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What happens the first night?

(34 Posts)
snowymum Tue 29-Jul-08 09:07:56

Ok, stupid obsessive control-freak first timer question here - but my current 3am-can't-get-to-sleep worry is about the 24 hours directly after childbirth. What the hell happens? How do you know what to do? What if he/she cries all night and you've not slept for 30 hours? Is there a certain amount of colostrum he/she's meant to have? Do you put him/her in a cot or sleep in your bed with him/her (I'm hopefully having a homebirth). How many nappy changes would you expect? How do you know if something's wrong?

I can just imagine the midwife saying 'well done, I'm off now' and me and DH being left with this new life, and thinking 'WTF do we do now?'

As you can see, I'm panicking - and I'm only at 30 weeks so any calming thoughts/advice/experience would be most helpful!

crokky Tue 29-Jul-08 09:11:10

It is likely the baby will do a fair amount of sleeping in the days after birth. When the baby goes to sleep, you should also go to sleep, whatever time of day or night it is.

Make sure nappy is clean.

Good things are if baby is doing wees and meconium.

Put the baby to sleep in the cot or your bed, up to you.

themoon66 Tue 29-Jul-08 09:11:21

I found both mine slept loads in that first 3 days, which gave me chance to have a rest. Not sure about home births as I had hospital for both, but the babies were in those clear cots by the side of the mums.

crokky Tue 29-Jul-08 09:12:34

For the colostrum, feed the baby after he/she is born, let them sleep and feed again a few hours later. Some places make you wake the baby for the 2nd feed (in my area, you have to do 2 feeds in the first 6 hours).

WelliesAndPyjamas Tue 29-Jul-08 09:13:05

you will both sleep lots
you will stare at him/her in disbelief like a moron all day grin
you'll feed him/her when he/she wakes up and/or cries

you'll be fine, it will just happen smile

crokky Tue 29-Jul-08 09:13:36

and don't panic!! the baby needs love and a bit of milk, that's all.

Haylstones Tue 29-Jul-08 09:14:12

I don't know anything about home births but the first 24 hours will be fine. I was on a bit of a high despite haing had little sleep, which kept me going.
Feeding on demand (almost constantly for me) will ensure baby gets enough colostrum.
I think most newborns get through 6-8 nappies a day.
Just relax, your instincts will take over and you WILL know wshat to do smile

CantSleepWontSleep Tue 29-Jul-08 09:15:40

Hi snowymum. With dd I was more worried about the 'afterwards' than I was about the birth.

There's no 'right' amount of colostrum - a few drops goes a long way. Just put him/her to the breast lots to help stimulate your supply.

Nappies - up to 12 for the first 24 hours I would say. Lots of tar like poo (meconium) initially, so use disposables even if you're switching to reusables afterwards.

Bed with you (as long as all non-smokers) or moses basket is fine. Some children just like to be held constantly as it's a big shock to them to go from inside mummy's tummy into the big wide world.

And for all other specific problems at the time, there's mumsnet .

cmotdibbler Tue 29-Jul-08 09:16:10

Change nappy every 3-4 hours or when pooey. Keep baby near your breast and let them suckle as much as they want - this may be continuous and is fine.
Sleep together - its the way to go to get max sleep, and will soothe the baby - after all, they've been inside you all the time before, of course they want to be in contact.

It really boils down to keeping one end clean, and the other in contact with you and your breast. If they cry, offer boob.

Enjoy the magical dark hours cuddled up in bed watching the tiny baby stroking your breast as they sleepily feed...

wheresthehamster Tue 29-Jul-08 09:17:36

I remember us leaving hospital with dd1. The midwife waved us off and that feeling of being on our own was overwhelming and slightly hysterical.

By the time we got home and she hadn't suffered any damage it was just exciting and not scary any more.

Don't panic! You'll be fine!

snowymum Tue 29-Jul-08 09:20:10

Good god, you guys are fast! Thank you SO much. I know I sound like a worry-wart, but I just want to try to make the best start possible. You are all most reassuring! x

lou031205 Tue 29-Jul-08 09:21:17

Snowy - what happens is you cope! I mean that sincerely. You are made to care for the little life inside you. You won't feel that you know what you are doing at first, but you are designed to care and provide for that little person.

To encourage you, I will tell you that I gave birth at 09.20 in the morning with DD1, and there was a delay in discharge (they were very busy) so I wasn't released until 19.30. She had slept all day after her first feed, and I thought wow, this is great. But we got her home, and she woke up at 10pm, and didn't stop wailing and crying ALL NIGHT, literally. We felt absolutely out of our depth. But within a day or two (she was like that for 12 weeks) we had got used to the fact that she was a colicky baby who had her day and night a bit mixed up. I got through it by singing to her as I comforted her, and DH slept downstairs, so that he could take over at 4am. It didn't last long, and by 12 weeks she was going to bed at 7pm, and only waking twice in the night.

Babies' tummies are the size of a walnut at birth. They need about 7mls of colostrum in the first 24 hours, and they will let you know when they are hungry. They tend to sleep for a long stretch after birth, because they still have the energy supplied through the umbilical cord until birth to keep them going at first. Then they generally wake for feeds between 2-4 hourly. If they don't wake for feeds then you can wake them and offer the breast.

Read about co-sleeping, then you can make the choice about where your baby sleeps.

Nappies - I tended to get through between 8-12 a day at first, as my babies both did a poo during every feed. Aim to have enough for 12 a day at first, and you won't go short.

You will know if something is wrong - Not waking for feeds, very pale skin, limp, or a high pitched cry are a few of the signs. It is never a problem to call for assistance if you are worried.

