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First Week With Your Baby - Day One With Your New Baby!

Your author, Kim Fernandez

By Kimberley Fernandez - CLD, CCCE

Kimberley has been working with birth families new families in their birth, postpartum, infant feeding and infant care journey since 2006. Kimberley currently teaches virtually for a major Toronto hospital as well as offering virtual classes through her teaching portal "The Birthing Room"

The first week with a baby can be overwhelming. My new series is going to be about the first week with your new human and what to expect. So let's start with day one, the first 24 hrs with your baby.

New parent holding baby skin to skin immediately after birth

The first 24 hrs with baby can be broken down into segments so let's take a look.

Hour 1-2

Once baby is born the first couple of hours will be spent skin to skin with baby and coming down off the birth high. You and baby will use this time to bond and get your first latch started with the help of the hospital staff.

Birthing Parent:

  • You will be delivering the placenta

  • Having any repairs done if there was any tearing or an episiotomy

  • The sheets of the bed will be changed, with you still in the bed, L&D nurses are wizards.

  • The nurse will get you cleaned up, put a pad and some mesh undies on you, as well as an ice pack for down below.

  • After the first latch and some skin to skin time (about an hour), the nurse will get you up and take you to the bathroom.

  • The nurse will also get you some pain medication (Tylenol and Advil) to get your pain med plan started.


  • Will be snuggled into you skin to skin

  • They will be a bit overwhelmed, dazed & confused by everything that just happened to them

  • For them, their safe space is on your chest, feeling your warmth, hearing your familiar voice, hearing your heart beat.

  • Sucking is a calming technique for them and that first latch will help satisfy that. The first few latches aren't about food, it's about calming baby and easing their transition into their brand new world.

Hours 2-24 (sometimes 48 if there were complications or a surgical birth)

During this period, you will be moved to the postpartum area for your recovery before being sent home.

Birthing Parent:

  • You will be quite tired as the adrenaline is wearing off, grab as much rest as you can, while your partner/support person is looking after baby

  • The postpartum nurses will be checking your medically, your bleeding, your blood pressure and temperature.

  • Ask as many questions as you have, the nurses are a resource for you at this time

    • Sometimes the information can differ between staff so just take what works for you and discard the rest.

  • You should attempt to wake baby to try feeding every 2-3 hours.


  • Baby will be very sleepy during this period. Being born is just as exhausting as giving birth. Plus they will becoming down from the adrenaline they got during the pushing stage.

  • Do your best to wake baby every 2-3 hours to feed. If they fall asleep, that's okay

    • You can wake them by changing their diaper, tickling their toes, feeding them skin to skin, blowing on them

  • At some point during your stay, the staff paediatrician will come to see baby and give them a once over to make sure they are good and healthy and able to be discharged. Ask them any questions you may have.


  • The staff may suggest only feeding for a few minutes and then topping up with formula, if body feeding is the goal, it would be better to just feed baby more frequently. This will help you learn, get the colostrum into baby to fight jaundice and help minimize baby's weight loss

  • When feeding isn't going well some staff will suggest using a nipple shield. This may help initially, but can lower milk production in the long run if you don't have a plan to get off the shield.

    • Ask to speak to a lactation consultant to fix the latch.

  • While in hospital, focus on getting the latch and body positioning right, everything else will fall into place once those are working.

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