In the first few days as a new parent you are so overwhelmed with the whole experience and arrival of your little one, you may feel a little anxious when you take your baby home from hospital and are left to figure things out for yourself. It seems there is less compassion these days and Mums are being fobbed off with concerns they may have about their new baby. Things to be aware of:
It is normal for a new baby to lose weight in the first few days approx. 10% of their birth weight, if you have chosen to breast–feed continue to do this and feed regularly (every two hours until your baby begins to regain his or her weight. DO NOT top up with formula unless medically advised, if breast feeding is your preferred choice.
Baby Not Latching
Persevere and stand your ground, ask for help from your midwife or local breast feeding support advisor. If your baby is crying and turning his head away, don’t worry take him off, check for wind, then try again or change position. Ensure your baby’s mouth is open wide before attaching.
Early Milk Feeds
In the first few days your baby is only getting colostrum a watery but highly nutritious protein rich liquid, full of anti-bodies that help to build your baby’s immune system. It is not very filling therefore your baby needs short regular feeds of 5-10 minutes to keep him going. If bottle feeding, your baby will only take around 1-3oz 8-12 times a day.
Usually around day 5 your milk supply comes in and as your baby sucks it will start to build your supply. Do not leave your baby to go more than 4 hours in the first weeks otherwise you may encounter problems with weight gain and breast feeding at a later date.
Jaundice may alarm new parents however it is fairly common and nothing to worry about provided it is monitored. It is caused by bilirubin the skin pigment building up in the blood and not being converted and adequately cleansed and filtered by the liver. It causes your baby’s skin to look yellow and may cause conjunctivitis in the eyes. There are two forms of jaundice the more common one is present in 65% of babies and should clear up within a week or two. The more rarer form is less common but has more serious consequences.
The main symptom of jaundice is yellow colouring of the skin and conjunctiva of the eyes. Jaundice can make your baby sleepy which can lead to poor feeding, to avoid this happening wake your baby every two-three hours and ensure your baby doesn’t become de-hydrated. Poor feeding can make jaundice worse, try not to be swayed into ‘topping up’ your baby with formula, this may cause other problems later on. Most babies are treated using UVB light, which usually clears it up fairly quickly. If your baby develops jaundice after leaving hospital take your baby for medical attention.
If a baby has conjugated jaundice, it may have white chalky stool (poo) and urine that is darker than normal. (The bilirubin that normally colours the stool is excreted in the urine.)
Medical advice should be sought urgently if:
• Jaundice is present in the first 24 hours after birth
• Jaundice is present when the baby is 10 days old
• The baby has problems feeding or is very sleepy
• The stools are pale or the urine is very dark
Day 5 Baby Blues
This is very common in new mothers and will normally pass after a few days, Mums will feel tearful, possibly resentful of their new baby or may not fully bond with their child. If these feeling don’t improve and you are struggling each day, seek help from your health visitor or speak to your GP. Above all get help and explain how you feel, you may need some counselling or possibly anti-depressants. Tell someone how you feel and don’t feel you are a bad mother, Post Natal Depression is an illness, not something to be afraid of.
This is particularly common after a C-section baby, it is because the drugs are still wearing off-do not be fooled into thinking that you have a perfect baby who sleeps for 6 hours at night, it will soon change and also it is not good to leave your new baby to go so long without food. Try to awaken and get a little milk into your baby, this will help improve the feeding process and regular sucking will help stimulate your milk supply.
If your baby cries a lot, try to have lots of skin to skin contact and try swaddling in a lightweight blanket, to help your baby feel secure.
Take each day as it comes , try to stay calm and let your baby lead you but remember to keep giving regular feeds in the first few days.