Advice on what to expect in the few weeks after the birth of your baby, including the baby blues, and coping with your baby's crying and random sleeping patterns.
In the first few days after the birth, you and your baby are beginning to get to know each other. Don't feel you have to make a great effort. Just have your baby close to you as much as you can. Partners also need plenty of opportunity to handle the baby and feel close. Many fathers feel a little left out, especially if they have to leave you and the baby in hospital and return to an empty home. They may need support and encouragement to get involved, but the more you can both hold and cuddle your baby the more confident you'll all feel.
You may feel tired for the first few days, so make sure you get plenty of rest. Even just walking and moving about can seem like hard work. If you've had stitches they'll feel sore and you may feel worried about going to the toilet.
Once your breasts start to fill with milk they may feel uncomfortable or painful for a day or so. If you're breastfeeding, it will help to feed your baby as often as he or she needs. You might also like to apply a warm cloth just before a feed to help relieve the engorgement. If you intend to bottle feed from the start you needn't do anything but, on the third or fourth day, your breasts may be tender as the milk is still being produced. Wearing a firm, supportive bra may help. Speak to your midwife if you are very uncomfortable.
For a lot of mothers the excitement and the pleasure of the new baby far outweigh any problems. But some do begin to feel low or rather depressed, especially if they are very tired or feel that they are not making any progress or can't look after their baby as they would like.
Giving birth is an emotional and tiring experience and your hormones change dramatically in the first few days. Some women feel rather weepy around the third day, especially if the labour was difficult, or if they are very tired or have other worries. This is known as the 'baby blues'. Some women worry because they don't love their baby immediately but, as with any relationship, it's not always love at first sight. You may just need to give yourself time. You can still care for your baby and provide all the warmth and security he or she needs.
Author : Department of Health: The Pregnancy Book 2004 - 2005
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