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The overwhelming feeling of becoming a mother is mixed with a wide range of emotions. As soon as the long pregnancy phase is over, you need to start preparing to welcome your baby into this world. The first 24 hours are of immense importance and you need to take extra care, especially if this is your first experience. In this article, we will be discussing how the 24 hours would look like with your baby.
When the baby is born, their skin might look blue or mottled. This is because they are covered in blood, vernix, and amniotic fluid for the whole 9 months of pregnancy. As soon as the baby starts breathing, their skin will wrinkle. The skin will also appear wrinkled for the first 24 hours. Skin to Skin contact After your baby is born, you can hold them close to your chest for skin-to-skin contact. It will help start breastfeeding, decrease newborn crying, and maintain their body temperature. Feeding Soon after skin-to-skin contact, the babies start showing signs of wanting to breastfeed. You have to breastfeed your baby for at least 30 minutes. The first milk that you will have is known as ‘colostrum’. It is yellowish, thick, and very nutritious. It will help provide several nutrients to your baby. If you are having trouble breastfeeding, you can take advice from a lactation consultant. Bathing After breastfeeding, the baby is taken for the clean-up for removing traces of blood, vernix, and amniotic fluid. Until the umbilical stump of the baby heals and falls, extra care should be taken to give the path. Babies don’t need soap and shampoo, just warm water and a towel for keeping them clean and restoring the moisture back to their skin. First Vaccine Newborns have low immunity levels which is why they are vulnerable to several infectious diseases. There are certain vaccines that must be administered in the first 24 hours:
• BCG Vaccine - This is the first vaccination given to babies after birth that offers protection against tuberculosis. • Oral Polio Vaccine - It is coupled with the BCG vaccine and protects your baby from polio. The vaccine is administered at birth, 6 months, 9 months, and at 4 years (booster doses). • Hepatitis B Vaccine - It is for protecting the newborns from hepatitis infection and is administered along with Polio and BCG vaccine. Apart from these, your newborns will also be given a shot of Vitamin K. Newborns have congenital Vitamin K deficiency that can lead to spontaneous bleeding inside the organs. That is Vitamin K injections are administered for preventing any bleeding disorders. Sleeping After their vaccinations and first feed, newborns can sleep for about 6 hours or until their next feed. Your baby might sleep for about 16 to 18 hours every day. For the first few weeks, both you and your baby will have irregular sleep patterns. Clothes and Swaddling Cotton clothes will be the most comfortable for your baby and won’t irritate their newborn’s skin. Also, it is important that you put the baby in full dresses or bodysuits until the umbilical stump falls off. Swaddling is a common practice used by parents in which they wrap their baby tightly in a blanket or cloth. It helps avoid waking up during nap time and calm the baby. Crying For the first few hours, your baby might sleep due to exhaustion. Later, they will be crying inconsolably for hunger, soiled diapers, and hunger. There will be sometimes where you won’t be able to figure out why your baby is crying. Breathing As a newborn, your baby will be breathing quickly and pause for a couple of seconds. It is a normal phenomenon, so you should not worry. However, you should look out for the following warning signs:
• Flaring of nostrils • Grunting • Heavy noise while breathing • Chest retractions • Pausing for 15 seconds or more while breathing Remember that the first 24 hours will be joyful and challenging for you and your baby. Both of you will be put under hospital observation for 72 hours or more, during which time you will be monitored continuously. If you notice something unusual, you should contact your midwife or doctor immediately.
Pediatrician MD (Peds), DCH, PGDHHM
Rainbow Children’s Hospital & BirthRigh, Banjara Hills.