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First Days With Your Child

The most important thing you need to do after the birth of your child is rest. You should plan to spend the first few days after your baby is born resting in the hospital or at home.
  • Every parent and child bond differently. Give yourself quiet time to hold and explore your baby. Encourage friends to wait until you've arrived at home before visiting.
  • After a birth, many women feel a wide range of emotions. Often joy and happiness can be mixed with fear and doubt. Some women feel more exhausted, helpless, or irritable than anything else. Allow yourself to experience these emotions without judgment.
  • A nurse or your midwife will help you learn to breastfeed, diaper, and bath your baby, as well as respond to your baby’s cues and safely position your baby for sleeping.
  • Women who have uncomplicated labours and vaginal births in the hospital can usually go home after 48 hours. Women who have a caesarean birth often spend 3 to 4 days recovering in the hospital.
  • You will continue to have blood flow for several weeks after the birth. Ask your midwife, labour nurse, or public health nurse about how much is normal.
  • If you can, arrange for someone to help you at home while you and your newborn adjust. Help with meals, laundry and shopping will ensure that you have more time to spend with your newborn.
  • If you will be transporting the baby by car, ensure you have purchased and properly installed a certified infant car seat. (Seat should be less than six years old.)
  • You will get birth and name registration forms from your nurse in the hospital or from your midwife.
  • Your hospital or the public health unit in your area will provide a home follow-up program to help you and your baby make a healthy and safe adjustment. A nurse will contact you and offer to visit you in your home within one week after the birth.

More information on caring for an infant.

Did you know...

Up to 80% of women experience some feelings of distress following the birth of a child. This is often known as the baby blues. For about one in five women, those emotions are more severe and last much longer. They may signal post-partum depression or anxiety. If you feel overwhelmed or depressed for more than a week, talk to your doctor, midwife, or public health nurse.

If you ever feel as though you might harm yourself or your baby, contact your doctor, midwife, public health nurse, or a crisis line immediately. They can help. You are not alone.