First 24 Hours After A Child's Birth

The first 24 hours after the baby is born can be an overwhelming experience for the parents. Our expert shares a list of dos and dont’s that new parents must make a note of during this period.

By Dr. Madhuri Prabhu

First 24 Hours After A Child's Birth

Before going into labour for the first time, Pooja Mathur and her husband made a quick checklist of dos and dont's to follow once their bundle of joy arrives. From what to do in the first few hours after birth to danger signs to watch out for, the would-be parents did a thorough research to ensure proper health and safety of their newborn. 

Like Pooja and her husband, all would-be parents should be aware of what to do and what not to do as discussed in the article below.

The birth of a child is the most joyous occasion for any family. Immediately, after the birth, the doctors and nurses are there to ensure that both mother and the baby are doing fine. However, this is not enough, as the first 24 hours following the child's birth is indeed very crucial. Careful monitoring not just by the doctors and nurses but by the parents is equally important. All parents must be involved in the process to ensure their child's health and comfort.

The first few hours after birth

The first few hours after childbirth requires careful monitoring of the baby and the mother. It is extremely important that paediatricians share a standard checklist with the parents.

  1. The temperature of the baby must be maintained as normal as possible. This could be done by wrapping the baby in warm clothes or letting him cuddle with the mother.
  2. Feeding the baby must be initiated within the first hour after birth. The baby must suckle often and in the right way. This ensures a steady flow of the mother's milk. A good feeding session also strengthens the mother-child bond.
  3. It is important to closely monitor the passing of urine and stool by the baby.
  4. Doctors should look for signs of stress and discomfort in the baby. The movements of the baby should also be observed.
  5. The first hour is also the time when babies are checked by the paediatrician for any birth abnormalities.

List of things to do in the first hour

  1. Name tags: Name tags must be checked once the baby is out of the birthing room.
  2. Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is one of the most important tasks to be initiated in the first 24 hours after childbirth. If both the baby and the mother are doing good, breastfeeding must be initiated preferably within half an hour after birth. This process should be continued every two to two and a half hours or whenever the baby demands. Even for mothers who underwent C-section, breastfeeding should be started after she regains her senses.
  3. Maintain temperature: For a newborn baby, maintaining the body temperature is important.
  4. Bonding: Baby must be with the mother for warmth and bonding, preferably in the first few hours after birth. The emotional bonding of the baby must be established with the mother. It can happen only with skin to skin contact between the mother and baby.
  5. Vitamin K shots: All babies must be vaccinated with Vitamin K shots within 24 hours of birth.
  6. Abnormality check: All babies must be checked for abnormalities within the first 24 hours after birth.

Danger signs to look out for

  1. Dull baby and difficulty in breathing: If the baby appears dull and has difficulty in breathing, it’s a sign that the baby has some problems.
  2. Refusal to feed: If the baby refuses milk, there must be some underlying problem. If the mother or the caregiver observes this, the doctor must be informed about it immediately.
  3. Pale and Blue Baby Syndrome: Parents and doctors must check the baby for the Blue Baby Syndrome. The bluish skin around the lips, the tongue could mean that the lungs of the baby are not getting enough oxygen. It is a serious condition and needs immediate medical attention. However, some babies might have bluish tinge in the hands, feet, or in the area around the mouth for sometime, which is normal.
  4. Babies making grunting noises: If the baby cries continuously without any reason and makes some grunting noises, close examination is needed to find the problem.

Vaccination

If the mother has hepatitis B, then the vaccination for it needs to be administered within the first 24 hours. Other vaccines need to be given before the mother and baby are discharged from the hospital.

All aspects of childbirth must be checked in the first few hours after the baby is born. The mother and the immediate family must be counselled on how to look after a newly born. The mother must be encouraged to breastfeed the baby. Parents must be informed about the danger signs to look for in newborns before they leave the hospital.

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