Flightputsonahat Tue 29-Jul-08 09:24:14

It's ok, really it is - it will be fine smile
What happens is that as long as you are Ok, I mean you might well feel like you've been trampled by wild horses, but otherwise Ok wink you will be lying there probably with a very sleepy, small thing who just wants to be close to you and maybe nuzzle your breast or actually suck, which starts the whole milk production thing off. Just let it do what it wants basically. Babies don't tend to cry much in these first few days ime. They just sleep and feed and poo tarry stuff. (which you just change as and when - it is really easy to know!)
I kept both mine in bed with me as much as I could - first one I was ill after the birth so he was bunged in a cot, next to the bed, but as soon as I could I grabbed him and stuck him next to me as he wasn't awake enough to feed and they threatened me with formula if he didn't make the ultimatum...I was pretty cross, and told them they couldn't stop me having him in my bed then because babies need skin to skin contact if they aren't feeding. angry enough about that, you're having a homebirth, should avoid a lot of the hospital nonsense wink
In with you is utterly best imo. Baby needs to feel your warmth, it helps them adjust, regulate their breathing, all of this really good for them.
Try not to worry. It will be like nothing you've ever experienced so no point trying to plan in advance - just wing it smile

Flightputsonahat Tue 29-Jul-08 09:27:30

Btw there isn't a set amount of colostrum or anything else really...don't think about it, baby will suck when hungry, sleep when tired, you know, it has only really got instincts at this stage, it is like a lovely warm little maggot smile

Ooh I am getting broody again...I love babies!

FeelingDeviant Tue 29-Jul-08 09:28:28

Lol at "staring like a moron". This is exactly what I did.
Bf immediately after birth and every time baby wakes up as she'll be asleep rest of time.
Also, remember to change nappy. I forgot babies wore nappies and took me a while to work out why she was crying - her nappy was full of meconium shock

snowymum Tue 29-Jul-08 09:31:38

This is all so helpful. Nappies and boobs and staring. I can do that.

On the co sleeping front, does anyone use a bed guard, or is that overprotective? the only one I like the look of was $250 - a bolster thing.

Flightputsonahat Tue 29-Jul-08 09:33:52

Yes, I had a wooden rail at the top of my bed. It was one you screw into the side of the bed but as our bed is antique I just stuck it between mattress and side. It was very helpful and gave me peace of mind as when you are bfing, baby will alternate sides (I lifted him over me so I didn't have to move much!) so he was sometimes on the outside. I could sleep if I knew he was safe from falling out. I'm not overprotective as a rule wink

Flightputsonahat Tue 29-Jul-08 09:35:22

I have a bolster along the inside wall as well, because they can get wedged between bed and wall if you are not careful!! Also stopped ds1's bottles and dummies falling down there...I only shared with my children, not their fathers. That is probably easier grin

Ate Tue 29-Jul-08 09:37:54

Snowy, you wont be alone! We're just here if you need us smile

I've co-slept with all three and didn't use a bed guard. I quite often woke up with DD3 snuggled up in my arm-pit, which could have been worrying but given that she'd wriggled her way across a king size to do so, I thought maybe she knew what she was up to! Was just very careful regarding covers and my clothing - none seemed safest!

TBH, the first 24 hrs in hospital was fraught. The first 24 hrs following my homebirths have been lovely, sleepy and just fine.

meglet Tue 29-Jul-08 09:38:45

Me and DP argued like it was WW3 sad. DS wouldn't latch on so we were constantly washing the expressing equipment. I was recovering from an emergency CS. I think my instincts had gone out of the window. A truly grim time of our lives TBH! The nappies are easy though (every couple of hours or when poo-y) and DS slept in the moses basket. they do cry, but its not too hard to get them to drop off after a while.

I think we had it worst than most people, I am about to do it all again in 5 weeks though so it couldn't have been all bad!

Flightputsonahat Tue 29-Jul-08 09:40:13

You might not have thought about this but if you're having a home birth, you need a plan in advance that everyone knows about, especially dh. Regarding visitors!
People will probably turn up and you need to be strict about who you let in, maybe put a sign on the door saying 'New baby and mother are resting/sleeping, please don't knock or ring if possible' or 'please come back later'. Be clear about who you want to wait for an invite and whom you don't mind being there immediately, like maybe your mum, close friends etc.
Also best if you can be upstairs at first and stay in your nightie for as long as poss or people will expect you to make the tea! Make an appearance when you feel able to. smile

Ate Tue 29-Jul-08 09:40:50 bed guard, my bed mattress butts completely to the wall on one side. Was in the middle of the room proir to DD3's armpit seeking escapades and with other children.

muppetgirl Tue 29-Jul-08 09:45:26

...can I just add that don't worry if you don't feel much towards your baby after the birth. Not all new mummies feel that immediate rush of love but it will come. I wish someone had told me this could happen and that it was normal and that I wasn't the only one.

Read loads, ask even more questions, get loads of different opinions and then do it your way. I have 2 ds's and I love it!!

nervousal Tue 29-Jul-08 09:50:37

I had dd just after 10pm. By time we got back to ward and got settled it was after 12. I did the staring thing and fed her nad then we both slept til morning. In morning fed her and then had my breakfast. I remember the midwife coming round and asking how many dirty nappies she'd had - nappies? nappies? no-one had told me they started so soon! So I enjoyed my toast and midwife chaged first nappy blush

mamafelix Tue 29-Jul-08 11:42:22

You don't know what to do - you just guess! Or, as in my case, looked moronically at the midwife and ask 'how do I actually change a nappy??' while they stare open mouthed at you.
If you're lucky enough to have a sleepy baby (as everyone above seems to be), then great. If not (as I was), make yourself really comfy on the bed, attach baby to boob, and stay put, occasionally demanding tea and sweetmeats from you other half. This can go on for weeks.

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