What To Expect The First 10 Days After Giving Birth

You’re probably curious as to what to expect in the very first week as a new mother and have many questions about breastfeeding and your new baby’s behaviours.

You could feel a whole range of emotions – from blank exhaustion to total elation, which is entirely normal and a part of the process of being a mom. Huggies® expert and internationally certified childbirth educator, Lynne Bluff gives you a brief description on what to expect within the first 10 days. 

Babies are aware and are taking everything in

Many parents are surprised to see how alert a newborn really is. Right after birth, a newborn’s eyes are open quite a bit and babies spend a lot of time studying faces – especially their parents. Your baby may turn or react to the sound of your voices. In fact, babies are able to ‘mirror’ you (copy what you are doing). It is fascinating what a new baby is able to do – give it a try and watch carefully as you interact and connect with your new baby. During this time your baby is using all its senses, including smell and touch, which allows your baby to identify you and differentiate you from other people that they may meet. You may feel tired and emotional, so make sure you sleep or rest when your baby rests. It is recommended to keep visitors to a minimum in this early time to allow you and your partner to connect as a new family and to let your baby get used to being with you. You might want to use this time to rest or watch educational videos – and to get to know your new baby.

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Skin-to-skin contact

After the birth, skin-to-skin contact (SSC) with your baby is very important. Place your baby skin to skin on your chest immediately after birth, as smell is important both for the mom and her baby. Allow your baby to go through the nine instinctive stages. This will include finding the breast, latching onto the nipple and breastfeeding all by themselves. A baby is initially alert and likely to feed well and, as a result, may have a long sleep. Some babies are sleepy and may only want a few feeds in the first 24 hours – others are more awake and will want to feed more frequently. Try to offer the breast to your baby every two hours or so to help get breastfeeding well established and the milk flowing well. Each baby is different; you will be able to tell what they want and need as you grow together.


The correct positioning, attachment and latching while breastfeeding is very important. Check the shape of your nipples each time the baby comes off the breast. Your nipples should look round and should not look squashed, pinched, flattened, ridged or distorted in shape. If this does occur, ask for assistance with your next feed or find a lactation consultant in your area at www.expectantmothersguide.co.za. Once a baby has latched, breastfeeding should not hurt your nipples; if it is sore while your baby is latching, something is wrong. Take your baby off the breast and re-latch them. Although breastfeeding is a natural process, it is still a learned skill and you and your baby are learning together. 

How to hold a newborn

It’s also essential to learn how to hold a newborn baby properly. There are a variety of correct ways to hold your baby, from the snuggle hold to the face-to-face hold, depending on how you want to interact with your baby. Just remember that it’s important to be calm and confident before you pick up your baby, so they are relaxed before you make a connection. Remember your new baby is not a fragile porcelain doll, so hold them firmly and confidently and they will feel secure in your arms.

Bath time

It is important not to bath your little one for the first few days to allow the good bacteria on your baby’s skin to be there and keep the skin healthy. Use natural baby products that look after your baby’s microbiome. Newborns don’t need a bath every day. In fact, a lot of babies get rashes and dry skin from too many baths. Your little one only needs a bath once or twice a week. After a few months, daily baths are fine but it is important to use a moisturiser after bathing.

Nappy changes and umbilical cord care

Your newborn baby will poo several times a day and wee every one to three hours. Wetness doesn’t bother most babies, so don’t expect them to cry or show discomfort every time they need changing, so you need to check baby’s nappy regularly. (Use Huggies® My First Nappy, a size 0 disposable nappy specially made for newborns up to 4kg. The umbilical cord cut-out encourages healing and easy cleaning for new moms, Huggies® My First Nappy also has fasten anywhere tabs to help provide a snug fit and a wetness indicator to show when it’s time to change.

“The first few days with your new baby can be a very emotional time for you and your partner. There’s a lot to learn and do as new parents. Remember that everyone is different and every experience is different. So, take it easy on yourself and be patient, becoming a mom is a journey and you and your little one will learn together,” concludes Bluff.

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Source: Sabio Communications. Image: Depositphotos

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