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After the birth

The first few days with your baby are very satisfying yet it can also be very emotional as you adjust to being a parent. You may even find the thought of being in sole charge of a baby quite daunting. But don’t worry, this is completely normal and something almost every parent experiences.

Your confidence will grow in time. There is lots of support available in hospital and at home. If you have had a straightforward and uncomplicated birth then it may be suitable for you to have an 'early discharge'. This means you can go home within 12 hours of your baby being born. Your midwife will discuss this with you during your pregnancy and the midwives that look after you after you have had your baby will also discuss it again. 

  • Checks on you

    The midwives will check your general well being - asking you if you have anything that you are worried about and advising you on what is normal in the early days after your baby is born.

  • Checks on your baby
  • Cord care

    Shortly after birth, the midwife will clamp the umbilical cord close to your baby’s navel with a plastic clip. The midwife or your partner then cuts the cord with the clamp attached. The cord takes about a week to dry out and drop off. Keep the navel clean and dry until this happens. If you notice any bleeding or discharge from the navel tell your midwife, health visitor or doctor.

  • Vitamin K

    After your baby is born, your midwife will ask for your permission to give vitamin K to the infant via an injection. This vitamin is essential to prevent a serious bleeding condition called Haemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn which, although rare, can be life-threatening.

  • The fontanelle

    This is a diamond-shaped area on the top of your baby’s head where the skull bones haven’t yet fused together. The fontanelle may take about a year before the bones close over.

  • Bumps and bruises

    It is quite common for a newborn to have some swelling and bruises on their head, or to have bloodshot eyes. This is usually due to the pushing and squeezing of childbirth and they will disappear in time. If you are worried about any bumps or bruises talk to the midwives looking after you.

  • Birthmarks and spots

    Most babies have little marks and spots, mainly around the head and face. Most common are the little pink ‘stork marks’ on the forehead and upper eyelids or marks on the nape of the neck. Most of them will go away eventually. Strawberry marks, with their dark red and slightly raised appearance, can appear a few days after the birth. They may take a while to disappear but are generally nothing to worry about. Spots and rashes are not unusual but you should tell your midwife or doctor if there is marked change in your baby’s behaviour, such as an unwillingness to feed, sleeplessness or irritability. If you are concerned about a birthmark, please consult your midwife, health visitor or GP.

  • Skin

    The top layer of a newborn’s skin is very thin and easily damaged but over the first month, as it matures, it will develop its own natural protective barrier. We would advise against the use of moisturisers or other products initially which can be quite harsh for a newborn’s sensitive skin.

  • Jaundice

    At three days old, many babies develop mild jaundice with their skin and whites of their eyes taking on a yellow tinge. This usually fades within 10 days, though more serious jaundice may need treatment. If this is the case your midwife will discuss it with you.