feels and what to expect.
This is general information for a pregnancy that is nearing full term and if Mom and Baby are healthy.
The first few minutes close to you…
Childbirth, then its adaptation to our world, are important moments for babies. This drastic change in state is rapid and his heart and lungs must adapt immediately. This is what happens when he lets out his first cry. Depending on whether you are in a hospital, clinic, birth center or even at home, the care of the baby at birth aims to ensure his safety and comfort. Several gestures are dispensed by the gynecologist or the midwife just after childbirth.
As soon as he comes out, the newborn is quickly dried, placed skin to skin and covered with sheets or warm towels and a hat. The midwife ensures that her face remains visible and her nose clear. It is therefore advisable to take time with your child. Your baby needs to sleep and eat, and he needs to feel safe and warm, so he needs to feel your skin. Skin-to-skin is very important, a simple gesture that reassures him, creates a bond, reduces crying and helps baby maintain a good body temperature. After a period of rest, he will start looking at you and if he is willing, he may crawl to Mom's breast to start suckling.
Meanwhile, we take care of the umbilical cord. The father can, if he wishes, cut the cord. There is no nerve in the cord, so it is painless for baby.
Baby's first exams...
After a moment of rest and in order to carry out the usual examinations, the newborn is generally placed under a heating lamp, close to the mother or the father. These first checks consist of:
- Control the temperature,
- Control and perform first aid of the umbilical cord,
- Weigh, Measure height and head circumference
- Clean the eyes if necessary
At birth, your baby's skin may be blue and mottled. His skin will begin to turn pink when he begins to breathe as oxygen reaches the skin, approximately one minute after birth. Your baby's hands and feet may still look bluish for several hours. The pediatrician checks that he is neither too pale nor too red, then he carefully observes his face: the nose may be a little deviated, the ears folded back, which is generally due to the position of the baby in utero. It will return to its normal shape spontaneously... Don't panic either in the event of spots: these are most often angiomas, generally not serious, they fade naturally in the first three years.
It is also on this occasion that the midwife or the pediatrician will also carry out a short clinical examination. The first actions of the medical staff will be to ensure that the heart and lungs are working properly, we will talk about the Apgar score. It evaluates your baby's adaptation to life outside the womb: the baby's heart rate, breathing, muscle tone and reflexes are recorded. Then, the baby is given vitamin K to prevent bleeding due to vitamin K deficiency. And before resting it on mum's belly or placing it in dad's arms, the baby will have the right to his little identification bracelet.
And mom ?
The mother is also closely monitored the first minutes after the birth. His blood pressure and temperature are checked, and staff pay attention to his general condition.
After giving birth to your baby, you will have other contractions that will help you push the placenta out, maximum half an hour after birth.
Your baby is always on you, warm and skin-to-skin. With one hand, the midwife presses your belly, at the level of the uterus, between the navel and the pubis. A generally painless gesture, which makes it possible to detach the placenta and promote its expulsion. Once out, she examines it very carefully: it must be complete. This is because a few lumps stuck to the wall of the uterus can cause postpartum hemorrhage or other complications later.
Your baby comforts himself quietly against you. If he does not grab your breast to suckle, a midwife or medical staff will come to help him. The first milk you produce is called "colostrum". It is thick and often yellowish, this first milk is very rich in minerals, proteins and maternal antibodies. It is the ideal milk for your baby, it is produced in small quantities but your baby's belly is just the size of a marble, which is enough for him.
And if you don't want to breastfeed, the team will accompany you to give him his first bottle. We will avoid drugs against the rise of milk, but there are homeopathic treatments and grandmother's remedies that can relieve.
In any case, the midwives, lactation consultants and other childcare personnel are there to help you and to answer all your doubts and questions. Do not hesitate to ask them.
The first 24 hours...
Your baby will stay close to you so you can bond and meet their needs easily. He will probably sleep a lot after his first feeding, it could last about 6 hours. Half of his first day in our world will probably be spent sleeping.
Baby knows your voice, he heard it during pregnancy and will recognize it when you speak to him at birth. Your partner's voice may also sound familiar if he or she has been around for the past few months. Baby will be reassured and secure when he hears your voices and can react by turning his head. He will also be able to hear your heartbeat, like in the belly. Baby's vision is blurry at birth, but he will be able to see objects at a distance of about 30 centimeters. This is called "hug distance". This is roughly the distance between your breast and your face. Your baby will make the connection between what he hears, what he smells and what he sees.
Depending on the maternity or the structure in which you give birth, baby will receive his first bath more or less later after delivery. It is increasingly recommended to wait a few hours or even a few days before bathing your child. This allows you to be able to spend time skin to skin with him, so that he can identify your scent and his and that he does not get cold too soon from contact with the bath water. Normally, a newborn does not need to be bathed for at least 24 hours. The medical staff or the midwife will explain to you the right gestures for bathing and care in complete safety.
A great adventure begins! Take the time to savor every moment with baby, and create a soft and secure cocoon for your family. Do not hesitate to ask all the questions you have and to be accompanied. Midwives, doulas, pediatricians and other specialists will be able to reassure you, show you and help you.