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Infant care: Dos and don'ts for parents in the first 24 hours after childbirth

Dr Madhuri Prabhu Dr Madhuri Prabhu 3 Mins Read

Dr Madhuri Prabhu Dr Madhuri Prabhu


Written For ParentCircle Website new design update

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.

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Infant care: Dos and don'ts for parents in the first 24 hours after childbirth

Before going into labour for the first time, Pooja Mathur and her husband made a quick checklist of dos and don'ts 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 thorough research to ensure the proper health and safety of their newborn. 

The birth of a child is the most joyous occasion for any family. Immediately, after the child's birth, the doctors and nurses 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 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.

List of things to do in the first hour

  1. Check name tags: Name tags must be checked once the baby is out of the birthing room.
  2. Start 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 have undergone C-section, breastfeeding should be started after she regains her consciousness.
  3. Maintain body temperature: For a newborn baby, maintaining the body temperature is important.
  4. Initiate bonding: The 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.
  5. Schedule vitamin K shots: All babies must be vaccinated with Vitamin K shots within 24 hours of birth.
  6. Check for abnormalities: All babies must be checked for abnormalities within the first 24 hours after birth.

Signs to look out for

  1. Dull baby or difficulty in breathing: If the baby appears dull or 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. Blue Baby Syndrome: Parents and doctors must check the baby for the Blue Baby Syndrome. Bluish skin around the lips and 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 a bluish tinge in the hands, feet, or in the area around the mouth for some time, 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.


If the mother has hepatitis B, then she has to get the vaccination within the first 24 hours of childbirth. 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 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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